New Film Shows Unique Ties between Tibetans and the Dalai Lama


One way to get a deeper understanding of the situation of Tibetans in Tibet is to get a visual perspective through interviews with the people directly.  Today’s edition of Voice of America’s TV program in Tibetan, Kunleng, was devoted to a discussion with Ven. Rinchen Sangpo, who had made a film documenting the experience of Tibetan nomads in the Golok area of Amdo, presently under Qinghai Province.

The discussion is of course in Tibetan, but the footage that are shown now and then from the documentary, although brief, can clearly give a vivid idea. One of the topics these nomads raise is their reverence for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and how the authorities’ effort to distance them from him is affecting their basic religious practice. The more than half a dozen people who spoke on this (as shown the broadcast) mention the historical “divine allocation” that His Holiness is to the Tibetan people and how their sole desire is to have a glimpse of him before they pass away. One of the images is that of an old lady talking about His Holiness in a dark smoky room (you can see the smoke behind her).

The producer Rinchen Sangpo had shot these interviews in October 2008, according to and had subsequently fled to India in December 2008. An edited version of the documentary was released in Dharamsala in September 2009.

According to a report on, Ven. Rinchen Sangpo had “interviewed a large number of Tibetans from all walks of life in Machen (Chinese:Maqin) County and Gade (Chinese: Gande) County in Golog TAP, throughout October 2008. He sought the views of the interviewees on three issues – 1) What was the old world look like? 2) What sufferings they endured under the current Chinese government? 3) What actually happened in 1958?”

He was speaking to Kunleng from Dharamsala.


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