WOODSIDE, NY, US, 11 April 2020
China spends almost ten billion dollars a year on soft power, trying to give a facelift to its deteriorating global image by spreading lies and distorting the truth. The Chinese Communist Party declared this a new goal a few years ago, and as of last year began to build up its soft power as a complement to its fast-soaring economy and military strength.
Tibetans, Uighurs, and the Chinese who fled the Communist regime should bolster their efforts to counterbalance and beat the spread of these state-sponsored lies. We might not have billions of dollars in our hands, even our government in exile perched on the hills of Dharamshala is run on charity and chunks of USAID thrown to make us make believe that we exist and help us cling on a ventilator for now. But what we do have, is the invaluable freedom of speech that we enjoy day in and day out, and which can be properly used to propel the might of the social media to our favour free of cost.
Disinformation and distortions of truth sponsored by the Chinese State is all-pervasive in these platforms, from Western universities to local public libraries — as in the recent case in New York where visible efforts to undermine Tibetan history were on full display — state-sponsored propaganda at places of reflection and education, to misinform and distort the history of Tibet beyond repair and change public opinion about our cause. They have also used the social media to sow mistrust and disunity within the Tibetan community for so long now, with many fake accounts and through many paid traitors too.
Unless we do our part in demystifying the repeated lies, those lies can be transformed into a formidable wall of “truth” within a generation. Within no time we could become invisible, our voices inaudible, and we could become fixtures at the museum along with the fossilized remains of our past.
The power of social media has long been underestimated, and is seen only as a vanity by some. But if used properly my kins, as a tool, this is our greatest weapon, and we can transform ourselves into Internet soldiers.
I want to remind the world how a single tweet catapulted the Arab Spring, and toppled many dictators in the region as the firestorm rolled on. I want to remind us how social media was instrumental in the US presidential election that saw Trump, the most unlikely of the candidates, to rise and win the election.
I urge each and every one of us who have suffered the direct brunt of the CCP regime, I want to remind every Tibetan who, as of late having become sworn citizens of many Western countries, have lost touch with their motherland and who have started viewing the world from the perspective of a global citizen. For them getting carried away in the partisan politics of the adopted nation is more intoxicating, while losing sight of a nation that is falling fast within the crevices of anonymity.
For them, bashing the CCP and adoring a world leader who stands up against the might of CCP have become secondary concerns, before other once-perceived progressive and liberal Western views. Gone are the days when we embraced anyone who stood against the CCP, unless of course that President welcomes His Holiness to the White House (even if it is from the back door of the White House like Obama did, careful not to offend China) or a President who is a mass murderer but bestows upon HHDL the congressional Gold Medal like George W Bush did, or fancies painting a portrait of the Dalai Lama, melting the soft hearts of Tibetans.
I urge everyone to turn themselves into an Internet activist and spread the truth about the CCP consistently. The power of shares and retweets, with compounding effects on the people of the world, is unfathomable. We want our people, thought leaders, and intellectuals to not bask in their old glorious past, because for us the only thing that is constant is the endless pain and sufferings.
A true patriot is one who is consistent with their national call. When a nation like ours is facing dinosauric extinction, the calling can’t be any graver to be ignored. No deterrence should take the air out of our lungs and pull us down. Every calamity falling upon our nemesis is our opportunity to hammer them down. All we have to be is a patriot that rises from the heart, and each one should represent a ripple to create that ultimate wave without any external help.
“Activist” is not a rank or title that one can carry and then disappear in the thick of chasing your legend, nor a trophy that you can decorate. Activism is a building of momentum that must continue, a growing wound that must be taken care of, and an obligation that must be fulfilled for a lifetime.
We must all do our part to peel away the lies of China every single day, every single hour, and dismantle their Great Wall of Lies one brick at a time.
About the author
Ugyen Gyalpo lives in Woodside, New York, and works as an insurance agent for United Health Group, New York.