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India: Between Tibet and China

Over the past few day the focus of the international community is on Tibet and Chinese Government's handling of the uprising, but over in India there has been quite a bit of debate over China's actions in Tibet and the role of Tibet in India-China relationship. What should India's stand be on the issue of Tibet? The Tibetan Government in Exile headed by the Dalai Lama is in “Little Lhasa” or Dharamsala in India. The Dalai Lama fled from Tibet to India in 1959 and has continued to live there since then. Additionally, there is a sizable population of Tibetans who have continued to live in India since the 1950s.

Raman's Strategic Analysis draws our attention to the role of the Tibetan Youth Congress in the current uprising and writes:

It has made the Tibetan people in Tibet and Sichuan rid themselves their fear complex and assert their rights in their homeland. ‘Tibet for the Tibetans” is its policy…It (Tibetan Youth Congress) differs from His Holiness’ policy of genuine autonomy and calls for total independence. It is not against the Beijing Olympics.

A quick survey of Indian blogs shows that quite a few of them have questioned India's stand on Tibet and wonder if India needs to take a stronger position vis-a-vis China. Acorn; draws our attention to Tibetan leader Tenzin Tsundue's attempt to lead a peaceful march from India to Tibet and writes:

The only reason for this was to save the Chinese government from the embarrassment of having to deal with the situation (most likely, having to turn them back).

Sudharshans argues in his blog that India needs to take a stronger position. He writes:

Come on, India. We need to support the Tibetans in their quest for freedom. The easiest thing India can do is make a statement by boycotting the Olympics…I do not understand why we are trying to tango with China. Are we worried because our kids cannot play with cheap toxic toys? I would not be surprised if the Govt. is pissing in the pants that the politburo would withdraw its support to the center for acting against their comrades in China.

Brahma Chellaney, a security analyst has a pretty incisive article about Tibet and its role in the India-China relationship and points out that India cannot afford to overlook what happens to Tibet because it has strategic long-term implications for India. Chellaney argues that the time has come for the Indian government to evaluate its policy.He points out:

They cannot grasp the simple fact that between appeasement and confrontation lie a hundred different options. A false choice — pay obeisance to Beijing or brace up for confrontation — has been used to block any legitimate debate on policy options.

Chellaney outlines three things that India needs to do with reference to Tibet one of them being that India should stop referring to Tibet as part of China. He quite correctly points out a major change in the tone of the relationship during the recent visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to China. He writes:

Last January, Manmohan Singh became the first PM to return from Beijing without making any unwarranted reference to Tibet to please his hosts. The ‘T’ word is conspicuously missing from the joint communiqué — a key point the media failed to catch.

17 comments

  • ur chinese friend

    “Chinese is spoken more than Tibetan and only those Tibetans willing and able to communicate in Chinese can receive any more than the most menial jobs. Then there is the spread of the ubiquitous karaoke bars and gambling joints in the backstreets of Lhasa and along the highways. These corrode the soul and spirituality.”

    In every Asian nation if you can speak fluent English you will get higher paying jobs by working for foreign companies. The fact that the Tibetans choose to be poor is a simple consequence of supply and demand. The last time I checked Karaoke bars were invented in Japan, industrial revolution started in Europe/America, and Capitalism has been always around. No one is forcing Tibetans to choose the more difficult path in life and the fact that they are being modernized is only a good thing. Lots of Chinese were angered by the disappearance of traditional Chinese arts such as Chinese Operas but we don’t blame this on the introduction of pop/rock from the the West.

  • david

    why nobody talk about the occupied of sikkim in the seventy by india(even the west)

  • Rick

    There is something less to the arguments of both sides, but the argument on the Chinese side is weaker. Tibet was not “Chinese” until Mao Zedong’s armies marched in and made it so.

    Let’s first analyze similarities between the Nazis and the CCP.

    1) Nazis were national socialists – CCP is a national socialist.

    2) Nazis considered Germans to be the master race – CCP considers Han Chinese to be the master Race.

    3) Nazi torch bearers were athletic, strong examples of the “master race” – CCP torch bearers are athletic, strong examples of the “master race”.

    4) Nazis glorified the Olympic flame with a mythical, pagan, semi-spiritual status – CCP glorifies the Olympic flame with a mythical, pagan, semi-spiritual status. The men in blue suits are called “The Olympic Holy Flame Protection Unit” and one of them watches the flame while others sleep.

    5) Nazis used the games to promote national socialism – CCP uses the games to promote national socialism.

    6) Nazi torch bearers loved the Fatherland and gave their life if necessary for the Fuhrer – CCP torch bearers must love the Motherland and give their life if necessary for the CCP.

    7) Nazi oath of allegience is to the Fuhrer and to acknowledge The Fuhrer as the savior of Germany – The Chinese oath of allegience is to the CCP and to acknowledge the CCP head as a “Living Buddha”.

    8) Nazis had live shooting ranges where they would hunt down civilians and kill them as practice for troops – Chinese have live shooting ranges where they would hunt down civilians and kill them as practice for troops.

    9) The Nazi torch bearers actually went back and invaded every country they went through even murdering the gypsies in Bulgaria – The Chinese have already invaded Tibet and other areas and murdered millions of people.

    10) The Nazi torch bearers were fanatical national socialists – The Chinese torch bearers were fanatical national socialists.

    11) Nazis performed medical experiments and murdered prisoners for medical research and body parts – Chinese murder prisoners to order for body parts and medical research.

    The CCP has a clear agenda – “expansionism” at all costs under the guise of peaceful liberation. Once a territory is gone, it’s gone. There will be 1.3 billion brainwashed fools who will come here and defend war crimes of the CCP and brag about Xinhua as free press. If the West remains complacent, South-East, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific would be occupied or rather “liberated” territories in a few decades. Don’t come back and ask us “Why they hated China” or all we had to do is give the Chinese more time to think about the nicety of Western Liberalism.

    China’s human rights abuses are “staggering”: the detention of hundreds of thousands of people, including political activists, for “reeducation” programs, and forced labor camps; and the liberal use of the death penalty in China — including for political prisoners — which makes China the site of 8 of every 10 government administered executions carried out in the world!

    CCP is full of deceit and has figured out how to play the West. They can’t be trusted at all and they have a bag full of tricks to fool not only Tibetans but the whole world with a state-controlled press. The best solution is a free Tibet. There is no doubt that a sovereign Tibet would be a savior state not only for Tibetans but for all ethnic groups of China who have nowhere to go if they disagree with the CCP. A free Tibet would be such a free democratic heaven and a safe haven.

    China cannot be defined in a simple language. Its national statement contains elements of ultranationalism, chauvinism and aggressive expansionism. It is one of the most dangerous nations on the face of our planet. Its enormous size is largely owed to the history of brutal conquests of its neighbors’ territories. Its territorial appetites are reminiscent of Hitler’s imperialistic ambitions.

    The unified message of the democratic bloc should be a strong encouragement of a process of decentralization and liberalization of China. Powerful support should be given to the movements within, toward autonomy of parts of China, populated by a majority of non-Chinese such as occupied Mongolia, the Turkmen region and Tibet.

    I, also, feel that boycott of the Olympiad would not go far enough. There has to be an organized movement toward sanctions of Chinese exports and economy. Maybe that would send a strong message to Chinese that today’s world would not tolerate revival of Hitlerism.

  • wang xin

    Tibet is a part on China. So you can not say “Tibet and China”, or “Tibet people and Chinese people”. It’s a fatal error.
    You can not say ” Tibet was not ‘Chinese’ until Mao Zedong’s armies marched in and made it so.” You don’t know the Old-Chinese history. It begins from “ANCIENT TIMES”(上古,在夏代之前), BC-5000-year.

  • wang xin

    I am sorry, I have a mistake. .

    Tibet is a part on China. So you can not say “Tibet and China”, or “Tibetan people and Chinese people”. It’s a fatal error.
    You can not say “Tibetan was not ‘Chinese’ until Mao Zedong’s armies marched in and made it so.” You don’t know the Old-Chinese history. It begins from “ANCIENT TIMES”(上古,在夏代之前), BC-5000-year.

  • Subhradip

    I agree fully with Rick:

    The Chinese concept of Tibet is more of an ego rather than a rational part. If Tibet is really a part of it, then logically Pakistan should be a part of India? Why still China helps and fuels Pakistan army against India?
    Now its a high time India should raise its voice, its shame that a country of billions, with huge infrastructure, whooping economy and nuclear powered still today has no clear say in any aspect! thats a real shame, what India tries to prove by it “super gentleness” is in fact exposing a clear indication of its weakness.come on! get up and have a say, HOW LONG would we play DEFENSIVE , its killing us terribly. Why cant it even raise its protest against the Chinese invasion in Tibet.

  • zaheerul hassan

    I think india is interested to revert the victory of China in 1961 war , thus fuling tibetian to stand against chinese. The choice of time to defreaze the issue of De- Liama is very much apreciable in the part of RA Supported by CIA . 100 days count down period of the Oylamic Games has been started so golbel eyes are towards China .India government is providing assitance to Laima since 1959 as they are assiting illgle rule of Farooq Abdullah. Basically , its the time for indian leaders to revert the victory with the help of Liama. here i will like to suggest the indian leadership to be mind ful of reigional polictics rather then pushing this region into next world war and destroying the peace.

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