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10:50 Feb 21 2010

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Facts speak louder than words (2)
10:49, February 21, 2010  

THE OLD TIBET'S FEUDAL SERFDOM IN EYES OF FOREIGNERS

Many foreigners travelled in Tibet in the period from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to 1949. Some recorded what they saw and heard. The writings describe a backward, stagnant society based on feudal serfdom.

Edmund Candler, a British national, wrote in his book, The Unveiling of Lhasa: "The people are medieval, not only in their system of government and their religion, their inquisition, their witchcraft, their incantations, their ordeals by fire and boiling oil, but in every aspect of their daily life."

Another Briton, Charles Bell, who spent much time in Tibet in the 1920s, wrote in his book, Tibet Past and Present, that old Tibet was still in the feudal stage:

"The nobles of Tibet exercise great power and influence... The nobility, side by side with the leading priests, rule the land. Like the monasteries, they own large landed estate."

French explorer Alexander David-Neel said in his book, Old Tibet Faces A New China: "All the farmers in Tibet are serfs saddled with lifelong debts, and it is almost impossible to find any of them who have paid off their debts."

An Indian scholar, R. Rahul said, "Peasants in (old) Tibet, particularly those on the estates belonging to the aristocracy and the monasteries, are in a sense serfs."

An American scholar, Dorsch Marie de Voe, talked about how the serf owners conducted spiritual control by using religion in his article, The Donden Ling Case: An Essay on Tibetan Refugee Life With Proposals for Change. He wrote: "From a purely secular point of view, this doctrine must be seen as one of the most ingenious and pernicious forms of social control ever devised. To the ordinary Tibetan, the acceptance of this doctrine precluded the possibility of ever changing his or her fate in this life. If one were born a slave, so the doctrine of karma taught, it was not the fault of the slaveholder but rather the slaves themselves for having committed some misdeeds in a previous life. In turn, the slaveholder was simply being rewarded for good deeds in a previous life. For the slave to attempt to break the chains that bound him, or her, would be tantamount to a self-condemnation to a rebirth into a life worse than the one already being suffered." A large number of records show that old Tibet was a theocratic feudal serfdom society.

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http://chinatibet.people.com.cn/96056/6897892.pdf