With changing times, while the signature tune of Sino-Indian ties has changed from ?Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai? to ?India-China, buy – buy?, the fault lines in the relationship of two Asian giants remain unchanged. A week before President Hu Jintao was to arrive in India, Sun Yuxi, China'sambassador to India told CNN-IBN: ?In our position, the whole of the state Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory. And Taiwang is only one of the places in it. We are claiming all of that?. Ambassador Sun'sclaim on the Indian territory, made on the eve of Presidents Hu'svisit, was not one of those off the cuff remarks. It has its origin'sin China'sexpansionist past and its self view. According to Prof. Parshottam (Essays in Frontier History), as the Chinese view it, theirs is not just another nation state in the larger family of nation, rather they are a civilization pretending to be a state?The overpowering obligation felt by the Chinese rulers to preserve the unity of their civilization meant that there could be no compromise in Chinese cultural attitudes about power and authority?Mao'srevolution met the demands, both of the cultural, iconoclasts as well as the political nationalists.? China shares its 22,000 km long borders with 14 countries including North Korea, Russia, Mangolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Laos and North Vietnam. While dealing with its neighbours, it has cleverly divided them in two categories. While India and Russia are seen as potential threats, and have been dealt with accordingly, the rest are treated in a condescending manner. China'sdealing with Pakistan, over the decades, is a good example of this strategy. During 1962 invasion, the then Pakistani President Ayyb had declared that irrespective of the problems between India and Pakistan, his country was fully with India on the issues of frontiers of the sub-continent. Subsequently China has successfully weaned away Pakistan from its principled stand. Pakistan has negotiated a frontier with China on the Gilgit Baltistan sector of Pakistan – held Kashmir. It is no secret that but for the Chinese help, Pakistan'snuclear and missile programme would have remained a non-starter. In its border settlement with Burma, China has conveniently accepted the Burmese segment of McMahon Line (ML). But in India'scase, China refuses to accept ML and hence the border dispute between the two countries. Similarly Moscow – Beijing rift, which boils in public occasionally, has been simmering since the times when Russia was USSR and under communist control. China repudiates ML and has reopened the boundary issue on the ground that India is enjoying the ill-gotten gains of the British empire. Taking a higher moral ground, Red China rejects ML and claims huge chunks of Indian territory. In his letter of January 23, 1959 to Prime Minister Nehru, Chou-En-Lai, referred the McMahon line as ?a product of the British policy of aggression against the Tibet region of China?. At the second round of the India – China talks in New Delhi in May 1982, Fu Hao, leader of the Chinese delegation referred to the McMahon line as having been ?delineated by the British Imperialists?. The McMahon line (ML) (named after its creater Sir Henry McMahon) shown by a red line on a 1914 map was endorsed by the representatives of thirteenth Dalai Lama and Ivan Chen, a senior Chinese diplomat a nominee of Peking regime, after prolonged negotiations at Simla. According to China, ML is not valid because it was accepted by them under the pressure of an imperialist power. But how did the Chinese acquire a foothold in Tibet in the first place? Here are excerpts of a letter which Dalai Lama wrote to Chinese Government in 1910 from Calcutta, where he had sought refuse following massive Chinese attack on his country. ?When at Peking, I met the Emperor and his aunt, and they showed me great sympathy. The Emperor committed himself to taking care of the welfare of Tibet. On the strength of the Emperor'sword, I returned to Tibet, only to find that on our eastern borders, large bodies of Chinese troops had massed and many of our subjects had been killed. Monasteries were destroyed and the people'srights suppressed. Furthermore, the Amban at Lhasa, Lien-Yu, had been reinforcing his troops with the object of occupying Lhasa. On several occasions, I objected to this; but he turned a deaf ear to my appeals. When the troops were on their way to Lhasa, I sent my representative, Khenchung, to meet them and explain my position; but the military officers executed Khenchung and seized his possessions. The advance of the Chinese troops coincided with the Monlam festival being held at Lhasa, at which thousands of monks from different monasteries had come together. In order to avoid a clash, the Nepalese representative at Lhasa called on the Manchu Amban to prevent any trouble from arising. The Amban refused to do anything about it; instead, he sent his bodyguard out to meet the advancing troops. One the way, they fired on the Lhasa police, killing some of them. They also fired on the Jokhang temple and the Potala palace. The eleventh Dalai Lama'snephew, Teji Phunkhang, and Tsedrom Jamyang Gyaltsen, were Tibetan government officials assigned to administer the Monlam festival. On their way to the Jokhang temple, they were met by the troops, who fired on them. Tsedron Jamyang and Teji Phunkhang'sservant and horse were killed. Teji Phunkhang was then beaten and taken away to the military camp. My ministers had appealed to me to remain in Lhasa; but had I done so, a situation similar to the Muslim invasion of India might well have taken place, which resulted in many religious institutions being destroyed. As I did not want this to happen in Tibet, I came here especially to negotiate for my country, not caring what hardships I might have to endure. When I arrived at Phari, I was asked by the Chinese official of Yatung to remain at the Phari monastery and negotiate with Peking and with the Manchu Amban in Lhasa by wire. I thought this arrangement would be ideal; but when troops arrived to take me alive or dead, I had no choice but to cross the Indian border. At Kalimpong, I came to know that the Manchu Emperor had already issued orders that I had been deposed from office. This was published in Indian newspapers, and even in Lhasa, posters were put up announcing that I was now an ordinary person and that a new Dalai Lama would soon be chosen. Since the Emperor has done everything without considering the independence of Tibet and the religious relationship between our two countries, I feel there is no further use in my negotiating directly with China. I have lost confidence in China and in finding any solution in consultation with the Chinese. During my stay in India, Amban Lien-yu has moved Chinese troops all over Tibet and has exploited Tibetan subjects to extremes. They have stopped my supplies and censored my letters from Tibet. They have sealed the treasury in Lhasa, emptied our armory, and seized our mint factories. Khenche Khenrab Phuntsok, assistant to my representative at Lhasa, aged seventy years, who was completely innocent, was imprisoned without cause and sent to Tachienlu. Judicial cases that had already been decided were reopened. Tibetan government property and the property of Tibetan officials and monasteries have been illegally seized. You are fully aware of this inexcusable illegal action taken by your troops; yet, you inform me and my ministers that the situation in Tibet is peaceful and that status quo is being maintained. I know that this has been said to persuade me to return and I also know that it is false. Because of the above, it is not possible for China and Tibet to have the same relationship as before. In order for us to negotiate, a third party is necessary; therefore, we should both request the British government to act as an intermediary. Our future policy will be based on the outcome of discussions between ourselves, the Chinese, and the British.? (Emphasis and italics added) Doesn'tit all sound familiar and recent? Is Red China today any different from the imperialist China under Manchu emperor about a century back? P.S. The Manchu dynasty fell in 1912 and the Lhasa Government threw out all Han nationals from Tibet. The 13th Dalai Lama reiterated Tibet'sindependence and till 1950, Peking had no control in Tibet. Rest is history.
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