These are sad days for those who believe in democracy, individual liberty and cultural autonomy, as China crushes non-violent protests by Tibetans with brute force, killing scores of people, and threatening even fiercer action against the protesters. What is worse is that almost the entire international community has become a mute witness to the barbarity Beijing is perpetrating against one of the most peaceful peoples of the world.
Inarguably, the worst and most cowardly response has been of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government. The day China gave the ultimatum to the Tibetans?surrender or else?our foreign office came up with two statements which reek of timidity and stupidity. The first one said, ?Like our other guests, Tibetan refugees, while they are in India, are expected to refrain from political activities and those activities that affect our relations with other friendly countries.? Notice the preposterous attempt to blame the victim: the overtones pertain to the supposed malevolence of Tibetans. No word on the atrocities perpetrated by the Chinese.
The second statement was equally sickening, ?We are distressed by reports of the unsettled situation and violence in Lhasa, and by the deaths of innocent people. We would hope that all those involved will work to improve the situation and remove the causes of such trouble in Tibet, which is an autonomous region of China, through dialogue and non-violent means.?
Notice the bland, unspecific nature of the statement??unsettled situation?, ?deaths of innocent people.? Who has unsettled the situation? Who is responsible for the deaths? The Tibetans, who suffer under Beijing rule, or the Chinese? While the Chinese have no compunction in laying claims on our territories, the Manmohan Singh Government takes extreme care to ensure China'sterritorial integrity. ?Tibet, which is an autonomous region of China…?
Our foreign office mandarins want the trouble in Tibet to be resolved ?through dialogue and non-violent means.? But the Tibetans are non-violent in any case; they are not like, say, the Palestinians who murder up their opponents. Therefore, it is the Chinese who should be told to adopt non-violent means. Why doesn'tthe Indian Government specify that? There is a difference between being diplomatic and being pusillanimous.
Fortunately, our political parties, except the Left, castigated China'sbarbarity in no uncertain terms in the Lok Sabha. As for the Leftists, the self-appointed champions of morality and probity, nothing has happened in Tibet. Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member Sitaram Yechury described the massacre of innocent Tibetans as an ?internal matter? of China. But, comrade, so are the issues of secularism and republicanism in Nepal? Why did you go to Kathmandu and, like your ideological brethren over there, insist on secularism and the abolition of royalty?
But then the CPM has always behaved like Beijing'sPR agency in India. When our soldiers were dying in war against the Chinese in 1962, the CPM leaders?those days members of the undivided Communist Party of India?sided with Mao'simperialism. Significantly, the CPM is unrepentant about its treason and pro-China views. A few years ago, television anchor Manoj Raghuvanshi repeatedly asked Yechury about the 1962 war and China'srole; the CPM leader shamelessly avoided to comment.
In the recent past, too, the CPM has been working ceaselessly to promote China'sinterests in India. An illustration: The CPM'sresistance to foreign direct investment (FDI) is well-known; yet, when the Government barred FDI from Chinese companies because of the apprehensions expressed by security and intelligence bodies, the CPM campaigned for allowing FDI. CPM leaders keep their masters in Beijing in good humor.
Regrettably, the UPA regime is also behaving like the CPM. Unsurprisingly, its pusillanimity has pleased Beijing. ?China appreciates the position taken by the Indian Government to handle the ?Tibet independence? activities masterminded by the Dalai clique,? Premier Wen Jiabao said at a press conference after China'sParliament ended its annual full session.
Unfortunately, major powers of the world have done little better than New Delhi; they are unwilling to check the Beijing'smurderous designs. Even as the Dalai Lama, a mild-mannered man, denounces China's?rule of terror? in Tibet and accuses it of ?cultural genocide,? US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice merely urges China to ?exercise restraint?. The European Union echoes similar views. Where have all the concerns of developed nations-freedom, right to association and express one'sviews-gone?
The West'sdiffidence vis-?-vis China has further emboldened China. It may be recalled that China'scrackdown on Tibetan protests came three days after the US President George W Bush removed the Asian giant from a human rights blacklist. ?Clearly, the Bush Administration has been very, very leery of dealing with the Chinese on the human rights issue,? says John Tkacik, a former China expert in the State Department. The West'stolerance of the outrage in Tibet has made Beijing even more brazen. It has now waged a ?people'swar? against Tibetans. It is time the international community stood up to China'sbrazenness and brutality against a peace-loving people.
(The author works with The Political and Business Daily.)