Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Intrusion in Ladakh: Warning from China

The 19-kilometres deep intrusion by an armed patrol of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into the strategically sensitive area around Daulet Beg Oldi in the Aksai Chin region, and detected on 16 April 2013, has been unprovoked.

It is necessary at the outset to dispel any notions that the ongoing over two week long stand-off between armed patrols of the PLA and the Indian Army in the barren, but strategically important, area around Daulet Beg Oldi (DBO) is an isolated or unplanned incident. Similar incidents of armed eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation have occurred with increased frequency, especially since 2008, along the entire length of our 4,057 kilometres border. On this occasion, Beijing seems to have a specific motive. Interestingly, the intrusion coincided with the release of China’s latest Defence White Paper and PLA Navy Day.
The attributes of this stand-off, which has dragged on in the full glare of India’s print and visual media for over twelve days, are different. Pertinent is that Beijing remains transparently unmoved by the adverse media publicity and damage it has caused to India-China relations. It has neither moved to resolve the situation despite three flag meetings at the level of local army commanders and communications from New Delhi requesting resolution. Beijing has thus made it abundantly clear that it will defuse the situation only at a time of its choosing. Beijing’s stance confirms too that the stand-off is not a local incident provoked by the action of a local commander, but one initiated with the full knowledge of China’s senior leadership.
The timing of this intrusion points to a specific motive. It comes just weeks before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan and is a warning against India expressing support to Japan. The backdrop is the steadily escalating tension between China and Japan over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands.
In the context of China’s national interests, China’s top echelon leaders strongly apprehend that the US is putting together an alliance comprising India, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia to contain China’s rise. Articles in China’s official media, including signed articles by Minister-level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadres, have candidly stated this. China’s latest Defence White Paper released on 16 April 2013, in a thinly veiled comment declared that “Some country has strengthened its Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanded its military presence in the region, and frequently makes the situation there tenser.” The reference to the US is implicit.
Tension between China and Japan over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands has risen since 2010. China has been adamant in asserting its maritime territorial claims over the Senkakus (Diaoyu). Two specific developments highlight the extent of this tension and Beijing’s determination not to yield concessions. The Defence White Paper released on April 16, specifically named Japan as one among “some neighbouring countries” that are taking actions to exacerbate the situation. It accused Japan of “making trouble over the issue of the Diaoyu islands”.
More significant is the statement of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson. Speaking at the regular Foreign Ministry briefing in Beijing on April 26, 2013, she repeatedly, and for the first time publicly, referred to the Diaoyu Islands as a matter of “core interest” for China.  The statement raises the level of the dispute significantly and clarifies that Beijing does not consider the matter open for negotiation.
There have been warning indicators earlier that Beijing views the growing warmth in relations between India and US and between India and Japan with suspicion. In the days following the largest ever US-ROK joint military exercises in July 2010, a Hong Kong-based pro-Beijing newspaper observed: “the issue of China’s territorial disputes with neighbouring countries will ignite the flames of war sooner or later. If a country must be chosen for sacrifice, India will be the first choice…India’s long term occupation of southern Tibet is indeed worrying…If armed force is used to resolve border disputes, China must pick a country to target first, and it will definitely pick a big country, which means choosing between Japan and India…”.  Other references stated that China’s relationship with India and Japan had limits imposed by history. With this Beijing dragged India into the South China Sea dispute.
China’s latest action needs to be viewed in the backdrop of the People’s Republic of China’s readiness to employ military force on issues of national interest relating to its security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.  Beijing is adept at using a blend of threats and promise of military retaliation to deter an adversary from taking actions contrary to Beijing’s interests. India needs to calibrate and time its response. For a start it could withhold reiteration during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s upcoming visit of the formulation that the Tibet Autonomous Region is a part of China.

personal view of Jayadeva Ranade as on IPCS

Monday, 22 April 2013

China Tibet policy with the western leaders:

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the local economy offers more to China than just resources.

Chinese leaders are aware that visiting Western leaders will be under some pressure from their domestic constituencies to raise Tibet, human rights and other “sensitive” issues.
So a mechanism has been considerately created to cater for this need. It consists of a meaningless piece of theatre otherwise known as the “obligatory-behind-closed-doors-human-rights-discussion”.
According to the well-worn script, the elected foreign official heads to China on a trade mission, accompanied by a media circus and some high-level trough-snouting capitalists (like Andrew Forrest).
It is all about commercial priorities, but naggingly, annoyingly the official (Julia Gillard in this case) feels obliged to pay lip service to humanitarian concerns that pushy lobby groups like the Australia Tibet Council and bleeding heart Greens senators have put forward.
What are they playing at? Don’t they know a handful of mining billionaires’ hefty profit margins are at stake?
If only these Tibetans weren’t setting themselves alight by the score in protest against the brutal repression that is crushing the life out of their occupied country, it would easier to ignore them.
But don’t worry, the Tibet thing can be safely dealt with in a cosy private chat with the incoming Chinese Premier. The PM knows the rules. It’s only when you raise human rights concerns publicly that the Chinese leadership takes exception.
Without a hint of chagrin Xi Jinping fields Gillard’s politely-constructed queries about the situation. She knows she has to do it. He knows she has to do it.
And he also knows that her heart and that of her party is in the right place. After all, the ALP and the Liberals have been outdoing each other to victimise some of the world’s most impoverished and defenceless people for decades. Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, Tamils, indigenous Australians, to name a few.
So when it comes to criticising China over Tibet, does an Australian PM have a moral leg to stand on?
With a nod and a wink, the little conversation whose actual contents will never be made public draws to a close. He offers carefully-worded reassurances that something will be done.
And then, with a mental sigh of relief, the Australian PM ticks off the little human rights box and moves on to free trade, currency exchange deals and mining concessions.
The beauty of these private “human rights” discussions is no one is offended, and no lucrative business relationships between Australian corporations and the land-grabbing Chinese oligarchy are jeopardised.
They are polite, restrained, orchestrated affairs, nothing like the stench of burning flesh that is emanating from China’s western “house of riches”.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Chinese influence in Nepal

"Chosar: The wind-scoured desert valley in Chosar, just south of Tibet, was once a famed transit point for the Tibetan yak caravans laden with salt that lumbered over the icy ramparts of the Himalayas. In the 1960s, it became a base for Tibetan guerrillas trained by the Central Intelligence Agency to attack Chinese troops occupying their homeland.

These days, it is the Chinese who are showing up in this remote region northwest of Katmandu, the Buddhist mountain kingdom of Mustang. China is giving annual food aid to Mustang. And Chinese military officials cross over to discuss with locals what the ceremonial prince of Mustang calls "border security."

For the Chinese, that means ensuring that Tibetans stay put. Chinese officials are seeking to stem the flow of disaffected Tibetans fleeing to Nepal and to enlist the help of the Nepalese authorities in cracking down on the political activities of the 20,000 Tibetans already here.
China is exerting its influence across Nepal in a variety of ways, most involving financial incentives, and its efforts have borne fruit. The Nepalese police regularly detain Tibetans during anti-China protests in Katmandu, and they have even curbed celebrations of the birthday of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, according to Tibetan residents of Nepal.

In the first eight months of 2012, the number of Tibetan refugees crossing the Himalayas into Nepal was about 400, half as many as during the same period in 2011. Tibetans blame tighter Chinese security in Tibet, as well as Chinese-trained Nepal border guards, for the reduced migration.

The Nepalese government has also refused to allow 5,000 refugees to leave for the United States, even though the American government has said it would grant the refugees asylum.

"Nepal used to be quite easy for Tibetans, to get jobs here and integrate into the community," Tashi Ganden, a former monk and prominent political prisoner in China, said as he sat on a cafe rooftop in the bustling Tibetan Boudhanath neighborhood in Katmandu. "That was before the Chinese influence."

Nepal is one of the world's most impoverished countries, made poorer by a decade-long civil war between Maoist guerrillas and the military that ended in 2006, and by the continuing instability of the government. The nation is bordered by India and China, and Nepalese leaders have sought to use China as a counterbalance to long-running Indian influence.

The courtship between Nepal and China has gained momentum in recent years, as China has poured in aid money, infrastructure expertise and, in Lumbini, believed to be the birthplace of Buddha, investment in Buddhist sites. Meanwhile, it has been assigning ambassadors to Nepal who have backgrounds in security work.

Former President Jimmy Carter told reporters in Katmandu on April 1 that Chinese pressure was making the journey of Tibetans to Nepal more difficult. "My hope is that the Nepali government will not accede," he said, according to Reuters.

Shankar Prasad Koirala, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said in a telephone interview that Nepal had not turned its back on the refugees. "The government of Nepal is assisting them and treating them on humanitarian grounds," he said.

Other Nepalese officials have explained that Nepal abides by a "one-China policy" and does not tolerate anti-China separatist activities on its soil.

China's campaign to block Tibetans from entering Nepal increased in 2008, after a widespread Tibetan uprising. Since then, at least 110 self-immolations by Tibetans living under Chinese rule have further inspired Chinese officials to tighten security in Tibetan towns and along the border with Nepal.

The practice of protest by self-immolation has reached Katmandu, making Nepalese officials even more anxious about the Tibetan issue. In February, a Tibetan monk, Drupchen Tsering, 25, died after setting fire to himself near a revered Buddhist stupa in Boudhanath.

Tibetans in the area asked for the monk's body, but local officials had it cremated in the middle of the night late last month, saying no family members had claimed it, and later posted notices warning against public ceremonies, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, an advocacy group based in Washington.

There has been a clampdown on open religious celebrations in recent years, with some Tibetans detained for days. Those celebrations include festivities around the birthday of the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India and had a representative in Katmandu until the office was shut down by the government in 2005.

One young man with a Tibetan father, Tsering, said he went to a monastery in Katmandu in April 2012 for a birthday ceremony, only to find the Nepalese police blocking the area. The gathering was moved to an assembly hall. "We can't even celebrate the Dalai Lama's birthday," he said. "Things have changed a lot."

Tashi, the former monk, said dozens of Tibetans were pre-emptively detained in January 2012 when Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister at the time, made an unannounced four-hour visit to Katmandu. Wen had scheduled a visit for the previous month, but it was cancelled because of concerns over protests by Tibetans, local residents said. During his visit, Wen agreed that China would give Nepal $1.18 billion in aid over three years, among other support.

The earliest Tibetan refugees arrived in Nepal in 1959, when the Dalai Lama fled Tibet, and they settled in refugee camps, of which there are still 13. A Tibetan enclave sprang up around Boudhanath. Some Tibetans became rich by making carpets and handicrafts, and prominent Tibetan monasteries amassed wealth and purchased prime real estate in the Katmandu Valley.

The population was bolstered by more recent political refugees, like Tashi. The Tibetans used to be given refugee cards that guaranteed them some rights, but Nepal ended that practice in 1998.

These days, refugees pay about $5,000 to smugglers to get them to Nepal. They generally stay six to eight weeks at a transit centre in the Katmandu Valley run by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, then board a bus for India. There, the Tibetans hope to get an audience with the Dalai Lama. Some are pilgrims who eventually try to make their way back to Nepal and then Tibet. There is suspicion among long-time refugees that some of the refugees are spies for China.

Before the Tibetan uprising five years ago, 2,000 to 4,000 refugees reached the transit centre each year. That dropped to 500 to 600 in 2008, as Chinese security forces locked down Tibetan towns, and crept back up to 850 the next year. It has remained low ever since.

For decades, there had been an understanding that Nepalese border guards would allow refugees they encountered to continue on to sanctuary. But now Tibetans suspect that the low numbers of refugees reaching Katmandu could be in part a result of guards sending back Tibetans they catch, especially since China is now involved in border security training programs.

There is no independent monitoring of the Nepalese security forces on the border. Last year, CNN broadcast video of unknown Chinese men in plain clothes harassing a CNN cameraman on the Nepalese side of the border while a guard stood by.

"We don't really know what happens in border areas now," said Kate Saunders, a researcher for International Campaign for Tibet.

For China, the Mustang region is one of the most delicate border areas, given the history of the Khampa guerrilla resistance there and the flight through the kingdom in 1999 of the Karmapa Lama, who was secretly escaping to India from Tibet. The border only opens now on rare occasions for a market between Tibetans and local residents.

People of Mustang could once cross into Tibet with a letter from the king to make a pilgrimage to Mount Kailas, the holiest mountain in Tibetan Buddhist cosmology. But the Chinese cut that off a dozen years ago.

"We've asked our government to try to reopen it," said Jigme Singi Palbar Bista, the prince of Mustang. "Our people have always looked to the spiritual light of Tibet."

© 2013, The New York Times News Service"

Saturday, 13 April 2013

10th March, 1970 H. H. Dalai Lama statement: Excerpt

Photo: There will be live webcasts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talks and discussions from Syracuse, NY;  Williamsburg, VA, Charlottesville, VA; and Middlebury, VT, in the USA on October 8-13, 2012.

October 8: Panel Discussions
His Holiness the Dalai Lama will participate in two panel discussions at Syracuse University's Goldstein Arena. The morning discussion will be on the "The Rise of Democracy in the Middle East" and the afternoon discussion will be on "Shifting the Global Consciousness". The live webcasts can be viewed at
Time: 9:00am - 11:30am & 1:00pm - 4:00pm EDT

October 10:  Public Talk
His Holiness will give a public talk entitled "Human Compassion" at the Kaplan Arena of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The live webcast can be viewed at
Time:  2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT

October 11:  Panel Discussion
His Holiness will participate in a panel discussion on "Compassionate Care in 21st Century Medicine" at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia. The live webcast can viewed at
Time: 10:00am - 11:30am EDT

October 11: Public Talk
His Holiness will give a talk entitled "Beyond Religion - Ethics for a Whole World" at the Charlottesville Pavilion in Charlottesville, Virginia. The live webcast can viewed at
Time 1:30pm - 3:00pm EDT

October 12: Talk to Students
His Holiness will give a talk entitled "Educating the Heart" to students and faculty of Middlebury College at the Nelson Arena in Middlebury, Vermont. Live webcast can be viewed at
Time: 1:30pm - 3:15pm

October 13: Public Talk
His Holiness will give a talk entitled "Finding Common Ground: Ethics for a Whole World" at the Middlebury College's Nelson Arena in Middlebury, Vermont. Live webcast can be viewed at
Time: 9:30am - 11:00am EDT

All times are Eastern Daylight Time in the USA. For times in your region, 9:00am EDT on October 8th in Syracuse, New York is the same as 2:00pm BST in on October 8th in London, England: and 6:30pm IST on October 8th in New Delhi, India."The situation in Tibet has ever since been gradually deteriorating, and conditions worsened with the advent of the so-called Cultural Revolution. Eleven years may not seem long to those of us who have been able to escape into free countries, but to those of our countrymen who are still in Tibet, it has been a period of unending terror and suffering. Yet in the midst of such a desperate and difficult situation the flame of freedom, which was lit on March 10th , 1959, still burns persistently. The Communist Chinese regime in Tibet has experienced constant opposition from the Tibetans, often in the form of violence. In 1969 alone, we learnt of ambushes and raids by Tibetans on Chinese military camps and ammunition dumps in the area of Chamdo, Poh, Lhoka, Tolung, Nyemo and Shang. There were also incidents where many Chinese officers were killed and many were held prisoners by the Tibetans during meetings organized by the Chinese. Above all, the Communist Chinese must have been shocked to find mounting opposition from the young Tibetans, many of whom have been educated and indoctrinated by the Chinese themselves in Tibet as well as in China. These are clear indications that all is not well in Tibet; that Tibetans are not contended and satisfied under the rule of alien power; that desperate resistance still continues; and that the spirit of liberty is still strong.

It is now nineteen long years since the armed forces of Communist China trampled Tibet under their feet. The Chinese have had all the time required to educate, indoctrinate and produce a new group of Tibetan leaders who would totally support their regime – but this has not happened. They have not been able to produce a single notable, young Tibetan leader. They are still using a few ex-members of the old Tibetan government who are actually considered to be reactionaries according to the Chinese themselves. This is again a clear indication that the Tibetans, young and old, no matter how they are treated or brought up are not prepared to yield completely to the Communist Chinese rulers. Many of these Tibetans may be ideologically Communist, but they are definitely nationalist Communists. To these Tibetans their nation comes first, ideology second. We are fighting against colonialism and not against Communism.
When the hopes and aspirations of our countrymen, struggling to survive in a vast prison camp, are so strong and persistent; so unfailing and determined; it is not sufficient to dedicate this day only to the memory of those martyrs who laid down their lives for the freedom of Tibet. We must, also, renew our pledge to hold high the torch of freedom and to continue the struggle so that the sacred cause for which six million Tibetans are still aspiring can be achieved. It is only fitting that we in the free countries shoulder this responsibility as our duty. We, therefore, solemnly rededicate this day and earnestly renew our pledge for the cause of Tibet's independence.
The world is ever changing. International changes are occurring almost every day of the year. A change in Tibet will definitely come about. The Chinese must realize that the spirit of freedom in the Tibetans is indomitable.
I take this opportunity to express on behalf of the people of Tibet and on my own behalf, our sincere and deep gratitude to the government and people of India for their generous and understanding assistance to the Tibetan refugees living in India. We also remember and remain deeply indebted to those countries, along with India, who have supported us in the United Nations. Last but not the least, we thank the various voluntary agencies that have come forth at a time when help was urgently and desperately needed. Much of what we have achieved in the fields of rehabilitation, education and cultural activities would not have been possible without their help.
Finally, while I call upon my people to strengthen their determination and work conscientiously for the freedom of Tibet, I also appeal to all those nations who cherish freedom to give us their firm and strong support in the just cause of Tibet's independence."

The Dalai Lama
March 10, 1970

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese Students Discuss Tibet Issue:CTA

TAIPEI: More than 50 mainland Chinese and Taiwanese university students took part in a discussion entitled “The Unavoidable Story of Tibet” held in Taipei on 31 March. The discussion was organised by a group of Taiwanese students studying in Taiwan.
Mr Dawa Tsering, the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Taiwan, Secretary Sonam Dorje and Mr Dachompa, the president of the Tibetan Association of Taiwan, attended the discussion.
Representative Dawa Tsering answered questions from the participants and explained the policies and functions of the Central Tibetan Administration.
The Office of Tibet in Taiwan also organised a 5-day screening of Tibet related films in Hong Kong from 21 March – 6 April. On the sidelines of the screenings, it also conducted a low-key discussion on Tibet between Chinese lawyers and human rights activists.
On 4 April, it organised a prayer service in Taipei to express solidarity with all those Tibetans who set themselves on fire for the cause of Tibet and those who continue to suffer Chinese repression inside Tibet. Senior lamas from all schools of Tibetan Buddhism and local Tibetans attended the prayer service.
The Office of Tibet also plans to organise an exhibition on Tibet at the Taiwan Freedom Park from 27 April to 5 May.
source: CTA

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Dream of a Free Tibet

How old are you today? This is the most striking question for a Tibetan around the world. The passage of a generation has gone by very unexpectedly for the Tibetans in this century and the plans of most Tibetans are shifting towards something more consolidated not driven by the optismistic dreams of a Free Tibet! The hope of returning back to the homeland Tibet from the exile world for Tibetans survived the last generation of Tibetans in exile across the world. But the truth turns out to be a more complicated and cruel to the Tibetan cause. The better half of returning soon to Tibet has almost vanished from most of the optimists and a rather less virtual world for the Tibetans have come into being for the Tibetans today!

Today there is an extreme series of last assorted way of protest fuming the lives of hundreds of Tibetans in desperation. The unwavering chain of self immolations coming from the Tibetan community is a signification of hate and boundless desire of a triumphant solution for the Tibetans who have been waiting meekly for the last fifty years on! However, the Chinese community seems to be too ignorant and too innocent to care for it. Today, I have seen the toll of self immolations reach 114 and it seems like the issue of burning oneself seems to be of insignificant and that is what is pinching at the heart. Whatsoever have moved the world seems to be forcing them to issue certain press releases against the China for a look into the case! How could it be so insignificant like this? The UNO and the most powerful nations of the world claim to stand up for the cause of justice and human rights but what has brought them back from standing genuinely? This is what Tibetans across the world are greiving about today.
I came across an article stating that Tibet needs entrepreneur like the TATAs and to me it felt like an irony. What does that mean? Where should the cause of Tibetan freedom come in this area of conquest and dream of our life?
The world itself is extremely hectic with tight schedule to attend to everyday and myriad sources of inspirations and desire to work for life of wealth and luxury. However, it is not a blame game coming out here. Rather, it is the explanation of the course complexity of the route the Tibetans are along across the word today. Today, the sojourn sought by the first Tibetans with the Dalai Lama in the exile world has shifted to strongly set chain of communities that are worth economically and socially. This Tibetan world has grown to have more rationalistic approach, believing in a fight to go on for generations to come. This is what has caused the dream of a Free Tibet to live up in parallel with the livelihood that is not just towards sustenance but excellence. May be the very prospect of His Holiness's vision of Tibetan movement was in such a direction as he gave strongest emphasis since the day one in exile on imparting education to the Tibetan people.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Jigme Gyatso released after 17 years in Chinese jail

The Tibetan political prisoner Jigme Gyatso has been released after 17 years in a Chinese prison and is reported to be in poor health as a result of his treatment, an overseas Tibetan spokesman and US-backed broadcaster have said.
The 52-year-old former monk has returned to his home town in an ethnic Tibetan area in the north-west province of Gansu, according to Tashi Phuntsok, spokesman for the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile in India. He said Jigme Gyatso had been released about one year early, probably because of poor health due to harsh treatment in prison.
Radio Free Asia also reported the release, saying he appeared "very weak" upon returning home on Monday after being released two days earlier from Chusul prison near Tibet's regional capital, Lhasa, where many political prisoners are held. It said friends reported him as walking with a limp and complaining of problems with his heart and vision and other physical complaints related to poor nutrition or lack of medical treatment.
It was not immediately possible to confirm Jigme Gyatso's release. Chusul prison has no listed phone number and government and police officials in Lhasa said they had no information on the case. Tibet remains off-limits to foreign reporters without special permission.
Jigme Gyatso was among Tibet's better known political prisoners, with numerous organisations including Amnesty International calling for his release. In 2005 he met the thenUN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, who called the following year for him to be set free.
He was arrested during a crackdown on dissent in 1996, and was sentenced to 15 years on charges of "inciting splittism" and the now-abolished crime of "counter-revolution". He was initially held at Lhasa's notorious Drapchi prison and was among a group of prisoners who were reportedly beaten and tortured following a pro-independence protest in 1998 coinciding with a visit by EU delegates.
His sentence was then extended by three years in 2004 after he shouted slogans in prison in support of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. China says Tibet has been its territory for centuries, while many Tibetans say it was an independent state.
China has used overwhelming force to crush successive waves of anti-government activism among Tibetans, the latest in 2008 when bloody rioting in Lhasa sparked a wave of protests across Tibet. The fate of many of those detained remains unknown, while numerous Tibetans arrested earlier on state security charges continue to serve long sentences.