” Well, time to be in Lhasa is around 13-16 July, 2011 …one is not at all allowed to enter the country before 13th. July, 2011.”
The Cultural Attaché at the Chinese Embassy came to see me and informed me that I was invited for the peaceful -liberation celebration of Tibet. We were invited there because of building 108 schools and 108 libraries and helping and supporting 13000 children’s education in the whole of Tibet. These children are from the poor farmers and nomadic areas and many of them go for high studies and to universities both in Tibet and China.
It took time for me and my friend to accept the invitation, but after thinking very carefully we accepted the invitation. We left from Sweden on 11th. July and we had an appointment in Beijing with the Swedish Embassy on 12th. July, 2011. At every airport I was asked many questions and interrogated by the visa section. Since I had got a letter from the Chinese Embassy about my trip to Tibet to show to responsible people at the airport I was allowed to enter the country! That was a tough and `beyond my entire expectation´ journey! Woh, guys you must learn to breathe in and out, and meditation!
We took the plane to Chengdu on 13th July and in Chengdu airport we met Mr. Tsultrim and a Nyingma Lama from Switzerland. We flew to Lhasa and there at the airport we were welcomed by people from the United Front and they took us on a completely new road that took only 45 minutes to Lhasa and our hotel. The airport and the new road to Lhasa were very big and nice and developed, and the houses and trees on the sides of the main road were very impressive and wonderful.
The name of the hotel is Bramaputra and it is a five star hotel. The hotel is very good and the food and their hospitality were almost excellent, except that we were not at all allowed to go out of the hotel, because of security reasons. My friend was sick because of not getting enough fresh air and of staying too much inside the hotel. We were only allowed to walk around the car parking areas at the hotel. The Lhasa authority and United Front were concerned about our security, but we were not so used to these kinds of security procedures and we were all bored to death! We asked our host to take us for sightseeing in the city, but instead they took us for a nice picnic in a newly created amusement park near Sera Monastery. We enjoyed that day very much, because we got fresh air and saw the blue sky. What a joy!
Yes, I was in the sky city, the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, but there were clouds and rain everywhere so that you could hardly see anyone there, except the gate keepers and soldiers everywhere on the streets.
It was so strict and so ghostly that you could even feel the uncomfortable atmosphere in the air. The whole city was almost empty, yet Lhasa is a developed city with a population of approximately 500.000 excluding soldiers and guests. I together with my friend was invited to Lhasa for the celebration, but nobody knew when the main celebration programme was to start. Everything was highly confidential and so secret that you could hardly even guess about it.
We were thirteen so called shameless exile Tibetan guests from seven nations, such as Switzerland, Italy, England, Scotland, Australia, Nepal and Sweden. We were called this kind of name by the exile Tibetans because we were invited for the 60 years peaceful-liberation celebration of Tibet by the People’s Republic of China. I do not know whether we thirteen are all shameless or not, because we all were there for different reasons. But it is nice to know that our visit to Tibet gave some of the people who live outside of Tibet the opportunity to criticize, and at the same time to get involved in Tibet issues. Wake up!
We met many important people from TAR and China. We had also the opportunity to exchange ideas and questions with them. It was nice to talk and exchange ideas about Tibet on a personal level to a person, instead of criticizing behind people`s backs. We had seen a wonderful show at the Tibet Opera Hall with hand-picked guests only. There we met 59 leaders from Beijing who came for that occasion. We were all checked from head to toe before we went in to see the show. The show was about how China liberated Tibet.
Some of our thirteen friends were extremely surprised with the development in Tibet, the other friends were not at all surprised. We were all different. It was a very interesting meeting. There were also questions and discussions on Tibet. How could it be possible to develop Tibet without taking anything from Tibet? , China will not put so much time and energy for nothing!
Unfortunately before 19-07-2011, that means, before the big celebration day, I had to leave for Aba and Maerkang. My visit to Maerkang went well even though the road was not good at all. Our projects in these areas are well established and benefited both individuals and communities who had suffered because of the earthquake. We saw plenty of ruins on the way, therefore we have helped more in these areas. Particularly for old people we are going to build a nice home. In this areas there are 152 monasteries and they had a big meeting when we were in Maerkang; Aba Prefecture. We have no idea what kind of gathering they had, but it was nice to see some monks there. Most people living in this area are Tibetans.