The Brutality and Barbarism of Feudal Tibet (Pre-1949)

Serfs and Slaves Worked to Death

Research and Translation by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD

There is a fact that is beyond all historical dispute. Feudal Tibet was not, and never has been the lost paradise of the Judeo-Christian (Western) imagination. Far from being a heaven on earth populated by semi-divine beings, Tibet was a remote area of China that was brutal, barbaric and highly racist (characteristics that attracted the attention of Adolf Hitler). Furthermore, feudal Tibet was run by a corrupt hierarchy of lamas who purportedly followed various forms of Vajrayana Buddhism, but who in reality ate meat, drank wine and had sexual relationships, whilst owning slaves, amassing huge fortunes and retaining a totalitarian political rule over the area. The imperialist British had ventured into the area in the early 1900’s and inflicted humiliating defeats and the occasional massacre, but soon left when it was realised that Tibet was backward, uncivilised and of no political worth.

Serfs Working for the High Lamas

It is ironic that despite this British incursion, and the eye-witness accounts of the brutality and barbarism of the area, it is in the UK that the ‘myth’ of a ‘Shangri La’ Tibet has taken root. The majority of the ordinary people of Tibet were peasants who could not read or write, and who were taught to superstitiously ‘worship’ the high lamas as if they were divine beings living on earth. Political power was further cemented by the lamas concocting the myth of ‘reincarnation’ – a teaching not found within authentic Buddhism. (Reincarnation was rejected by the Buddha along with theistic religion, as there is no ‘soul’ that can traverse different lifetimes, etc). Feudal Tibet was not an enlightened society, but one where 5% of the population ruled the other 95% through threats of violence and acts of terrorism. People were beaten, raped, skinned and dismembered whist still alive, an there is even talk of individuals being boiled alive if the high lamas were denied, contradicted or disobeyed in any way. feudal Tibet was not the land of the compassionate Buddha, and those who misrepresent history and suggest that it was, should be brought to Court and tried as a common criminal for misleading the people.


Old Tibet had long been in a feudal serfdom society, until its peaceful liberation in 1951, After the armed rebellion that quelled Tibet’s upper-class reactionary elements in 1959, Tibet implemented democratic reforms and abolished feudal serfdom. This happened because millions of serfs stood up and liberated themselves. For more than 40 years, Tibetan society has achieved a historic leap from feudal serfdom to a Socialist System and has undergone earth-shaking changes.

Human Skins – Both Adult and Children

Under the old feudal serf system in Tibet, the serfs and slaves (that accounted for more than 95% of the Tibetan population) had no personal freedom and were deeply oppressed and exploited by the officials, nobles, and upper class monks. The ‘three major lords’ imposed the most brutal, darkest, and most reactionary tyranny down upon the serfs and slaves – controlling the subjugated population through heavy hard labour, harsh rents and taxes, and various forms of torture such as eye-scooping, cutting hands, cutting off feet, and skinning. This type of darkness and cruelty was worse than the serf system that existed within medieval Europe.

Eyes Scooped-Out with a Special Spoon

Tibet and the Tibetan people have now moved on, but the former despicable state of deprivation of their country is now remembered in special educational museums in Tibet and other parts of China. Tibet is thriving today, with even Western businesses opening up. Modern Tibetans are healthy, well-educated and loyal citizens of the People’s Republic of China. Interestingly, the 14th Dalai Lama is viewed very much as a tyrant who, in his youth was responsible for collaborating with Nazi Germany and committing Crimes Against Humanity (in his case toward the Tibetan people he misruled). The so-called ‘Pro-Tibetan Movement’ in he West is based upon false history, and would like to see Tibet returned to a state of arrested development (albeit within a capitalist model). Obviously, the Tibetan people will never allow this to happen and are quite happy today, to be free of the ignorance and suffering of the past.

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Chinese Language Reference Articles:

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