After The Guardian and Reuters reported about the disbandment of the International Shugden Community (ISC), I expressed some reservations in a blog entry (see Some Final Remarks). Unlike many claims made online and in print – for instance on Reddit or The Guardian – Reuters didn’t establish that the International Shugden Community (ISC) – which was founded and is operated by the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) – is financed by China nor was the defector Lama Tseta a member, supporter or follower of the NKT. The Shugden groups are also not homogeneous and there are many not one.
Did nobody wonder how it could happen that after the official “disbandment” of the ISC on March 10th, 2016 – the commemoration day of the Tibetan Uprising – during the last day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Madison, some of the Dolgyal (Shugden) adherents flew a plane with a large banner that read “Dalai Lama Stop Lying” over the venue in Madison in the afternoon? The plane was up for at least 2-3 hours. 3-4 Tibetan Shugden protesters also stood in front of the venue and distributed materials. So are the protests really over and how much substance have the Reuters articles?
I think in the sense of upholding the spirit of European enlightenment more differentiation and more precision is needed. Things are complex and though the misunderstanding that “Reuters established beyond doubt the link between the International Shugden Community and the Chinese communist party” (The Guardian) might settle for most people the Shugden dispute, it is just not correct. In the light of the facts, Stephen Pritchard’s self-confident claim in The Guardian, “a victory for real journalism” is quite embarrassing.
Nevertheless, thanks to Reuters, thanks to The Guardian and to the very few other international newspapers and journalists – like Foreign Policy – who tried to report about it in a more nuanced and more informed way.
Thanks to everybody – especially the academic experts – who helped to shine light on this diffi·cult topic!
Here is a reflection by Tibetologist Thierry Dodin about this complex topic:
Shugden followers are not giving up protests against the Dalai Lama By Thierry Dodin / TIN (2 April 2016)