Daily Vlog: 38
Since being in Tibet I have been struggling with the amount of Chinese military control over the local Tibetan People. This suppression extends so far into daily life it affects everyone. Little things like signs for shops are written in large Chinese characters with tiny Tibetan characters underneath, to young tibetan people not allowed to visit and worship at temples. The constant reminder that China has taken over Tibet is depressing. Today I get a little annoyed and suddenly very aware that I am being watched almost 24hrs a day.
We visit the summer palace of the Dalai Lama and I am instantly shocked. As you walk up to this once spiritual home of the Tibetan Buddhist leader you are confronted by huge LCD screen pumping out loud Chinese music. Once inside I feel calm mixed with a sense I am being watched. Every where i look i see a camera, they are everywhere and I mean everywhere, on every corner of the main wall, every walkway even in the gardens. I can see our guide feeling uneasy here, she is aware that her every move is bing watched and anything she does can be used against her and her family.
We arrive at the Dalai Lama’s Palace, the last place that the current 14th Dalai Lama lived before he fled to India. There was no surprise here, plenty of cameras outside, but what shocked me and made me nervous was waiting inside. We were in one of the rooms, completely aware that we were getting watched by cameras every step, but what shocked me was one specific camera. I spotted this camera that would move about, it was looking around the room, this was not odd, what was odd was when it spotted me. I remember nudging my friend and whispered to him, do you think that camera is following me? I may sound a little paranoid but it was looking straight at me, with these two eyes. So I walked around a little to look at another painting in the room. I look up and again it was looking straight at me, almost trying to read my mind, looking straight at me. I looked back at my friends and they all had seen it as well. I thought to myself, surely not, so I tried again, I walked around the room a few times and every time this camera followed me. I was certain that I was being watched and that I had been picked out of the crowed of tourist in the room to keep an eye on. I couldn’t stop thinking that there was someone in a room somewhere controlling that camera, some one was watching me. This is only one time, I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to the Tibetan people to be watched like they are, to know that there is someone watching your every move, controlling what you see and what you do, we could never understand how this affects your well being.
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I would love to hear your thoughts on the Tibet situation. What have you heard, have you been to Tibet? Have you experienced these same situations?