Tibet: repression continues, China Lobby strikes back

Protests in China’s Tibetan regions continue to be met with harsh repression one year after the Lhasa uprising—now reported on only by the Tibetan exile media. Chinese police in Nyarong County, Sichuan Province, arrested three Tibetans March 12 and paraded them in a marketplace after they pasted protest letters in front of a local government office and hoisting of Tibetan national flag in a school, according to a report on the Tibetan exile government website. (Phayul, March 16)

A Tibetan nun was severely beaten before facing arrest in a lone protest four days before the 50th Tibetan national uprising day, the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy reports. Lobsang Khandro, 21, a nun from Gema Dra-wok Nunnery in Thing-ka Township, Kardze County, Kardze “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture,” Sichuan Province, walked to the local government headquarters March 6 carrying prayer flags and shouting slogans such as “Tibetan People Rise Up, Rise Up” and “Long Live the Dalai Lama.” (Phayul, March 18)

The US House of Representatives last week approved a resolution honoring the Dalai Lama and the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan revolt against Chinese rule. When a similar resolution was submitted to California’s state legislature, Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) charged the Chinese government with “shocking and shameful” lobbying against the measure. The measure’s author, Blakeslee said representatives of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco had been walking the halls of the capitol in Sacramento urging lawmakers to reject his resolution. He released a copy of a letter that Consul General Gao Zhansheng sent to lawmakers suggesting the resolution would damage US relations with China and send the “wrong signal to separatist forces.”

“As the world economy faces a grim situation, it is all the more important for the most developed country and the biggest developing country in the world to cross the river in a common boat and proceed hand in hand,” Zhansheng said in his letter. (AP, March 12)

Reacting to such charges, the Tibetan exile government in India issued a statement saying that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s “separatist” allegations against the Dalai Lama are misleading. “On many occasions, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has reiterated that he is not seeking separation from the People’s Republic of China,” said exile Prime Miniter Samdhong Rinpoche. “The Chinese Premier’s allegations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama seeking separation is far from the truth. The international community is well aware of this fact and it does not need further clarification.” Rinpoche, who became the first directly-elected prime minister of the exile government in 2001 and is currently in his second term. (Phayul, March 15)

China Lobby” was a phrase used to invoke the influence of the Kuomintang government in Taiwan in the Cold War years. But Beijing seems to have much more pull on the Hill these days—although not nearly so much (someone will be certain to remind us) as the “Israel Lobby.”

See our last posts on China and Tibet.

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  1. China’s Xizhang
    Xizgang has been part of China since at the very latest the Yuan dynasty. The are more than 2 to 3 million Tobetans today, and another 4 millions outside the actual autonomous region. How many Sioux, Lakota or Cherokees still live today? How about the war that got the region now known as Texas and California ultimately into the union? Before you point fingers, look at your own face. It would seem to me that the United States should be one of the last nations to criticize China’s so called “colonial rule” over the region of Xizhang. The US, like many other great nations, is built on conquest. It’s not pretty, but hypocracy is uglier.

    Michael Lou
    Milton, Massachusetts

    1. The same error, over and over
      Of course US hypocrisy on the Tibet question is rife, as we have already pointed out. But if we let that blind us to the intrinsic right and wrong of the question, we are playing into the global divide-and-conquer scam which is the essence of the state system. The neocons protest Chinese brutality in Tibet, ignoring the USA’s denial of meaningful sovereignty to the Cherokee and Lakota; meanwhile the idiot left acts as if US oppression of the Lakota and Cherokee deposits karmic funds in a cosmic bank account from which the Chinese are then entitled make a withdrawal. Obviously, if the Cherokee and Lakota are entitled to self-determination, so are the Tibetans. Sorry, but these peoples have rights and identities beyond their utility as either pawns or footballs to the rulers and propagandists of the Great Powers.

      Two more points:

      1. We are not impressed that China had suzerainty (not sovereignty) over Xizhang/Tibet in the Yuan Dynasty. The Turks ruled over Palestine back then. Does that mean the Palestinians are not today entitled to self-determination?

      2. There are plenty of Lakota and Cherokee around today, still struggling for their land and sovereignty. As we have pointed out, indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere overwhelmingly support the Tibetan struggle, seeing it as analogous to their own.

      By the way, the Sioux and Lakota are the same people. Lakota is what they call themselves. It’s like the difference between Xizhang and Tibet. If you actually cared about them, as opposed to invoking them to score a propaganda point in defense of Chinese imperialism, you would know that.

      1. Here are some facts for
        Here are some facts for thoughts:

        Satisfying the demands of Dalai Lama for “meaningful” autonomy would have meant:

        1. China give up control over almost 1/4 of its territory. Including large swath of areas that are outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region, which is the area controlled by Dalai Lama before 1951. So Dalai Lama is not only asking to have what he had before, he is asking for much much more.

        2. Dalai Lama would have the power to remove other ethnicity out of Tibet, all in the name of “preserving Tibet’s culture”.

        He is basically asking for his own autonomous kingdom inside China. The Chinese government and the Chinese people are not stupid. They will not give up their country just so they can satisfy the Tibetan theocracy and the western liberals. China is a powerful country now with its own national identity. The days of USA and Europe telling China what to do is over. The choice for Tibetans are simple, assimilate into the Chinese nation, or leave China go somewhere that can satisfy you. If you are going to stay in Chinese territory, you abide by China’s laws or be arrested. China’s laws are not up for negotiation and China’s control cannot be disputed.

        1. I see by “facts” you mean fiction
          1. The Dalai Lama is not asking the PRC to cede an inch of territory. He is demanding meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan-majority regions, in accordance with basic principles of self-determination. This is the same demand that all us lefties support when it is put forth by indigenous movements in the western hemisphere, like the Zapatistas. (A point we have made before.)

          2. The Dalai Lama has always explicitly called for co-existence with the Han living in Tibet. Now isn’t this interesting. All of us lefties support the removal of Israeli settlers from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Yet the Dalai Lama—who has not called for the removal of Han settlers from Tibet—gets baited like this.

          As stated above, US exploitation of the Tibetan struggle is irrelevant to the justice of that struggle.

          Please examine your double standards.