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German scholar: end of serfdom in Tibet "victory for human rights" (03/31/09)

   BERLIN, March 27 (Xinhua) -- On the occasion of Tibet's Serfs Emancipation Day which falls on March 28, a German scholar on Friday hailed the end of serfdom in Tibet 50 years ago as "a victory for human rights."

  In an article titled "The End of Slavery" carried by German daily "Die junge Welt," retired German philosophy professor and Sinologist, Hans Heinz Holz, gave a detailed introduction of Tibetan history as well as the serfdom in Tibet which he said featured "shameless exploitation of farmers and herders by rich monasteries and large landowners, a high illiteracy rate, poor medical care and a high rate of child mortality."

  "There are good reasons to celebrate the abolition of serfdom in Tibet. It was a victory for human rights, a redemption of the UN Charter," he said.

  "The so-called Tibetan exile government is the representative of the former exploiters. When the Dalai Lama speaks of freedom, what he means is the freedom for the few who exploit the masses," Holz said.

  "The theocracy of the Lamas was not a religious culture, but an ideologically-based primitive exploitation and hierarchy system," he said.

  "Nostalgic yearning for the theocracy of Lama monks is not only historical, but inhuman. Slavery was the economic condition of earlier cultures. That cannot mean that to preserve the culture, slavery should also be preserved. It is for sure that no human rights defender wants to defend the barbaric justice system of the Lamas with punishments such as mutilation and whipping."

  Praising the economic and social achievements in Tibet made by the Chinese government since 1959, Holz pointed out that the Potala Palace, former residence and symbol of power of the Dalai Lama, is now a museum.

  "In the history of Tibet the rule of the Lamas represented only a limited span... The fact that the palace of tyrants has become the palace of the people is the symbol for the dawning of a new era," Holz said.

  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the emancipation of millions of serfs and slaves in old Tibet, and the Tibetan regional legislature has endorsed a bill making March 28 the annual Serfs Emancipation Day in the region.


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