‘Dalai Lama Has Fooled Us’: Returned Tibetan Compatriots

Xinhua, 24 April 2001

LHASA, April 25 (Xinhua)—The greatest regret in my life is that I was fooled by Dalai Lama, Zhaxi Wangdui, 76, said so when talking about his life experience.

Zhaxi Wangdui followed Dalai Lama abroad in 1959 and returned to Tibet in 1985.

I am old now, and I want to spend the rest of my life at hometown, said Zhaxi, one of the more than 1,500 returned Tibetan compatriots who have settled down in Tibet since 1978 when China started reforms and opening up.

During the past two decades or more, more than 55,000 overseas Tibet compatriots from over 30 countries and regions came to Tibet for sightseeing or visiting relatives.

Zhaxi was a lama at the Sera Monastery in Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, 42 years ago.

He built roads in the first three years after he escaped abroad.

I didn't have enough food, I couldn't drink butter tea, let alone chanting scriptures and praying to Buddha, he said. Later Zhaxi was conscripted into the Indian troops and performed military service in the Himalayas area for 15 years.

He was discharged from the army in 1978. He lived a lonely life, relying on the small sum of money he got for serving in the army.

Dalai Lama always said that people in Tibet do not have freedom and do not enjoy human rights. I'm a little bit worried about that, Zhaxi said.

Zhaxi went home to visit his relatives in Tibet in 1983 and stayed in Lhasa for three months.

He saw that the original stinking earth roads in Lhasa have been replaced by wide, clean roads; jewelry at the Norbuglinkha, the Jewel Park, remain intact, but this palace enjoyed by Dalai Lama alone has become a park where all Lhasa residents can visit.

Zhaxi was also impressed with the fact that the children of serfs are studying at the schools, long queues of pilgrims stand in front of the Potala Palace, and the Sera Monastery, where he once lived, is crowded with people burning joss sticks and worshipping Buddha.

I began to doubt what Dalai Lama had said, and I made up my mind to come back and settle down in Tibet, Zhaxi said.

Zhaxi, who is now a member of the Lhasa Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, can receive the living allowance given by the government monthly.

I'm not worried about my living and food, not like those days abroad where I was worried about the life of my remaining years, Zhaxi said.

Dankao followed Dalai Lama abroad in 1959 and he once was engaged in espionage.

Dankao, a believer of Buddhism, said he felt sinful and irreverent to Sakyamuni for his former spy experience. He decided to come back to China after he learned that earth-shaking changes were taking place in his hometown.

Danko returned to China in 1989 and became a lama at the Lapuleng Monastery. Here, I can worship the Buddha with a sincere heart, he said.

Tselang, who lives in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Aba in Sichuan Province, once visited his uncle, who is a lama and lives in India.

His uncle told him that Tibetan compatriots in exile live a hard life, some of them have fallen into beggars and most of them want to return to China.

Tselang said that he learned that some of the Tibetan compatriots want to come back to China, but are perplexed with the religious belief in Dalai Lama and they believe in the saying fabricated by the Dalai Lama-led government-in-exile that people who return to China will be beheaded.

Danjie, who came back in 1985, said that Dalai Lama has been cheating us over the past 40 years.

He said that Dalai has never stopped his attempt for Tibet's independence, adding Dalai's recent visit to Taiwan and his collusion with Taiwan independence forces, which breach the religious canon of separating religion from politics, have disappointed Tibetan Buddhist believers.

Officials in charge of receiving overseas Tibetan compatriots said the number of Tibetan compatriots coming back for sightseeing and for visiting relatives and to settle down in Tibet has been on rapid rise since the 1990s.

Baima Wangje, who now resides abroad, have come back to go sightseeing many times. He said, Every time, I am moved by Tibet' s policies which allow people to come and go freely, a sound social environment and rapid changes.