Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lhasa United vs The Marmots

In continuation with my post of yesterday on football in Tibet, I post today some abstracts of Chapman's notes.
While in Tibet, Freddie Spencer Chapman, the Private Secretary of Sir Basil Gould, the Political Officer in Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet kept the British Mission Diary (he also took some of the earliest pictures of Roof of the World).

An entry on November 9th 1936 mentions: "First round of seven-a-side football. It was uncomfortably hot playing. Every day now the temperature rises well above 60 [degrees] F. but at night there are ten to fifteen degrees of frost" (Lhasa Mission, 1936: Diary of Events', Part IX p. 1, written by Chapman).
On an other occasion, Chapman recounts: "Today we were challenged to a game of 'Soccer' by Lhasa United, a team picked from Tibetan, Ladaki (Mohammedan) and Nepalese sides. They turned out in garish Harlequin-coloured shirts. After a good, clean, hard game the Mission Marmots (as we call ourselves) won by scoring the only goal of the day. The goal was so small that the only hope of scoring was to go through oneself with the ball. Playing at 11,800 feet is not as much of an ordeal as one would imagine, and we appeared to be no more breathless than our opponents. We now practice nearly every day and are thinking of picking up a number of seven-a-side teams to keep ourselves in training".
The British Mission team was known as the Marmots: “The Mission Marmots was the name given to the 1936 British Mission football team. The Mission established this team to play against various local groups (including “Lhasa United”) on a pitch behind the Norbhu Lingka. No goal was ever conceded by the British perhaps because they wore army field boots – prompting a request from the Ladakhis that the British should refrain from “wearing those fearful boots”. The football season came to an abrupt end when someone stole the goal posts to use for firewood and sandstorms became frequent. Team members Back row from left to right: Sonam, ?, Minghu. Middle row from left to right: Spencer Chapman, Dagg, Morgan, Nepean. Bottom row unidentified Tibetans. The lack of names for some of the Tibetan players in this photograph may be explained by the fact that only Norbhu (the Mission translator) was able to tell who was who amongst the Tibetan servants to the Mission.
Chapman describes this match against Lhasa United in October 1936: “Together with a crowd of supporters, our opponents were already there, turned out in garish harlequin-coloured silk shirts with L.U. sewn on to the pockets. They were a remarkable looking team, and certainly needed to be “United”! There was a tough looking Nepali soldier, a Chinese tailor, three bearded Ladakhis wearing red fezes – the most hirsute being the goalkeeper, a Sikkimese clerk of Pangda-Tsang’s, and five Tibetan officials, including our friends Yuto, Surkang-Se, and Taring Dzongpon. The latter still had their charm-boxes on top of their heads, so were precluded from heading the ball”.
Another entry in Chapman’s dairy: "Today we were challenged to a game of 'Soccer' by Lhasa United, a team picked from Tibetan, Ladaki (Mohammedan) and Nepalese sides. They turned out in garish Harlequin-coloured shirts. After a good, clean, hard game the Mission Marmots (as we call ourselves) won by scoring the only goal of the day. The goal was so small that the only hope of scoring was to go through oneself with the ball. Playing at 11,800 feet is not as much of an ordeal as one would imagine, and we appeared to be no more breathless than our opponents. We now practice nearly every day and are thinking of picking up a number of seven-a-side teams to keep ourselves in training".

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Football on the Roof of the World

As my column on the World Cup in continues, my thoughts turns to Tibet. 
Why is Tibet not represented in the FIFA? 
Why are the following countries represented and not Tibet? Here is a non-exhaustive list: Solomon Islands, Comoros, Mauritius, Palestine, Cayman Islands, Samoa, Seychelles Belize, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tonga, Brunei Darussalam, Tahiti, British Virgin Islands, Guam, Bhutan Macau Aruba, US Virgin Islands, Timor-Leste , Anguilla, Montserrat, American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Andorra or Faroe Island. 
One does not know about the existence of half of these 'countries'. 
At least everyone is aware where Tibet is located? And it is not even a question of territoriality, Tahiti being very much a part of France.
In the 1940's, the Tibetans already loved football and practiced on the Roof of the World. I don't know from where they were getting their jabulanis; probably from India as China had not become the manufacturing hub it is today.
The Tibetans would play friendly matches against the staff of the British and other foreign missions in Lhasa.
Training at 12,000 feet must have been a tough proposal for the forengis.

Claude Arpi captures the fan's passion for football in an ongoing e-mail exchange with Ivan Crasto,'s Sports Editor.

Read Claude's first e-mail here
You can find his second e-mail here
And his third here
And his fourth here
And his 5th: Revolution is a French sport
And his 6th: World Cup balls
And his 7th: Why is refereeing so poor in the World Cup?
And his 8th: The sinking of Old Europe
And his 9th Did you see the most ridiculous goal of the competition?

Dear Ivan,
Good morning! I hope that you enjoyed your weekend as much as I did.
I shared my time between the G20 and G16 (per-quarter finalists).
We live in a strange world, don't you think? The 200-odd countries represented today in world bodies such as the G20 get their rank on one criterion alone: GDP. It is the supreme god of our modern world. I always feel that we should have other criteria, why not the GNH (Gross National Happiness) like our Himalayan neighbour Bhutan? And why not many others?.
Thank god (I am not saying thanks to the FIFA), we have the World Cup.
Miroslav KloseHere, the criterion is to kick a round leather object and propel it behind a white line between two posts. I find it less boring than the GDP and more efficient in bringing together human beings of the five continents. Angela Merkel and David Cameron were not fooled by the tough agenda of Barack Obama and his colleagues; they took leave to watch the England-Germany match.
Despite their momentary absence, the planet will continue to turn, though it will never be the same for the Britons who got thrashed by the Goths. Did the Germans take some magic potion? Probably a psychological one: they are young and like to kick this piece of leather efficiently (though since it is made in China, it must be quite synthetic in fact).
The English team can always blame the referee(s) (I have already mentioned this: I considerer the poor refereeing to be the most shameful aspect of an otherwise well-organised tournament by South Africa). Despite the litigious goal scored by Farnk Lampard and refused by Mr Larrionda, the Uruguayan referee, the Germans were just better, much better. Germany [ Images ] had its revenge for the 1966 final when they were defeated by England (4-2)... after a controversial English goal! Better late than never.
Of course, the British tabloids screamed about the referee's blunder, but like the French and Italian, English football has a serious problem.
In the second match this Sunday, Argentina inflicted a 3-1 defeat to the Mexicans and this, after the Italian referee granted a goal to Tevez, who was widely off-side. When the Mexicans objected, the referee went to consult his line assistant (while the big screen was replaying the action and showing Tevez off-side). It was not enough to change Mr. Rosetti's decision. It is really a great tragedy of today's football to have narrow-minded bosses like Sepp Blatter or Michel Platini (president of the European federation) who live in another age and refuse video refereeing.
The second goal of Argentina was just an offering by Father Xmas Defender Osorio who just gave the ball away in front of the goal to the Albicelestes Higuain. The Mexicans did not merit losing so heavily (3-1), but that's football.
On Saturday, I enjoyed the two matches South Korea-Uruguay and USA-Ghana. I am happy that the South American team made it to the last eight, but it could as well have been the other way around. I have been wondering what makes a team win and another lose. Of course, one reason could be that one of the two is far superior (like for Germany-England); it could also be thanks to the help of arbitral blunders, but 'luck' (I will not say 'karma') is a determinant factor.
Why does the leather ball sometimes decide to penetrate the goal while in other cases, it just bangs off the post (by the way, did you know that the posts are made in France, one can't have everything made in China!!).
Good Luck is the villain or benefactor. Take the beautiful free kick of Chu Young Park in the 3rd minute, it rebounded after crashing the post, while Suarez's 'banana 'kick touched the post and entered. No doubt, it was beautiful goal, but with a tiny 10 cm deviation, we were in for extra-time. C'est la vie!
Sad to see the Americans out. It was a good team, playing fair (I never saw them grumbling against the referee), but it is good to have a representative of the African continent in the last eight. That is the problem with the knockout phase, one of the two teams has to go.
With better whistles for the referees
PS: It is said that the English won against Slovenia in the first round phase thanks to the glass of beer offered by their Italian coach. Let us hope that German coach Joachim Loew will have given several pints to his players (after the match), they merited it.
PPS: The following teams of the G20 made it to the G32: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa , Republic of Korea, United Kingdom (represented by England) and United States of America. Why not have a seat for the FIFA in the G21.

Rishi who foresaw the future

My article Rishi who foresaw the future has been published by The Pioneer. Click here to read.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rewriting History

It is interesting that China has finally decided to acknowledge some known historical facts.
The Chinese scholars have probably read this fascinating collection of archival documents available on the site of the Cold War International History Project. Click here to read their Virtual Archive.
It gives an overview of what really happened and the way Stalin used Mao and Kim for his own interests.
You can also read THE SINO-SOVIET ALLIANCE AND CHINA’S ENTRY INTO THE KOREAN WAR by CHEN JIAN (State University of New York at Geneseo).

China rewrites history of Korean War
The Telegraph
Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
25 Jun 2010
On the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, China has finally rewritten its history of how the conflict began to point the finger of responsibility at North Korea.
Until now, the Chinese have staunchly supported their North Korean allies, along whose side they fought in the war.
China previously insisted that the war was waged out of American aggression. The official title of the conflict on the mainland is "The War to Resist America and Aid Korea".
Chinese history textbooks state that the Korean War began when "the United States assembled a United Nations army of 15 countries and defiantly marched across the border and invaded North Korea, spreading the flames of war to our Yalu river."
The official Chinese media stated for the first time that it was North Korea that dealt the first blow. In a special report, Xinhua's International Affairs journal said: "On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army marched over 38th Parallel and started the attack. Three days later, Seoul fell."
China and North Korea were "as close as lips and teeth," said Mao Tse-tung.
The Korean War, which has never formally ended, has been largely forgotten in the West, despite the deaths of between two and three million people in the fighting.
In Asia, however, the memory of the war is still felt strongly and has sustained a continuing alliance and emotional bond between Beijing and Pyongyang.
While many Chinese historians privately subscribe to the view that North Korea was the aggressor in the war, driven by Kim Il-sung's desire to unite the Korean peninsula under a Communist banner, the matter remains highly sensitive.
"It is not convenient for me to comment on the matter," said Zhang Liangui, a leading professor of Korean studies at the Communist Central Party School in Beijing. "I was not aware of this timeline [in the Xinhua article]. As far as I am aware there has been no change to the official view on the war."
Meanwhile, the Global Times, a government-run newspaper, said it was "high time to renew and strengthen efforts by Chinese scholars to discover the truth about the Korean War."
In Seoul, South Korea held an official ceremony to remember the war and Lee Myung-bak, the president, paid tribute to the dead. "Sixty years ago, North Korea's communists opened fire on a weekend's dawn when all people were sleeping peacefully," he said.
Meanwhile, across the border, North Korea put across its own view of the conflict. Under the headline: "US, Provoker of Korean War," the country's state news agency accused Washington of starting the war with a surprise attack.
"All the historical facts show that it is the US imperialists who unleashed the war in Korea and that the United States can never escape from the responsibility," the Korean Central News Agency said.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Korean Factor

Sixty years ago, the Korean War started. I post today an extract of my book "Tibet, the Lost Frontier" as well as a Message given by Sri Aurobindo to a disciple at the end of June 1950. It is probably one of the last messages of Sri Aurobindo who left his body in December 1950.
While Nehru was only interested by the role he could play on the world scene, Sri Aurobindo saw that the forthcoming invasion of Tibet and the consequences for India and Asia.

Message from Sri Aurobindo on the Korean War
I do not know why you want a line of thought to be indicated to you for your guidance in the affair of Korea. There is nothing to hesitate about there, the whole affair is as plain as a pike-staff. It is the first move in the Communist plan of campaign to dominate and take possession first of these northern parts and then of South East Asia as a preliminary to their manoeuvres with regard to the rest of the continent - in passing, Tibet as a gate opening to India. If they succeed, there is no reason why domination of the whole world should not follow by steps until they are ready to deal with America. That is, provided the war can be staved off with America until Stalin can choose his time. Truman seems to have understood the situation if we can judge from his moves in Korea, but it is to be seen whether he is strong enough and determined enough to carry the matter through. The measures he has taken are likely to be incomplete and unsuccessful, since they do not include any actual military intervention except on sea and in the air. That seems to be the situation; we have to see how it develops. One thing is certain that if there is too much shiIly-shallying and if America gives up now her defence of Korea, she may be driven to yield position after position until it is too late: at one point or another she will have to stand and face the necessity of drastic action even if it leads to war. Stalin also seems not to be ready to face at once the risk of a world war and, if so, Truman can turn the tables on him by constantly facing him with the onus of either taking that risk or yielding position after position to America. I think that is all that I can see at present; for the moment the situation is as grave as it can be.

The Korean Factor
It is not possible to understand the happenings of the Iron-Tiger year — the Fateful Year without having a closer look at another event of 1950.
On June 25, 1950 North Korea crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the South. Soon after, the Western nations got involved in Korea under the auspices of the UN. We shall see the serious consequences of the Korean crisis on the Tibetan issue as eventually the PLA attacked Korea and Tibet on the same day in October 1950. While the international community reacted strongly to the Korean attack they virtually turned a blind eye to Tibet’s predicament.
The attitude of the Government of India towards the Tibetan issue would largely be dictated by the role that Nehru wanted to play in the Korean affair. For the Western powers, their involvement in the Korean peninsula appeared to stop them from taking bolder initiatives in favour of Tibet. It is clear that the main strategic interest of President Truman and Dean Acheson, his Secretary of State, was the fate of Korea and Formosa.
As we saw earlier, the People’s Republic had announced that the two main fronts to be opened in 1950 were Taiwan and Tibet (and the island of Hainan). Korea was never mentioned.
At the beginning of the summer, everything was more and less ready to advance on the Tibetan front. In Delhi, everybody was awaiting for the arrival of the Chinese Ambassador. The Tibetan negotiators were busy running around for visas to Hong Kong while being assured by the Government of India that Communist China was serious about a negotiated settlement.
In India, the ‘liberation’ of Tibet and its incorporation into the ‘Motherland’ were often taken as nothing more than socialist slogans.
In Tibet, the aristocracy and the monks were busy with their picnics and their normal life. There was a widespread belief that in the end truth would prevail and Tibet would be spared. The predictions of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama were long since forgotten. At the worst, it was thought that the Government could order the big monasteries in Lhasa or Chamdo to perform extra prayers, to secure the help of the Gods to protect the Land of Snows and its culture.
This attitude is also apparent from the memoirs of Takser Rinpoche, the elder brother of the Dalai Lama who was the Abbot of the Kumbum monastery in Amdo province in 1949/1950. He was told in the spring of 1950, by the Political Commissioner in Xining, that it was not only Kumbum and the adjacent areas which were going to be ‘liberated’ but the whole of Tibet . At the same time, the elite Chinese troops were preparing for a landing in Formosa.
At 1 a.m. on October 1, to celebrate the first anniversary of the new Republic, Zhou Enlai called his ‘neutral’ friend K.M. Panikkar to request him to inform the United States that if the US forces continued to advance towards the border marked by the Yalu river, China would have no other choice but to intervene. The same day the North Korean leader sent a telegram to Mao to request his immediate help.
China had no armoured corps, no air force worth a name. In spite of these odds, Mao decided that China would go to the defence of North Korea. The pride of the Chinese nation was at stake and China never liked to lose face.
On October 7th, 1950, Order No. 1 in the name of the Central Military Committee was issued naming Marshal Peng Dehuai as the Commander-in-Chief of the operations.
Communist China’s entry into the Korean war has been described at length, because it must be the first and only time in the annals of military history that a country opened two fronts at two opposite ends of its ‘empire’, on the same day, with what could appear to be two totally unrelated motives.
Simultaneously, on that same October 7th, 1950, the Second Field Army led by Deng Xiaoping and One-eyed Liu crossed the Upper Yangtze and entered Tibet to ‘liberate’ the Land of Snows. Mao was so sure of his strength that he decided (probably on the assurance of Deng Xiaoping) that a second front could be simultaneously opened.
But perhaps, Zhou had received indirect (or direct) assurances from Panikkar that India would not intervene.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Beautiful GDP Figures

These articles in the Chinese press are quite shocking. GDP is shining, but the lives of the Chinese 'common men' are not. It can only lead to rebellions.

Beautiful GDP Figures -- Useless Without a Decent Living Standard    
On May 12, 2010, the website published an article by Feng Haining that contrasted the low wages of Chinese laborers with China's high GDP. In Feng’s opinion, no matter how high the GDP is, the real worth of the GDP is not high if it is not reflected in the the people's living standard.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) pointed out that in 2007, China's per capita output increased 63.4% between 2000 and 2005, but high labor productivity is not reflected in wage growth. Ordinary workers have no voice in the distribution of revenue. What makes the public especially unhappy is that public policy always favors those with capital. From 1978 to 2005, capital return increased by 20 percent of the total GDP, while labor remuneration declined substantially.

China’s Widening Income Gap  
[Editor’s note: This report by a Xinhua research team provides a sobering view of China’s social economic disparity. Published on the government media Jing Ji Can Kao Bao (Economic Information Daily), the report reveals some sensitive data that are unflattering to China. Although, similar data has been widely reported outside of China, reading them on the Chinese media is somewhat unusual as it is generally against the party’s nature to reveal bad news. The publication of this report may be an indication of the government's increasing inability to conceal facts from the public. It may also be a decoy to divert people's attention from more serious issues. 
The first part deals with the widening income gap in China. The second part presents various color-coded income types. Many of them are illegal; most are hidden. It paints a disturbing picture of today’s society in China.
The following is an abbreviated version. Subtitles were added by the editor.]

Part I - Economic Polarity Exceeds the Danger Zone    
In the past few years, income gaps between regions, businesses, social groups, and rural and urban populations have been growing. As a result of the lopsided redistribution system, a small segment of the population has been getting richer, while the majority sees little opportunity. As a key indicator of economic polarity, China’s Gini coefficient has exceeded the “danger zone.” The problem is increasingly becoming a focal point in society. 

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer 
The Gini coefficient shows that the polarity in China is approaching the point of social intolerance, or the “danger zone.” According to Professor Chang Xiuze from the National Development and Reform Commission’s (NDRC) Macro Economic Research Institute, per widely recognized World Bank calculations, China’s Gini coefficient is 0.47. “Ten years ago, it was 0.4, which was an internationally accepted warning line. Since then, the coefficient has been increasing steadily, year after year. The economic polarity has exceeded the threshold of normalcy,” Stated Professor Chang.
According to Su Hainan, director of the Wage Research Institute under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the growing income gap is spreading to multiple levels of society. Currently, the Urban-Rural income ratio is 3.3, whereas the maximum ratio in the rest of the world is about 2.0. The salary disparity among various industries is also significant: the ratio between the highest and lowest paying industries is 15. The average salary of executives from state owned companies is 18 times that of the working level employees. On the average, these executives make 128 times more than the average citizen.
Li Shi, director of Beijing Normal University’s Income and Poverty Research Center, has participated in four major social income studies since the 1980s. He claims that the income disparity between the top 10% and the bottom 10% of the population increased from 7.3 in 1988 to 23 in 2007.
According to Tang Jun, secretary general of the Social Policy Research Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, “In recent years, income for both the poor and the rich has grown. However, when considering their spending patterns, the low income families have spent their money primarily on food and other necessities, and these goods are heavily susceptible to inflation. Therefore in reality, the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer.”

Real Estate, Mining, and Stocks Are Sources of Explosive Profits
In recent years, land, natural resources and capital have demonstrated their dominant influence over wealth redistribution. Real estate, mining, and the stock market have become the most profitable enterprises. With their instant, astronomical income, a handful of people have suddenly become China’s new tycoons. 
Per Forbes China’s Richest List, among the top 400 wealthiest people, 154 are real estate developers; among the top 40, nineteen are in real estate; five of the top 10 richest persons in China made their wealth from real estate. Real estate represents a major portion of China’s wealth.
Tang Jun believes that the key asset in real estate is land. According to the current land policy, the government and the developers together form a monopoly in selling and buying land. They buy land from peasants at low prices and sell houses at high prices. The developers and local governments then share the explosive profits resulting from these real estate deals. With skyrocketing housing prices, the people who own no homes have been left far behind, with little hope of ever making it.  
The non-renewable mineral resources are also possessed by a small group of people, who are rapidly getting rich. The reporter learned that in recent years in the coal rich Zuoyun County in Shanxi Province, several hundred coal mine bosses have become multi-millionaires. Ironically, the local peasants’ average annual income is only 4,359 yuan, ($640), which is 400 yuan below the national average. “Resource allocation is unfair, which intensifies the lopsided distribution of wealth in society,” commented Professor Chang Xiuze of the NDRC, “This is directly related to the lack of laws affecting mineral resource ownership. The issue is highlighted by the following factors: inadequate resource cost structure, a low mining tax, low mining costs, and no environmental responsibility. These are the secrets that enable the mining bosses to become abnormally rich, and these are the root causes of the dysfunctional distribution policy that results in the increasing income gap,” said Professor Chang.
Some experts have observed that, in recent years, the super hot capital market, especially the surge of speculative investments, has intensified the cumulative effect of capital and increased the income gap between the capital market and industrial activities. As a result, the rich are getting richer and the poor are becoming poorer.

“Hip Decides Wallet” 
Scholars such as Professor Wei Jie of Tsinghua University and Mr. Shi Ying, deputy director of Shaanxi Academy of Social Sciences have noticed a strange phenomenon.  For many years, people’s incomes have not been related to their talent and contribution to society; rather, their salaries are determined by where they work. Therefore, it is crucial for people to acquire the right social identity and be in the right industry. For instance, people could secure a high income, generous benefits, and a respectable social status if they managed to land a job in one of the monopoly industries, such as electric power, telecommunications, petroleum, banking or tobacco. Alternatively, they could also “win” their good fortune working as civil servants or government institution employees. 
According to statistics published by China’s Ministry of Human Resource and Social security, the average salary in the electric power, telecommunication, banking, insurance, and tobacco industries is two to three times higher than that in other industries. Counting non-monetary income and other fringe benefits, the actual income gap is probably even wider. At the end of 2008, retired government employees’ pensions were 2.1 times higher than those of private enterprise retirees; the pensions for retirees from state owned institutions were 1.8 times higher than those of private enterprise retirees. 
In recent years, many college graduates have flocked to apply for government jobs. It is not uncommon to see a thousand candidates applying for one civil servant opening. At the same time, the high salary for monopoly industries is under constant scrutiny. 

Part II - Colorful Income Categories  
"Gray Income" and "Black Income" have created a huge amount of "hidden income" in China, making it impossible to know China’s overall social wealth. In a 2007 report, Wang Xiaolu, deputy director of National Economic Research Institute of the China Reform Foundation, estimated that at least 4 trillion yuan of annual income fell into the black hole of "hidden income." Some experts believe that, at present, normal salary income, or "white income" makes up only one third of the actual gross income in China. A majority of income is undocumented and therefore nontaxable. 
Due to the complexity of the income distribution channels and the lack of a payroll book-keeping system, Chinese citizens make money in many different ways.  Recently, the reporter interviewed a large number of experts, low level officials, and average citizens in 15 provinces. Most people agreed with categorizing people’s income using five colors: White, Black, Gray, Bloody, and Golden.  

White Income
White Income refers to money made through documented payroll sources. The income is clean, clear, auditable and predictable. Su Hainan, director of the Wage Research Institute under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS), believes that, “White Income should be the mainstream income form in China. It is necessary to establish a wage growth mechanism and a payroll structure, to consolidate social security, and to increase pensions and other transferable income. (The government) should promote White Income as the dominant income source, demonstrate social justice, and enhance stability and harmony in society. 

Black Income

Black Income includes the illegal income of corrupt officials, and it also refers to gain derived from smuggling, drug trafficking, theft, robbery, kidnapping, and other criminal activities. According to Tang Jun, secretary general of the Social Policy Research Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and other experts, Black Income has diverted a huge sum of public funds into the wallets of some officials and lawbreakers. (The government) should resolutely crack down on Black Income.

Bloody Income
Bloody Income is the money made by violating human dignity, and by sacrificing human life or health. Incidents such as the Shanxi brick kilns (child laborers), and slave laborers in the Hulan District of Harbin City are examples of Bloody Income profiteering. These activities violate basic human dignity. They are the bottom line of social decency, and they damage China’s image. Therefore, they must be outlawed. 

Golden Income
With the economic development in recent years, Golden Income has become increasingly more important. This mainly refers to the profits from capital investment, a kind of asset appreciation income. Many people have benefited from capital gains in stock and in real estate. As a result, their personal wealth has grown exponentially. Some experts believe that the Golden Income should be encouraged, but it should be controlled using regulations and guidance, so the income can progress rationally, and its speculative nature can be minimized. At the same time, corresponding tax laws and other policies should be established to regulate Golden Income, and to avoid the "Matthew Effect"  that widens the income gap.  

Gray Income
There is no clear definition in academics for "Gray Income." Some scholars define Gray Income as money from unknown sources that are undocumented and non taxable; it is a hidden personal income. Others believe that income is either White or Black, and there is no real Gray Income. No matter how innocent it sounds, the nature is indeed Black Income made by trading power for money. 
At present, Gray Income has penetrated into all branches of society. It includes kickbacks, commissions, labor fees, lecture fees, royalties, cash gifts, and so on. 
According to Professor Chang Xiuze from the Macro Economic Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), “Gray Income can be classified into three categories: The first type is Normal Gray Income, or legal income obtained by inappropriate means. The second type is called Black Gray Income, such as kickbacks, holiday gifts, using public funds for private gain, and anniversary presents; these are creative bribes. The third is Light Gray Income, or legitimate but undocumented and untaxed income, which should have been placed in the White Income category.”

High-income People Make a Large Amount of "Hidden Income"
Wang Xiaolu, deputy director of the National Economic Research Institute of the China Reform Foundation, is an expert on Gray Income. A few years ago, he surveyed more than 2,000 recipients of all levels of income in dozens of cities and counties, focusing on family income and expense patterns. The survey revealed that a number of high-income families made a huge amount of “hidden income.” The survey estimated that the (annual) “hidden income” was as high as 4.8 trillion yuan (US$649 billion). The Top 10% of the wealthiest families in urban areas made the majority of the undocumented money. Their “hidden income” accounts for three-quarters of the total hidden income for the entire population.
Another major cause for the widening income gap, according to some experts, is government corruption. Taking advantage of existing loopholes in the system, (corrupt officials) make huge amounts of illegal Gray Income.  
Meanwhile, numerous corruption cases reveal that some officials have embezzled astronomical amounts of social wealth. According to statistics from the Chinese Supreme People's Procuratorate, in 2009 alone, 18,191 major corruption and bribery cases were investigated: 2,670 senior officials at the county level or above were involved; 204 were at the bureau chief level; and eight were provincial governor or cabinet minister level leaders. Chen Tonghai, the former Chairman of Sinopec, obtained nearly 200 million yuan (US$28 million) through graft, of which 160 million yuan (US$22 million) was from one instance of bribery, setting the record for a single bribe amount since the founding of the People’s Republic. 
Experts believe that corruption impacts income distribution in three main aspects:  
First, corruption disrupts distribution. Funds earmarked for low-income groups end up in the hands of those in power, aggravating the unfairness of distribution. Second, corruption makes real personal income uncountable, defeating the purpose of the tax collection structure. Third, members of vested interest groups are capable of, and will do everything to sabotage income distribution reform. They are the biggest road blocks to reform. 

The Distribution System at the "Crossroads" 
"Although society's tolerance of the wealth gap has increased, if (China) fails to curb the trend toward economic disparity and unfair wages, the consequence could be disastrous," said Yang Yiyong, director of the Institute for Social Development under the NDRC. According to Yang Yiyong, last year (2009), China’s GDP per capita was nearly $3,700 USD. (China’s) economic and social reform has entered a critical stage. Based on Latin America’s experiences, at the current stage, reform is critical to prevent economic stagnation, the widening income gap, and social unrest.  
Su Hanan of MHRSS indicated that a flawed distribution system is directly responsible for the troubles in unfair compensation. In Primary Distribution, clear and proper proportions for the government, businesses and individuals are nonexistent; wage income is disproportionably low; and systems to encourage normal wage growth do not exist. In Secondary Distribution, (the government) has not set up clear policies to appropriate funds for social welfare and other expenditures. Therefore, it is difficult to ensure fair and reasonable Secondary Distribution. China’s Third Distribution is small; the charitable donation system leaves a lot to be desired, and its social effect is limited. 
The Primary Distribution is irrational, intensifying the “strong capital, but weak labor” phenomenon. The initial distribution is heavily “pro-capital,” and the workers’ compensation is too low. Wage increases fall far behind company profit growth. Su Hanan said that, in contrast, in developed countries, wages normally account for 50% of business operating costs, while in our country (China), it’s less than 10%.
In Secondary Distribution, due to the immature social welfare system, a “reversed regulation” (welfare money flows from the poor to the rich) phenomenon has occurred. According to data released by the All China Federation of Trade Unions, among all employees in urban areas, only 62% have a pension plan, and 60% have medical insurance; for migrant workers, these numbers are even lower. 
Some experts believe that, to keep the wealth gap from crossing into the danger zone, (the government) should urgently revamp the income distribution policies. It must tackle the root causes using a comprehensive approach, solicit cooperation from all parties, consider direct and indirect factors, and develop a systematic reform program.
[1] Report compiled by the Xinhua Research Team

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Football comments

In case you are interested by football, here is the link to my  Rediff Sports' column on the World Cup in South Africa. Click here.

The New Great Game

In the past, Great empires have rarely been built for philanthropic reasons. The British did not ‘civilize’ the Indian subcontinent for the good of the natives, ditto for the French in Africa. Most of the time, the ‘colonized’ countries happened to be rich in raw materials badly required to feed the economic engine of the paramount powers.
The recent happenings in Afghanistan seem to follow the same pattern?
For the past nine years, we have heard of the war against terror forcing more than a lakh of American (and NATO) jawans to risk their lives in the far-away Central Asian land to fight for the good of humanity and destroy asuric Talibans roaming around the country.
Remember. A month after the tragedy of 9/11, the United States supported by the United Kingdom and several other countries from the NATO alliance began bombing Taliban (more nebulously known as Al Qaeda) forces. The military operations’ objective was to grab the power out of fundamentalist hands and prevent the use of Afghanistan’s territory as a terrorist base. Nobody in Washington thought at that time, that ‘terrorism’ could also have some roots in Afghanistan’s neighbouring country; Pakistan was THE ally per excellence.
Early October 2001, the CIA's elite Special Activities Division landed in Kabul; it was the beginning of the ‘cleansing’ operation to flush out the agents of terror. Eventually, the Taliban regime of Mollah Omar fell and the NATO forces started to ‘control’ the country. Till then, things were rather simple to understand. Unfortunately for the Pentagon strategists, the ‘control’ is still missing nine years later.
But there is now a new angle to the Afghan imbroglio.
Washington disclosed recently that its surveyors have discovered more than one $1 trillion in mineral deposits in Afghanistan. The New York Times noted: “it is far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself.”
It appears that an internal Pentagon memo even mentions that Afghanistan could become the ‘Saudi Arabia of lithium’, a very useful mineral to manufacture batteries for electronic gadgets.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, commanding the United States Forces declared: “There is stunning potential here …There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan Minister of Mines told The New York Times: “This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy.”
But everybody is not convinced by the ‘new’ discovery.
Stephen Walt in an article entitled Is Afghanistan really the next El Dorado?, published in Foreign Policy wrote: “So today -- surprise, surprise -- comes news that Afghanistan isn't a poor country whose primary strategic asset is its ability to grow opium poppies. Nope, turns out Afghanistan is just brimming with iron ore, lithium, cobalt, copper, and other strategic minerals. This report -- which comes from ‘a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists’ may well be completely correct, but isn't the timing of the release a mite suspicious? This looks to me like an attempt to provide a convincing strategic rationale for an effort that isn't going well.”
Not surprisingly, one of the first countries to react was China. Xinhua commented the Pentagon announcement: “it may function as a double-edged sword for the Central Asian country, and it will likely justify continuous US engagement in Afghanistan's rebuilding process.”
Xinhua quotes Wu Dahui, a scholar with the Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who believes that “the well-timed report will help justify the US' presence in the country” He added: “Washington has insisted that the stability of Afghanistan relies on its economic rebuilding. The announcement was timed to prove that the US can gain strategically from its involvement in rebuilding the war-torn country. The resources in Afghanistan would feed the US' demand to boost its economy.”
The Chinese probably have a point. They themselves are interested to get a share of the cake. In April, Christian Le Mière, the Editor of Jane's Intelligence Review in Foreign Affairs put it thus: “The possibility of cheap resources on its border is of significant interest to Beijing. China has already made the largest single foreign direct investment in Afghanistan: $3.5 billion in the Aynak copper field in Logar province.”
Kabul knows that the Americans and their NATO partners are to withdraw in July 2011. Though Beijing is not interested in Afghanistan for security reasons, there is a place to take in the future economy of Afghanistan.
A few months back President Hu declared that the development of the western region is a priority of China's twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011 to 2015).
In the words of Le Mière: “Trade and development assistance form an even larger part of the burgeoning Afghan-Chinese relationship.”
The security aspect is however not negligible, as the leadership in Beijing would not like to see its Western provinces, particularly the restive Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) destabilized.
It was another reason for President Hamid Karzai to visit China in March 2010. It was his fourth trip to China as President and according to analysts a sign that Kabul has wanted to diversify its patrons and not bank entirely on the US.
In January 2010, Russell Hsiao and Glen E. Howard in The China Brief of the Jamestown Institute mentioned some Chinese moves in the strategic Wakan Corridor: “A recent Chinese report has shed light on three major Chinese developments along the Wakhan Corridor that reportedly began in 2009, which highlight preparations in regional infrastructure along that border.”
The report speaks of a 75 kilometers-long road, extending up to 10 kilometers from the China-Afghanistan border. The road, built by Chinese Ministry of Defense is badly needed for the transportation of military supplies to Chinese frontier guards. Then, the Chinese have constructed a supply depot to improve the “food quality standard for the police forces”.
The third development is a mobile communications center which would permit the operation of mobile devices along the border. Earlier border troops had to depend on satellite communications.
However for Russell Hsiao, China is not ready to play a ‘strategic’ or military role in Afghanistan. He quotes the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang: “Except for the U.N. peace-keeping missions approved by the U.N. Security Council, China never sends a single troop abroad”, adding: “At the same time, there are also those [in the Chinese government] who view NATO operations in Afghanistan more cynically and see them as part of a U.S. strategy to gain control over Central Asia.”
With the ‘discovery’ that Afghanistan is a rich country (not only for its poppies) cynicism is bound to increase. Many believe that we are witnessing the beginning of a new Great Game like during the 19th century.
One could ask: where does India fit in this new political and economic order?
Delhi has a big problem. Were India to get a stake in the minerals, how to bring them home?
Indrani Bagchi rightly explains in The Times of India: “Pakistan's India blockade and an international sanctions regime in Iran may put a spanner in Indian companies' drive to exploit the mineral bonanza in Afghanistan.”
Technically, Indian companies like Arcelor-Mittal or Vedanta could have a chance, for example when the bid for Hajigak iron ore mines opens up, but will Pakistan let the raw materials transit through its territory. Certainly not.
The other road through Iran is also doubtful in view of the new UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Manmohan would certainly not like to antagonize his American friends.
In a near future, the Chinese are bound to win the raw materials market in Afghanistan. While the NATO forces are fighting an unwinnable war, Beijing has quietly started tapping the wealth of the country. India, may be highly considered by the people of Afghanistan, but in the end, business  is business and China is better prepared, with the infrastructure in particular. One question remains, is this newly discovered wealth a bane or a blessing for the people of Afghanistan?
I still remember when as a young student I visited Afghanistan with a backpack; it was at the end of 1960’s. I was in love with this country; it was so peaceful (one would say ‘cool’ now). I remember the beauty of Herat, the fabulous Buddhas of Bamyan (today no more, courtesy some fanatical Talibans) or the extraordinary blue lakes of Band-i-Amir. More than anything else, the hospitality of the different tribes, whether Pashtus, Tajiks or Uzbeks. People seemed so relaxed and content. What has happened?
The US ‘discovery’ will certainly not help to bring the old peace and harmony back.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It is already cracking!

Bad news for the populations of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, the Three Gorges Dam is already cracking.
One can imagine the anguish of the downstream populations in India if the Chinese go ahead with their project to build a mega hydro-power plant on the Brahmaputra. 
The problem is that Beijing seems obsoletely unable to control the quality of the work done by the contractors. 
Let us pray that it will not happen.

"Cracks" in China's Three Gorges dam
June 19, 2010
A senior Chinese official says cracks have appeared in the controversial Three Gorges hydroelectric dam being built on the Yangtze river.
Qian Zhengying, the former minister of water resources who heads an expert group on the dam, returned from a week-long inspection of the project demanding that the cracks be "repaired fastidiously", according to the state-controlled China Daily.
There have been consistent rumours that the 185-metre-high (605 feet) dam, which entails the removal of entire villages to higher ground, is being shoddily constructed, amid reports of endemic corruption in the project.
But the China Daily report represents an usually frank admission that the dam has serious shortcomings and some leaders are now critical of the project.
"During the past three years, concrete placement in the project has not been first class, causing a variety of related accidents and drawbacks, though the concrete process has improved compared with previous years," Ms Qian was quoted as saying.
The cracks measure a maximum 1.25 millimetres across and 2.5 metres deep, according to China Daily.
The paper said cracks had also been found in the project's permanent ship-locks and ship-lifts.

Costly project
The Chinese Government's prestige project is hugely costly - officially it is expected to cost at least US$24bn but unofficial estimates say it could cost at least three times that amount.
It has been bedevilled by corruption. In 2000, 97 officials were convicted of embezzlement from the dam fund.
Activists have criticised the enforced resettlement of those whose homes lay in the 600 kilometre-long (375 miles) area, which will form the Three Gorges reservoir and the loss of many historic buildings and artefacts that will be drowned.
The dam is intended to control China's notorious flooding problem. But engineers have questioned whether the dam will be effective, citing problems with sedimentation and the construction itself.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A stooge Panchen Lama

The Panchen Lama seating with Party bosses in Lhasa

The bosses of the People’s Republic of China have recently decided to invest in propaganda (sorry, publicity) to highlight the ‘Chinese Model’ of governance. And Beijing, unlike European countries, is not broke; they are ready to pour a few billion dollars into the venture.
The Central Publicity Department (earlier known as the Propaganda Department) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is an internal organ of the CCP “in charge of ideology-related work, as well as its propaganda system”. The ex-Propaganda Department also enforces media censorship in China and gives instructions to the media on what can be said about tricky issues such as Taiwan or Tibet.
When it is deemed necessary to protect ‘State Security’, it can even modify news. To give an example of the monitoring of ‘national’ news, on May 15, Xia Lin, Chief Editor of Xinhua News Agency presented a report to some students of journalism at Tianjin Foreign Studies University. The topic of the report was Understanding Journalistic Protocols for Covering Breaking News.
According to the blog of one of the witnesses (his posting was later removed), Xia gave the example of the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft’s return to earth. After a successful landing, the astronaut Yang Liwei emerged from the cabin. The momentous event was broadcast ‘live’. Yang Liwei’s face was a bit pale, but his body looked in good condition. In front of the cameras, he was quickly taken out the cabin. Xia explained to the students that the images of Yang Liwei had actually been ‘cleaned up’. According to China Digital Times the mission landing was not so perfect. The excessive G-force pressure during re-entry split open Yang Liwei’s lips, drenching his face in blood: “The workers quickly mopped up the blood, strapped him back in his seat and shut the door. Then, with the cameras rolling, the cabin door swung open again, revealing an unblemished moment of triumph”.
A recent report in the Indian press shows that the Publicity Department is also able to use foreign media to propagate its version of history.
The report stated: “Twenty-year-old Panchen Lama, being projected by China as the Dalai Lama’s successor, has made his ‘political debut’ by making a maiden address at a prominent monastery in Tibet, the state media said on Tuesday”.
Only quoting Chinese media, the Indian report affirmed: “The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, addressed for the first time a congregation at Tashilhunpo monastery in Tibet. Qoigyijabu was appointed by China as the 11th Panchen Lama.”
The fact that the name of the Panchen Lama (Bainqen) Gyaltsen Norbu (Qoigyijabu) was phonetically spelled à la Chinese showed the origin of the report.
Though it mentioned that “the designation of six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima for the same post by Dalai Lama in 1995 was repudiated”, nothing about the background was explained.
The Chinese propaganda has now openly decided to bet on Gyaltsen Norbu as the new spiritual leader of Tibet. The young Lama has been appointed a delegate to the top legislative advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Desperate to win over the Tibetans, the Chinese leadership does not realize that this tactical move can only create more resentment among the Tibetan masses.
Flashback: in December 1989, the Tenth Panchen Lama died in mysterious circumstances in Tashilhunpo monastery. A couple of days earlier, he had publicly declared that 40 years of Communist presence had brought more misery than good things for Tibet. One senior Chinese official witnessed the Panchen Lama’s speech. His name, Hu Jintao then CCP boss in the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
The fate of the Panchen Lama came back in the news in May 1995 when, on the occasion of Buddha Poornima, the Dalai Lama formally announced that Gedhun Choeki Nyima, a six-year old boy from Lhari district in Tibet was the genuine Eleventh Panchen Lama. This marked the culmination of a long process started soon after the death of his predecessor.
For the proceeding four years, the Dalai Lama had performed different religious and spiritual practices in order to discover the correct reincarnation. He had also been in secret contact with the Chinese-appointed head of the Search Committee, Chatrel Rimpoche who had twice consulted the Lhamoi Lhatso, the Lake of Vision in which signs always indicate the path to follow to find a departed lama.
The Chinese reaction was not long in coming. Infuriated that they had been out played by the Dalai Lama (the worse affront for the Chinese psyche is to publicly lose face), they immediately arrested Chatrel Rimpoche as well as the newly recognized Panchen Lama.
Since then, nothing is known about the whereabouts of Gedhun Choeki Nyima, known as the Youngest Political Prisoner in the World.
In October 1995, the Dalai Lama appealed personally to Jiang Zemin: “I am deeply concerned that the whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, whom I have recognised as the incarnation of the late Panchen Lama, are not known publicly since some time”. But no official answer came from Beijing, However, the matter was taken very seriously in Beijing and this at the highest level of the State. President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng personally took over into the issue. They decide that no time should be lost in announcing China’s own candidate.
On November 8, Jiang Zemin asks some hand-picked monks in Beijing to met and nominate three candidates other than Gedhun. Their names were put in the Golden Urn in the Cathedral in Lhasa and Gyaltsen’s name came out first.
On December 8, 1995, Gyaltsen was ‘officially’ enthroned by the Party in the Tashilhunpo monastery. The ceremony was kept secret by the Chinese authorities until the last moment as they feared the backlash of angry masses at this unilateral imposition of the Party’s candidate.
It is interesting to note that even though Chatrel Rimpoche had been specially chosen by Beijing for his pro-Chinese sentiments, at the end of the process, he chose to refer the matter to the Dalai Lama for the final choice.
Already a question is in the mind of all the Tibetans and their well-wishers: is the puppet Panchen Lama’s recognition and enthronement a rehearsal for a more important recognition: the Dalai Lama’s?
There are no more doubts about this.
Today the Central Publicity Department fully uses the Party’s Panchen Lama for propaganda purposes. During the Lamas’ recent visit to Tibet, he was received as a VVIP (with red carpet) by the bosses of the Party, lead by the infamous Zhang Qingli who once called the Dalai Lama a wolf in monk's robes.
The Lama also visited Yumbulhakang, the Palace of the First Kings of Tibet and the cradle of the Tibetan civilization. He also went to the Reting monastery founded by Atisha, the great Bengali Pandit. It is from Reting that the prevalent Kadampa lineage of Tibetan Buddhist originated and it has a deep meaning for the Tibetans. The Lama met the young Reting Rinpoche, a puppet Lama who in his previous life has been fiercely anti-Dalai Lama.
The only thing that the Chinese can't do is to buy the love of the Tibetan people for someone they consider as a stooge of the Party. Resentment is bound to grow.

Xi Jinping, Bangladesh and the Brahmaputra

I think that it is the first time that the Bangladesh government takes up the damming of the Brahmaputra with China. Beijing must have promised to share similar data as the ones promised to India.
Business between China and Bangladesh is fast increasing and India has already been replaced by China as the main exporter to Dhaka. It is ominous for India.

China makes strategic forays into Bangladesh 
June 15, 2010
In another sign of its growing strategic inroads into South Asia, China has proposed to help Bangladesh build a deep-sea port in Chittagong and agreed to exchange data about the Brahmaputra river that flows from Tibet to Bangladesh through India.
China has also promised assistance in installing Bangladesh's first space satellite.
All these issues came up Monday during talks between visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinpeng and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina which covered cooperation on political, economic and cultural fronts, The Daily Star newspaper reported.
Bangladesh officials said Xi's was a 'return visit' to the one paid by Hasina in March this year and would see updating on the pacts signed then.
Hasina had travelled to China, seeking closer cooperation in a number of areas, including building a road link from Chittagong to Kunming in eastern China.
According to strategic analysts, the port development in Chittagong is part of China's 'String of Pearls' strategy that it wants to use to secure sea lanes that cross the Indian Ocean and link its industrialized eastern seaboard with the energy resources of the Middle East.
China has been developing ports in Gwadar, Pakistan, and at Hambantota in Sri Lanka. It has expanded its influence in Myanmar in recent years.
This is the first visit by a Chinese state leader since the Awami League-led government assumed power in January last year. Xi is leading a 35-member delegation and will sign an agreement regarding economic cooperation, under which China will provide 40 million yuan ($5.8 million) as grant.
Over the past few years, China has emerged as the largest supplier of military hardware to Bangladesh.
China has also replaced India as Bangladesh's biggest import destination with trade between the two nations standing at $4.58 billion, though heavily skewed in favour of Beijing with Bangladesh import being $ 4.4 billion.
China offered last month duty-free access to some 5,000 Bangladeshi products in a 'goodwill gesture'.
Bilateral trade between Bangladesh and China is expected to increase to $5 billion in 2010 from $4.58 billion in 2009.
Interestingly, China had opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan in 1971 and recognized it only in 1975.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Chinese Emperor's nightmare

My article on the unrest in the Chinese industrial sector has been published by under the title: The Chinese Emperor's nightmare. Click here to read.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No visit to Russia for the Dalai Lama

Complicity between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping

This confirms some of my earlier postings on the subject. Russia is aligning its Tibet policy on Beijing.
The decision was probably taken during President Hu Jintao's visit to Moscow in April.
The Russian Government had been apparently decided several months ago that the Dalai Lama would not be granted a visa to visit the Buddhist republics of the Russian Federation. The statements of the Russian Embassy are just a conformation. 
With Beijing not ready to listen to Washington and Moscow openly siding with the Chinese, the position of the Dalai Lama become more tricky, at least as far as 'negotiations' are concerned. Read my earlier postings.

Wary of China, Russia says no to Dalai visit
Sachin Parashar,
Times of India
Jun 16, 2010,
NEW DELHI: In yet another manifestation of China’s might, Russian diplomats have met their Chinese counterparts in Delhi to assure Beijing that Moscow won’t allow the Dalai Lama to visit Russia "under the present circumstances". Stating that the spiritual leader’s activities had acquired a political tinge, Russian officials said their advice to the Dalai Lama was to improve relations with China and refrain from political activities.
The Russians were pushed into damage-control mode after Beijing was said to have been offended by an alleged remark by Russian ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin that Russia may issue a visa to Dalai Lama. The Chinese, however, had not registered any official protest. The Russian embassy denied that any such remark had been made by the ambassador.
The Russians have attributed the confusion to a "mistake" in the transcript of an interview which Kadakin gave to an agency recently, on a visit to Himachal Pradesh. "The Russian foreign minister has made it clear that Russia treasures strategic partnership with China and has no intention of damaging it. For this reason, Russia’s advice for the Dalai Lama is to improve relations with Beijing and stay away from politics," said a Russian embassy official in Delhi.
"If he chooses to pay a pastoral [religious] visit, there should be no problem. But he will have to look differently on the purpose of his visit first. For now, a visit by the Dalai Lama or a visa for him is out of the question," he added.
According to the Russian embassy, its diplomats have met the Chinese embassy councillor in Delhi to brief him on the Russian position and provide him with the authentic text of Kadakin’s interview.
The Dalai Lama has visited Russia several times, the last one being in 2004, to the traditionally Buddhist dominated areas of Kalmykia near the Caspian Sea. However, with Moscow being excessively keen on building good relations with Beijing, it has since refused to issue visa to the Tibetan leader.
Only last month, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov criticized Dalai Lama for his "provocative" stand.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

White Paper VII on China (cont'd)

Someone commented on my previous posting that the Note from the Chinese Government sent on October 20, 1962 was propaganda.
I am posting here the answer of the Government of India. Note that it took 6 days for Delhi to react. The Nehru Government was probably so flabbergasted by the sudden and unexpected attack that it did not know what to answer. The fact that Beijing sent a detailed note a few hours after the attack shows once again that the attack had been premeditated for months, if not for years. One does not built the necessary infrastructure for such operation in a couple of months.
The Chinese are doing the same today north of Arunachal Pradesh, in case....

Note given by the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, to the Embassy of China in India, 26 October 1962
The Ministry of External Affairs presents its compliments to the Embassy of the People's Republic of China and has the honour to refer to the Chinese Government's note dated 20th October, 1962, on the recent grave developments in the Eastern and Western sectors of India's northern border.
The Government of India take the strongest objection to the deliberate distortion of facts that is contained in the Chinese Government's note. The falsity of Chinese claims is only matched by the reckless cynicism with which they have begun large scale hostilities in which Indian posts in Indian territory have been attacked and air craft evacuating casualties have been shot down.
At 0500 hours on 20th October Chinese intruding forces mounted a fierce offensive with machine gun and heavy mortar fire against Indian defence positions along the Namkha Chu river and also at Khinzemane. The Indian post at Khinzemane was surrounded and wireless contact was lost with the post at 0700 hours the same day.
Subsequently the Indian posts at Dhola and Tsangdhar were overrun by Chinese troops in major battle offensives. Not only were Indian defence positions on the ground subjected to Chinese attack but Chinese forces also unscrupulously shot down two Indian helicopters which were engaged in evacuating casualties from the area.
It will be seen from the above facts that it is Chinese forces and not Indian forces that have "brazenly unleashed their massive general attacks". Even as recently as in their note dated 13th October the Chinese Government had been protesting against the existence of Indian defence positions at Tse Dong (91 42' E 27° 46. 5' N).
The fact that the fighting today is taking place far south of Tse Dong is dear evidence that Chinese forces are aggressively pressing forward into Indian territory. No prevarication by the Chinese Government can conceal this basic truth.
In the Western sector also, Chinese intruding forces similarly launched a series of planned attacks from the evening of 19th October. Fighting in this area has continued unabated from the 19th October and Chinese forces have to date over-run several legitimate Indian defence posts in the area. That Chinese attacking forces have been supported by heavy mortar and mountain artillery tire and by tanks indicates beyond doubt that these attacks too form part of a premeditated and large scale Chinese offensive into Indian territory.
The Chine se Government are aware that in spite of the initiative taken by the Government of India since July this year for talks and discussions on measures to reduce tensions prior to substantive discussions on the India-China boundary in the Western sector, the Chinese Government, both in their notes and by their aggressive military policies, had indicated their lack of interest in any civilized solution to differences between the two countries. On 3rd August 1962 the Chinese Foreign Minister, Marshal Chen Yi, unequivocally stated that no force in the world could oblige Chinese troops to with draw from their own territory either in the past or in the future. On the next day, in their note of August 4th, the Chinese Government had the effrontery to write that "it approves of the suggestion put forth by the Indian Government in its note for further discussions on the Sino-Indian boundary question on the basis of the report of the officials of the two countries." In plain words, they were ready to discuss on the clear understanding that they hold what they have taken by force over a period of years.
The hollowness of Chinese professions was soon patent once again when on 8th September, Chinese military forces committed fresh aggression in an area which had been comparatively quiet for some years. They marched across the Indian frontier-the Thagla Ridge in the north-western sector of the Eastern boundary-into undisputable Indian territory. This was followed by unscrupulous attacks on Indian posts in the NEF A on 20th September and 10th October.
While notes were being exchanged to correct the situation created by this further Chinese aggression, the Chinese satisfied with their assessment of the military situation from the result of their probing attacks on 20th September and 10th October, launched an all-out military offensive on the 20th October along the entire India-China boundary. This offensive still continues and Chinese forces are continuing to mount heavy attacks on Indian defence positions and are advancing into Indian territory.
The hypocrisy of the Chine se allegations in their note that the Indian Government for the third time flatly rejected the Chine se proposal for holding discussions is clearly established from the facts in the preceding paragraphs. The repeated professions of the Chinese Government reiterated even in the present note, that "the Chinese Government have always stood for a peaceful settlement of the Sino-Indian boundary question" are sheer hypocrisy and were only intended to deceive while massive preparations for invasion of India were being made by the Chinese. Obviously this hurling of Chinese military might against India's limited border defence forces had only one objective viz. to force India to accept a settlement on Chine se terms. The Government of India can never agree to talk or discuss under threat of force. They stand by their earlier position that before any talks can be considered there must be a restoration of the position that existed in early September 1962.
While rejecting the Chinese note under reference, the Government of India pro test most categorically against this blatant aggression by China which will be resisted at all cost.
The Ministry of External Affairs avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the People's Republic of China the assurances of its highest consideration.

Monday, June 14, 2010

For Their Eyes Only.

An excellent article on the over-classification of Indian historical documents has been published in the latest issue of India Today. It includes a couple of quotes from me. You can read it online.
The title of the article is For Their Eyes Only, refers to the babus who confiscate the history of India.
In fact, it is not even for Their Eyes as they are not interested at all by the history of their country and they have never gone through the files that they have classified for ever. It makes me so sad. It is for Nobody's Eyes Only.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

White Paper VII on China

Posted in my website "Notes, Memoranda and Letters Exchanged and Agreements signed between the Governments of India and China (July – October 1962)" known as the White Paper 7.
I posted below an interesting extract, the letter sent by the Chinese Government to the Indian Government on October 20, 1962. Read it, India is accused to have started the war. To read the entire document, click here.

Note given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peking, to the Embassy of India in China, 20 October 1962
The Chinese Government received successive urgent reports from the Chinese frontier guards on October 20th to the effect that Indian troops had launched massive general attacks against Chinese frontier guards in both Eastern and Western sectors of the Sino-Indian border simultaneously. The Chinese Government hereby lodges the most urgent the most serious and the strongest protest with the Indian Government.
In the Eastern sector, the Indian forces of aggression had in the three days since 17th October repeatedly directed vehement artillery bombardments against the Chinese frontier guards in the area between Kalung and the Sechang lake in the upper reaches of the Kechilang river, and in the Che-jao bridge area in the middle reaches of the river in the Chedong area in China's Tibet region. At the same time great number of Indian troops had moved continuously to concentrate at Pangkangting south of the Chedong bridge.
At 7 o'clock (Peking time) in the morning of 20th October the aggressive Indian forces, under the cover of fierce artillery fire launched massive attacks against the Chinese frontier guards all along the Kechilang river and in the Khinzemane area.
In the Western sector the Indian forces of aggression entrenched in the Chip Chap Valley and the Galwan Valley in Sinkiang also launched general attack early in the morning of the 20th against Chinese frontier guards under the cover of fierce gun fire. Two days before that is on 18th October the Indian forces occupying the Chip Chap Valley had already begun closing in on the Chinese frontier posts in preparation for these attacks.
The above mentioned frenzied attacks by the aggressive Indian forces on Chinese territory in both Eastern and Western sectors of the Sinkiang Indian boundary have caused heavy casualties to the Chinese frontier guards. Pressed beyond the limits of forbearance and forced to where no further retreat was possible the Chinese frontier guards were compelled to strike back in self-defence.
It must be seriously pointed out that the present massive general attack by the Indian forces were prepared over a long time by India. On 6th October the Indian Government for the third time flatly rejected China's proposal for holding discussions on the basis of 22nd March report of the Officials of the two countries. On 12th October Indian Prime Minister NEHRU declared that he has issued instructions to 'free' China's territory of Chinese troops. On 14th October Indian Defence Minister MENON stated that they would tight China to the last man and the last gun. On 16th October immediate by after his return to New Delhi from abroad Prime Minister NEHRU summoned a meeting of high ranking military officers to step up war dispositions. And on October 20th the Indian forces brazenly unleashed their massive general attacks on Chinese territory in the Sino-Indian border.
The Chinese Government has always stood for a peaceful settlement of the Sino-Indian boundary question. The Indian Government after flatly refusing to negotiate has launched massive general attacks against the Chinese frontier guards on Chinese territory. China has no choice but to rebuff these frenzied attacks resolutely. The fight is still going on. The Indian Government must bear full responsibility for all the serious consequences arising therefrom.

Puppet Panchen in Tibet

The Chinese are betting on the puppet Panchen Lama to one day 'replace'  the Dalai Lama. He has been received as a VVIP (with red carpet) by the bosses of the Party lead by the infamous Zhang Qingli who once said that the Dalai Lama is a wolf in monk's robe.
The Party-nominated Panchen Lama also visited Yumbulhakang, the Palace of the First Kings of Tibet and the monastery of Reting, founded by Atisha, the great Bengali Pandit. It is from Reting that the Kadampa lineage of Tibetan Buddhist originated .
The Lama met the young Reting Rinpoche who in his previous life has been violently anti-Dalai Lama. The only thing that the Chinese can't do is to buy the love of the Tibetan People for someone they consider as a stooge of the Party. Resentment is bound to grow.

TAR officials meet the 11th Panchen Lama in Lhasa
China Tibet Information Center
A group of TAR officials including Zhang Qingli, Qiangba Puncog, Padma Tsinle, Hao Peng, Pasang Dondrup, Losang Gyaltsen, Gonpo Tashi went to Xuelin Duoji Phodrang and met the 11th Panchen Lama on June 5, 2010 in Lhasa.
Zhang Qingli, who is the secretary of TAR Party committee, highly praised for the progress the 11th Panchen Lama has made in all aspects over the past year. He also introduced major acheivements in society and economy in recent years around the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The 11th Panchen Lama thanked for TAR officials' visit and was delighted to see great changes in all aspects in Tibet under the leadership of CPC and TAR government. He expressed that he would inherit the tradition from past generations of Panchen and resolutely maintain the union of the nation and the unity among ethnic groups. He was sincerely hoped that Tibet has good and fast development in all social and economic aspects; all the people in Tibet have happy life.

With Reting Rinpoche

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Zhang Wenji-Parthasarathy border talks (1961)

Just posted on my website the memorandum of three conversations between Zhang Wenji, Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department Number One, and G. Parthasarathy, the Indian Ambassador .
The topics discussed are the future of Sino-Indian relations, Sino-Indian border issues, and India’s focus on such issues as Bhutan, Sikkim and Pakistan.
This document (from Chinese sources) belongs to the Cold War International History Project Virtual Archive. Click here to read.

Should India’s history remain secret?

The Secret Archives of the Vatican will open soon.
Nick Squires wrote in The Telegraph: “After centuries of being kept under lock and key, the Vatican has started opening its Secret Archives to outsiders in a bid to dispel the myths and mystique created by works of fiction such as Dan Brown's Angels and Demons… The archives [were], until now jealously guarded from prying eyes.”
This is not the case in India which is one of the few nations which refuses to declassify archival material (with North Korea probably) and this despite the fact that in 2005, the Right to Information Act was passed with fanfare by the Indian Parliament.
Unfortunately the new law seems to help those who do not want India’s history to be known. Article 8 (1) (a) says: “There shall be no obligation to give any citizen,– (a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offense.”
This paragraph, interpreted by babus and politicians, is enough to makes all the files of the Ministry of External Affairs, Defence and Home inaccessible to the public.
One of the most glaring (and foolish) examples of this outdated policy is the Henderson Brookes Report. Hiding behind this clause, the Government forbids the people of India to know what really happened in October 1962.
A few weeks after the debacle of October-November 1962, General J.N. Chaudhuri constituted a committee to study the causes of the 'Himalayan Blunder’. An Anglo-Indian general named Henderson Brooks (along with Brigadier P.S. Bhagat) was requested to go through the official records and prepare a report on the war. Sometime in 1963, the general presented his findings to Nehru. The report was immediately classified as 'Top Secret.'
One can understand that at the time the Prime Minister did not want the report to be made public, as he might have had to take responsibility for the unpreparedness of the army.
The tragedy is that this report, classified ‘Top Secret’ in 1963, continues to remain so today. Is it not distressing that 48 years after the event, the Government of India still gives a free hand to the Chinese to propagate their version of history?
Perhaps in the most bizarre statement ever made in Parliament, Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the MPs that the Henderson Brooks report “which was the result of an operational investigation into the failures of the Indian Army during the 1962 conflict with China” should remain a top secret document.
Why? The Minister explained: “Based on an internal study by the Indian Army, the contents (of the report) are not only extremely sensitive, but are of current operational value.''
Can you believe it? A report of the 1962 rout is still of current operational value!
Neville Maxwell, a foreign correspondent then based in India, who was unauthorisedly given a copy of the report (to write his book India’s China War) said: “Those reasons are completely untrue and quite nonsensical… there is nothing in it concerning tactics or strategy or military action that has any relevance to today's strategic situation."
The most surprising is not the statement itself but the fact that nobody in India objected to it; no one decided to take the matter to a Court of Law.
But it is not only the Ministry of Defence which is guilty of confiscating India’s history. Recently the Times of India reported: “What steps does the government follow while deciding to declassify its old secret documents? You may never get to know since the manual that details the declassification process in the country is itself marked confidential. Meanwhile, the PMO has admitted it has 28,685 secret files but has not declassified any this year.”
Even if the government officially swears by the rule to make files public after 20 or 25 years, the policy remains unimplemented.
In response to an RTI query filed by Anuj Dhar and Chandrachur Ghose who campaign for transparency in administration and run the website, the PMO admitted that it had declassified 37 files in 2007, 25 files in 2008 and none in 2009. Anuj Dhar rightly said: “Proper and time-bound declassification is in national interest”.
‘National interest’ is the core issue. The babus argue that they are holding on to the files to protect ‘national interests’, but is this tenable?
These babus (and the politicians) have obviously never read Jawaharlal Nehru’s works.
On 27 August 1957, in a Note to his Principal Private Secretary, the first Prime Minister of India commented about some persons having been refused access to the National Archives of India: “I am not at all satisfied with the noting on this file by Intelligence or by the Director of Archives. The papers required are very old, probably over thirty years old. No question of secrecy should apply to such papers, unless there is some very extraordinary reason in regard to a particular document. In fact, they should be considered, more or less, public papers. …Also the fact that a Communist wants to see them is irrelevant. I do not particularly fancy this hush hush policy about old public documents. Nor do I understand how our relations with the British Government might be affected… As I said previously I could understand some particular paper being kept secret.”
Is the present Government ready to listen to Nehru? No.
Ironically, the Chinese government is much more open. The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) of the Woodrow Wilson Center in the US has recently “obtained a large collection of Chinese documents detailing Beijing's foreign policy surrounding the Sino-Indian Border clashes [read 1962 War]”. The documents will soon be posted in the ‘virtual archives’ of the CWIHP website.
It means that scholars will be able to research the 1962 conflict from a Western or Chinese point of view, but still not from the Indian.
Is this really in national interest? Scholars face a similar problem if they want to find out about the border issue with China or the relations with Pakistan over Kashmir; in fact the list is endless.
Sixty-three years of history of Independent India is today classified.
At least for one thing, one can respect the United States: its successive Administrations meticulously and regularly declassify historic documents pertaining to US foreign policy.
A series called ‘The Foreign Relations of the United States’ regularly make available to the general public “official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government.” It can even be downloaded off the Internet.
The series include “all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government.” 
The principles of historical objectivity and accuracy are clearly defined: “Records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. And the Foreign Relations series should be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.”
If they are not, anybody can take the government to court and win!
Over the past couple of years, the Nixon Administration documents have been declassified and published. Volume XI pertaining to the ‘South Asia Crisis, 1971’ has been posted online.
The editor notes the evolution of the Nixon Administration. His impartiality is demonstrated through the inclusion of various letters, cables, memos or classified documents. He initially points out the President’s reluctance to become involved in South Asia; as Henry Kissinger said: “When the Nixon administration took office, our policy objective on the subcontinent was, quite simply, to avoid adding another complication to our agenda.”
Nixon’s agenda was then a rapprochement with Communist China and a visit to Beijing to meet the Great Helmsman. The volume ends with what the Editor calls the ‘tilt toward Pakistan’; the dispatch of the aircraft carrier Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal to ‘restrain’ India was the external manifestation of this ‘tilt.’
Of course, this is history viewed from Washington; the question today is: why can’t we also have South Block’s perspective?
But there is worse. We are now told that several files pertaining to the Mukti Bahini operations during the Bangladesh Liberation War have been destroyed.
This was discovered after the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Wajahat Habibullah had asked the Indian Government to declassify documents related to the 1971 war records in Army Eastern Command.
For the CIC, the law is clear: all records "older than 20 years must be disclosed, except under specific circumstances".
The CIC further clarified that government servants can be prosecuted for unauthorized destruction of government official records.
But as usual nothing will happen. Babus will hide behind another Act, the Official Secrets Act.
B. Raman, the security expert believes that this “has resulted in a situation in which no authentic account of national security management is available. Whatever studies have been done in public were based on open source information and leaks, which are often incomplete and unauthenticated.”
Today, a string of antiquated rules and regulations, red-tapism and an obscurantist mind-set not worthy of a dynamic country like India, remains in place. As a result, Indian history continues to be buried. Is it the hallmark of a mature nation?
It probably has an advantage: it allows politicians to sleep soundly. No skeleton can ever be found in the cupboards of South or North Block, unless it comes from abroad, in which case it can easily be dismissed as the work of ‘foreign hands’.