Tuesday, May 31, 2011

From Nomad to Nobody

This new film by Michael Buckley explores the Chinese policy of forcefully resettling Tibetan nomads in concrete barracks.
The Communist leadership believes that it could also apply the same policy to Inner Mongolia where Mongols have become a tiny minority in their homeland (less than 20% of the population). 
As reported in this article, Inner Mongolia recently witnessed its first known mass protest incident.
Resentment has created such a serious situation that martial law had to be imposed in the region. Like in the case of Tibet or Xinjiang, the authorities in Beijing will blame it on 'terrorist' elements in the ethnic 'nationality' community, but this not solve the problems created by some local Communist satraps (with Beijing's support).
Unless China starts respecting its own Constitution in which the place of the 'nationalities' is clearly defined, situation like the one at Kirti monastery (Gansu province) or in Inner Mongolia are bound to happen. 
Today, the only answer that the regime in Beijing knows is 'clampdown', beat and arrest local people, unfortunately it can only increase resentment, not dissolve it. 

Martial law imposed in protest-hit Inner Mongolia
May30, 2011
China imposed martial law in the nomadic region of northern Inner Mongolia where thousands had staged protests over several days after the death on May 11 of a Mongolian herder who was run over by Chinese coal mine truckers. While Reuters May 29 said the herder, named as Mergen, was a hit-and-run victim, Radio Free Asia online May 26 cited New-York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center as saying he died following clashes between Mongolian herders in Abag banner (Chinese: Abagaqi) and Chinese mining company truck drivers.
The government was reported to have ordered a sweeping crackdown, shutting off universities and arresting at least 40 people. In regional capital Hohhot, all schools and universities were reported to be under police guard. All bus services were also reported to have been stopped in the affected banners, the equivalent of counties in Inner Mongolia. Shuluun Huh Banner's main town was reported to be "under complete control of riot police and army”.
It was not clear when the first mass protest by ethnic Mongolians, a rare occurrence, took place. But the one on May 25 was reported to involve more than 2,000 students and herders in Xilinhot city. More protests followed in more areas in the coming days in the Shuluun Huh Banner, or Zheng Lan Qi in Chinese, and West Ujimqin Banner, or Xi Wu Qi in Chinese.
China had said two ethnic Chinese truck drivers had been held over the death of the Mongolian herder whose family had already been compensated. However, the local Mongolian’s grievances ran deeper and their protests demanded action on larger issues. Radio Free Asia online said protesters held banners and posters saying "Defend the Rights of Mongols" and "Defend the Homeland" as they marched towards the government buildings of their respective banners. They were reported to have urged "the Chinese authorities to respect the Mongolian herders' right to their land and right to maintain their traditional way of life.”
As in Tibet, China had begun relocating more than 250,000 nomads from Inner Mongolia's grasslands in recent years, saying the move was necessary to protect the fragile ecosystem of the region. But the policy has been seen by ethnic Mongolians as further marginalization of Mongolian nomadic herders, who are already vastly outnumbered by Chinese immigrant peasants.
Inner Mongolia covers more than a tenth of the land mass of the People’s Republic of China but due to government engineered Chinese immigration over the decades, ethnic Mongolians now make up less than 20 per cent of the roughly 24 million population of what is called the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region.
Reuters said national-level state media had not reported on the unrest and the government, wary of any signs of instability, had moved to block discussion of the incidents on the Internet, though some pictures and comments had gone through.

Pakistan’s China Pavilion

This article appeared in The Statesman under the title Pakistan’s China pavilion, After the USA’s ‘Package Of Tangible Inducements’ 

May 21,
Claude Arpi
WHY does Islamabad, Washington’s best ally, so often give sleepless nights to US officials? One can argue that it is a question of reciprocity.
The latest one: the Americans made fools of the Pakistani Army and its Intelligence agencies by dropping silently into the centre of one of their most secured cantonments to kill Osama bin Laden. It has obviously upset Pakistan!
In this case, Islamabad has found the way to take revenge: they have invited another ‘friend’ to the Game, the Chinese. A report from Pakistan suggests that Beijing is interested in studying the remains of the US top-secret Stealth helicopter abandoned during the Abbottabad raid. A Pakistani official even admitted, “We might let them [the Chinese] take a look.”
It conveys the message: “The Chinese are waiting at our door, don’t mess with us, our ‘all-weather friend’ can replace you”.
An article in the Chinese-language Shanghai Evening Post explains that although the US wants the pieces of the chopper back, “Pakistan may invite China to participate in the study. Based on the pictures, aeronautics and military experts believe it is a modified Stealth helicopter.”
The PLA intelligence has probably already received a few pieces of the chopper as a ‘souvenir’ (or a ‘reward’).
After all, Pakistan can’t refuse this to a friend. On 11 May, when Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani opened Pakistan’s second Chinese-made nuclear reactor, he praised the ‘unwavering’ support from its ally at a time when the rest of the world pounced on Pakistan for having hosted the dreaded Saudi terrorist for so long in a comfortable safe house.
Gilani hammered the nail in: “It is yet another illustrious example of Pakistan-China cooperation in the field of nuclear science and technology. The high level of friendship that the two countries enjoy continues to be a source of strength for Pakistan,” the Prime Minster said. This may not help to smoothen out the already strained relations with Washington.
The new 330 MW reactor, built in Chashma (Punjab) should be followed by two other units, also made-in-China, at the same plant.
China’s nuclear ties with Pakistan have always been a source of tension for Washington. First, Pakistan has a very poor track record as far as proliferation is concerned; one remembers the saga of Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist; and there is always a risk of nuclear weapons falling in the wrong hands.
Though the government in Islamabad maintains that nuclear weapons are safe in Pakistan and that it is impossible for militants or terrorists to get hold of them, Washington does not often trust Islamabad’s utterances (as in the case of the bin Laden operations).
It is not the first time that Washington is nervous. In 2009, soon after President Obama announced that Pakistan’s nuclear materials “will remain out of militant hands”, the US ambassador in Islamabad sent a secret message to Washington. Anne W Patterson was deeply worried. Her concern was a stockpile of highly enriched uranium kept near an aging research nuclear reactor in Pakistan. There was enough material to produce a nuclear bomb.
In her cable, sent on 27 May 2009, Ms Patterson reported that the Pakistani government was dragging its feet on an agreement reached two years earlier wherein Islamabad had agreed that the United States would remove the material. The US Ambassador had been told by a Pakistani official: “If the local media got word of the fuel removal, they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons”.
   The WikiLeaks cable does not tell us the end of the story. Hopefully the fuel has been removed since then. It, however, remains a fact that the Pakistani nuclear programme recurrently gives ‘sleepless’ nights to successive US Presidents.
Perhaps even more interesting than the WikiLeaks cables is a series of US documents published by the National Security Archives (NSA) of George Washington University on how Pakistan acquired the bomb in the 1970’s.
This period witnessed the military coup by General Zia-ul-Haq who imposed martial law on 5 July 1977. The documents show that though the Carter Administration was deeply upset with the Zia regime, the arrival of the Soviets in Afghanistan at the end of the seventies, made the US officials ‘forget’ that Pakistan had become nuclear. Later, it was too late to stop the nuclear train.
Already in the Seventies, the Pakistani nuclear weapons programme was a source of anxiety for US officials; especially when they discovered AQ Khan’s network. The Carter Administration would have been even more worried if they had known that Khan and his team were spreading nuclear weapons technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea with the help of China, but that is another story.
The entire nuclear process had started after Pakistan’s defeat during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. President Bhutto realised that Pakistan would never be able to defeat India in a conventional war. He decided to secretly go in for nuclear weapons. In 1973, Pakistan began negotiations to buy a nuclear reprocessing facility (used for producing plutonium) from a French firm.
In August 1974, US intelligence agencies estimated that Pakistan would not have nuclear weapons before 1980, even with ‘extensive foreign assistance’. But a year later, the CIA predicted that Pakistan could produce a plutonium-fuelled weapon as early as 1978, as long as it had access to a reprocessing source. They, therefore, thought that it was enough to stop the transfer of reprocessing plant to end the process. Unfortunately, the US intelligence agencies made some wrong assumptions.
The US documents also confirm that Zia’s main objective was the consolidation of the nuclear programme initiated by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who had bragged “we are ready to eat grass” to possess the coveted weapon.
Thanks to Abdul Qadeer Khan, who managed to steal the blueprints for a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility, the Pakistani dream became a reality right under the eyes of the Americans who “wanted to maintain good relations with that country, a moderate state in an unstable region”.
Reading these historical documents, one realizes that Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and his colleagues believed that ‘a package of tangible inducements’ would dissuade Pakistan from taking drastic steps. With China remaining Pakistan’s main support to acquire the bomb, even ‘tangible inducements’ were not enough. Though the Carter Administration worked hard on a non-proliferation policy, Pakistan still managed to build its nuclear arsenal. It certainly brought deep frustration to Carter and his team.
Another US document admits that during the 1980s, “the US was criticized for providing massive levels of aid to Pakistan, its military ally, despite laws barring assistance to any country that imported certain technology related to nuclear weapons. President Ronald Reagan waived the legislation, arguing that cutting off aid would harm US national interests”.
One moral of the story is that when a State is desperate to get nuclear technology, it is difficult to stop it, with either sticks or carrots. More than the growing rift between Pakistan and the US, what worries the US officials in Washington is the growing Chinese influence in Islamabad. Whenever there is a problem between the two ‘allies’, Beijing is not far away and always ready to ‘help’.
A piece of a chopper’s tail is a small reward for such support.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tibet's new PM has large shoes to fill while walking the middle path

My article Tibet's new PM has large shoes to fill while walking the middle path on the new Tibetan Prime Minister was published by DNA sometime ago.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

60 years of Tibetan 'liberation': From what? From whom?

My article 60 years of Tibetan 'liberation': From what? From whom? is posted on Rediff.com as slide-show. Click on the title to read.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Communist China and Democracy

Though sad, certain historical ironies tend to make me smile.
On May 23, the People’s Republic of China celebrates the 60th anniversary of the ‘Liberation’ of Tibet. According to Beijing, on that day in 1951, Tibet was ‘liberated peacefully’.
In October 1950, the Second Field Army of Marshal Lui Bosheng and Deng Xiaoping, his Political Commissar, entered Eastern Tibet and captured the city of Chamdo. That was a forced ‘liberation’.
On May 23 1951 in Beijing, a Tibetan delegation had no choice but to sign an “Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet”; the Tibetans later said that they had to affix ‘under duress’ fake seals prepared for the occasion by the Communists. Even the China-enamoured Indian Prime Minister wondered in the Lok Sabha, ‘liberation from what, from whom, it is not clear?’
And now the irony: on the day Beijing celebrates the strange ‘liberation’ of Tibet, the Tibetan community in exile will undergo its largest ‘democratic’ experiment. A National General Meeting of a few hundred exiled Tibetans is held in Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh.
On May 21, the Tibetan website Payul.com announced: "418 Tibetans from various parts of the world gathered at the Tibetan Children Village school auditorium for the second Tibetan General Body Meeting which had been called by the Tibetan Parliament in exile after the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama announced his decision on March 10 this year to devolve his 'political authority' to an elected leadership."
This enlarged consultative group comprises of ‘senior’ Tibetans, serving and former officials and eminent members of the civil society.The meeting will ‘democratically’ discuss a draft for amending the Tibetan ‘constitution’ (known as ‘Charter’) which will provide the legal framework for the Dalai Lama’s proposed retirement.
The Meeting is also supposed to advise Dr Lobsang Sangay, the newly elected Prime Minister. Sangay born 43 years ago in India and educated at Harvard Law School will be Kalon Tripa (or Prime Minister of Tibet’s government-in-exile) for the next 5 years.
Already one month before the results were announced, an editorial of The People’s Daily assailed Sangay: “In 1992, Lobsang Sangay rose to fame and became the youngest leading member of Tibetan Youth Congress, a terrorist organization in nature. …The crimes made the organization look like a kin member of Al-Qaida, Chechnyan armed terrorists and ‘East Turkistan’ separatists.”
The fact is that the democratic process started by the Dalai Lama (which culminated in his retirement) exasperates Beijing. The very word ‘democracy’ makes the Communist leadership see red.
In a recent interview, Zhu Weiqun, Executive Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee and interlocutor of the Dalai Lama’s Envoys asserted: “The Peaceful Liberation of Tibet not only marked the crash of the attempt of the imperialism and a minority of Tibetan reactionary upper class to separate Tibet from the whole country, but also realized the complete liberation and reunification of the whole China.”
Unfortunately for Mr. Zhu, 60 years later, Tibet is not peaceful.
On 16 March 2011, the self-immolation of Phuntsok, a Tibetan monk belonging to Ngaba Kirti Monastery in Sichuan province triggered violent protests by several thousand monks in Eastern Tibet.
According to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy: “Chinese security forces have cordoned the monastery and additional contingents of armed security forces (estimated to be around 800) have been brought in on 9 April 2011 to reinforce security clampdown in Ngaba County. The movement of the monks is totally restricted with no one being allowed to go in or come out of the monastery.”
Since then, more depressing news has emerged: the presence of Chinese security forces in all Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan has increased; several monks have been arrested and tortured while Communist cadres roam around villages ‘talking about harmony and patriotism’.
Interestingly, modern Chinese historians concur to say that the Tibet issue has been the factor which provoked the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict in NEFA and Ladakh. After having ‘liberated’ Tibet in 1950, Mao and his colleagues could not swallow the fact that, in March 1959, Tibetan masses revolted against the Chinese occupiers and the India gave refuge to the Dalai Lama.
In November 1962, in a long diatribe, The People’s Daily accused Nehru of having “instigated and backed up the treason and rebellion of the reactionary clique of the upper social strata in the Tibet region”. The fact that the so-called ‘upper strata’ was mainly composed on ‘common men’ was hard to digest for the Communist Party.
China has now decided to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ‘Liberation’ of Tibet. Sixty years, a full circle in the Tibetan (and Chinese) calendar makes the commemoration highly symbolic.
The Communist regime however keeps its aversion for democracy; one of their arguments is that democracy is an American invention.
The Communist publication Red Flag Manuscript recently analyzed what it terms ‘the chaos of democracy’ in most Asian countries: “The expansion of democracy that the US promotes has not brought about an economic boom or social development in these regions. On the contrary, it has led multiple countries or regions to fall into political instability and even chaos. In some areas and countries, with the progress of so-called democratization, ‘chaotic symptoms’ have developed such as ethnic conflict, splitting the nation, social turmoil, massive corruption, and an unstable political situation.”
For Beijing, these countries have blindly used Western democratic values without taking into consideration the local social and cultural environment.
Beijing is also unhappy with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In a recent interview, she dared to make a parallel between the recent turmoil in the Arab world and China's tough response to its opponents (a ‘fool's errand’, Beijing was attempting to stop the course of history, she said).
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu reacted strongly. She accused Clinton of using inappropriate language: the US had no business “to put China on a par with countries in Western Asia and North Africa."
Already on April 8, after the release by the US State Department's 2010 Annual Human Rights Report, Beijing had asked Washington to stop being a self-styled 'human rights preacher'; the Chinese leadership then went on to criticize the US human rights record.
Is it not a good tactical move to defame an opponent on his Achilles' heel?
Huanqiu, a publication in Chinese language answered the Western countries' criticism of Beijing's arrest of artist Ai Weiwei: “The interference in Ai Weiwei’s case is a total negation of China’s law”. Huanqiu described the Law in China as “the skeleton of this country”.
The harsh treatment inflicted on those who do not support the Communist Party (such Weiwei or Lui Xiabao, the Nobel laureate) is a sign that the ‘harmonious society’ often mentioned by President Hu is still far away in Communist China, which prefers to keep quiet on the ‘Indian experiment’.
We all witnessed the voters’ enthusiasm during the recent Legislative Assembly’s elections. It demonstrated once again that the people of India are not scornful of ‘democracy’. And the astounding results, particularly in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu vindicated the vibrant ‘system’; ultimately is it not by ‘democratically’ getting rid of the villains (at least temporarily) that one can hope to create a more harmonious and contented society?

Sixty Years Ago

Sixty year years, a Tibetan delegation led by Ngabo Ngawang Jigme was forced to sign a Seventeen-Point Agreement in Beijing.
I have already written about the conditions under which the Agreement was signed. 
Read about it in my previous postings.
I am posting today an extract from the biography of the Dalai Lama (Freedom in Exile). He was in Dromo in Chumbi valley near the Indian border (Sikkim). 
He vividly recalls these dramatic events.
Article One says: "The Tibetan people shall unite and drive out imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet; the Tibetan people shall return to the big family of the Motherland-the People's Republic of China".
It was a capitulation for the Tibetans. 
The Chinese call it 'liberation'. 
The recent events of Kirti monastery demonstrate that 60 years later the Tibetans have not capitulated.

(From Freedom in Exile)
From my rooms in the monastery, I could look down towards the river where farmers came to graze their sheep, yaks and dzomos. And I could watch, enviously, the groups of picnickers that came almost daily to build a little fire and cook down by the water's edge. I was so enchanted with all that I saw that I felt brave enough to ask Ling Rinpoche for some time off. He must have felt the same way as, to my surprise, he granted me a holiday. I could not remember being happier as I spent several days roaming around the area. On one of my excursions I visited a Bon monastery. My only sadness was that I knew that troubled times lay ahead. It could not be long now before we heard from Ngabo in Peking. I half expected bad news, but nothing could have prepared me for the shock when it came.
At the monastery I had an old Bush radio receiver which ran off a six-volt battery. Every evening, I would listen to the Tibetan language broadcasts of Radio Peking. Sometimes I did so with one or other official, but often I listened alone. The majority of the broadcasts were taken up with propaganda about the 'Glorious Motherland', but I must say that I was very impressed with much of what I heard. There was constant talk of industrial progress and of the equality of all China's citizens. This seemed like the perfect combination of material and spiritual progress. However, one evening, as I sat alone, there was a very different sort of programme. A harsh, crackling voice announced that a Seventeen Point 'Agreement' for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet had that day been signed by representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China and what they called the 'Local Government' of Tibet.
I could not believe my ears. I wanted to rush out and call everybody in, but I sat transfixed. The speaker described how 'over the last hundred years or more' aggressive imperialist forces had penetrated into Tibet and 'carried out all kinds of deceptions and provocations'. It added that 'under such conditions, the Tibetan nationality and people were plunged into the depths of enslavement and suffering'. I felt physically ill as I listened to this unbelievable mixture of lies and fanciful clichés.
But there was worse to come.
Clause One of the 'Agreement' stated that 'The Tibetan people shall unite and drive out imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet. The Tibetan people all return to the big family of the Motherland - the People's Republic of China.'
What could it mean? The last foreign army to have been stationed on Tibetan soil was the Manchu army in 1912.
As far as I was aware (and now know), there was no more than a handful of Europeans in Tibet at that time. And the idea of Tibet 'returning to the Motherland' was shameless invention. Tibet had never been part of China. In fact, as I have mentioned already, Tibet has ancient claims to large parts of China. On top of which, our respective peoples are ethnically and racially distinct. We do not speak the same language, nor is our script anything like the Chinese script. As the International Commission of Jurists stated subsequently in their report:
'Tibet' s position on the expulsion of the Chinese in 1912 can fairly be described as one of de facto independence ...it is therefore submitted that the events of 19 II - 12 mark the re-emergence of Tibet as a fully sovereign state, independent in fact and in law of Chinese control.'
What was most alarming, however, was that Ngabo had not been empowered to sign anything on my behalf, only to negotiate. I had kept the seals of state with me at Dromo to ensure that he could not. So he must have been coerced. But it was several more months before I heard the whole story. In the meantime, all we had to go on was the radio broadcast (repeated several times), together with a number of self-congratulatory sermons about the joys of Communism, the glory of Chairman Mao, the wonders of the People's Republic of China and all the good things that the Tibetan people could look forward to now that our destinies were united. It was quite silly.
The details of the Seventeen-Point 'Agreement' were chilling all the same.
Clause Two announced that the 'Local Government' of Tibet would 'actively assist the People's Liberation Army to enter Tibet and consolidate the national defence'. This meant, so far as l could judge, that our farces were expected to surrender at once.
Clause Eight continued the theme by saying that the Tibetan army was to be absorbed into the Chinese army - as if such a thing were possible. Then in Clause Fourteen we learned that, from now on, Tibet was to be deprived of all authority aver the conduct of her external affairs. Interspersed with these more telling clauses were others assuring Tibet of religious freedom and protecting my position and the present political system. But far all these platitudes one thing was clear: from now on, the Land of Snows answered to the People’s Republic of China.
As the unhappy reality of our position began to sink in, several people, notably Taktser Rinpoche in a long letter from Calcutta, urged me to leave far India at once. They argued that the only hope for Tibet lay in finding allies to help us fight the Chinese. When l reminded them that our missions to India, Nepal, Great Britain and the United States had already been turned back, they countered that once these countries realised the gravity of the situation, they would be sure to after their support. They painted out that the United States was implacably opposed to Communist expansionism and was already fighting a war in Korea far that very reason. l could see the logic of their arguments, but somehow felt the fact that America was already engaged in fighting an one front lessened the likelihood of her wanting to open up a second.
A few days later, a long telegram arrived from the delegation in Peking. It did not say very much beyond repeating what we had already heard on the radio. Obviously Ngabo was being prevented from telling the truth. Recently, same members of the delegation have related in their memoirs the full story of how they were forced to sign the 'Agreement' under duress and use counterfeit seals of the Tibetan state. But from Ngabo's telegram I could only guess at what had happened. However, he did say that the new Governor-General of Tibet, General Chiang Chin-wu [Zhang Jingwu], was en route to Dromo via India. We should expect him shortly.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

China has to be careful

My article on the Chinese reaction to bin Laden's death appeared in today's The New Indian Express.

China has to be careful
The New Indian Express
21 May 2011
Operation Geronimo created a geopolitics tsunami not only in South Asia, but in the entire world. Was Osama bin Laden’s elimination the end of terrorism? His death was commented, analysed and the consequences examined all over the planet. On the eastern horizon, the Chinese leadership was not indifferent to Osama’s ‘elimination’ and more particularly, to the way the operation was conducted. Beijing hailed Osama’s death as a positive step, while keeping it low key. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said: “We believe his death is a milestone and a positive development of the international anti-terrorism effort. Terrorism is the world public enemy and China has also fallen victim to it.” She was probably hinting at the 2009 Xinjiang events.
The Global Times commented that “it should have been much easier”, considering that the US and its allies are so powerful. The Communist newspaper believed that “lack of justice in Washington’s policies toward the Middle East and neighbouring regions”, was one of the reasons for the long delay in catching bin Laden. A day after the Operation, Zhang Xin, the director of the military channel at China Central Television wrote on Sina.com (China’s most active microblogging site): “(bin Laden) single-handedly confronted the world’s sole superpower, the US… He is the greatest national hero in the history of the Arab world.”
Some comments were more extreme: “Comrade bin Laden... dedicated his youth and life to the greatest undertaking in this world—struggle against American imperialism. His sacrifice will only inspire countless people who are against world hegemony to continue forth!” It has to be noted that this type of remark is not censored by Beijing’s Great Firewall; the Communist leadership is probably not unhappy to send indirect messages to Washington. Many Chinese citizens also celebrated bin Laden’s death on microblogging sites such as Sina Wibo. They believed that he was responsible for the deaths of Han people in Xinjiang.
On May 7, an article in China Review News predicted that China will be the next target of US anti-terrorism ‘war’. It argued that before 9/11, President Bush viewed China as the main strategic rival and then when “Osama bin Laden gave a vicious blow to the US, Bush became a different person and turned to cooperate with China”. The conclusion was “9/11 changed the foundations of Sino-US relations and gave China a 10-year golden opportunity to regain strength.”
Though it was not officially stated, one factor has deeply disturbed Beijing: the US commandos intervention in a foreign country without the permission, or the knowledge, of the country. China fears that one day a similar intervention (overt or covert) could occur there. What if World Power No. 1 or the ‘world community’ were to decide, like in the case of Libya, that China does not behave properly with its people (in Tibet and Xinjiang for example), can they intervene?
True, China is larger than Libya, but this explains Jiang’s reaction to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comparison between the recent turmoil in the Arab world and China’s tough response to its opponents. Jiang accused Clinton of using inappropriate language: US had no business “to put China on par with countries in western Asia and north Africa”. Beijing has always taken refuge behind the Panchsheel declaration which asserted “mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs”.
In the immediate future, the quarrel between Washington and Islamabad leaves some place for Beijing to maneuver and reinforce its presence in the AfPak region (let us not forget that Afghanistan is extremely rich in coveted minerals). Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s four-day visit to Beijing from May 18 should be seen in this context. Stratfor strategic website affirms: “Shortly after the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden and violated Pakistani sovereignty, (the visit) is intended to send Washington a message that Islamabad has other patrons it can turn to for help.” However, to replace the US by China is not an easy proposition: “Pakistan will find its leverage over Washington dramatically reduced at a time when its dependence on China has grown, which will lead to tensions in that relationship as well.” Beijing is in a dilemma: sending army personnel to PoK and discreetly supporting some terrorist groups may only help China’s interests in the region in a short term.
Osama’s death will, however, not change the terrorist scenario in Pakistan. If Beijing decides to use the LeT or JeM to destabilise India, it may not be easy to ‘manage’ these groups in a way that their actions do not spill over into Uyghur-inhabited areas which witnessed ethnic clashes in July 2009. Ultimately, it could be to Beijing’s disadvantage, though in 2009 the CCP signed a formal agreement with the Jamaat-i-Islami in which Pakistan’s main Islamic party agreed ‘not to become involved with Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang’. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal has a similar understanding.
For Beijing, the real dilemma is that if it wants to be a responsible ‘world power’, it needs to be careful while supporting an unreliable ‘all-weather friend’; it’s a risky game which may not bring stability in the region. Is it Beijing interest? Probably not.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Large Dams, large problems

It is probably the first time that the State Council (the Chinese Cabinet) acknowledges serious problems for the Three Gorges Dam. "Urgent problems must be resolved regarding the smooth relocation of residents, ecological protection, and geological disaster prevention", affirms the Statement of the Council chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. 
This article of Reuters quotes Dai Qing, an environmental activist who said the damage caused by the dam in some cases is irreversible.
In the post Fukushima era, one can expect that all governments will honestly study the geology around these mega plants: "The most serious threat is that of geological disasters. Now that the dam is in place, no amount of money can fix the problem. It fundamentally cannot be resolved," said Dai.
Will this trigger new researches into the most seismic region of the planet: the Tibetan plateau? 
One can hope so. The construction of myriads of dams on the Tibetan rivers should take into account this issue which cannot solved once the dams are built. 

China acknowledges downside to Three Gorges dam
Reuters, Wed May 18, 2011
Michael Martina
BEIJING May 18 (Reuters) - China's landmark Three Gorges Dam project provides benefits to the Chinese people, but has created a myriad of urgent problems from the relocation of more than a million residents to risks of geological disasters, the Chinese government said on Thursday.
The statement from China's State Council, or cabinet, marked a rare acknowledgment of the issues that have shadowed the world's largest dam, an engineering feat designed to tame the Yangtze River that snakes from the Tibetan plateau to Shanghai.
"At the same time that the Three Gorges project provides huge comprehensive benefits, urgent problems must be resolved regarding the smooth relocation of residents, ecological protection, and geological disaster prevention," the statement said, which appeared on the government's website (www.gov.cn).
Premier Wen Jiabao presided over the meeting that produced the statement, which also said problems existed for down-river transport, irrigation and water supplies.
Problems emerged at various stages of project planning and construction but could not be solved immediately, and some arose because of "increased demands brought on by economic and social development", the statement said.
The government said it would continue to address the problems caused by the dam, and vowed to set-up disaster alert systems and increased funding for environmental protection.
Enormously expensive and disruptive, the dam has cost over 254 billion yuan ($37.47 billion) and forced the relocation of 1.3 million people to make way for the reservoir. [ID:nTOE66M01Q]
Towns, fields and historical and archaeological sites have been submerged, just as pollution and geological threats have risen around the slopes around the 660-km (410-mile) reservoir.
Last year, China's media began fretting about whether the dam could meet one if its long-term objectives of flood control and officials have since been toning down claims of its flood-taming abilities.
Dai Qing, an environmental activist who has opposed the Three Gorges project said the damage caused by the dam is in some cases irreversible, and in other cases would require vast sums of money to resolve.
"The most serious threat is that of geological disasters. Now that the dam is in place, no amount of money can fix the problem. It fundamentally cannot be resolved," she said.
Dai said that Wen and President Hu Jintao, trained in geological and hydraulic engineering respectively, did not appear at a celebration ceremony for the opening of the dam because as industry insiders they were aware of the risks of the project.
"There is no question that the problems with the dam are extremely serious, but this statement is likely just an attempt to shirk responsibility," she said. (Editing by Alex Richardson)

US won’t give up on Pakistan

My article on Pakistan, US won’t give up on Pakistan appears in the Edit Page of The Pioneer today.
For America, Pakistan is a vassal state which is paid to toe its line. Given Pakistan’s strategic location, the US will never abandon its ‘ally’.
Click on the title to read.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Singapore Model and the Party

In this article, Willy Lam quotes Chen Kuiyuan, the President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences  as saying "the nature of the party and state will be changed if Marxism were to degenerate into 'democratic socialism' or 'new liberalism'."
Chen was earlier Party boss in Tibet. He took over from Hu Jintao in 2002 and remained in Lhasa for 8 long (long for the Tibetans).
Last year, the Dalai Lama mentioned the Chen's era in Tibet: 
More than 10 years ago, when Chen Kuiyuan was Party Secretary in Tibet, at a Party meeting, he mentioned that the ultimate threat to China is the Buddhist faith of the Tibetans.
…As mentioned earlier, officially, there is a lot of restrictions about Tibetan studies. When Chen Kuiyuan was there, whatever had a religious meaning was removed [from the curriculum]. Then when Jiang Zemin came, new restrictions [were put in place]. Before Party officials could have [in their house] an altar with some Buddha statues; they usually had an excuse like, “my old mother likes this statues”; although they are supposed to be genuine Communists, non-believers. When Jiang Zemin became Chairman, it was not possible anymore. In the meantime, some very high Chinese Party officials, including from the PLA had my picture on their mobile, the Demon’s picture! [Zhang Qingli had called the Dalai Lama 'a wolf in monk's robes']
Willy Lam rightly says that "political insiders in Beijing say the just-ended general elections [in Singapore] have convinced Beijing that even a slight liberalization of the political system could translate into the empowerment of the nation's disparate power blocs."
This explains the nervousness of the regime in Beijing and the harsh treatment of so-called dissidents as well as minorities like the Tibetans and Uyghurs.

Beijing has second thoughts about 'Singapore model after island republic's watershed elections
Willy Lam
May 11, 2011
It was nothing less than a stunning triumph of people power.
Given the ruling Singapore People's Action Party's (PAP) near-total domination of the island republic's politics since the 1960s, a motley group of poorly funded opposition parties garnered fully 40 percent of the votes during last weekend's general elections.
Although the PAP managed to win 81 out of the 87 seats in parliament, the party's share of the ballots fell from 75 percent during the 2006 polls to a mere 60 percent.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien-loong, center, joins hands with some of his candidates as they celebrate victory in the general election in Singapore. AFP/Mohd Fyrol
Foreign Minister George Yeo, one of the most senior members of Prime Minister Lee Hsien-loong's cabinet, had to leave politics because he lost his seat to the candidate fielded by the unheralded Worker's Party, which has emerged as the country's virtual opposition party.
Despite Singapore's small size and population, the results of its general elections have a significant impact on political developments in China. For decades, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been a big fan of the so-called Singapore Model, a reference to the coexistence of a market economy with stern one-party rule.
Each year, Chinese authorities send a few thousand mid- to senior-ranking civil servants to learn from the Singapore experience in areas ranging from public housing to governmental public relations.
The apparent viability of the Singapore approach has also furnished Beijing with a ready answer to Western critics — and reformist intellectuals at home — who want the CCP has to adopt universal values such as multi-party politics and freedom of the media.
The relative relaxation of political control in Singapore — which seemed to have made possible the growth of opposition parties — was a conscious decision by the PAP administration to gradually adapt to fast-shifting changes in political values especially among the young.
As Prime Minister Lee said the day after the polls, the PAP recognized that many voters want the authorities to "adopt a different style and approach to government"; the latter also "desire to see more opposition voices in Parliament to check the PAP government."
The CCP leadership has been reticent with reactions to the sea-change in Singapore politics. Yet political insiders in Beijing say the just-ended general elections have convinced Beijing that even a slight liberalization of the political system could translate into the empowerment of the nation's disparate power blocs. They range from human-rights lawyers and activist NGOs to farmers who want to form political organizations to lobby for higher produce prices and to prevent their land from being grabbed by greedy developers.
Beijing also sees parallels between the "color revolution" sweeping North Africa and the Middle East and the display of people power in Singapore.
An article in the China Daily said: "It is noteworthy that social networking vehicles such as Facebook and Twitter, which played an important role in the turmoil in North Africa, have been widely used by opposition parties in Singapore."
It is therefore likely that the arrest and harassment of dissidents such as Ai Weiwei — who could one day become potent underground opposition leaders — would be exacerbated in the near future.
Earlier this month, the government set up a new department, the State Internet Information Office, to coordinate various State Council units that are responsible for policing the information superhighways. Moreover, crypto-Maoist cadres have increased their opposition to adopting "Western political norms." For example, President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Chen Kuiyuan last week reiterated that "the nature of the party and state will be changed" if Marxism were to degenerate into "democratic socialism" or "new liberalism."
Chen also made an impassioned plea to stop the U.S. from further infiltrating and subverting China's political order.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Climatic changes and big projects

'Climatic' changes such as the current drought in China have serious consequences, not  only for the Middle Kingdom, but for Asia in general.
First, it shows that huge infrastructure projects benefit more the State companies building dams (many of the them are run by princelings) than the common man.
The author of the Discovery article says: "Besides the lack of rain, some experts blame the Three Gorges Dam.
Wang Jingquan, director of the flood control and drought relief office affiliated with the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, told China Daily that damming up the river has aggravated the drought by pinching off water flow to lower reaches."
Though it is denied by the Dam officials, it is certainly a truth in it.
Another lesson of the drought is that electricity production announced by the State Council does take into account severe natural (but recurrent) phenomena like drought or pollution (see my earlier posting on the subject).
Another serious issue is the fate of he south-to-north water diversion project in which more than 17 billion dollars had already been invested last year. It could be in jeopardy (it is already very much delayed). If the Yangtze is dry, where will the water come from? Any diversion could only aggravate the situation. 
A few months ago, the Chinese press affirmed: "The South-to-North Water Diversion Project is designed to divert water from the water-rich south of China, mainly the Yangtze, the country's longest river, to the country's arid northern regions. It will consist of three routes: an eastern, middle and western route. The project started with construction of the eastern route in 2002. Up until now, both of the eastern and middle routes were already under construction. The western route, meant to replenish the Yellow River with water from the upper reaches of the Yangtze through tunnels in the high mountains of western China, is still in the planning stage."
Let us hope that the planners in Beijing will think twice before embarking in the western route (diverting Tibetan rivers to the North). The consequences could be even more dramatic.
In the meantime, investment in 'big' projects continues in Tibet.
China Tibet Online reported: "During the 11the Five-Year Plan period, Tibet has seen 16.33 billion yuan [more than 2 billion dollars] fix assets investment, surpassed the total of 55 years ever since Tibet's peaceful liberation. Especially in 2010, national investment on Tibet has hit its historical record to 25.3 billion yuan, increased by 20.5% than that of last year."
Beijing says that it will benefit the local Tibetans, but this is extremely doubtful; it will just help bringing more Han migrants on the Roof of the World.

China's Yangtze River Running Dry
Discovery News
Tim Wall
May 13, 2011
While tornadoes, floods and fires have raged across the United States, in China the mix of weather is just as variable. Yesterday in the city of Weihai, in east China's Shandong province, blowing sand from the Gobi desert necessitated a "yellow" wind alert. Last weekend, floods in the south resulted in a fatal landslide. And along the east coast, droughts have reduced the Yangtze River to its lowest water levels in 50 years.
Officials from the Yangtze River Waterway Bureau said Wednesday that they have closed a 185-kilometer (115-mile) stretch of river from Wuhan to Yueyang to oceangoing vessels.
The river near Wuhan is down to only about 10 feet. The river, normally almost 500 feet wide, has shriveled to only about 160 feet at its narrowest.
Since April 30, more than 700 ships have been stranded in the shrunken waterway in Huzhou, Xinhua News Agency reported. Officials believe the shallow water will continue hindering shipping until June.
"The severe drought, the first seen in the past half-century, has kept the water level in the Yangtze the lowest since 2003, when the Three Gorges Dam went into operation," said Wu Heping, director of the Wuhan Waterway bureau, in an interview with China Daily.
The drought has left 400,000 people in Hubei province without drinking water, according to an AFP report. In Hunan, 320,000 people are without drinking water, according to China Daily.
Water now gushes from the Three Gorges Dam at a rate of about 1,850,000 gallons per second. That is about 397,000 gallons per second more than the dam collects, but it has not yet been seen if this will solve the drought.
Rainfall was roughly 50 percent below normal in the region between October 2010 and April of this year. The rainy season usually begins in late April, and there have been a few rains, but some officials are still worried.
"Even though heavy rains are expected in coming months, it's possible they won't raise the water level much," the China Daily quoted  Wu Heping.
In an effort to bring more rain, the Chinese have even used rain-making techniques.
"Starting from 3 a.m. on Tuesday, we launched 57 rocket projectiles and 320 artillery projectiles," remarked Xu Zhaonan, director of the Xiangyang meteorological bureau, in China Daily.

The rain brought some relief to local farmers.
"During the drought, we only planted a little sweet potato in the field, but this rain has brought hope for us," farmer Zhang Dequn commented to China Daily.
In the area around Xianyang, in Shaanxi province, about 741,000 acres of agricultural land are affected by the drought. In Hubei province, close to 2 million acres of cropland are dry.
The lack of rain is also affecting power production. Hydropower plants in Hunan province are producing less than a third of their capacity.
Besides the lack of rain, some experts blame the Three Gorges Dam.
Wang Jingquan, director of the flood control and drought relief office affiliated with the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, told China Daily that damming up the river has aggravated the drought by pinching off water flow to lower reaches.
But another official said such assertions are groundless. Yan Fei, director of the China Three Gorges Corporation's press office, said statistics show the dam's increased discharge of water has helped to relieve the drought.
Other parts of China are suffering from the opposite of a drought.
Heavy rains in southern China caused a massive landslide this past weekend. More than 22 quarry workers were buried alive in a dormitory near Luojiang in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The death toll now stands at 12 at least. One worker is known to have survived.
"We first saw smoke rising up in the valley, then the rocks and mud gushing out. The dormitory was soon buried underneath," said Chen Yuanliang, a villager who witnessed the landslide, in People’s Daily.
The landslide covered an area equivalent to two basketball courts with about 15 feet of mud and debris, according to He Qishi, deputy chief engineer of the region's general geological environment monitoring station.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The importance of Pakistan

Islamabad does not need to worry; regardless of the bin Laden episode, Washington will not walk out of their so-called alliance against terror.
The United Sates needs Pakistan for its operation in Afghanistan and does not want China to take its place in the region. For these two reasons, the Obama Administration will close its eyes to many non-senses of the ISI and the Pakistani Army.
A year before 9/11 attack on the twin towers, the US Under-Secretary of State Thomas Pickering met with some Pakistani officials in New York. One of the issues discussed was bin Laden, Washington was already hunting the Saudi terrorist: “Pickering opened the meeting by expressing disappointment that Pakistan, whom he called a good friend of the US, was not taking steps to help with OBL," says a secret cable addressed to the US Secretary of State.
The same tune continued till the Abbottabad raid: Pakistan never helped (on the contrary) to catch any terrorist on its soil, but the US and Pakistan remain ‘friends’.
In fact ‘friend’ is not the correct word; Pakistan is more of a vassal State which gets yearly lollipops to remain quiet. A historian wrote: “an Empire has no allies; it has only vassal nations who in principle are sovereign, but let themselves be reduced to the sad condition of satellites.” Is not America the last colonial empire?
For the past fifty years, the position of the United States vis-à-vis Pakistan has to be seen in this perspective. It is the tragedy of Pakistan, built on a falsehood (The Two Nation Theory), that it requires a big brother to (economically) stand on its legs. Washington may not be happy with its vassal for having given refuge to Enemy no 1, right in the midst of a military cantonment, but the fact remains that successive governments in Islamabad have protected bin Laden (and so many other terrorists and jihadists), while Washington has continued to financially keep Islamabad afloat.
Colonel Sir Francis Younghusband who became famous after his military expedition in Tibet in 1904, once wrote: “We, who have dealt with Asiatics, can appreciate so well [the following tactic]: taking the opportunity, striking while the iron is hot, not letting the chance go by, knowing our mind, knowing what we want, and acting decisively when the exact occasion arises.” The occasion arose, Obama struck; but the relation between the two ‘friends’ remains unchanged.
In July 1946, the British Indian Chiefs of Staff Committee prepared an interesting report “on the importance of India as a military base”. C. Dasgupta, the retired diplomat who wrote War and Diplomacy in Kashmir pointed out: “[The report] most significant feature, however, was the re-assessment of India's geostrategic value. This reflected a notable shift of emphasis from the naval to the air factor.”
The British Government, would it decide to leave the subcontinent, needed ‘air bases’ to be able to keep a tab on Afghanistan, Central Asia, Soviet Union and Eastern Turkestan. Quoting from the British report, Dasgupta continued: “It was also essential that the Soviet Union be denied air bases in India. If India was dominated by Russia with powerful air forces it is likely that we should have to abandon our command of the Persian Gulf and the Northern Indian Ocean routes, making it impossible to ensure the uninterrupted flow of vitally important oil supplies.”
Another report prepared in London came to the same conclusions: “India's territory provides important bases for offensive air action and for the support of our forces in the Indian Ocean and neighbouring areas”.
Having decided to partition the sub-continent, London understood that Pakistan was the best bet strategically. In October 1946, the India Office advised the Chiefs of Staff Committee that “if India were to split up into two or more parts, the Muslim areas would probably be anxious to remain in the Commonwealth if, in such circumstances, we were willing to have them”.
For the British (and later the Americans), ‘Hindus’ were unreliable allies, having strange ideas such as non-violence or non-alignment as the main features of their future foreign policy.
The Partition was therefore a good solution for London; they could keep air bases in Pakistan and at the same time walk out of the sub-continent without too much damage.
The Americans followed the footsteps of the British in the early 1950’s. They had an even better idea: an independent Kashmir.
As early as January 1948, Sheikh Abdullah was ready to offer the Maharaja’s State on a platter to the Americans, but it took some five years for Washington to realize how serious the proposal was.
When Adlai Stevenson came to Srinagar in May 1953, he discussed with Abdullah the creation of an independent Sheikhdom of Kashmir state. It suited perfectly the American interests as it could thus check the advances of the Chinese in Sinkiang and the Russians in Afghanistan.
Kashmir controlled the roads to Afghanistan, to the central Asian republics of Soviet Union, to China and to Tibet. A few weeks after the meeting, Abdullah asserted: “It is not necessary that our State should become an appendage of either India or Pakistan.” Only after he was arrested in August 1953, did the Americans drop their idea to have a base in Kashmir.
Hardly a year later, Washington’s sight turned towards Pakistan; it was the beginning of the famous ‘friendship’.
Just a look at a map of the Pakistan shows the extraordinary strategic importance of the country. The British were no fools! They knew it. Already way back in 1877, a Political Agent was posted in Gilgit to keep an eye on the region. Since they followed the footsteps of the British, America had been looking for an obedient ally to keep a foot in the region.
Today another player has entered the Great Game, Beijing.
To come out their vassalage, Islamabad is now cleverly playing the Chinese card. A report from Pakistan suggests that the Chinese are interested in studying the remains of the US top-secret stealth helicopter abandoned during the Abbottabad raid. A Pakistani official even said, "We might let them [the Chinese] take a look."
It is a way to convey the message: the Chinese are waiting at our door, “don’t mess with us, our ‘all-weather friend’ can replace you”.
On May 7, 2011, an interesting article was published by China Review News, “The More Anti-terrorism, The More Terror: the Post-bin Laden Era Tests US Strategy”. The author predicts that China will be the next target of US anti-terrorism ‘war’. The argument is that before 9/11, President Bush viewed China as the main strategic rival and exerted diverse forms of pressure and then when “Osama bin Laden gave a vicious blow to the US, George W. Bush became a different person and turned to cooperate with China”. The conclusion is “9/11 changed the foundations of Sino-US relations and gave China a 10-year golden opportunity to regain strength.”
Now a new era of uncertainties has begun, however Washington has no choice but to remind ‘friends’ with Pakistan, at least till Jinnah’s State implodes under its own contradictions.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

If France can intervene in Libya, why not in China

At the end of April, when President Sarkozy completed four years in office, his website published a series of reports entitled: 'Four years of Action'.
One of these reports, dedicated to the French Foreign Policy, says: "The foreign policy conducted over the past four years has helped make France stronger and more influential on the international stage. France is fully committed to peace and world security. ...France plays a lead role in tackling the major global challenges. Everywhere, she defends the interests of France and the French."
But, what are the interests of France?

Take the case of Africa
Since the beginning of the year, world events have taken an unexpected turn. Until recently, nobody had ever imagined popular revolutions in the Arab world. Who could have expected a year ago that Presidents Ben Ali or Mubarak would be thrown out by 'common men'?
Events went so fast that the French Government was caught on the wrong foot. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alliot-Marie had gone holidaying to Tunisia, enjoying the hospitality from a close associate of President Ben Ali who till then was a great friend of France.
Alliot-Marie had eventually to resign for not having sensed the change of wind, but for President Sarkozy the episode was a serious reminder that the Presidential elections were barely 14 months away; his popularity had reached a historical low with a large majority of French disapproving of his policies and Marine Le Pen, the extreme right candidate, doing better than him in the surveys for the 2012 Presidential elections.
Was he not defending the interests of the French people? It is probably why he decided to take a more belligerent stand.
The grim situation in Ivory Coast was the first occasion for Sarkozy to show La Grandeur (greatness) of France. The Libyan 'revolution' against a 'tyrant' was the next.
In Libya, the situation was more complicated than in the Western African country and the (oil) stakes are higher.
Remember 2007. Gaddafi had planted his tent not far from the Elysees Presidential Palace; the Libyan leader was said to be 'a bastion of secularism in the Arab world' and 'a great friend of France'.
When Rama Yade, the junior minister of Foreign Affairs said that "tyrants were wiping their bloodied boots on the doormats of France", she was severely reprimanded by the Presidency and eventually dismissed.
The President probably had this in mind (as well as the Alliot-Marie Tunisian blunder) when he decided to push for a UN resolution on Libya. If the French President's advisors thought it would be easy, they were wrong.
On 17 March 2011, the United Nations Security Council agreed to Resolution 1973 introduced by France and UK. It was passed by a 10-0 margin and five abstentions (the BRICS nations, minus South Africa and Germany abstained). Resolution 1973 imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized the use of all necessary means, except a 'foreign occupation force', to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas.
Already many doubted that it would be easy to dislodge Gaddafi and some warned that the new coalition could get bogged down in a new Iraq or Afghanistan-like War. But Sarkozy and Cameron were too impatient in wanting to take revenge on the 'tyrant'.
Sarkozy was in so such of a hurry that military actions are said to have informally started two days before the UN Resolution when a French plane opened fire and destroyed an armed vehicle on Libyan soil. To stop Gaddafi seemed a child's game at that time.
Unfortunately for the Allies, the Libyan troops faithful to the Colonel adapted and soon after the destruction of their main air-defense system; they began to use guerilla warfare with ordinary vehicles indiscernible by the NATO satellites.
While the pro-Gaddafi troops have a leader and a military tactic, it is often not the case for the insurgents. Six weeks after the first strikes, Gaddafi is still around.
Despite the grand show and tall claims of Bernard-Henri Levy, the self-styled French philosopher-turned war advisor of Sarkozy, the 'rebels' are not a homogenous group and do not represent all the Libyans.
A French defence expert wrote on his blog: "We, French have too much contempt for our enemies. Did we expect that they will just run away after the first passage of a fighter plane in the sky?"
The other difficulty is that the coalition is extremely fragile, with the United States having partly abandoned the boat and others increasingly reluctant to go after Gaddafi.
Since then, Sarkozy, the Chef de guerre has become more lonely; though the British and the Italians are still on board, other coalition members play a minor role, while nations such as the BRICS are dead against any intervention (though the Indian PM asked his BRICS' colleagues to remember that recent events in the Arab world 'represented a shift of power to the ordinary citizen').

The Military operations
In this nightmarish situation, there is a positive aspect for Paris. The Rafale has done quite well, somehow better than the Typhoon (also known as Eurofighter), its remaining rival in the 126 MMRCA tender of the Indian Air Force.
The Eurofighters often remained on their bases; they were not 'polyvalent' enough according to some French defence sources (being more a combat aircraft than a 'bomber').
A French defence blogger analyzed: "The timing of the warlike adventure against Gaddafi is perfect, just a few days before the announcement of a short list for the MMRCA contact."
It did not probably influence the IAF which had completed its assessment much earlier, but there is no doubt that the outcome of the 'Libyan war' will be studied closely in Delhi as curiously both the planes involved in the Libyan operations have been preselected by the IAF for 126 MMRCA, the 'contract of the century'.
With the French and the British taking the main lead, one of the main issues was that they could soon run out of bombs. An article in The Washington Time (NATO runs short on some munitions in Libya) affirmed: "Less than a month into the Libyan conflict, NATO is running short of precision bombs, highlighting the limitations of Britain, France and other European countries in sustaining even a relatively small military action over an extended period of time."
This demonstrates the limits of the ability by European nations to conduct a sky-war. The problem was summed up by the same newspaper: "Although the United States has significant stockpiles, its munitions do not fit on the British and French-made planes that have flown the bulk of the missions."
These are some of the difficulties that an unprepared operation can face. One of the reasons offered for President Sarkozy's present unpopularity is his 'impetuosity'. Libya is a typical case.
The Libyan situation will probably not end soon. Gaddafi has still many supporters amongst tribal chiefs in Libya while several African heads of State who have been 'sponsored' by him in the past still respect him. This shows the limit of an 'interventionist' policy.
Further, there are plenty of tyrants on the planet, which one to chose? Should Western democracies also intervene in Syria, in Yemen, in Iran? And why not in China where the Tibetans are badly treated? President Sarkozy's advisors should have thought about this earlier.
For the French President the real issue is: How can he come out of the quagmire without losing face and points in the surveys?
It is nearly impossible, if the war goes on.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Trading with China

While the Chinese have been able to find an understanding with Nepal to simplify the procedure for non-tariff barrier items in the border trade between Tibet and Nepal, the situation is more difficult between India and China in Sikkim (Nathu-la).
On May 10, a report of The Sikkim Mail affirms: "The border trade between India and China that is being carried out since 2006 has been stalled from 4th May after the goods taken by the Indian traders were not cleared by the Chinese authorities at Nathu La border gate. The Chinese authorities allegedly told the Sikkimese traders that they do not recognize the list of items approved by the Indian government."
Since 2006, the border trade was going rather smoothly  and no custom duty was raised as per the bilateral agreement between India and China. 
The Sikkim Mail explains: "The Mart (Donqingang) in-charge of China side has informed the traders that they would impose tax per kilogram on the approved items which will be exported to China from India. The District Magistrate said that custom duties cannot be imposed on border trade items."
Apparently, the  Sikkim Government has not even been informed of the change of rules. The local District Magistrate has assured the traders that the matter will be taken by Commerce and Industries Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi. 
One more Chinese unilateral decision which will not help to smooth out the Sino-Indian relations.
Regarding Nepal, note the trade deficit in favour of China: "Nepal had a trade deficit of around Rs 42 billion with China in 2009-10 which was around Rs 31 billion during 2008-09, while the deficit was of around Rs 23 billion during 2007-08. During 2007-08, Nepali exports to China were worth less than a billion rupees."
Even if Nepal is able to sign an agreement with the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Kathmandu remains the looser. 
Meeting for simplification of trade between Nepal and Tibet ends
Trade panel to be deputed at border
KATHMANDU: The second meeting of Nepal-Tibet Trade Facilitation Committee (NTTFC) decided to form a working committee at the border point for trade barrier simplification. “During the meeting representatives from both the countries agreed for the formation of a working committee that will actively work to solve trade related problems at the border,” said Binod Acharya, under secretary at Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS).
NTTFC meeting was organised on May 9-10. The two-day meeting was organised in Kathmandu and was led by joint secretary at the ministry Toya Narayan Gyawali and the visiting delegation was led by deputy secretary general of Government of Tibet Autonomous Region Ye Yinchuan. They also signed they also signed an MoU for Nepal-Tibet Trade Fair.
“As per the MoU, the trade fair will have around 50 stalls each from Nepal and China,” said Acharya. The trade fair will be organised for five days from November 2-6 in Kathmandu. The first Nepal-Tibet Trade Fair was organised in Tibet in September 2009 and after two years, the fair is being organised in Kathmandu. The first meeting of NTTFC was organised in Lhasa on April 21, 2010. The NTTFC meeting was very much positive on simplification of Nepal-China trade barriers, said Acharya.
The meeting was focused on trade related technical assistance and removal of trade barriers. “Representatives from Nepal and Tibet discussed the simplification of non-tariff barrier, encouragement to Chinese investment and increased Chinese technical assistance in Nepal,” said Acharya. Representatives from both sides discussed over the duty-free access different Nepali products.
“China has given duty-free access to 33 countries’ products including Nepal. However, traders here are unable to enjoy the facility of duty-free access,” he said adding that we also discussed about infrastructure development at customs points and simplification of language barriers at the border.
Nepal had a trade deficit of around Rs 42 billion with China in 2009-10 which was around Rs 31 billion during 2008-09, while the deficit was of around Rs 23 billion during 2007-08. During 2007-08, Nepali exports to China were worth less than a billion rupees.
However export to China increased to Rs 2.15 billion during 2008-09 while import was worth Rs 34.46 billion, said Gyawali. However exports to China dropped to Rs 1.38 billion with import increasing to Rs 43.44 billion. China mainly imports wheat flour, grain, coffee, vegetable fat, sugar, mix-juice, paints, painting, incense stick, statue, handicraft products, carpet, bricks, mattress from Nepal.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Learning Chinese

Ten thousand Chinese teachers for India: that's good news. In the years to come, it will be more and more important to know Chinese, whether the rise of China is peaceful or not. 
The initiative taken by Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal and his Taiwanese counterpart is therefore excellent.
A few months back, I had said the most positive aspect of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India (in December 2010) was the opening of a school to learn Chinese in Delhi.
It reminds me of the story of a senior Indian Officer who was taken prisoner of war in Tibet/China after the October 1962 debacle. 
One thing that he noted was the proficiency of the Chinese in Indian languages: 
It was a real surprise for us when one day a Chinese woman came and recited some of Bahadur Shah Zafar's poems, much to the delight of us all, but particularly so of Rattan [another Indian officer prisoner of war]. This lady and Rattan did have an exchange of couplets of Zafar's poems written while he was pining away in Rangoon for his homeland after deportation by the British from his last Mohgul kingdom in Delhi following the so-called mutiny of 1857. The Chinese had certainly prepared for this war most diligently because they had interpreters for every Indian language right in the front line. This Urdu-speaking woman must have lived in Lucknow for a long time.
The same officer recounts another story worth reproducing: 
There was a beautiful demonstration of the high calibre of the Indian soldier under adverse conditions. After we had been in the camp for about a month, we were taken out of our confinement for a walk. This was at our insistence on wanting to exercise ourselves and to get out of the dark and dingy rooms. We were thrilled to be out in the sun. Inspite of protests from Lt Tong [Chinese guard] not to do so, we sat down against a wall to sun ourselves. As luck would have it, though we could not see over the wall, we heard voices in Hindi from the other side. Fortunately, Lt Tong did not understand Hindi otherwise he would have forced us to get up and move away. What we heard from the other side made us feel very proud to belong to the Indian Army. It was a Hindi-speaking Chinese talking to some jawans, obviously from 9 Punjab judging from their manner of speaking. The talk was going in the usual way about how India had attacked first. A jawan told the Chinese that his company was sleeping when the Chinese attack came, so how could India have started the war? The Chinese tried to explain that he (the Indian soldier) was only thinking of his sub-unit but India had attacked elsewhere and the Chinese had to take action in self defence in his sector. The Indian jawan was obviously fearless and outspoken and said, "I do not know what you are talking about but the whole of my battalion and the `burgerade', (as a Punjabi soldier would pronounce the word 'brigade') were sleeping when you attacked first".The Chinese tried to talk of other sectors but this jawan was not taken in. So, the Chinese then said, "your reactionary government of Nehru has made friends with America. Every day big American planes are landing in Tezpur bringing weapons including automatic rifles. So obviously your Nehru does not want to be friends with China. These Americans are nothing but 'paper tigers'." The Chinese use of the term `paper tiger' for the Americans was frequent (from Maj. Gen. K.K. Tewari, A Soldier's Voyage to Self Discovery, 2002). 
The Indian soldiers may have not been well prepared for the conflict, but they did not lack courage. 
It reminds that India has to ask Taiwan and not China for Chinese teachers. This shows a deficit of trust vis-a-vis the PRC. It is true that the percentage of spies should be less if the teachers come from Taipei than Beijing.

MOE answers India's call for Mandarin instructors
Taiwan Today
The Ministry of Education said May 9 that it will offer short-term training courses in Chinese-language instruction to certified teachers looking for employment to prepare them for teaching positions in India.
Education Minister Wu Ching-ji visited India last week to attend a higher education fair, during which Indian Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal asked that Taiwan send 10,000 Mandarin instructors to teach at high schools in the South Asian nation.
“In response to India’s request, the MOE has formed a special task force to train teachers and compile teaching materials,” said Lin Wen-tong, director of the ministry’s Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations.
Indian high schools recently began offering second-language courses, with a majority of students opting for Mandarin. The schools, however, face a serious shortage of instructors.
As for which teachers will be selected for the positions in India, Lin said those who have passed qualification exams to teach Mandarin will be given priority.
Due to insufficient qualified Mandarin teachers, three-month training courses will be offered for regular teachers who are willing to teach in India, he pointed out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A not too Peaceful Liberation of Tibet

This interview with Zhu Weiqun, the Executive Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Central Committee shows once again the guilty consciousness of the Chinese leadership.
Sixty years after the so-called 'Liberation', no-one is fooled, Beijing has not 'liberated' Tibet, Beijing has invaded Tibet
Zhu admits this fact when he says: "At the end of 1949, Chairman Mao indicated that 'the earlier we enter Tibet, the better'".  
If China needs to 'enter' Tibet, it means that China is 'outside' Tibet, isn't it? 
Then Zhu confirms: "In October 1950, the People's Liberation Army launched the 'Chamdo Battle', crushing down the scheme of the small number of upper-class reactionaries in Tibet who tried to resist the liberation of Tibet by taking advantage of the geographically fortified Jinshajiang [Yangtse] River Front and  the support of foreign forces". 
Though, Zhu and his colleagues perfectly know well that no foreigner was involved in Chamdo, they recurrently use this old argument. 
Further the fact they had to 'crush' the Tibetan Army shows that the PLA did not really 'liberate' Tibet.
Then Zhu continues: "After nearly one month's negotiation, the local government of Tibet signed 'the 17-Article Agreement' with the Chinese central government.  Thus Tibet was peacefully liberated." 
The 17-Point Agreement was signed under duress and the seals of the Tibetan government were forged. These are historical facts.
When Zhu states: "In fact, the Dalai Lama knew well the goodwill of the Central Government, but he insisted going further in a wrong way," referring to his flight to India, what choice had the Tibetan leader but to leave Tibet after having tried hard to 'cohabitate' with the Chinese occupiers. 
Incidentally, it is the 'masses' who revolted when the entire population of Lhasa surrounded his Norbulingka Palace in March 1959. They wanted to stop the Dalai Lama from attending a suspicious invitation ('unarmed' and without escort) in the Chinese military camp.
Zhu Weiqun asserts: "In 1995, after careful studies on the Dalai Lama's sabotage activities in the past decades, the Central Government affirms four allegations over the Dalai Lama: the leader of the separatist clique that conspires the independence of Tibet, a ready puppet of the international anti-China forces, the root of social disorder in Tibet, and the biggest obstacle against regular religious order of Tibet Buddhism".
These allegations are so childish that nobody can really believe them, though as I mentioned yesterday, if nobody believes the Chinese Government for internal matters, the people in China still have a tendency to have faith in their Government when it concerns external issues.
The interesting point is that Zhu Weiqun who is the official interlocutor of the Dalai Lama's Envoys for the Beijing-Dharamsala talks seems very short of decent arguments to prove Beijing bona-fide in invading (not liberating) Tibet and refusing to negotiate any 'middle path' solution with the Dalai Lama.
The Chinese have a basic problem: they invaded Tibet and they are ready to admit it. Who can believe, 60 years later, that they 'liberated' the Land of Snows? 
I still don't understand why the Tibetans in exile have chosen the 60th anniversary of the signature of the 17-Point Agreement for holding an important National General Meeting (see my previous posting on the subject). 
Perhaps to show the Chinese how vibrant their democracy is?

Peaceful Liberation of Tibet: Splendid Chapter in Chinese Annals of National Unity
China Tibet Online

Editor's Note: At the request of "China's Tibet" magazine, Zhu Weiqun, Executive Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, has accepted this exclusive interview with the magazine, just a couple of weeks before the 60th anniversary of the signing of the "Agreement on Measure for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet"(the 17-Article Agreement) and the peaceful liberation of Tibet. The full text of this interview will be published on the May 15 edition of "China's Tibet". 

Peaceful liberation: Tibet never to separate from its motherland

Reporter: May 23 this year marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the "Agreement of the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the peaceful Liberation of Tibet". How do you evaluate this historical event?

Mr. Zhu Weiqun: The peaceful liberation of Tibet is a milestone in the national liberation undertaking of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), as well as in the entire Chinese nation's century-long struggle for national unity.
Not long after the "three decisive victories" during the Chinese civil war, Chairman Mao proposed to settle the Tibet-related issues. In early 1949, he said "it is not difficult to settle the Tibet-related issues, yet we have to avoid being too hasty or imprudent" when meeting with USSR President Stalin's special envoy Mikoyan. At the end of 1949, Chairman Mao indicated that "the earlier we enter Tibet, the better" during his visit to USSR.
In October 1950, the People's Liberation Army launched the "Chamdo Battle", crushing down the scheme of the small number of upper-class reactionaries in Tibet who tried to resist the liberation of Tibet by taking advantage of the geographically fortified Jinshajiang River Front and  the support of foreign forces.
The victory of the PLA in Chamdo persuaded the Tibet local government headed by the 14th Dalai Lama to send a delegation to Beijing for peace talks. After nearly one month's negotiation, the local government of Tibet signed "the 17-Article Agreement" with the Chinese central government.  Thus Tibet was peacefully liberated.
This indicates the settlement of Tibet issue had been put on the top priority of the blueprint of the establishment of the People's Republic of China by the CPC leadership. Whether liberated in a peaceful way or in non-peaceful ways, Tibet must be liberated; otherwise the CPC would fail to accomplish its historical mission.
History has proved the correctness of the decision made by the CPC central committee and Chairman Mao, as we may have encountered more challenges if the PLA had not entered Tibet by then.
In my opinion, the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet not only marked the crash of the attempt of the imperialism and a minority of Tibetan reactionary upper class to separate Tibet from the whole country, but also realized the complete liberation and reunification of the whole China. As you know, Tibet is a part of China since the ancient time. From the Yuan Dynasty, the Central Government exercised direct and effective authority over Tibet.  In the modern history, western imperialists started to covet Tibet of China. The Britain launched two military attacks over Tibet in 1888 and 1904 respectively, and occupied Tibet in 1904. However, they discovered that military power could not only separate Tibet from China, in which Tibet locals and masses were all in obedience to the authority of the Central Government. Therefore, the British imperialism started to foster pro-Britain forces from the upper class of Tibet, by whom to plot "Tibet independence". There was no term of "independence" in Tibetan language before the, so it was absolutely made up by Western colonialists. On the eve of the great victory of people's liberation war, American and British imperialists and a batch of Tibetan reactionaries in Tibet's upper class feared that they may lose the last chance, then they plotted numbers of separatism incidents such as "banishing the Han people", and attempted to bring up the issue of "Tibet independence" to the Communist Party of China. However, the success of the "Chamdo Battle", the signing of the "17 Article Agreement" and the PLA's peaceful entry into Tibet all smashed western imperialism's illusions. The peaceful liberation of Tibet is the achievement made at the cost of many Chinese people's lives for their century-long pursuit of national reunification and ethnic dignity, which made the attempt of separating Tibet from China impossible forever.
Another significance of the peaceful liberation of Tibet lies in another fact that it provided preconditions for the democratic reform in Tibet from feudal serfdom into modern socialist system.
According to the actual situation in Tibet, the "17-Article Agreement" stipulates: "the Central Government will not change the existing political system of Tibet, nor will it change the Dalai Lama's inherent status and position", "In matters relating to reforms in Tibet, there would be no coercion on the part of the central authorities, and the reform would be carried out by the Tibetan local government of its own accord. Consultations with local Tibet leaders shall be made when the people show desire for the reform."
The Central Government abided by both promises. However, a minority of upper-class Tibetans wanted their system to last forever rather than to make changes later, so they started the armed rebellion. Yet the incident brought the democratic reform in Tibet into reality earlier than expected.
Without the prologue of the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the magnificent democratic reform would not have happened; and without the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the entry of the Chinese Communist Party and the PLA, those oppressed and enslaved Tibetan people would not have deeply understood the policy of the CPC, nor would they show a strong desire for the democratic reform themselves.
During the 8 years after the peaceful liberation of Tibet, a set of preconditions had been objectively created for the Democratic Reform in terms of ideology, support from both masses and cadres and even experience of military struggle. The success of the Democratic Reform of Tibet signifies that there would be no ground for either theocratic feudal serfdom or retroversion in the history of Tibet.
Now, it made the Dalai clique and western rivalries behind uncomfortable to see the national reunification and the prosperous development of all ethnic groups including Tibetans in China. They may disagree with me on this stand, and give it another try for verification as they have done many times. But I believe that any such chance-takers will not end up better than those resisters who went against the peaceful liberation of Tibet or launched armed rebels against their motherland.

Dalai Lama spoils his wisest decision
Reporter: At first, the 14th Dalai Lama agreed on and supported the signing of the "17-Article Agreement", but later he broke his promise and fled overseas to engage himself in separatism. What's your comment on that?

Mr. Zhu: The Dalai Lama was only 16 years old and just came into power when the "17-Article Agreement" was signed. He specially sent plenipotentiary to Beijing for negotiations with the Central Government.
After the agreement was signed, he stated openly that he completely accepted the "17-Article Agreement" on behalf of the local government of Tibet, and also expressed in his telegram to Chairman Mao Zedong that "the local government of Tibet and all Tibetan monks and laymen all support the agreement, willing to help the People's Liberation Army go into Tibet under the leadership of the CPC to fortify the national defense, expel imperialistic forces and safeguard the unified territorial sovereignty of the country."
The decision turned out to be one of the Dalai Lama's few wisest decisions in his life.
The Central Government has given many favorable treatments to the Dalai Lama. For example, in 1954, Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai specially met with him when he attended the first session of the National People's Congress. At the meeting, he was elected vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The position in the state's top legislative body was preserved for him until 1964 after he fled in 1959, which the Central Government claimed a forced escape with the consideration of his personal reputation.
Unfortunately, it was the Dalai Lama himself who smeared his own reputation. In 1959, he imprudently alleged to reject  the "17-Article Agreement" during his journey fleeing overseas with a group of upper-class splittists. More than fifty years have passed since then.
In fact, the Dalai Lama knew well the goodwill of the Central Government, but he insisted going further in a wrong way. Given that, the State Council passed the decision of removing the official post preserved for the Dalai Lama in 1964.
In 1995, after careful studies on the Dalai Lama's sabotage activities in the past decades, the Central Government affirms four allegations over the Dalai Lama: the leader of the separatist clique that conspires the independence of Tibet, a ready puppet of the international anti-China forces, the root of social disorder in Tibet, and the biggest obstacle against regular religious order of Tibet Buddhism".
With the following separatist and sabotage words and deeds, the Dalai Lama continued to prove the eligibility for the four allegations. I feel bad for him as he has to die with those "four labels".

The "Middle Way" equals "Tibet Independence"

Reporter: What's your comment on the 14th Dalai Lama's so-called "Middle Way"? And what's your opinion about the Dalai Lama's position in his contact with the Central Government?

Mr. Zhu: In the 1980s, the 14th Dalai Lama came up with his so-called "non-violence" and "middle way" approach. Such a "non-violence" claim did not mean that he did not want violence, but only he had to turn around at a dead-end corner due to his notoriety.
During 1960s, the clique had continuously organized armed attacks along China's border areas and caused bloodshed to undermine the stability of Tibet.
Even after he claimed to follow his "Middle Way" approach, the Dalai clique continued to move behind the scenes and provoke a series of riots such as the "Lhasa Incident" in 1989, "March14 Lhasa Incident" in 2008, etc.  Also the Dalai clique backed up separatist organizations such as Tibetan Youth Congress, which publicly claims "Tibet independence" and favors violent terrorist attacks.
However, the Central Government would like to resolve the Tibet issue through peaceful talks with the Dalai Lama who was officially recognized by the National Government of the Republic of China (1927-1949).
China's policy toward the Tibet issue has been consistent and open: the Central Government is always ready for contact and talks with the 14th Dalai Lama over his personal future as long as he gives up his separatist stance and activities against the motherland, publicly admits that Tibet and Taiwan are both inalienable parts of China and accepts that the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government of China.
Therefore, the contact with the Dalai Lama mainly happened in two periods of time: from the early period when China just adopted the "reform and opening-up policy" to early 1990s; and from the year of 2002 till now. Personally, I have taken part in all the ten rounds of talks since 2002.
We have two basic points for contact with the Dalai Lama. The first point is that we only contact private representatives sent by the Dalai Lama. His so-called "government in exile", whoever leads it, is only an illegitimate political group of splittists not eligible for a "dialogue" with the representatives of the Central Government. To dismiss itself is the only thing the "government in exile" should do. With our presence, the representatives of Dalai Lama never dared to say that they represent the "government in exile", but they set themselves up as representatives of "government in exile" as soon as they leave the country. This is not a decent act, but a deliberate move to spoil our talks.
The second point is that we only talk about the future of the Dalai Lama, and a small group of people around him at most. In other words, it is a talk about how the Dalai Lama gives up his ideas and actions of splittism completely and tries to gain  the understanding of the Central Government and people all over China. We will never talk about the so-called Tibet issue and "high-degree autonomy of  Greater Tibet" with them. To let the Dalai Lama further understand the principles of the central government and admit his mistakes, we can listen to his explanations, but it is only a test for any of his inclinations to give up his splittist approach and get closer to the Central Government.
During the contact in 2008, the private representatives of the Dalai Lama handed in a "Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy of the Tibetan People", which was rejected by us immdiately. But now the Dalai clique still shams that they are still "waiting for the central government's response". I would suggest they'd better stop such a self-delusional act.
Since we resumed our contact in 2002, we were once again disappointed by the Dalai Lama as he instigated a series of violent activities, including the March 14 Riots in Lhasa in 2008, interrupting the passing-on of the Beijing Olympic torch, inciting western countries to boycott Beijing Olympic Games and so on aiming to force us make a concession by taking advantage of the Beijing Olympic Games, which ended with nothing but another failure.
During the contact in 2008, the representatives of the Dalai Lama found that they could not achieve their goals, so they declared on site that they would never talk with the Central Government. This was already their second time to do so since 1993. Several months later, as expected, they asked for another round of contact because they found the situation was not favorable for them.
Recently, the unstable situation in the Middle East excited the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Youth Congress for another possbile opportunity.However, they never seem to make the right judgment or give the right action thus their decisions doom to failure over and over again.
In terms of the contact, we would like to stress that foreigners are not allowed to be involved. All Tibet-related issues are internal affairs of China, which should not be interfered by any other country. The Dalai clique insists on engaging foreigners in our contacts as some westerners actively offer to be "a third party". It is out of the question. I would suggest they reserve some respect for themselves.
Recently there are some discussions about the change of the office-term of the "government in exile" and the Central Government's attitude towards the contact. Now I want to make it clear: all the above basic points will not change. Of course, it will be a different matter if the Dalai Lama advocates publicly the "Tibet independence" or "armed riots".

Reporter: The Central Government has held five conferences on work in Tibet. What does it indicate?

Mr. Zhu: As far as I know, Tibet is the only provincial-level autonomous region for which the Central Government has held five conferences dedicated to its development since the implementation of the reform and opening-up policy. Why?
First of all, Tibet is located in a high-altitude, rigid, cold area where natural condition is extremely harsh, which is a special barrier for Tibet's economic and social development. Secondly, for a long time in history, Tibet had been ruled under the theocratic feudal serfdom system, which impeded its social development. So its development level is far behind the inland areas. Thirdly, the Dalai clique, under the support of anti-China western forces, has always conspired in splitting Tibet from its motherland and causing trouble to disturb the stability of Tibet, stifle its development, and threaten the national unity ,and territorial integrity of the country. Fourthly, Tibet in southwestern China shares long boarder borders with neighboring sub-continental South Asian countries. The stability and development of Tibet is important for China to maintain the friendly, cooperative and mutual beneficial relationships with those countries.
In a word, the above reasons determine the unique position of Tibet in the overall blueprint of the country. Both the Central Government and people are clear about the situation, so they are determined to stick to the policy of pooling national efforts to support the development of Tibet.
For example, the Central Government decided to call for all the government departments and 15 other provincial-level regions to aid Tibet at the third conference on work in Tibet held in 1994.  Altogether 62 key aid-Tibet projects have been implemented. In 2001, the fourth conference on work in Tibet decided to extend the planned aid-Tibet timetable from 10 years to 20 years, with 59 central government departments, 18 provincial-level regions and 17 state enterprises involved in the ambitious project to cover all prefecture-level cities and 74 counties  in Tibet. During the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010), the overall aid-Tibet fund amounted to 7.6 billion yuan. The fifth conference on work in Tibet stepped further ahead, calling for all aid-Tibet partner provinces and cities to use one thousandth of its disposable revenue to support the development of Tibet, which was accepted and accomplished without hesitation.
For so many years, a large number of inland cadres have left home to help Tibet enthusiastically. Facts show  that it has been a nationwide consensus to help with Tibet's progress.
We believe that the 3-million Tibetans who have taken aid and support from the whole nation are giving their own support to the country in return.
People of different minorities lived in Tibet from the ancient time have made unique material and cultural progress despite the high altitude, cold climate, thin air and extremely fragile eco-environment. They are also the guardians of the 1.2 million square-kilometer territory in the southwestern part of China.  In the past 60 years since the peaceful liberation of the region, Tibet has maintained stability and steady growth, turning itself into an important shield of security and ecological environment, a strategic resource reserve, a high-land distinctive agricultural product base of the country, as well as a Chinese ethnic culture protection center, and a world-renewed tourism destination. Officials and ordinary people from different ethnic backgrounds in Tibet have shown their lofty patriotism and hard-working spirit on the physically challenging plateau, which has served as an inspiration for the whole nation. This is what the Tibetans have returned to us all.
Tibetan culture gets along well with inland culture

Reporter: As secretary general of China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture (CAPDTC), what's your comment on traditional Tibetan culture?

Mr. Zhu: The traditional Tibetan culture is an important part of the traditional Chinese culture. Over thousands of years, the Tibetan culture has been in complete harmony and closer bonds with the inland culture.
Let me show you an example. When you visit the Potala Palace or famous monasteries in Lhasa, look at the golden roof and bracket building style (a system of brackets inserted between the top of a column and a crossbeam), which is definitely similar to the architecture in inland areas of China. Also look at the painting, dance, sculpture, medicine, calendar, religion and so on, you can clearly feel the profound influence of inland culture (on the Tibetan culture) during the past thousands of years.
Just as you can also feel the great influence of Tibetan culture on the inland culture when visiting the Yonghegong Lamasery in Beijing or "Eight Temples" in Chengde (Hebei Province) or Bodhisattva Monastery at Mount Wutai (Shanxi Province). The Tibetan culture has been continuously instilling vigor to the inland culture, both in content and style.
The traditional Tibetan culture is also a distinctive part of traditional Chinese culture. It boasts plateau-featured lively regional characteristics which have drawn on the unique elements of the spirit of the Tibetan people and inspirations of the sub-continental South Asian culture.
Only with such factors can Tibetan culture and inland culture produce the best of itself through learning and attracting from each other and exchanges between both sides.

Reporter:What is the relationship between the traditional Tibetan culture and the socialistic new culture?

Mr. Zhu: It is a universal law in cultural development that traditional culture evolves with the social and economic development. Now our traditional culture is developing as we have entered the new phase of the country's socialistic construction with Chinese characteristics. The traditional Tibetan culture is for sure to progress with the times. And, the improvement of people's material life will no longer remain as it was. .
Former Chairman Mao once said, "To develop new national culture and elevate national confidence, it is necessary to sort out the old culture, and eliminate its feudal dross, and assimilate its democratic essence. But we should never take everything uncritically. It is imperative to differentiate democratic and revolutionary contents of the people in old times from all the rotten waste favored by the old feudal ruling class."
Traditional Tibetan culture originates from old times, inevitably carrying along some feudalistic serfdom dross belonging to the past, which should be abandoned as the society develops. Yet positive and advanced elements which can go along with the historical trend should be inherited and carried forward.
Now in an effort to build the socialistic new Tibet, we will definitely create unprecedented cultural substances and forms to reflect the new era and new society, offering the masses a kind of culture on the serving-the-people basis, readily accepted by the people.
Some westerners regard ancient Tibetan culture as incomparably sacred, not allowing any bit of change. In fact, what they want is to makeTibet as an antediluvian, keeping Tibetan people in a culturally outdated, even fatuous state so that they themselves could keep enjoying the superiority over ordinary people.
The Dalai clique blames us for  "destroying" Tibetan culture all along, but what they actually want is to recover their cultural superiority they had exclusively under the feudal serfdom.
Our proposition in cultural development is to meet the need of the people from all ethnic groups in living their new socialistic life, neither to satisfy the racial pride of some westerners nor to fulfill the desire of a handful of former privileged stratum in old Tibet.
Nowadays, the development of our country provides Tibetan culture with unprecedentedly favorable conditions and broad prospects.
New cultural forms and categories have emerged in large numbers in many fields of Tibetan culture, such as the language, newspaper, radio and TV broadcasting, architecture, art, photography, dancing, singing, and fashion, etc. Moreover, each cultural pattern is developing rapidly , stepping further to connect the traditional with  modern culture.
Artistic works reflecting Tibet and presenting Tibetan culture  such as  photography  or art exhibitions are almost seen everywhere across the country. The Tibetan songs such as "Ya la so" or "Ba zha hai" (Tibetan interjections) are commonly heard from professional or amateur singers, and also very popular among the people. Such cultural prosperity was unimaginable in old Tibet.
The CAPDTC will incumbently adapt to the historical trend, exerting more efforts in promoting Tibetan culture and  exhancing its nationwide and even global influence. At the same time we are also committed ourselves to introducing other excellent cultures to Tibet to enrich local Tibetan people's cultural life.