|Americans need to have balanced information on Tibet|
Americans might not be able to see a full picture of Tibet as the information they have was rather one-sided, a New York City council member said in New York on Thursday, March 19.
Larry Seabrook made the comment after meeting with a five-member delegation of Tibetan deputies of China's National People's Congress, which is on a six-day visit to the United States.
Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak (5th R), a living Buddha of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region of China, talks with New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (3rd R) and other assemblymen in New York, the United States, March 19, 2009.
"I think the dialogue and information was necessary," Seabrook said. "I am glad I could have the opportunity to sit here and learned a lot about Tibet that has not been told to the (U.S.) public."
Seabrook told Xinhua that his past knowledge of Tibet was based on information "only from one side."
"This is the first time I've got information about the other side," he said.
Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak (L), a living Buddha of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, also vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region of China, shakes hands with New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz in New York, the United States, March 19, 2009.
Seabrook said many people do not know what has exactly happened in Tibet and their impression about Tibet is what has been projected by the media.
Citing the changes of Tibetan women's social and political status over the past 50 years, Seabrook said the Tibetan women shouldered the heaviest labor burdens, but were relegated to the lowest social status in the past.
Local government codes in old Tibet clearly stipulated that "women have no right to discuss state affairs," and "neither slaves nor women are permitted to involve themselves in military and political matters," he noted.
During their meeting, Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak, a living Buddha of Tibetan Buddhism and head of the delegation, said the social status of Tibetan women has improved significantly since the 1959 democratic reform in the region.
Female officials now constitute 38 percent of the total in Tibet, according to the regional government.
Women also account for more than 20 percent of the legislators in the regional people's congress.
Earlier in Washington D.C., Lanny J. Davis, special counsel to former President Bill Clinton from 1996 to 1998, expressed similar concerns as Seabrook.
Davis said a complete lack of information has led the American people, including himself, to an incorrect impression about Tibet.
"They (Americans) have only heard one side of narratives that are not accurate historically or not complete," he said. "What we need now is that the Americans get a balanced presentation about the facts about Tibet."
Davis said he did not know that 5 percent of Tibetans used to own almost all the land, while 95 percent of the people there were serfs.
"As far as I can tell, serfdom and slavery are about the same thing," he said.
"The tremendously positive stories should be told to the American people, that the Tibetans have benefited from the reforms of the Chinese government in the region," he added.
The Chinese delegation, including two women legislators, will leave for home on Friday. During their stay in the country, they met with U.S. congressmen, officials and researchers from several key think-tanks as well as media people.