The scenario of world politics is changing. This change has certain degree of impacts on China’s forceful occupation of Tibet. Despite being China’s aggressive and militarised rule of Tibet, it failed to change the mindset of Tibetan communities.
China starts its aggression with accusation, through its recently published a White Paper which blamed the ageing Dalai Lama that he is hatching a plan to make Tibet an independent country. China said that had Tibet not been Beijing’s part in 1959 Tibetans would have remained in the “dark age” of medieval practices and slavery. Since the formation of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in 1965, the region and its people have seen all around development and 281 times increases in GDP. “Tibet is now in its golden age,” a white paper or policy document on Tibet, titled the “Successful Practice of Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet”. This white paper was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the TAR. In the white paper, the government continued to criticise the Dalai Lama’s political stand on the status of Tibet. He has been in exile in Bharat since 1959 when he fled China with his followers. According to Chinese White Paper the 14th Dalai Lama has constantly preached the “middle way,” peddled the concept of a “Greater Tibet,” and lobbied for “a high degree of autonomy” which ultimately aims at independence. Obviously he violates the Constitution of China and its state system, and greatly damage the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups in Tibet, which is why they have met strong opposition from all Chinese people, including those of all ethnic groups in Tibet, and hence why they are doomed to fail,” the white paper accused Dalai Lama.
On the other hand, China mentioned that Tibetan culture and prosperity of Tibetan community are much better since China occupied Tibet since 1959. Beijing has consistently denied the allegations, saying, as per the new document: “Tibet’s traditional culture is well protected and promoted, and freedom of religious belief in the Region is respected, while its ecological environment is protected, too”. China also provided data which showcase the process of development taken place in the last 50 years in Tibet. Earlier Tibet did not have a single school in the modern sense; its illiteracy rate was as high as 95 per cent among the young and the middle-aged; there was no modern medical service, and praying to the Buddha for succour was the main resort for most people if they fell ill; their average life expectancy was 35.5 years. Beijing compares that to the rapid development and modernisation that has occurred in the past 60 years: In 2013, the Gross Regional Product (GRP) of Tibet reached 80.767 billion yuan ($13 billion); the per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen was 6,578 yuan ($1,060) and the per capita disposable income of urban dwellers was 20,023 yuan ($3,228)… In 2013, the population of Tibet rose to 3.1204 million, and average life expectancy was 68.2 years.
If it is true, there are many other facets of lives are equally true. Tibetan community has been butchered and subjugated to slavery. Their twin identity of faith and pastoral lives were forcefully abdicated by the communist regimes. Tibet has been strategically cut into two pieces. TAR has been converted into nuclear dustbin which spread deadly diseases of cancer. Thousands of Tibetans are behind the bars. Their economic status is very low. The transfers of Han in TAR are, making Tibetans a minority community in their own region. There was further disappointment for Tibetans and supporters across the world at the beginning of 2015 to see China’s announcement of planning to increase the Han-Chinese population into Tibet by 30 per cent by 2020 — a total of approximately 2,80,000 new arrivals, strengthening China’s rule of terror and worsening the cultural genocide. China’s 60 year rule in Tibet has failed to win Tibetan hearts and minds under the umbrella of the so-called “Peaceful Liberation of Tibet.” Moreover, China has lost its international reputation and any remaining right to moral leadership by defending their failed policies with an iron fist during its occupation of Tibet.
Chinese Takeover of Tibet and Its
Implications for Bharat
The Chinese takeover of Tibet was a strategic move rather than for historical or ideological reasons. China has always been apprehensive of the influence of external powers in the territory of Tibet. That is why it purportedly shifted the area of buffer zone from Tibet to the tiny Himalayan states like Nepal and Bhutan. China’s Tibet policy impacts on Bharatiya security interests in two ways. One, it exposed the border problem between Bharat and China which led to the 1962 Sino-Bharat war. The Chinese invasion of Tibet ended the buffer zone between the two countries. It also increased China’s reach into South Asia. Other serious consequences of Chinese developmental strategy in Tibet could be in terms of environmental hazards. Bharat’s major rivers originate from the trans-himalayan region. China’s western development programme is causing major deforestation and ecological imbalance. Tibet is endowed the greatest river systems in the world. Its rivers supply fresh water to 85 per cent of Asia’s population. China’s policies towards Bharat have been characterised as a judicious combination of deep strategy and surface diplomacy. China’s deep strategy is to gain a strategic edge over Bharat in Inner Asia by courting Bharatiya acceptance of Tibet occupation. At the same time China seeks to strategic alliance with Pakistan to deny Bharat regional supremacy in South Asia. By surface diplomacy, this is characterised by frequent visits of all kinds to New Delhi since 1994. China plans to build a 540-kilometre strategic high-speed rail link between Tibet and Nepal passing through a tunnel under Mt Everest, a move that could raise alarm in Bharat about the Communist giant's growing influence in its neighbourhood. “A proposed extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to the China-Nepal border through Tibet would boost bilateral trade and tourism as there is currently no rail line linking the two countries,” state-run China Daily reported.
Reasons of White Paper
This latest white paper is toughly worded and makes at least one important additional new demand on the Dalai Lama. Emphasising that “Tibet has been an integral part of China since ancient times, and has never been an independent nation.” The stress on ‘antiquity’ is embedded in the text of the White Paper which, in a departure from past white papers, this time makes a major alteration to the long-standing Chinese position on the Dalai Lama. It pushes China’s claim over Tibet back to the 7th century from the 12th century. Stating that there was a close connection between the Tibetan people and the Han and other ethnic groups, it said “there has never been a break in economic, political and cultural exchanges between Tibet and the rest of China”. This statement has been rejected by the exile government and the designated Prime Minster of Tibet in Dharamsala, “Tibet was an independent country, and Tibet is under occupation today,” said Sangay, who was elected as Prime Minister in 2011 by some 1,50,000 exiles after the Dalai Lama abdicated political duties in favour of focusing on his role as Tibetan Buddhism’s spiritual leader.
The scenario of world politics is changing, the change has certain degree of impacts on China’s forceful occupation of Tibet. One, despite being China’s aggressive and militarised rule of Tibet, it failed to change the mind set of Tibetan communities. Its unadulterated faith in the spiritual leader of his holiness Dalai Lama is embedded like rock. The ageing Dalai Lama is more than 80 years old and his health is declining. The Chinese scheme of implanting Pancham lama has completely failed. If the Tibetan community do not subscribe the road map of the Communist Regime during the period of 14th Dalai Lama, it would be much difficult for the communist regime to bring the Tibetan community within the Communist fold after the death of Dalai Lama. That is why Communist regime seemed to be in hurry to arrange a make shift arrangement. Former President of China Jiang Zemin had accepted the fact that the name of Tibetan spiritual leader will bring current in Tibet. Second, Bharat has also been informally changing its stand. During the period of Indira Gandhi, Bharat adopted twin tricks on Tibet. Officially it accepted Tibet as an integral part of China but supported Tibet Liberation Movement from Bharat. This regime is tracking the same route. When the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday was celebrated, two of Bharat cabinet ministers participated the ceremony in Dharamsala. Bharat is also finding ways to challenge the Chinese obtrusive anti-Bharat activities in South Asian regions. Third, America is already planning to contain China. The new regime in Russia under Putin is equally apprehensive of Chinese power. In such scenario, China is more akin to cement its tongue, ‘once called by Mao Tse-tung’ to be protected by jaw, which is Tibet from external forces.
Coming months and years would be unfolding fast track changes in Tibet. The legitimacy of integration of the Tibetan community is only possible during the tenure of Dalai Lama. Once he is dead, Chinese can’t coerce the Tibetan community into China. There is possibility of flare of the Tibetan movement in and out Tibet. This is heat which China is facing and the current president Xi Jinping seems to be in hurry.
Dr Satish Kumar (The writer is Head of Centre for International Relations, Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi)