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.