A year ago I sent a truncated version of the course of travel Marlene Lynch and I had traversed through Southwest China, Tibet, Nepal, and Thailand. Wednesday Journal published it as a OneView.

While I do my best to be a seeker, rather than a judger, the present political situation in the Tibetan areas has made it incumbent upon me to bear witness to what I saw.

I saw
Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, peopled by more Han Chinese than Tibetans. I saw stores that were all owned and staffed by Han even in the shadow of the Potala Palace. I saw Tibetan homes displaying huge posters of Chinese leaders, while their small frames of the Dalai Llama stood ready to be ensconced at the first warnings of police entering the area: No one wants their eldest male sent to prison.

I saw a people, fearful of being monitored, who were unable to express themselves in private conversations on the street. In remote areas I saw roads being built by Han, often splitting a minority area, so that
China can import even more of its people. Places of stark beauty were being denuded of their precious trees to make homes and stores for these new arrivals.

I saw pass controls erected throughout, halting free movement. I saw ubiquitous ghosts of former monasteries as well as great expanses in intact monasteries that were hungering to have their bellies full of monks. I saw a man fearful of accepting a Lonely Planet Guide until I tore out the introduction by the Dalai Llama.

I saw a people crying because they no longer existed.

Pat Healey

Oak Park

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