Tenzin Tsundue, a 48-year-old energetic and patriotic Tibetan completed his 500 km peace-walk from Dharamshala to New Delhi on 9th March. The single theme of this taxing journey was his appeal to the government of India to abandon its ‘One China Policy”. His simple argument is that “If China is openly campaigning to break India by grabbing Arunachal Pradesh and supporting Pakistan on Kashmir issue, why India should keep sticking so thoughtlessly on One-China-Policy?” The underlying pain which provoked this relentless non-violent crusader for Tibetan freedom from Chinese occupation is that “When New Delhi kowtows to Beijing’s demands on One-China-Policy, the Indian government is issuing a moral license to communist rulers of China to keep colonized Tibet under Chinese occupation.”
One among the best-known faces of the Tibetan freedom movement today, Tsundue has emerged as the face of a non-violent Tibetan freedom struggle on the same lines as followed by Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. He has been in the international limelight on so many occasions in the past. His most eventful moment was in 2002 in Mumbai when despite high levels of security ring around visiting Chinese premier Zhu Rongji, Tsundue successfully climbed a tower of Zhu’s hotel and unfurled the Tibetan national flag and a banner that read “Free Tibet: China, Get Out”. That shows why he has been in and out of Indian prisons 16 times.
Over the past many decades, the Communist rulers of China have been busy in aggressively building up a narrative that the People’s Republic of China (PRC), as we see it today, is a historically unified country. They treat any reference to human rights or aspirations of independence in PRC’S occupied regions like Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Manchuria as blasphemous, an act of ‘interference’ in the ‘internal’ matters of China and a direct challenge to the idea of ‘One China’. Claiming that these regions are ‘integral’ and ‘inseparable’ parts of China, they out rightly reject the idea that these regions were independent countries before they were forcibly occupied by Beijing and assimilated in to China in recent history. There have been innumerable occasions in past decades when the Beijing rulers lost their cool and threatened every such government, international institution and human rights organization that raised voice in favour of the people of these countries. These entities included even world bodies like the United Nations and organizations like Amnesty International, International Commission of Jurists and Human Rights Watch etc.
Even an elementary glance at the history of Asia or even China itself will show that it was only in 1912 that the first ever idea of ‘Republic of China’ came into being after the fall of Qing empire of the Manchus. For over seven centuries i.e. from 1207 AD until 1912 AD the Han race lived as subjects of, first the Mongol conquers, and then the Manchus. During this period countries like Tibet, East Turkistan, South Mongolia and Manchuria enjoyed far more independent status and individual identity as compared to the Han Chinese. Even just before Han leaders of Kuomintang Party (KMT) like Sun Yat-sen established the ‘Republic of China’ in 1912, many parts of present day China were suffering under colonial rule and control of erstwhile imperial powers like Britain, Japan, France, Portugal, Germany and Russia.
THE GREAT-WALL OF COWERDICE
The Chinese today take pride in showing off the so called ‘Great Wall of China’ as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. They proudly tell the world that this 21,196 km long wall was completed in about 2300 years. Its construction started during 7th Century BC and was completed in 1644 AD. But they conveniently skip this historic fact that this marvel of defence architecture also defined the real territories of Han Chinese nation and was built by coward and fearful Han kings who lived terrified lives because of attacks from a hue of invaders like the Mongols, Manchurians, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Tatars, Kazakhs, Huis….. and so on.
Once the new Han China came into existence and its leaders successfully recovered their lost neighboring areas to Britain, Japan, France, Portugal, Germany and Russia the KMT leadership started a new expansion drive. Their first victim was Southern Mongolia which they occupied in 1919. Nationalist China’s aggression towards its neighbors attained new dimensions with General Chiang Kai-shek taking over the reins in 1928. He occupied Manchuria in 1935 and thus brought China face to face with new neighbors like Soviet Union, Korea and Japan. In 1949 Comrade Mao Tse-tung (now pronounced as ‘Mao Zedong’) overthrew Chiang Kai-shek and his KMT government in a bloody communist revolution and established his ‘New China’ as the ‘People’s Republic of China’ (PRC). In the ensuing melee Gen Chiang Kai-shek managed to escape to the island of Taiwan across Formosa Strait and established a parallel ‘Republic of China’ (ROC).
MAO’S EXPANSIONIST DREAMS
Once in control of his new PRC, Mao’s first work was to occupy ‘Republic of East Turkistan,’ mostly inhabited by Uyghurs and a few other Muslim populations of Tajik, Kazakh and Kyrgyz origin, which was a free nation at the eastern edges of Central Asia. The newly occupied country was given a new Chinese name ‘Xinjiang’ which literally meant ‘New Frontier’. Finding that the clan leaders of the Uyghurs and most other Muslim groups were not ready to accept China’s dominance and that their fighter groups were giving a bleeding nose to the occupying PLA, Mao found an easy solution to neutralize the influence of these clan leaders. With the help of Stalin of neighboring USSR he convinced a majority of the clan leaders to visit Peking (now ‘Beijing’) for a ‘brotherly’ discussion. The clan leaders took his bait and boarded the plane which never completed its journey and exploded in the midair on way to Beijing. This wiping out of an entire generation of leadership made the job of PLA much easier.
TIBET : THE KEY TO CHINESE DOMINANCE
Soon after finishing his job with East Turkistan, Mao’s next focus was on Tibet which, according to him was the key to China’s dominance over Asia and hence the world. About Tibet, Mao had already announced his maxim that “Tibet is China’s palm and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NEFA (now ‘Arunachal’) are our fingers.” Unfortunately for the people of Tibet everything which could go wrong against them did go wrong when Mao’s powerful PLA attacked and occupied eastern Tibet without much resistance or efforts. Tibet’s theocratic leaders who had deliberately kept Tibet aloof from the world community were shocked to realize that they had no friend in the world who could have come to their help in this crisis. Moreover, China’s smart intervention in the Korean War had already neutralized any chances of the western block to play any meaningful role in Tibet because the West had just come out of Second World War and was busy nursing its own wounds.
THE TIBETAN HARAKIRI
India, Tibet’s only neighbor who could have played an effective role in saving Tibet or who could have at least enrolled international support in favor of Tibet, too was found missing for at least two reasons. One, the Tibetan leaders themselves had already spurned India’s offer for continuing the relations which the British India had built with Lhasa since 1904. Surprisingly, Tibet had not a single diplomatic office anywhere in the world, not even in India when China invaded her. And two, Chairman Mao and his Premier Chou En-lie had already managed to keep India neutral through their personal magic spell over Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. Hence forcing Tibet to sign on dotted lines to merge it into China was not a difficult job for Beijing.
12 NEW ‘NEIGHBORS’ OF EXPANSIONIST CHINA
This way occupation of South Mongolia, Manchuria, East Turkistan and finally Tibet completed the Chinese dream of new PRC which now could boast of borders with 12 new countries besides her six original neighbors. Going my matter of fact statistics, these four new colonies of today’s China account for its more than two thirds of the land mass and three fourths of its enormous mineral resources including Tibet’s rivers which feed ten countries of Asia. Today China boasts of being a family of 56 nationalities. But thanks to China’s demographic games and its dream of Han supremacy over the world, the total population of 55 non-Han ‘national minorities’ (Tibetans, Mongols, Uyghurs and Manchurians included) in today’s China, as per its own national census figures, accounts for less than 8 percent amidst an overwhelming sea of 92 percent Han population.
Mass genocides, massive transplantation of Han populations in minority areas, forced inter-ethnic marriages, forced sterilization of non-Han women and eviction of minority populations from their ancestral lands across China have been the accepted norm of Chinese rulers ever since the formation of the Republic of China in 1912. It is therefore no surprise that a good number of these ‘National Minorities’ are nearly extinct and their language, food, dresses and culture survives only in China’s ethnic museums like the one ‘Yunnan Ethnic Village’ and the ‘Yunnan Nationalities Museum’ in Kunming of Yunnan province.It is a common visual in many such ethnic regions where Han boys and girl tourist guides, dressed up in local ethnic dresses, entertain and serve Chinese propaganda about ‘ethnic unity’ of China. Grand colourful shows of the dresses and dances of such ‘minority nationalities’ on China’s national TV network and during public displays at national celebrations is among highlights of such shows where a large number of performers are Han artists and school kids.
Even going by China’s official statistics there are less than one thousand people left in China today, including Han scholars of Manchurian culture, who can speak the Manchurian language today. Forcible replacement of Tibetan, Turkic Uyighur language and Mongolian languages in Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia by Chinese Mandarin is in news and is being severely criticized by many governments and human rights organizations these days.
“ONE CHINA POLICY” FROM TAIWAN TO ALL COLONIES
Interestingly, China’s insistence over ‘Once China Policy’ was initially limited only to Taiwan and the government of ‘Republic of China’, run by Gen Chiang Kai-shek. For many reasons the US lead western block found it convenient to recognize KMT’s ROC as the ‘real China’ which not only represented itself as ‘China’ in Un, it also enjoyed veto powers as a permanent member of the Security Council of the UN. This situation continued until US President Nixon and his man Friday Hennery Kissinger suddenly changed their policy and out of fears about the Soviet Union, recognized Mao’s ‘PRC’ as the ‘Real China’ and used brut influence of the US in the UN to replace Taiwan’ ROC with Mao’s PRC.
MAKING OF A FRANKENSTEIN
It’s a different matter that the US’ fears about USSR proved misinformed and a hollow communist regime of Moscow which fell on its own weight within next two decades and disintegrated into 16 countries. But the US blunder did not remain limited only to bestowing a place of honor to a colonialist dictator communist regime in the UN and the world community. US and its western allies started falling over each other in the coming decades to transfer their modern technologies, production facilities, finance, expert manpower and even their own markets to China only to create a Frankenstein who is now ready to devour its own creators and has become a threat for other smaller countries. Nixon and Hennery Kissinger’s promises to USA that an industrial and prosperous communist China will automatically transform into a democratic system has already fell flat on its face.
No doubt that the western corporates too have made trillions of dollars in this process. But they have also left the rest of world vulnerable to China’s communist dictators. Instead of following internationally accepted rules and laws, Beijing has arrogantly expanded its concept of ‘One China Policy’ from Taiwan to all its colonies like Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and even Hong Kong. Unfortunately all major world powers and international institutions like the UN today are left with no other choice but to kowtow to an arrogant, irrational China.
This explains why not only New Delhi but the entire world must wake up to the calls of people like Tenzin Tsundue and stand up against Beijing’s belligerence over so called ‘One China Policy’ before it is too late.