Today, Good Morning America launched a November sweeps project called the Seven New Wonders. Working with a panel of experts, GMA and USA Today are identifying seven new Wonders of the World, and I was excited to hear the first of the wonders would be the Potala Palace in Lhasa. The Potala Palace was occupied by the last 10 Dalai Lamas prior to the Chinese invasion of Tibet.
When my co-worker told me about the story, I was excited, thinking this type of story would be a great way to let people in the United States know about the situation in Tibet. Buddhist monks are imprisoned or murdered by the Chinese government there for mentioning the Dalai Lama’s name, possessing his photo or even discussing the overall lack of freedom in Tibet. Just a few weeks ago, Chinese soldiers shot and killed a 17-year-old nun – an unarmed nun – named Kelsang Namtso as she tried to use a rugged mountain pass to flee the country in exile to Nepal. They left her body in the snow.
But ABC News offered total fluff, talking about how happy the Tibetan people are in Lhasa. As the reporter took a tour of the Potala Palace, he mentioned it was home to the current Dalai Lama until his “departure” in 1959.
Departure? Is that like going on vacation? What gives, ABC? How many millions of Tibetans have died at the hands of the Chinese military since the takeover? And this is how you report your story?
I am disappointed that a reputable news outlet would gloss over one of the most egregious violations of human rights in world history, depicting the situation in Tibet like some kind of Chinese Disneyland, where everyone is happy and free. It is sickening.