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Saturday, 27 December 2014

China police fire on Tibetans after self-immolations

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have fired on Tibetan protesters demonstrating after a series of deadly self-immolations by people from Tibet campaigning against Chinese rule of their Himalayan region, a rights group said on Friday.

A monk was shot in the arm after police used teargas and opened fire during a clash with Tibetans outside a police station in the western province of Sichuan, which borders Tibet, British-based Free Tibet said in a statement.

The group did not say when the violence happened and police in the area could not be reached for comment.

Human rights activists say China tramples on religious freedom and culture in Tibet, which it has ruled strictly since People's Liberation Army troops "peacefully liberated" the region in 1950.

China rejects such criticism, saying its rule ended serfdom in Tibet and brought development to a backward, poverty-stricken region.

Tibetans in Tibet and in other parts of China have in recent years been protesting against Chinese rule by setting themselves on fire after pouring petrol over themselves.

In 2012, more than 80 Tibetans staged such fiery protests, according to rights groups. Most of them are believed to have died.

The number of self-immolations has fallen in the past couple of years but a 37-year-old Tibetan monk set himself on fire outside a police station in Sichuan's Dawu county on Tuesday, the third fatal self-immolation in eight days, Free Tibet said.

A 20-year-old woman set herself on fire on Monday in Ngaba County in Sichuan, and last week, a 34-year-old men set himself alight in front of a police station in the western province of Gansu, which is also adjacent to Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, fled to India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

He has called the self-immolations "sad" but "understandable". He says he does not encourage them and has questioned their effectiveness.

China denounces the Dalai Lama as a separatist but he says he is seeking autonomy for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama told a French broadcaster last week that hardliners in the Chinese government were holding back President Xi Jinping from granting Tibet genuine autonomy.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Tibetan nomad woman dies of self-immolation

BEIJING: A protesting Tibetan woman, Tsepe Kyi, died after immolating herself in Sichuan province on Monday, according to reports reaching here today. This is the third case of self-immolation among Tibetans protesting against Chinese rule to take place in this week. 

Human rights groups like the International Campaign for Tibet said the woman's parents and two brothers were taken away by the police. She was 19 or 20 years old, and came from a Tibetan nomad community. This is possibly the first case of a Tibetan nomad to die of self-immolation since the trend of suicides as protest began in 2009. 

Photographs and videos posted on Internet sites show Tsepe's charred remains on a sidewalk in Meruma town in China's Sichuan province, and two police vans removing them from the sidewalk. Cell phone and Internet access was blocked in the town, soon after the incident, reports said. 

She committed self-immolation at 2pm on Monday. Her parents and brothers may have been taken away for questioning by police because Chinese law makes it punishable not to report any knowledge about self-immolation. It is not clear if they were released after detention. 

The follows another incident of self-immolation by a 33-year-old man, Sangye Khar, who set himself ablaze outside a police station in Gansu, a province in north-central China, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet and US-funded Radio Free Asia, reported. 

The incident took place last week during the anniversary of the death of Tsongkhapa, who founded the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat school of Tibetan Buddhism in the 15th century, at a popular tourist destination, Xiahe. 

Another man set himself on fire in Amuqu township on Tuesday morning, and died "in protest against Chinese policies in Tibetan areas", RFA said, citing anonymous local sources. 

Tibetan protestors have been regularly using self-immolation to draw attention to their complaints about religious repression by the government since 2009. RFA estimates that at least 130 acts of self-immomolation.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

H. H. the 14th Dalai Lama expresses concern over violence around the world

TUMAKURU: Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on Sunday expressed concern over violence witnessed in parts of the world and said the best thing to stop it is to give value based education to the next generation. 

Inaugurating the International conference on 'Ethics in the New Millennium: Buddhist Perspectives' organized by Tumkur University and the Sera Jey Monastry of Bylakuppe, a Tibetan refugee camp in Karnataka, the Buddhist spiritual guru said that he was preparing a curriculum in close association US on cultural and educational system. 

"The curriculum would be ready in two years which focuses on improving students-relationship. Moral values and ethics on religion and spirituality will also be incorporated in the proposed curriculum," the Noble Peace prize winner said addressing the well attended delegation in the Tumkur University campus. 

Calling upon Indian varsities to give suggestions on the proposed curriculum, the Dalai Lama said the value based education can stop youth from going against the law of the land. It is important that ethics is included in university education so that the youth are driven in the right path. Parents will have to do more to inculcate good habits among the teenagers,"' he said. 

Citing India as best example, the spiritual guru said that in this country people of different communities and sects live together and the World should learn from it. "India is a small world in itself. Other countries can learn how people live peacefully in this country. Practicing peace will be all important," he said. 

Expressing concern over global warming, the Dalai Lama people need to be informed at the grassroot level and the governments should form better guidelines to safeguard environment. 

Law minister TB Jayachnadra and social welfare minister H Anjaneya attended the conference. Dalai Lama's last visit to Tumkur University was in 2012 where he was invited to inaugurate the International Conference on Yoga in Education. Tumkur University also conferred the Dalai Lama an 'Honorary Distinguished Professorship' in recognition of his service to humanity.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Why China doesn't trust Modi

Prime Minister Modi is embarking on an extended visit through Myanmar, Australia and Fiji over the next week and this 10-day trip will be his longest foreign tour to date.

Two major summit level meetings – the 9th East Asia Summit in Naypidaw, Myanmar (Nov 11-12 ) and the G–20 summit in Brisbane, Australia (Nov 15-16) will accord Modi an opportunity to meet his peers at a time when the global mood is bleak and anxiety-ridden over a range of political, security-strategic and economic issues. The more extreme view is that the global system of governance led by the US has broken down and that any form of alternate formulation is elusive.

Many challenges confront the political leaders who will be attending these two summits and the sub-text will be the rise of China and the arrival of India – and how this is perceived by the other major powers, namely the US, Russia, Japan and the ASEAN collective. The first East Asia Summit (EAS) was held in December 2005 in Kuala Lumpur and was seen as a Malaysian initiative, tacitly supported by China to forge a distinctive East Asian identity and agenda.

Assertiveness

At the time Malaysia and China were not enthused about including Delhi in the EAS but Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore supported India’s admittance. Thus the first EAS meeting had 16 nations that included the core ASEAN 10 plus 3 (China, Japan & South Korea) plus 3. Subsequently, both the US and Russia were admitted at the 6th summit in 2011 and currently the EAS has 18 members. In terms of global groupings with an east Asian footprint, the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation - of which India is not a member) is the other major forum and a complex lattice of trade arrangements have come into existence over the last decade.

The economic and trade profile associated with China is the reality that the EAS has to contend with and the stark indicator is that by 2025 — a decade from now, if not sooner — China is poised to become the world’s number one economy when its GDP is expected to overtake that of the USA. Yet the rise of China accompanied by its assertiveness – as evidenced in its maritime/island disputes with Japan, Philippines and Vietnam have caused anxiety in the region and beyond.

One of the reasons why India was admitted into the EAS grouping in 2005 was to counter the influence of China – which can be very demanding, as ASEAN learnt at the summit held in Cambodia in 2012. China’s inflexible position over the maritime disputes and its ability to drive a wedge between the South-East Asian members led to an unprecedented situation for ASEAN, in 2012, where for the first time the collective was unable to arrive at a consensus and issue a joint summit communiqué.

The economic and military muscle that China brings to the table is contrasted by the more acceptable traits that India now brings to the EAS. The assumption of office by PM Modi and his foreign policy orientation — especially in relation to China will be the focus of the Naypidaw deliberations. It may be recalled in his first visit to Japan, PM Modi was able to strike anrelationship with his counterpart Shinzo Abe and the reference to "vistarvaad" – expansionist policies left little doubt about the identity of the nation being referred to. Along with Japan, in ASEAN the country that has the most strained relationship with China is Vietnam and here again the PM has embarked upon a robust engagement agenda with Hanoi.

From September to now — India has held three major bilateral political meetings; the visit of President Mukherjee and later Foreign Minister Swaraj to Vietnam; and the more recent visit of Vietnam PM Nguyen Tan Dung to Delhi.

Ambivalence

India was admitted into the EAS during the early phase of the UPA tenure, but over the last few years, many ASEAN leaders conveyed their disappointment at Delhi’s ambivalence and hesitation to take any kind of assertive position in relation to China. This prudence was not misplaced given India’s unresolved issues with China.

However PM Modi has now signalled India’s resolve to engage with nations like Vietnam and to go beyond hydrocarbon exploration and the joint statement is instructive. It expressed "satisfaction at the progress made in defence cooperation" and expressed hope that this will continue to be strengthened.

Meddling

Apart from military training and supplying naval vessels, the scope of the cooperation acquired a strategic sheen with specific reference to cooperation in space applications such as the launch of Vietnam's satellites and in the peaceful use of civil nuclear energy. Beijing’s response has been caustic and has cautioned India against "meddling" in its dispute with Vietnam and has opposed Hanoi’s decision to invite India to conduct oil exploration in the South China Sea.

In the event that India decides to supply the Brahmos cruise missile to Vietnam – then a line would be crossed in the India-China relationship. The presence of Chinese naval platforms in Sri Lanka and India’s discomfiture at this development is part of the complex signalling that is under way and the EAS deliberations in Myanmar may test PM Modi’s summit-level politico-diplomatic acumen in an unexpected manner.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Now, Tibetans-in-exile can start enterprises in India

Dharamsala: After getting the right to exercise their franchise in the Indian political system, Tibetans in exile can now start their own enterprises. A decision to this effect was finalised following the approval of the "Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy 2014" by the government of India this week, an official said here Wednesday. 

According to the policy dated Oct 20, any Tibetan can undertake any economic activity, the official from the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) told IANS. For this, they are entitled to get a trade licence and permit. Matter concerning land lease and extending central and states benefits are also specified in the policy. Besides, it has clear-cut guidelines about the welfare of Tibetans in India. It also says Tibetan refugees may also be permitted to pursue and take jobs in any field for which they are professionally qualified. These fields could be nursing, teaching, chartered accountancy, medicine and engineering. 

The guideline is significant since the Indian government has tried to set a uniform policy in all states in dealing with the rehabilitation and welfare of Tibetan refugees, the official said. The CTA's home minister Dolma Gyari thanked the Indian government for the "clear and positive" policy guidelines. 

For the first time in Indian history, the Election Commission allowed India-born Tibetans to register as voters and participate in the general elections this year. Dharamsala and its nearby areas support 16,000-18,000 exiled Tibetans. 

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. The Tibetan administration-in-exile, which is not recognised by any country, is based in this town in Himachal Pradesh. India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.

Imtiaz Ali’s next film will be on the Tibetan cause

Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali's next is likely to take off from where "Sada Haq" leaves in his forthcoming film, " Rockstar". Though this song in the film only has a hint of the Tibetan cause, Imitiaz's next will depict a rich Indian overcoming societal strictures to fight for Tibetans in exile.

And if the filmmaker's enthusiasm about this plot is anything to go by, the film should soon hit the production floors.

Having prepared a rough draft, Imtiaz will start to conceptualize the project in a few days. It is likely that the director will scout for a fresh face as the female lead in the film who could even be Tibetan, and the male lead is also yet to be finalized. Reliable sources say that the movie will have political turmoil as one of the aspects along with love brewing between a Tibetan and a multi-millionaire Indian boy.

"Yes, I'm working on the project. And once I am free from "Rockstar" I will go to McLeodganj to complete the groundwork," says Imtiaz who felt the need to espouse the Tibetan cause when he was in Dharamshala to shoot for the "Rockstar" song "Sada Haq". "I talked to a lot of Tibetans then. They are peace-loving people and are just fighting for their haq," says Ali. The story of the film would also revolve around love, and will depict how a rich Indian associates himself with a struggle movement and abandons everything else in the process. "That's the magic of love," says Imtiaz.
Initially, "Rockstar" was being viewed as a vehicle to endorse the Free Tibet movement owing to the display of several Tibetan flags fluttering in the backdrop of this song. However, that's not the case. "When I was shooting at Norbulingka Tibetan Cultural Institute, I became aware of the real Tibetan issue through the locals present there. For a moment, I shuddered to think about how these people have been living in exile since so many decades. And the mere idea of being 'stateless' sent shivers down my spine," says Imtiaz, who's charmed by Buddhism.

Sources say, "Tibetans had presented Imtiaz and Ranbir their national flag. They had hope in their eyes as they sang "Sada Haq" while handing over the Tibetan banner and literature. Thereafter, Imtiaz decided to showcase their issue, promising the displaced community to come up with something big."

Even in "Jab We Met" Imtiaz had roped in folk dancers from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA). "I will soon be off to Dharamshala and will stay there for some days," says Imtiaz.

However, amidst all this endorsing of the Tibetan cause, Imtiaz is mum about how he would be portraying China. "It would be premature to talk much as I am in the middle of deciding things still," he says.

Monday, 20 October 2014

China’s crackdown slows Tibetan refugee crossings to freedom in India

DHARMSALA, India — Kunga Dolma waited years to escape the repressive life of her remote Tibetan village, and one day in July it was time.

The soft-spoken 24-year-old paid a smuggler about $800 to guide her over the Himalayas to what she hoped would be freedom and a better life. Her lace-up shoes were torn to shreds in the snowy passage. But if she was cold, she doesn’t remember. She was too terrified of being caught and beaten by Chinese security forces on the border.

Once, more than 2,000 Tibetans a year made the dangerous crossing from China through Nepal to Dharmsala, the small town in India that is headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile and its spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

But that number has fallen dramatically in the past six years, with only about 100 arriving so far this year. Refugees have fled the high Himalayan plateau since the Chinese took control more than a half-century ago, and the 3 million or so who remained have endured forcible relocations, restrictions on Buddhist worship and, in some cases, torture and arrest. Those who have escaped China describe increased restrictions on movement, more surveillance and a rising climate of fear.

Declining numbers of refugees are likely to have a profound effect on the Tibetan diaspora — with an estimated 120,000 living in India alone — who have relied on survivors and their first-hand accounts to help raise support for their cause in the West, experts say. International attention to the issue from the Obama administration and other institutions has diminished, according to Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R.-Va.), who has advocated for Tibetans for years on Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, he said, China’s alleged abuses of ethnic and religious minorities have continued.

“There is a greater crackdown by China in many areas of human rights,” Wolf said. “There is nobody speaking out for any of them. There’s silence here in Washington. That’s your biggest problem.”

Now the Chinese have tightened the border further as part of acounterterrorism campaign launched this year in the wake of two violent terrorist attacks by extremist Uighurs, a Muslim minority, advocates say.

The International Campaign for Tibet, a Washington advocacy group, says the Chinese have conducted two large-scale military drills in Tibet since May to prepare for “combat,” as well as training sessions for police stationed inside Buddhist monasteries.

“China is attempting to project its unjustified crackdown in Tibet as ‘counterterrorism,’ ” said Matteo Mecacci, the group’s president. “It’s a dangerous path.”
‘They could shoot us’

The Tibetan Reception Center, a $1.4 million campus of dorm rooms, a medical clinic and landscaped gardens, sits on a rutted road in Dharmsala, a backpackers’ haven in the Himalayan foothills in northern India. The town has attracted thousands of Tibetans since the Dalai Lama arrived in 1959 after fleeing Tibet during an anti-communist uprising.

The center was built to house 500 refugees when it was opened in 2011, its cheerful green and yellow buildings largely paid for by American taxpayers. These days, it is mostly empty.

“It’s more or less like a ghost town,” said Tenzin Jigdal, an activist with the International Tibet Network.

The number of refugees crossing the border first began declining in 2008, when Tibet was engulfed in protests in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. Movement later grew more difficult after Nepal’s government began turning some back from the border to appease the Chinese, according to allegations in a report released this year by Human Rights Watch, which the Nepalese have denied. Typically, refugees from China end up at a transit center run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kathmandu before making their way to India.

Jigme Gyatso, a Tibetan monk who arrived in Dharmsala in May, was first arrested by Chinese authorities in 2008 for his role in making a documentary about Tibet. He was beaten and tortured, then in and out of custody for years, escaping after his last arrest in 2012. He spent the next 18 months living in the hills on the run from police, begging for food from nomads, before making his way across the mountains on foot and motorcycle this spring.

“The repression is so overwhelming that people are burning themselves,” Gyatso said. “There isn’t a single day the Chinese are without guns. They could shoot us at any time.”

More than 130 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet in recent years to protest Beijing’s rule and to demand the Dalai Lama’s return. The Chinese have continued to increase their control over the Tibetan region, opening a new railway line last month that will give them greater access to Tibet’s rich mineral reserves. Foreign visitors and travel by Tibetans are still restricted.

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama recently said he was in informal talks with the Chinese to return home on a pilgrimage. The Chinese quickly debunked those comments, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman saying the Dalai Lama should give up “splitting China” before his future can be resolved, according to Agence France-Presse, the French news agency. The Dalai Lama has long advocated greater autonomy for the Tibetan region. Hard-liners continue to push for complete independence, which is anathema to Beijing.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said that the United States remains “deeply concerned about continuing tensions and the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China” and that it will continue to urge the Chinese to “address the policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and that threaten the distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people.”

Undersecretary of State Sarah Sewall, who also serves as special coordinator for Tibetan issues, plans to travel to India and Nepal next month and plans to meet with Tibetans in exile.
A new life

On that day in July, Dolma prayed at the temple, ate dinner with her extended family and said goodbye to her parents on the doorstep. She knew she would never see them again.

Though she was sad, she was ready to go. When she was growing up, the local school taught classes in Mandarin, not Tibetan, so she received only rudimentary schooling at home. Her family, nomadic herders, could not travel from village to village without permission. They dared not speak the Dalai Lama’s name — even when they were alone in their tent of yak hide. They assumed their cellphone calls were monitored.

She carried no identifying papers in case she was caught. The only thing she took was a rosary, with four carved beads made from rubies, that had belonged to her mother.

“I miss her sometimes,” she said on a recent day, playing with the rosary at a table in a nearly empty hall at the reception center, after a simple lunch of Indian dal and tingmo, steamed Tibetan bread.

A new life awaits, including classes at a small school nearby. She met the Dalai Lama, she said, and she’s still wondering if it was a dream.

Why India is planning a new road near the China(Tibet) border ?

India has unveiled plans to build a mountain road along the disputed border with China in the country's remote north-east. The $6.5bn (£4.06bn), 1,800km (1,118 miles) all-weather road will stretch from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh state to where the borders of India and China meet with Myanmar.

The road will connect sparsely populated and poorly-connected hill communities living in four large frontier districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

It will also help farmers in the mountainous region to transport their organic crops and medicinal herbs to low-lying and busy markets in neighbouring Assam state.

"This road will not boost our defences but help connect far flung communities for economic development denied to them for so long," says India's junior home minister Khiren Rijiju, himself a resident of Arunachal Pradesh.

But Indian military officials say the road will help consolidate Indian defences.

This represents a change in Indian military thinking that has so far opposed developing roads near the border, in case it is used by the Chinese during a conflict for speedy movement inside Indian territory.

The road, however, could could ignite fresh tensions between India and China.

The world's two most populous countries disagree over the demarcation of several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962.


'Colonial legacy'
Chinese foreign office spokesperson Hong Lei has said India's plan may "complicate" the boundary dispute which he described as a "colonial legacy".

"Before a final settlement is reached, we hope that India will not take any actions that may further complicate the situation. We should jointly safeguard the peace and tranquillity of the border area and create favourable conditions for the final settlement of the border issue," he told reporters in Beijing.

Chinese officials say it is not fair of India to undertake such a huge road building project in an area which is still in dispute.

"Once the dispute is resolved and the boundary is clearly demarcated, India can build such roads in its territory, but it would be unfair to build a road in a disputed territory," says Kong Can of the Yunnan Development Research Institute.

He says India should agree to develop the BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) highway and economic corridor from Calcutta in India's West Bengal state to Kunming in China's Yunnan province cutting through Bangladesh, India's north-eastern states of Assam and Manipur and Myanmar's northern provinces.

"This highway and economic corridor will help integrate our economies and open huge opportunities for developing our under-developed frontier provinces and create a climate of trust that will help resolve the border dispute," Kong Can said.

India is going slow on the project, so far just agreeing to "explore" its possibilities.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has responded to demands from his security establishment to develop its defences against China, which has reportedly beefed up its military infrastructure in Tibet with a string of new railway lines, roads and at least five new airports.

Also, the rail route to Lhasa is likely to be extended to Nyingchu, close to the Arunachal Pradesh border, Indian military officials say.

"China has vastly beefed up its military infrastructure in Tibet and we are only catching up. Unless we do that, China will always arm-twist us on the border and try to impose a solution on its terms," says Lt Gen JR Mukherjee, former chief of staff in India's eastern army.

Last month India and China pulled back troops after a two-week stand-off near their de facto border in Ladakh. Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting India when India accused his country of the fresh territorial incursion.

Many believe that has added to Indian apprehensions and could have influenced the decision to build the long border road that now upsets China.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

China detains supporters of Hong Kong protest

Chinese police have detained a well-known poet and seven other people ahead of a poetry reading planned in Beijing to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, relatives of the detained said.

Police apprehended poet Wang Zang in front of his Beijing home on the night of October 1 and then searched his apartment and confiscated a computer, a router and other materials, his wife Wang Li told the AP news agency on Wednesday.

On September 30, Wang had posted on Twitter a picture of himself raising his middle finger and holding an umbrella, a symbol of solidarity adopted by the protesters demanding open nominations for Hong Kong's chief executive elections.

A message over the picture read: "Wearing black clothes, bald and holding an umbrella, I support Hong Kong."

Lawyer Sui Muqing said his client was detained for "provoking trouble," which he said carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.

"It's likely related to the picture," Sui said. "It has to do with the Hong Kong protests."

Wang had been scheduled to speak at an October 2 poetry reading in Beijing's Songzhuang art district billed to support Hong Kong protesters.

According to relatives, police apprehended seven others on their way to the event, including Chinese journalist Miao Zhang and artists Zhu Yanguang and Fei Xiaosheng.

Yang Wong, the brother of publicist Melanie Wang, said his sister was detained while heading to the event, which never started, and was being held at the Beijing No. 1 Detention Center for seeking to disturb public order.

Wang Li said she had not heard from her husband since his detention, and Sui said he was not sure when he would be available to meet with his client.

'Always watched'

At least 37 people in mainland China have been detained for supporting the protesters, including posting pictures and messages online showing solidarity and planning to travel to Hong Kong to join protesters, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

Another 60 have been called in by police for questioning.

Wang Li said she and her husband had been repeatedly harassed for criticising Chinese officials and supporting workers' rights.

"In Beijing, we're always watched,'' Wang Li said. "We've moved eight times. Police have knocked on our doors. They've left us with no way to live."

Police officials said Wednesday they could not comment on the reported detentions.

Mainland Chinese media have tightly controlled information about the protests in Hong Kong, which peaked with tens of thousands of demonstrators, but have subsided after presenting Chinese leaders with their biggest political challenge in decades.

Only after several days of unrest did Chinese television and newspapers started to show pictures and video from Hong Kong's streets, but with protesters already dispersed, while only quoting critics of the demonstrators.

China upgrades status of Tibet's police force to military body

The Dalai Lama, 79, has been exiled from Tibet since he fled from the remote Himalayan region after a failed uprising against China in 1959.
BEIJING: China has upgraded the status of Tibet's top police force to that of a military body, recognising its key role in maintaining peace in the troubled Himalayan region which has witnessed anti-Beijing protests by Dalai Lama's supporters. 

In an apparent move to beef up security in Tibet, China's high level Military Commission headed by President Xi Jinping has the upgraded the status of political commissar of the Tibet Armed Police Corps of the Tibet Autonomous Region to that of a military body. 
Major General Tang Xiao, the political commissar of the Tibet Armed Police Corps, part of the Chinese People's Armed Police, now enjoys the "treatment" of a head of a corps-sized military body, which is equal to that of officials at a provincial or ministerial level, state-run Global Times reported. 

Chinese People's Armed Police is composed of internal security forces and various police forces, including border security, fire fighting and security guard units.

It reportedly played major role in controlling a spate of immolations in Tibet in recent years which crossed over 100 demanding the return of the Dalai Lama. 

The Dalai Lama, 79, has been exiled from Tibet since he fled from the remote Himalayan region after a failed uprising against China in 1959. 

China has since called him a "dangerous separatist". However, the Nobel laureate spiritual leader maintains that he wants only greater autonomy for Tibetan areas in China. 

The recognition is aimed at better safeguarding regional stability, also showing their encouragement to the soldiers of the Armed Police in Tibet, said Niu Zhizhong, Chief of staff of the Armed Police of Tibet. 

"Better 'treatment' for the head of Armed Police in Tibet is a major decision made by Central Military Commission based on the special environment and strategic position of the Tibet Armed Police," he said. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Here is the full text of the Chinese Communist Party’s message to Hong Kong

Here is the full text of the Chinese Communist Party’s message to Hong Kong shared from Quartz website:

Quartz has examined the harsh message that the Chinese government sent to protesters in Hong Kong in an editorial warning them of “unimaginable consequences.” Now we have translated the full text of that editorial.

It’s a classic Communist Party political screed, full of vague terms, veiled threats, and arguments that are logically sound but rest on untenable assumptions. The piece was published on Oct. 1 in the People’s Daily, an official state newspaper and the same publication responsible for the government’s notorious April 26, 1989 message to Tiananmen Square protesters in Beijing. That message preceded the brutal crackdown on demonstrations on June 4, which killed hundreds or thousands, depending on estimates. As we note in our analysis, there are some striking similarities between these two documents.

We have also included a translation of the 1989 piece (by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, a now-defunct part of the US Central Intelligence Agency) for comparison, below.

* * *

Cherish positive growth: Defend Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability
People’s Daily editorial, October 1, 2014

In the early hours of September 28, residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region came together as part of an illegal gathering—so-called “Occupy Central”—disrupting social order and harming Hong Kong’s economic livelihood. “Occupy Central” will have negative consequences for Hong Kong and all its people. If it continues, these consequences will be unimaginable.

During this extraordinary moment, the people of Hong Kong should unite in supporting the law of the Special Administrative Region’s government and the firm decisions of its police force, and quickly restore public order. They should act in accordance with Hong Kong Basic Law and the provisions set out in the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, in order to push for the development of a democratic system that suits the realities on the ground in Hong Kong.

“Occupy Central” has destroyed the foundations of society in Hong Kong. One of these foundations, the rule of law, is also one of Hong Kong’s core values. An extremely small number of “Occupy Central” people have, for their own self interest, ignored the law. They have incited the masses, paralyzed transportation, disrupted businesses, stirred up conflict, and interfered with the daily lives of Hong Kong people. This has gone so far as to threaten people’s safety, as well as their property. These activists ought to be held legally responsible for this unlawful behavior. Therefore, we first insist that we will resolutely support legal action taken by the government of Hong Kong to defend the Special Administrative Region’s core values and its people. We also advise that those responsible for “Occupy Central” and any other participants stop their illegal activities at once, and restore calm and order.

In Hong Kong, the channels of communication are wide open. Anyone who disagrees with the stance taken by the Standing Committee is more than welcome to use normal, sensible channels of appeal. To communicate, one ought not resort to extremes like “Occupy Central.” This is not communication, it is confrontation. By now, a small number of people in Hong Kong are insistent on resistance and provocation, and in the end they will suffer because of it.

“Occupy Central” has undermined Hong Kong’s unwavering prosperity. The vast majority of people in Hong Kong agree that economic growth and the improvement of people’s livelihoods are the most important challenges facing them today. But “Occupy Central” tosses aside economic growth and people’s wellbeing, and does immediate damage. It’s not fair that Hong Kong’s stock market tumbles day after day, with financial institutions being forced to temporarily shut down some operations. Many organizations have also cancelled trade and social events. The traffic and safety situation now in Hong Kong has led schools to close, even leading to the cancellation of the much-anticipated National Day fireworks. “Occupy Central” has shamed Hong Kong. If it continues, it will undoubtedly damage Hong Kong’s reputation as a hub of international business, directly harming the lives of everyday people.

“Occupy Central” will obstruct Hong Kong’s smooth transition to democracy. The Standing Committee’s August 31 decision on the general election of the Special Administrative Region’s chief executive is based on the provisions of the basic law, and was made with full awareness of the views of all the people of Hong Kong. It was made in accordance with the realities on the ground in Hong Kong, and is favorable to upholding its sovereignty, safety, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. It has unshakable legal status and validity. What the “Occupy Central” activists have done is to harm such legal foundations, impeding the way to the original goal of universal suffrage by 2017.

We hope all people in Hong Kong treasure and defend this favorable phase of stability and growth, act in accordance with basic law and the Standing Committee’s decision, behave reasonably and pragmatically, come to a common understanding, and join together in promoting a transition to democracy that suits the realities on the ground in Hong Kong.

* * *

It is necessary to take a clear-cut stand against disturbances
People’s Daily editorial, April 26, 1989

In their activities to mourn the death of Comrade Hu Yaobang, communists, workers, peasants, intellectuals, cadres, members of the People’s Liberation Army and young students have expressed their grief in various ways. They have also expressed their determination to turn grief into strength to make contributions in realizing the four modernizations and invigorating the Chinese nation.

Some abnormal phenomena have also occurred during the mourning activities. Taking advantage of the situation, an extremely small number of people spread rumors, attacked party and state leaders by name, and instigated the masses to break into the Xinhua Gate at Zhongnanhai, where the party Central Committee and the State Council are located. Some people even shouted such reactionary slogans as, “Down with the Communist Party.” In Xi’an and Changsha, there have been serious incidents in which some lawbreakers carried out beating, smashing, looting, and burning.

Taking into consideration the feelings of grief suffered by the masses, the party and government have adopted an attitude of tolerance and restraint toward some improper words uttered and actions carried out by the young students when they were emotionally agitated. On April 22, before the memorial meeting was held, some students had already showed up at Tiananmen Square, but they were not asked to leave, as they normally would have been. Instead, they were asked to observe discipline and join in the mourning for Comrade Hu Yaobang. The students on the square were themselves able to consciously maintain order. Owing to the joint efforts by all concerned, it was possible for the memorial meeting to proceed in a solemn and respectful manner.

However, after the memorial meeting, an extremely small number of people with ulterior purposes continued to take advantage of the young students’ feelings of grief for Comrade Hu Yaobang to spread all kinds of rumors to poison and confuse people’s minds. Using both big- and small-character posters, they vilified, hurled invectives at, and attacked party and state leaders. Blatantly violating the Constitution, they called for opposition to the leadership by the Communist Party and the socialist system. In some of the institutions of higher learning, illegal organizations were formed to seize power from the student unions. In some cases, they even forcibly took over the broadcasting systems on the campuses. In some institutions of higher learning, they instigated the students and teachers to go on strike and even went to the extent of forcibly preventing students from going to classes, usurped the name of the workers’ organizations to distribute reactionary handbills, and established ties everywhere in an attempt to create even more serious incidents.

These facts prove that what this extremely small number of people did was not to join in the activities to mourn Comrade Hu Yaobang or to advance the course of socialist democracy in China. Neither were they out to give vent to their grievances. Flaunting the banner of democracy, they undermined democracy and the legal system. Their purpose was to sow dissension among the people, plunge the whole country into chaos and sabotage the political situation of stability and unity. This is a planned conspiracy and a disturbance. Its essence is to, once and for all, negate the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system. This is a serious political struggle confronting the whole party and the people of all nationalities throughout the country.

If we are tolerant of or conniving with this disturbance and let it go unchecked, a seriously chaotic state will appear. Then, the reform and opening up; the improvement of the economic environment and the rectification of the economic order, construction, and development; the control over prices; the improvement of our living standards; the drive to oppose corruption; and the development of democracy and the legal system expected by the people throughout the country, including the young students, will all become empty hopes. Even the tremendous achievements scored in the reform during the past decade may be completely lost, and the great aspiration of the revitalization of China cherished by the whole nation will be hard to realize. A China with very good prospects and a very bright future will become a chaotic and unstable China without any future.

The whole party and the people nationwide should fully understand the seriousness of this struggle, unite to take a clear-cut stand to oppose the disturbance, and firmly preserve the hard-earned situation of political stability and unity, the Constitution, socialist democracy, and the legal system. Under no circumstances should the establishment of any illegal organizations be allowed. It is imperative to firmly stop any acts that use any excuse to infringe upon the rights and interests of legitimate organizations of students. Those who have deliberately fabricated rumors and framed others should be investigated to determine their criminal liabilities according to law. Bans should be placed on unlawful parades and demonstrations and on such acts as going to factories, rural areas, and schools to establish ties. Beating, smashing, looting, and burning should be punished according to law. It is necessary to protect the just rights of students to study in class. The broad masses of students sincerely hope that corruption will be eliminated and democracy will be promoted. These, too, are the demands of the party and the government. These demands can only be realized by strengthening the efforts for improvement and rectification, vigorously pushing forward the reform, and making perfect our socialist democracy and our legal system under the party leadership.

All comrades in the party and the people throughout the country must soberly recognize the fact that our country will have no peaceful days if this disturbance is not checked resolutely. This struggle concerns the success or failure of the reform and opening up, the program of the four modernizations, and the future of our state and nation. Party organizations of the CPC at all levels, the broad masses of members of the Communist Party and the Communist Youth League, all democratic parties and patriotic democratic personages, and the people around the country should make a clear distinction between right and wrong, take positive action, and struggle to firmly and quickly stop the disturbance.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A Return to Tibet for the Dalai Lama?

There has been quite a bit of movement between the Chinese government and the exiled Dalai Lama in the past two weeks. The maneuvering by both sides has not quite begun to add up to a logical conclusion, as they each seek to find a peaceful conclusion to the decades-old problem without losing ground. The Chinese leadership under President Xi Jinping not only has the upper hand, but through a mixture of massive infrastructure investment, immigration of ethnic Chinese, and a strong security apparatus may now feel secure enough to negotiate a possible return for the 14th Dalai Lama; one that might actually help diffuse Tibet’s heightened tensions since 2008 and make it a more peaceful, secure buffer zone for China.

The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet sent a shot across China’s bow earlier this month when he indicated that he might become the last of his line, telling the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that “Tibetan Buddhism is not dependent on one individual. We have a very good organisational structure with highly trained monks and scholars.” China then put itself in the awkward situation of having to defend Tibetan Buddhist spirituality,saying through its foreign ministry spokesman that “The title of Dalai Lama is conferred by the central government, which has hundreds of years of history. The 14th Dalai Lama has ulterior motives… which is damaging to the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism.” The ability to decide who will be the next Dalai Lama is incredibly important, as it could mean the continued existence of threat to China’s sovereignty beyond its borders, or possibly the end of the issue if China were able to influence the selection.

Beyond the issue of succession, however, it appears both sides are considering a potentially more stable solution. Shortly before Xi was set to visit India on September 18, the Dalai Lama offered faint praise for the president, saying he “is more open-minded. His thinking is more realistic,” and that “he can learn more from India.” The day before, a blog post on China’s Sina stated that, “according to informed sources familiar with the situation,” the Dalai Lama’s return was a “win-win.” The post outlined the structure of a deal in which the Dalai Lama would be able to come to China and visit Wutai Shan, a mountain he has often expressed interest in and that is sacred to both Chinese and Tibetan Buddhists, and visit with Chinese officials of at least Standing Committee stature. The Sina post also noted that deputy secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Wu Yingjie, earlier said that “Beijing has started negotiations with the Dalai Lama’s personal envoy for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet,” and “if the Dalai Lama and those close to him accept that Tibet is a part of China and abandon their separatist activities, all of the Tibetans will be able to return to Tibet.” He finished by saying that negotiations were “proceeding smoothly.”

These negotiations are still very much in an early phase, yet they suggest the Chinese government feels increasingly comfortable with its position and hold on power, particularly in Tibet. After Xi successfully brought down former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang this summer, he may feel he has the political bandwidth to negotiate with the Dalai Lama. As an aside, apparently Xi’s father thought well enough of the Dalai Lama, an opinion that was reciprocated. If his ultimate return, or even just a visit, doesn’t eventuate, the illusion of having considered such a thing will give the CPC a helpful public relations bump. Indeed, theSina post goes on to say that the deal would “instantly destroy” the Tibetan government in exile, take away “a pretext to attack China” by the West, while providing “a chance for Secretary Xi to rack up many victories with one move.” Leaking news of a potential visit before it appears likely shows that China is attempting to put itself in the driver’s seat before the Dalai Lama can frame the issue.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Arunachal still wary of China despite lull in border tensions

Arunachal Pradesh has gone into a readiness to check any incursion from across the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Recent intelligence reports indicate Chinese army build-up in Tibet. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, also a resident of the state, shares the concern.

He said: "Arunachal has been a great concern for all of us because of our security apparatus. In the past, we didn't have much security.

"We need to change that. We need to enhance our position and infrastructure. But we have a strong government. Our men are alert."

As the minister's convoy crosses the streets in Ziro, a small town, the streets are filled with children holding the tricolour. 

Citizens are aware of the persistent threat of China but have full faith in the Indian Army and the ITBP jawans guarding the border.

Taku Chakuing, a resident, says: "We are all Indians in Arunachal; there is call of jai hind all around. We are proud to be Indians but when transgression happens here, we feel scared and worried at times."

Another resident, Meena, says she feels safe.

"At least things are not as bad as that in Ladakh. Peace is fragile and history is bound to repeat."

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, in a reply to a parliamentary question in the recently-concluded session, China has indulged in 1,600 transgressions in the past five years.

The people of the state are hoping that 2013 scenario will not be repeated again.

China started trouble in Ladakh and then turned their attention to Chaglagam in Arunachal Pradesh and till now an uneasy calm prevails here.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Why the Scottish Referendum was great for Tibet

Many Tibetans eagerly followed the Scottish independence referendum. Now the results are in and 55% of voters chose to stay with the U.K. We believe that this entire referendum process is a positive development for Tibet.

The many parallels between Scotland and Tibet are striking. The Scots are a proud highland nation with a long history, like Tibetans. The Scots number 5.3 million, to 6 million Tibetans. The U.K. depends on Scotland for many of its natural resources like oil, while China exploits Tibet’s minerals and hydro resources. The British military stations all its nuclear weapons in Scotland, while the Chinese military considers Tibet an important strategic base. Many English have an emotional attachment to the idea of their country including Scotland, while many Han Chinese currently cannot conceive of their country without Tibet.

The differences between Scotland and Tibet do not need stating: the Scots live in a democracy that respects human rights, Scotland has its own parliament and some autonomous powers, and no Scot has been sent to prison or tortured for nonviolently advocating independence or autonomy this century.

There are several reasons why the outcome of the Scottish referendum has been good for Tibet.

The very fact that the British government ever agreed to respect the outcome of the Scottish referendum is a stunning example of the very best in democracy and self-determination. Simply put: the British government was prepared to let Scotland go, if the Scottish people wanted to. And the democratic decision-making process over this monumental question did not lead to instability; ultimately it may have even strengthened the British union.

This is a shining example of how a civilized country respects the right to self-determination. Ultimately, it didn’t matter if “losing” Scotland would be economically, militarily, or emotionally hard for the U.K. That is because Scotland was not Britain’s to “lose” – Scotland belongs to the Scots, and it is their right to decide whether to stay or go. The rest of the U.K. can only try to convince the Scots to stay.

A few Chinese are apparently noticing this example. According to Foreign Policy:

Seemingly addressing the referendum -- and perhaps Beijing's propensity to quiet alleged separatists in western regions Tibet and Xinjiang with force -- one wrote pointedly, "there's nothing wrong with undertaking a referendum, without outside interference, to determine the future of a people." He applauded U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron's reliance on "persuasion, not mobilizing troops" as the only "civilized and respectable way" to maintain unity. Another user wondered aloud "why every time I hear about dissolution, it's outrageous, heinous, the end of the world. What's so wrong with splitting up?" One was indifferent to the vote's outcome, writing, "The fact that a people comprising one-third of the land mass of the existing country can vote on their own independence is already amazing."
However, Chinese government’s outlook on issue is clear as Premier Li Keqiang told British Prime Minister David Cameron that China wanted to see a "strong, prosperous and united United Kingdom". Dali Yang, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, is quoted in South China Morning Post as saying: "From the Chinese official perspective, the People's Republic of China has never been kind to the idea of such referendums for Taiwan or anywhere else within what's considered Chinese territory."

The Scottish referendum embodies the principle that the political ties that bind one people to another must be made through consent.

The corollary to this is that a civilized country knows it is not the end of the world if a people under its rule wants to secede. Life goes on, and maybe even better in the long run. (Think: even from China’s perspective, it “gave up” Mongolia and China is fine. Chinese nationalists gripe about a few Pacific islands but not about Mongolia. China has moved on.)

Internally among the Scottish people, it was exciting to see the impassioned debate between those supporting independence and those who wanted to remain within the U.K. While some anti-independence politicians were accused of fear-mongering, on the whole the debate was carried out with democratic vigor. It was especially interesting to see the Scottish National Party’s detailed blueprints on its vision for what an independent Scotland would actually look like.

Interestingly, the referendum only had one question: “should Scotland be an independent country?” Prime Minister Cameron took a calculated risk in not allowing a choice for greater Scottish autonomy. At the last minute as it looked like “yes” might prevail, London promised Scotland greater autonomy if “no” won. This meant that a “no” vote could have either supported the status quo or greater autonomy. From a democratic perspective, this muddied the water a bit, and shows the importance of having any referendum’s questions be set out with integrity.

The Scottish referendum also proves that a civilized country uses persuasion and incentives to convince a people to stay, rather than threats or military force. The three major U.K. political parties’ last-minute pledge promising greater devolution of power to the Scottish parliament very well could have decisively swung the tide of the vote to “no”. But this would not have happened if it didn’t look like “yes” was about to win.

That is why Time Magazine declared that the Scottish “independence movement has lost the vote but won the argument.” Thanks to the independence movement, led by the Scottish National Party, the status quo will change. London will have to carry through on its desperate, last-minute promise to devolve greater powers to Scotland.

The real winner in the Scottish referendum has not been the “yes” or “no” campaigns. The real winner has been the Scottish people. In exercising their right to self-determination, they (and they alone) have made their choice based on their own wishes and interests. One day surely the Tibetan people will do the same.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Xi Jinping 'open-minded and realistic': Dalai Lama

MUMBAI: As he engaged in talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping came in for praise from an unlikely quarter, exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who described him as "open-minded" and "realistic". 

The Dalai Lama also said good India-China relations based on mutual trust will benefit not just Asia but the whole world. 

"Sino-Indian relations (build) on the basis of mutual trust are very important. Not only the whole of Asia, but the entire world can benefit from their (good) relations. Harmony can be brought by trust and not fear. 

"I have faith in the new leadership. He (Xi) is open-minded and his way of working is quite realistic," the 79-year-old Buddhist monk said while addressing a gathering here to mark the 108th Foundation Day of Indian Merchants' Chamber and its ladies' wing. 

He said Xi should take lessons from "strong" Indian democratic practices and the "oneness" in diversity. 

"India is a vast country with a huge population. Different parts of the country speak different languages, yet there is a sense of oneness among Indians. Democracy is practised strongly in the country and there is a free media. The Chinese president should learn these values from Indians," he said.
On the contentious border issue, he said it should be resolved through understanding and not by use of force. 

"Tibet's problem is also India's problem. Before 1950, there was not a single soldier on the northern border and it (the border) was peaceful. Sooner or later you have to solve the problem, not by force but by understanding. And understanding comes through talks," he said. 

Reacting to the detention of Tibetans by police following their protest against Xi's visit, the Dalai Lama said," Tibetans are law abiding citizens. But the rest is up to the Government of India."

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Majnu Ka Tila residents want PM, Xi to talk Tibet


NEW DELHI: New Aruna Nagar is dressed up in patriotic colours. A day before Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in the capital, Delhi's largest Tibetan resettlement colony at Majnu Ka Tila-with a population of about 5,000- is gearing up, with yellow-green flags (of Tibetan Youth Congress) being unfurled and posters with messages for Jinping dotting the colony walls and foot overbridges. 


It's an important day for the community as it desperately hopes that the new PM, Narendra Modi, will discuss the Tibet issue with Jinping. The youths here have been preparing for the meeting for a month now - they submitted a detailed memorandum articulating their concerns about human rights violations in Tibet to Modi last week. It pointed out that 130 Tibetans in the 17-35 age-group have self-immolated since February 2009. "We urge you, PM Modiji, to kindly speak up for Tibet," said the memorandum. 


The members of TYC have installed loudspeakers to reach out to the community about the big day and the protest rally they plan to hold from Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar at 11am on Wednesday. They have no permission from police yet but they are not worried about being detained. "It's important that they talk about Tibet. The violation of the fundamental rights of speech and movement in Tibet needs to be discussed. If there were no violations, then why doesn't China allow independent international media to visit Tibet? It is an important security issue for India too as it has an extensive Indo-Tibet border where Chinese incursions are happening," said Tenzing Jigme (35), president of TYC. 


They are hopeful that India will stand with Tibet. "India has another reason to support Tibet-the Indian rivers that originate in the Tibetan plateau like Sutlej, Indus and Brahmaputra. They will not want to lose access to precious water sources," added Jigme. 


But many are worried over the recent comments by a Chinese expert, Ma Jiali from the Communist Party School in Beijing that Xi may urge Modi to not let Tibetans conduct any political anti-China activities. "We discussed these issues at the 15th Tibetan Parliament in Dharamshala. Let's see how the meeting goes," said one of the members. 


Unlike previous years when there was a massive clampdown on Tibetan settlements when Chinese leaders visited Delhi, on Tuesday there was hardly any police cover in the area. Tibetan Youth Congress, which has about 35,000 members globally, said they will ensure that at least a thousand members participate in the protest rally. Jinping's visit to India is also being observed as an international "day of action" when Tibetans in exile across the world will protest. About a hundred Tibetans will also protest in Ahmedabad when Jinping arrives there on Wednesday. 


The elders are a little emotional about the meeting. Most elders in Aruna Nagar voted for the first time in this Lok Sabha election. "India is our second motherland. I moved here in the 50s, right after I was born and I can't thank India enough for giving us shelter, education and jobs. I believe India and Tibet share the tolerance and spiritual values that China doesn't. So, I have a lot of expectations from the Indian government. It will do the best for Tibetan people both in India and Tibet," said Dorjee Tsering, an Aruna Nagar RWA member. Community members say their expectations are realistic. "We know that we may not get independence easily. We are now fighting for an autonomous status in China or what Dalai Lama calls the middle way approach," he added. 


Tobdan Tsering, cashier of the RWA who too voted this time, said: "We will be thankful if Modi raises the Tibet problem. Chinese authorities are torturing even (monks) in our monasteries."

Monday, 15 September 2014

46 nations’ troops to come to Tibet: China

BEIJING: China's defence ministry will be taking 96 military officials from 46 countries to different places in Tibet. They will be shown military installations in the Chinese province bordering India from Friday onwards. 

The move, which is the first instance of military officials of a number of countries to restrictive areas of Tibet, is significant because it will happen during Chinese president Xi Jinping's visit to India and Sri Lanka. Xi is due to arrive in India for a 3-day visit on Wednesday. 

"The visit will enhance the officials' knowledge of the lives of the people of Tibet and promote cooperation between Chinese and foreign militaries," the official Xinhua said.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Tibet should be a core issue for India: Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay

Dharamshala: - Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's maiden visit to India next week, Tibetan political leader Dr. Lobsang Sangay has said Tibet should a core issue for India and China and the resolution of Tibet issue is 'win-win' solution for the world's two most populous nations.

Top Indian and Chinese officials finalised President Xi Jinping's visit, including the programme and key issues to be discussed, amid indications that he may begin his tour in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat on 16 September. The final touches to next week's visit, the schedule of which was kept under wraps, were given by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval who met Mr Xi and handed over a personal letter from Mr Modi, according to the Times of India.

On being asked what the Tibetan administration hopes from the new India government during a recent interview with a national Indian daily, The Hindu, Tibetan political leader Dr. Lobsang Sangay said: "China says Tibet is a core issue, and for India and South Asia as a whole, Tibet should be a core issue, and the recognition of that is important."

"Our hope has always been that any Indian government should press on the Chinese government to resolve the issue peacefully through dialogue. Our stand has been the Middle Away approach, to seek autonomy within the framework of the Chinese constitution and within China," he added.

Responding to a question on the possibility of the Tibet issue being shelved in view of the importance PM Modi attaches on China, Sikyong said: "As far as Tibetans are concerned, we welcome any positive contact between India and China, and for India to have good relations with all countries, so in that sense, we don't want to be an obstacle in those relations. What Tibetans propose is a 'win-win' solution for China and India.

"The Middle Way is that, and it should in no way offend the Chinese government. We are not challenging the sovereignty or integrity of China, which they say is of paramount importance. We have implemented their concerns, and all we ask is that they implement their own laws. This is as moderate as we can get. We want to end the repression of Tibetans and give them autonomy, and we will not seek separation from China," Sikyong said.

Sikyong said the Tibetan leadership is not asking the Chinese government for a re-drawing of borders, but an administrative mechanism to bring all the Tibetan-inhabited areas under one single administration. Bringing all the Tibetans currently living in designated Tibetan autonomous areas within a single autonomous administrative unit is entirely in accordance with the Article 4 of the Chinese constitution and the Law on Regional National Autonomy. (Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People)

"Also under Chinese law it says Tibetan language should be encouraged, both as an official language and as a medium of instruction. But even Tibet University, schools are all in Chinese," he said.

"If you look at the administration, of the 15 members of the party politburo, 9 are Chinese, 2 more are half-Chinese. Party secretary has never been a Tibetan. As per 2002 survey in China, in the communist party of the TAR, 49% were Chinese. Since then that number has increased. 70% of restaurants, shops, taxi licenses are given to Chinese in Lhasa, 50% of the party membership, 40% of high school graduates are unemployed. This isn't autonomy," Sikyong added.

On being asked about hopes for future dialogue with the Chinese government, Sikyong said: "One should always be hopeful. Hope based on our own commitment, and I am sure the younger generation of Tibetans... will carry that commitment."

"Also the new generation of Chinese leaders...President Xi Jinping especially may decide to take another look at Tibet, since their policies don't seem to have resolved the issue. President Xi's father Xi Zhongxun in particular had a relationship and understanding of the Tibet issue. He has met with the Dalai Lama, and was very close to the Panchen Lama, and he wrote his biography. Hope that had some influence on his son. Xi Zhongxun was one of the most liberal leaders, and we have hopes from the son, Xi Jinping. It is still to seen if the son will have learned from the father. Hopefully he will review. He has shown boldness on corruption, in politics, hope he shows boldness on Tibet too," the Tibetan political leader said.

Responding to a question on the future of the Tibetan movement in India, Sikyong said: "Non-violence is an uncompromising part of our way. This will always be our official policy."

"Tibetans in India have always been law-abiding and peaceful. Because India has done the most for Tibetans, so we are eternally grateful. We must remember we are guests, and behave as honourable guests. In China, Tibetans are less than half a percent of the Chinese population....so non-violence isn't just wise, it is the most logical policy to have. Even when you speak of the self-immolations, not a single Chinese person or property has been harmed. These Tibetans are dying violent deaths, but it is not a violent act, as no one else is hurt," he said.

Friday, 12 September 2014

OMG! China owns the power to appoint the next Dalai Lama???

BEIJING: Rejecting the Dalai Lama's views on ending the system of reincarnated Tibetan spiritual head, the Chinese government on Thursday said it will preserve the centuries old tradition among Tibetan Buddhists, saying it has the powers to appoint the next Dalai Lama. 

"The title of the Dalai Lama is conferred by the Chinese government," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying. China had a "set religious procedure and historic custom", she said. 

"The 14th Dalai Lama has ulterior motives and is seeking to distort and negate history, which is damaging the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism," Hua told reporters at a briefing. 

The Dalai Lama, 79, recently told German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag that the tradition of the spiritual and temporal head of the Tibetans could end with him. He said Tibetan Buddhism wasn't dependent on a single person. He had earlier said he won't be reborn in China if Tibet wasn't free and that no country, including China, had the right to choose his successor "for political ends". 

The Dalai Lama's latest statement about an end to the tradition appears to have hurt the officially atheist Communist Party's plans to maintain peace and order in Tibetan-speaking areas, which is spread across five Chinese provinces. 

"China follows a policy of freedom of religion and belief, and this includes respect to and protection of Tibetan Buddhism," Hua said. 

In Tibetan Buddhism, senior-most Lamas can take years to identify a child deemed a reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama. The search is usually limited to Tibet. But there is fear in China that the next Dalai Lama may be identified from some born in a country other than Tibet or China, and possibly the US, which might further complicate the situation. 

The reincarnation debate first surfaced in 1995 after the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama, the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, The boy has not been seen since although government officials say he is growing up like a normal Chinese kid. 

China chose another boy and appointed him the Panchen Lama. The Panchen Lama occasionally makes statements supportive of Beijing's policy on religious affairs.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Dalai Lama Hints He May Not Have a Successor-WSJ

NEW DELHI—The Dalai Lama has suggested he may not have a successor, casting uncertainty on the choice of the next Tibetan spiritual leader, a subject of dispute between the Tibetan exile community and the Chinese government.

In an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, the Dalai Lama said he didn't think Tibetans needed a Dalai Lama anymore. "If a weak Dalai Lama comes along, then it will just disgrace the Dalai Lama," he said.

The 79-year-old Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising against Chinese Communist rule in 1959, has indicated in the past that he could be the last in his line of highly revered spiritual leaders in the Tibetan community.

Tibetan exiles worry that Beijing, which has faced unrest from China's Tibetan minority, will push its own choice of successor after the Dalai Lama's death.

The Dalai Lama's remarks weren't categorical or conclusive and Robert Barnett, a Columbia University Tibet specialist, said the comments seemed more in line with a cultural tradition "whereby all lamas are expected to demonstrate diffidence about the question of their return as a kind of humility."

"The convention is that they are only able to return if their followers pray intently for them to do so," Mr. Barnett said.

Tenzin Taklha, a spokesman for the Dalai Lama, said the religious leader's latest comments represent his personal views on reincarnation and that a "final decision will be made by the Tibetan people."

The question of succession—which is traditionally decided through a centuries-old mystical process used to identify the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama—has become increasingly politicized.

China, which views the Dalai Lama as a separatist, has asserted its authority over the selection of reincarnated senior lamas, although the country's ruling Communist Party is officially atheist.

If the traditional selection process is followed in Tibetan parts of China, it would be controlled by the Chinese government.

The Dalai Lama has in the past spoken about breaking from the traditional process to find his successor outside Tibet and, perhaps, to nominate one himself during his lifetime.

Mr. Barnett said the Dalai Lama's remarks appear to be an attempt "to put pressure on the Chinese to come to a resolution on the question of Tibet."

Mr. Barnett also said that if the Dalai Lama made a definitive statement ending the centuries-old tradition of having a Dalai Lama, it could put the Chinese in a difficult position.

"If they defy the Dalai Lama's pronouncement and declare a Dalai Lama, Tibetans won't accept the person they appoint," Mr. Barnett said. "And if they don't appoint one, they will be seen as acting on the Dalai Lama's authority, which they don't want."

For years, experts have talked about the possibility of two competing Dalai Lamas—one chosen by Tibetans in exile, who are desperate for leadership of the kind that the current Dalai Lama has offered, and another by Chinese officials as they move to exercise greater control over Tibetan spiritual and political life.

In a statement in 2011, the current Dalai Lama said that when he reached around 90 years of age, he would consult with spiritual leaders and other Tibetans to "re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not." He said he would spell out clear instructions by which his successor would be chosen.

He said that "no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People's Republic of China."

The current Dalai Lama—who is the 14th of his line—was born into a farming family in eastern Tibet, and was identified at the age of two after he passed certain tests, including identifying the 13th Dalai Lama's belongings, such as prayer beads.

Tibetans fear that a leadership vacuum after the Dalai Lama's death could hamper their movement and cause it to fragment.