Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Tibetan Leadership in Tibet

Two US cables obtained from Wikileaks on the negotiations between Dharamsala and Beijing have been posted on this blog.
One was Positives signs or exercises of futility? It was a summary of the visit of a US Political Officer to Dharamsala (February 3-7, 2010) where he met a cross section of the Tibetan community. He recorded his views/comments.
The second, Wikileaks: Hu is the boss was sent to the State Department in Washington soon after the beginning of the unrest in Tibet in March/April 2008. He emanated from Ambassador Clark T. Randt who explained that "President Hu Jintao remains firmly in charge of China's policy on Tibet".
These cables raise some interesting questions. 
First about Hu Jintao. a source, knowledgeable in the Party affairs, confirmed that as long as Hu is around, he will be the 'deciding' factor for the Tibetan affairs. Though some Wikileaks cables tells us that the Politburo works by consensus, in the case of Tibet, Hu will always be the primus inter pares, as they said in Roma ('the first amongst equals').
My contact says: "Unless he is discredited politically (and he is a very careful man) or unless he is no longer 'sane in spirit', he will have the last word on Tibet until he dies."
But perhaps worse for the Tibetans, he will continue to advise the top leadership after he steps down in 2012. Except, of course, if Xi Jinping is able to demonstrate enough charisma (and will) to change this fact, Hu will dictate the China's Tibet policy after 2012.
My second point is also important: I have heard from different reliable sources that one of the main impediments in the 'negotiations' between Dharamsala and Beijing (apart from the 'Hu factor') has been the Tibetan cadres in Tibet who are dead against the Middle Path scheme.
These officials apparently regularly lobby Beijing against the United Front Department which is conducting the talks with the Dalai Lama's Envoys; they manage to convey to the Central leadership their strong feelings against any new arrangements. Further, some observers believe that there is a deep antagonism between the United Front Department in Beijing and the Tibetan officials in Tibet.
One can understand that the Tibetan cadres who have succeeded to reach the top of the ladder in the Local Administration by pleasing the Han Party bosses in Tibet are reluctant to accept a change and prefer the status quo.
I am also told that this also apply to the cadres of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan.
This is an extremely serious issue and I am wondering if it had ever been discussed or debated by the Kalon Tripa candidates. Or is it dismissed and brushed under the table?
One way or another, these Tibetan officials in Tibet should be contacted by Dharamsala and 'bought over' either by explaining the scheme or by giving them an assurance that they will have a role to play in any eventual future arrangements.

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