Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lame legal argument to built a dam

It does not make any legal sense for the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh to argue that "hydel projects in Arunachal were needed to counter China’s plans to develop mega hydel projects in Tibet."
It is a erroneous view without any legal validity for the simple reason that Arunachal Pradesh is the lower riparian State and will have to accept whatever quantity of waters China decide to supply. 
Further there is no binding treaty between India and China on the share of the waters of the Yarlung-Tsangpo/Brahmaputra, like, for example, the Indus Waters Treaty (of 1960) between India and Pakistan or the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses adopted by the United Nations in 1997. The objective of the Convention is to guide States in negotiating agreements on specific watercourses.
The Chief Minister of Arunachal is probably not aware that China is one of the three countries (with Turkey and Burundi) which opposed the Convention. It was adopted by 103 votes in favour, 27 abstentions (including India) and 3 votes against.
The Convention has not been ratified as yet.
In the absence of any legal framework or agreement between India and China, Arunachal Pradesh can't put pressure on China to stop building dams or structures on the Yarlung Tsangpo/Brahmaputra or even reducing the flow of the rivers.

Arunachal to get hydel project to counter China
Hindustan Times
Chetan Chauhan,
New Delhi, January 29, 2012
China’s bid to have big hydel power projects along the border in India’s northeast may soon witness a counter with the Indian ministry of environment and forests set to approve a 1,750-MW hydel power project in Arunachal Pradesh. China has planned a hydel project in Zangmu, 140 km southeast of the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, in a bid to tap the hydro potential of the Brahmaputra river.
The Arunachal Pradesh government has planned hydel projects on five major rivers, which finally meet the Brahmaputra, to generate over 50,000 MW of power. Many of these projects are stalled because of protests in Assam stemming from fears that the projects will dry up the river in downstream areas. 
However, the environment ministry is likely to approve one of these projects, the Demwe Lower hydel project in Lohit district of the state, despite its being rejected by the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife headed by minister in-charge Jayanthi Natarajan. The committee had rejected the project on the grounds that it will adversely impact wildlife in the Kamleng wildlife sanctuary and dolphins downstream.
Contrary to the committee’s view, ministry officials say there will be no submergence of the sanctuary even when the reservoir is full. The project has already received environment and forest approvals that are mandatory for making a project operational in a forest area.
Natarajan has reportedly decided to issue an order overruling the standing committee’s decision after Arunachal chief minister Naban Tuki met her recently. The CM argued that hydel projects in Arunachal were needed to counter China’s plans to develop mega hydel projects in Tibet. The minister agreed with his view.
Government sources expect the minister to issue an order regarding the Demwe project this month, paving the way for more hydel power projects in the state.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tawang is not part of China!

The Dalai Lama took refuge in India on March 31, 1959. 
He crossed the Indian border at Khenzimane at the bottom of the famous Thagla ridge in West Kameng Frontier Division of the North-East Frontier Agency (today, Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh).
Jawaharlal Nehru sent a senior officer of the Ministry of External Affairs, (PN Menon, father of the present National Security Adviser, Shivshankar Menon) to receive him. 
Menon delivered to the Tibetan leader a message from the Prime Minister: "My colleagues and I welcome you and send greetings on your safe arrival in India. We shall be happy to afford the necessary facilities to you, your family and entourage to reside in India. The people of India, who hold you in great veneration, will no doubt accord their traditional respect to your personage. Kind regards to you." 
Since then, the Dalai Lama has been a 'honoured guest' in India.
In his autobiography
Freedom in Exile, the Dalai Lama remembered: 
“…After bidding these people [his Khampa bodyguards] a tearful farewell, I was helped on to the broad back of a dzomo [hybrid of a yak and domestic cattle], for I was still too ill to ride a horse. And it was on this humble form of transport that I left my native land.
…We must have been a pitiful sight to the handful of Indian guards that met us at the border - eighty travellers, physically exhausted and mentally wretched from our ordeal. I was delighted, however, that an official I knew from my visit two years earlier was there to rendezvous with us. He explained that his orders were to escort me to Bomdila, a large town that lay a further week's travel away, for rest.”
It is interesting to note that, at that time (1959), the Chinese never said that the Dalai Lama and his entourage were in 'Southern Tibet' (the term used today by Beijing to define Tawang). They knew perfectly well that the Tibetan leader had taken refuge on Indian territory

Strangely, Beijing is now insisting that Tawang district is part of the People's Republic of China. It is clearly an after-thought. 
Special Representative and State Councillor  Dai Bingguo told his Indian counterpart, Shivshankar Menon during the 15th Meeting of the Special Representatives that India should first discuss the Eastern Sector of the boundary. Dai further asked Menon how much territory New Delhi would be ready to part with.
Apart from the fact that historically this does not make sense  (and I will come back to this issue in future postings), why did the Chinese not follow the Dalai Lama and his entourage  into this area in 1959, if they really believed that it was a part of  Chinese territory?
The answer is clear, it was not Chinese territory and Mao knew it. 
So, why claim the area 53 years later?
Further, under the 2005 Guidelines (Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question), it was agreed that "In reaching a boundary settlement, the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas." 
The demand of Dai Bingguo is all the more ironic as it comes at a time when China is using ferocious repressive policies against the Tibetans on the other side of the McMahon Line.
It was reported that China "has effectively sealed off a vast Tibetan area of Sichuan province, sending in troops and cutting off communications to towns where protesters have been killed by security forces in the past week."
Presuming that the
new Chinese stand on the border had a historical justification (and it does not), would the local Mompa population desire to become Chinese nationals and lose their democratic rights and freedom?
The answer is 'NEVER!'
Read my previous posting on the subject.

China plays the bully on Arunachal: Beijing tells Delhi to work out Eastern sector formula
By Saurabh Shukla
Daily Mail
28th January 2012
There were speeches, smiles and the usual chants of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai after the 15th round of Sino- Indian special representative talks in the Capital in mid-January.
What actually transpired amid this show of bonhomie was that the boundary dialogue ended in a deadlock after Beijing declared it would settle for nothing less than 'its share' of Arunachal Pradesh.
Highly placed sources privy to discussions between the two special interlocutors - National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart, state councillor  Dai Bingguoa - said things went off track following some hard bargaining by China.
Beijing had insisted during the meeting that India should first discuss the eastern boundary in Arunachal Pradesh.
The hosts were surprised when Dai, couching his query in diplomatic niceties, asked Menon how much territory New Delhi would part with.
The intransigent stand adopted by the Chinese was a response to India's proposals for a framework for boundary negotiations that the two countries shared during the border talks.
Menon, a former envoy to Beijing and an old China hand in India's national security set-up, argued that under article 3 of the guiding principles of the Sino-Indian boundary discussions, all sectors (eastern, western and middle) needed to be discussed and a package solution required to be thrashed out. India argued that the western sector in Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the Aksai Chin area, should be discussed along with the eastern portion of the boundary.
Under a previously agreed principle, the two sides had concurred in 2005 that settled population would not be disturbed. New Delhi articulated this, too, at the meeting.
But Beijing simply stuck to its guns and told India to first put on the table its proposal for the division of Arunachal Pradesh, specifying the proportion of territory swap.
The hotspot
'The meeting was held in a productive, fruitful and friendly manner,' Menon had said after the two-day session that began on January 16.

Speaking at a banquet subsequent to the talks, Dai also struck an optimistic note, saying Sino-Indian ties had made 'substantial progress' and they (the two countries) could 'work miracles' together.


The differences on the boundary question should not be allowed to
affect the overall development
of bilateral relations... Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means.

The two sides should, in accordance with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question through consultations on an equal footing.

Both sides should, in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual understanding, make meaningful
and mutually acceptable adjustments to their respective positions on the boundary question, so as to arrive at a package settlement to the boundary question.

The two sides will give due
consideration to each other’s strategic and reasonable interests, and the principle of mutual and
equal security.

The two sides will take into account, inter alia, historical evidence,
national sentiments, practical difficulties and reasonable concerns and sensitivities of both sides, and the actual state of
border areas.

The boundary should be along well-defined and easily identifiable natural geographical features to
be mutually agreed upon between the two sides.

Pending an ultimate settlement of the boundary question, the two sides should strictly respect and observe the line of actual control and work together to maintain
peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

The special interlocutor added that he hoped the two nations would never go to war again.
'In the China-India boundary negotiations, although we have not yet arrived at the summit - that is, we have not reached full agreement on the framework of settlement of the border question - yet we have scaled substantial heights and made much progress,' he declared.
The Indian delegation also included foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai, the country's envoy to China, S. Jaishankar as well as the representatives of the ministries of external affairs and defence.
The only forward movement during the interaction was that Dai and Menon agreed to put in place a mechanism for border management to discuss intrusions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The mechanism was mooted by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to India in 2010.
The present arrangements under the peace and tranquillity agreement between the two countries include communication channels between local-level commanders along the LAC.
The joint border mechanism will focus specifically on how it will function on a routine basis, particularly for taking spot decisions. It would, however, not replace existing border interactions.
This mechanism may create a plan beyond just the maintenance of peace along the LAC that was enunciated by the 1993 and 1996 agreements.
In 1993, India and China signed an accord to reduce tension along their border and respect the LAC. The boundary settlement process was originally envisaged as a three-step process.
The first was to establish guiding principles, the second included evolving a consensus on a framework for the boundary and the last step comprised carrying out its delineation and demarcation.
The SR-level dialogue was initially scheduled for November 28-29 last year. It had to be postponed after India and China disagreed over the Dalai Lama's participation in the Global Buddhist Congregation in Delhi on those very dates.
This was the 15th round of boundary negotiations which commenced in 2003 and have remained inconclusive. It came just ahead of a report accessed by Headlines Today that said that over 500 Chinese intrusions had taken place in the last two years on all the three sectors of the boundary.
In fact, allegations of contravention by Chinese troops were common in 2009 and 2010.
In 2005, the two sides agreed on political parameters and guiding principles for a boundary settlement, which would form the basis of the final settlement. Insiders say the Chinese gameplan was to put pressure on India to reassert claims over territory.
At the centre of the Sino- Indian boundary dispute is the McMahon Line which the Chinese refuse to recognise. While China claims over 90,000 sq km of territory, the Indian claim extends over 3,68,846 sq km.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2092841/China-plays-bully-Arunachal-Beijing-tells-Delhi-work-Eastern-sector-formula.html#ixzz1ktj8r2v5

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Less ideology, more compassion, please!

Though Beijing is trying hard to promote Buddhism abroad (particularly in Lumbini, Nepal or in Nalanda), the leadership in Beijing does not seem aware of the Words of the Buddha: "As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it on a piece of touchstone, so are you to accept my words only after examining them and not merely out of regard for me."
On the contrary, Beijing is trying to force Marxist ideology in the throats of the Chinese people without "burning, cutting and rubbing it on a piece of touchstone".
This article in the Red Flag Manuscript affirms: "We must fully recognize the extreme importance of ideology work, always adhere to Marxism’s guiding position in the ideology field, always remain clear and firm in our thinking and political activities, and prevent influence and interference from all kinds of wrong ideas."
But 'ideology' will not solve the problems of China. 
The Communist regime has been trying for the past 60 years to use 'ideology' to give a direction to the Middle Kingdom, but China has only been successful in the fields where she was able to put ideology behind.
Ideology has never helped to solve the practical problems of the masses:  last year only China has witnessed more than 1,20,000 riots/unrests.
The Chinese people want something more concrete and more human than ideology.
In the meantime, it was confirmed that two Tibetan died after security forces opened fire on protesters on 24 January at Serta County in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Sichuan Province).
Some 10 Tibetans were seriously injured and some 40 others have been arrested. Over 300 Tibetans gathered and shouted slogans calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan freedom. Later, a large number of security forces arrived on the scene and started beating and kicking the protesters.

Let us hope that the new leadership, to be chosen at the end of the year, will use less ideology and repression, but more compassion.

Red Flag Manuscript: Watch Out for the West’s Infiltration and Sabotage in the Arena of Ideology

[Editor’s Note: Red Flag Manuscript published an article on the importance of safeguarding China’s ideology. [1] The author, Zheng Weiping, Director of the Political Department of Guangzhou Military Region, argued that “It has always been the core mission of each country and political (ruling) party to fight for the discourse power in ideology and be proactive in safeguarding the nation’s ideology.” Zheng stated that China should adhere to its Marxist ideology and socialist path and be fully alert to the West’s infiltration and attempts to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) leadership. The following is an excerpt from the article.]

Ideology is an important issue that is directly related to core national interests, national security, and development. It has always been the core mission of each country and political (ruling) party to fight for the discourse power in ideology and be proactive in safeguarding the nation’s ideology. Given the current complex international and domestic situation, a correct understanding and a proper response to the challenges in the arena of ideology are major practical issues for us.

I. Consciously Adhere to the Marxist Ideology

The Marxist theory of ideology is a sharp weapon for us to use in our ideology work. To have a comprehensive and systematic understanding of the Marxist theory of ideology, one must deeply comprehend its basic ideas: First, the mode of production of material determines the nature of ideology. ... Second, ideology is based on an interpretation of the real world. Politics, law, morality, art, philosophy, religion, and other ideas form the ideological superstructure which includes ideals, beliefs, values, and other important spiritual notions. These, in turn, affect and restrict people's values and spiritual life. Third, class is the essential characteristic of ideology. … Fourth, ideology is the thought system of the dominant social class. ... Fifth, ideology must not only interpret the world, but also transform the world. ... Sixth, the core value system is the soul of ideology. Ideologies are built around the core value system of a social class and social group. … The battles among ideologies are basically clashes between the core value systems. These Marxist concepts of ideology are the guidelines for our work in the arena of ideology.

II. Accurately Grasp the Nature of Socialist Ideology with Chinese Characteristics

Marxism is the soul of socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics. ...

The common goal of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the subject of socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics. ...

The national spirit with patriotism as its core and the spirit of the times with reform and innovation as their core are the essence of the socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics.

III. Deeply Recognize the Complex Situation in the Arena of Ideology

First, in the context of economic globalization, the struggle between ideologies has become more intense and complex. Specific manifestations are:

1) The main ideological struggle has not changed. Since the socialist system was established, Western capitalism has committed to peaceful evolution and Westernization. Its attempt to constrain and strangle socialism has never changed. The main ideological struggle between socialism and capitalism still revolves around who will defeat the other.

2) The pattern of ideological struggle is more complex. There are mainstream conflicts between capitalism and socialism, non-mainstream ideological debates that impact political and social values, and ideological differences that stem from ethnic, religious, sovereignty, and territorial disputes. Different ideologies confront, penetrate, and influence each other, making the ideological struggle more complex.

3) The ideological struggle has entered into more areas. It is not limited to the ideological and cultural fields, but also permeates politics, economics, technology, the military, international relations, and other fields. It has also become more popular in the areas of culture, academics, and life in general. Ideology’s appearance and essence are more and more separated from each other, but its impact has become more and more lasting and strong.

4) Ideology plays a more obvious role in international strategic battles these days. The U.S.-led Western countries implement their ideological strategy, encouraging and supporting so-called "color revolutions," which are, in fact, the Western-styled "democratic reform" to change other countries. On the surface, the struggle between maintaining and changing the regime in a targeted country looks like non-violent revolution and political action carried out in the streets by the locals, but actually it is the West’s ideological hegemony that plays a leading role behind it. The recent "Rose Revolution," "Orange Revolution," and "Jasmine Revolution" are examples.

Second, Western countries have strengthened their efforts to infiltrate and sabotage our ideology. The U.S.-led Western countries do not want to see a strong socialist China. They attempt to use their Westernization and separation strategy to drastically change China, just as they did to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. They have deliberately intensified political pressure, stepped up economic development constraints, continued to demonize us, and ideologically and culturally infiltrated us, using more diverse means and higher technology. It is more and more difficult for us to fend them off and respond to them.

For example, they push ideological hegemony under the banner of Western freedom, democracy, and human rights; they promote the multi-party system and a separation of powers; they attack our political system, maliciously stir up discussions of social hot issues, incite separation using ethnic and religious issues, support "dissidents" to challenge our political bottom line, deny the party's leadership in the name of "restoring history" and "reforming by reflecting,” strengthen ideological and cultural infiltration, and sabotage our country by using their advantage in network technology. Overall, they effect ideological infiltration and sabotage by taking capitalist values as the core ideological export content, stirring up discussions on sensitive issues, penetrating to and competing for the grassroots level, using "dissidents" and “opinion leaders" as their supporters, forging collusion between internal and external forces, targeting the military, and taking the Internet and mobile phones as a key battlefield.

The reality shows that the complexity and sharp struggle in the ideological field do not change based on our will. The struggle is a contest between the socialist and capitalist value systems. The hostile forces’ fundamental goal is to overthrow the CCP’s leadership and subvert our country's socialist system.

Third, one cannot ignore the impact that the complicated struggle in the ideological field has on our society.

IV. Fighting the Ideological Battle Proactively

Ideology work is related to the Party’s and the country’s overall work, the steady development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, social harmony, and the stability of the nation. We must fully recognize the extreme importance of ideology work, always adhere to Marxism’s guiding position in the ideology field, always remain clear and firm in our thinking and political activities, and prevent influence and interference from all kinds of wrong ideas. At present, we should utilize mainstream media, the Internet, mobile phones, and other new media to build a modern communications system with wide coverage and advanced technology, strengthen and improve our leadership over ideology work, and improve our ability to establish ideology.

[1] Red Flag Manuscript, “Properly Deal with the Challenges in the Arena of Ideology,” November 29, 2011.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tibet: whom do you believe?

While the Chinese propaganda pretends that the Tibetan are more and more fond of the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), the repression continues on the Roof of the World.
According to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy: 
"One Tibetan layman, identified as Yonten, has died of gunshot after security officials clamped down on a protest in Drango County in Kandze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
The body of Yonten, a resident of Drango County, is being kept at Drango Monastery. At least three monks from Drango Monastery are seriously injured, although it is not clear whether these injuries were caused by gunshots.
The protest occurred on the morning of 23 January 2012 when the Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials arrested many Tibetans in and around Drango on the suspicion that they pasted leaflets and posters that warned of more Tibetan self-immolations if the Chinese government did not listen to Tibetan concerns. The said leaflets had appeared a few days earlier in and around Drango town. Concerned and angered by the arbitrary arrest of Tibetans, other Tibetans in the Drango area rose up in protest this morning. The protesters, many of who were farmers and nomads, carried Tibetans flags and shouted slogans for Tibetan freedom, a source told TCHRD. The PSB and People’s Armed Police (PAP) then intervened by using guns to rein in the protesters, according to our source."
Another article in the Chinese press stated that the Tibetans are so delighted with the leadership in Beijing that they have decided to put up their portraits on the occasion of the Spring Festival:
"Dakyung, a monk from Ganden Monastery, has been looking forward to the Spring Festival, what's more, he put up the portraits of Chinese leaders in the most visible position of his dorm, "Thanks to the policies of the Communist Party of China, I can enjoy the medical insurance and the endowment insurance, also I have a harmonious atmosphere to practice Tibetan Buddhism, which is quite important for a monk. Thanks to the Communist Party of China, I can be the master of my own fate, I put up the national flags and portraits of Chinese leaders just to show my gratitude." said Dawa, an old woman lived on the Barkor street. On the Spring Festival, people marked the last moments of the Year of the Rabbit with cheerful celebrations, while exchanging their wishes for a better and prosperous Year of the Dragon."
Whom do you believe?

Lunar New Year Getting Popular in Tibetans
Chen Jing
Lunar new year no doubt tops the list of all the festivals for Han -ethnic people. However, in the city of Lhasa,the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region in the southwest of China,more and more local people of Tibetan ethnic begin to share this holiday,as a remarkble sign of the cause of the ethnical intergration and harmony.
The fact is sure that Tibetan people have always been a member of China Family since ancient time.Yet in the past time they did not focus much on such a big day from Han enthic dueing to various reasons,cultural or ecnomic ones. Following the step of development in Tibet , mutual understanding and mind-exchanging are enhanced day by day among all the ethnics here. As a result, some festivals of ethnical feature are accepted and shared by more and more people from both Hans and Tibetans.
Tsedo is a mid-aged Tibetan bus driver ,whose family has lived in Lhasa for generations,is shopping for the coming Lunar New Year in a supermarket. "Lunar New Year has gradually become sort of new fashion for us Tibetans. It brings up something interesting from different cultural background.Although the traditional Tibetan new year is still the NO.1." 
More and more Tibetans are taking Lunar New Year as a fashion
Source:china tibet news website

Monday, January 23, 2012

A nation of prosperity, peace and freedom for all

On the occasion of the Chinese New Year, I am posting a text from Murong Xuecun.
Murong is the pen name of a Chinese author Hao Qun. His first work, Chengdu, Leave Me Alone Tonight has been read by millions of Chinese people on Internet.
On July 22, 2008, Murong made it to the long list for the Man Asian Literary Prize
Muring's microblog has more than 1 million followers.
The conclusions of this essay are: "I love my country. I love her splendid mountains and rivers and her great civilization. I appreciate the suffering she has experienced. In fact, I love my country even more because of the suffering she has been through. Yes, I am criticizing her rotten system, but I do not want to see bloodshed while my country is improving herself. I hope the system will improve gracefully. I hope in the near future, in my country, flowers of freedom will blossom and children will smile without fear. I hope in the near future, my country, an ancient civilization, a land of suffering, will become a nation of prosperity, peace and freedom, for all."
It is what one can wish to the Chinese people for the New Dragon-Water Year.  

Caging a Monster
Murong Xuecun 慕容雪村
Translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz

I am a Chinese writer. Allow me to say a few words about my country. Everyone knows that in the past thirty years China has built countless skyscrapers, commissioned countless airports, and paved countless freeways. My country’s GDP is the world’s second largest and her products are sold in every corner of the planet. My compatriots can be seen on tour in London, New York and Tokyo wearing expensive clothes, chattering raucously. My compatriots also fill up casinos and line up to buy LV bags. People exclaim in amazement: China is rising, the Chinese are rich! But behind this facade of power and prosperity there are details of which many people are unaware, and it is precisely these details that make my country a very strange place.

我是一个中国作家,在这里向你介绍一下我的国家。正如你们所知,在过去的三十年里,这个国家建造了无数高楼,修了无数机场,铺平了无数道 路,它的GDP位居全球第二,它制造的商品造销往全世界每一个角落。在伦敦、在纽约、在东京,到处可见身穿昂贵西装的中国游客,他们大声谈笑,出手不凡, 他们占领了大多数赌场,疯狂抢购LV皮包。人们惊诧于这样的场面,说中国强大了,中国人有钱了。可我要说,在这表面的强大和富足之下,中国还有许多不为人 知的细节,而正是这些细节,让中国变成了一个极为奇怪的国家。

Living in China is like watching a play in a giant theatre. The plots are absurd and the scenarios are unbelievable—so absurd, so unbelievable that they are beyond any writer’s imagination.


My country manufactures powdered milk containing melamine, feeds fish and shrimp contraceptive medications to enhance their growth, uses industrial alcohol in fake wine, preserves beancurd with human excrement, and produces “gutter oil,” the product of a notorious practice in which waste oil from gutters outside restaurants is recycled for human consumption.


In my country, the legal system works like this: countless laws are enacted, and then countless procedures are created, followed by countless enforcement regulations and detailed judicial interpretations, but ultimately it is up to the political leaders to decide who wins and who loses a case.

In my country, many cases cannot be pursued in the courts. Even if legal action is taken, courts can refuse to hear a case. Even if the case is heard in court, the judgement is made well before the hearing starts.



In my country, many innocent people disappear, and some people lose their freedom without ever being sentenced by a court. Some people attempt to have their grievances addressed at a higher level by following procedures prescribed in law. These people are branded “petitioners.” In my country, the word petitioner conveys the sense of a nuisance, a mentally ill person, a terrorist. To deal with these petitioners, the government mobilises a huge amount of resources to herd them home, jail them, and in a particularly creative measure, incarcerate them in insane asylums.

在这个国家,有一些人会无缘无故地消失,有一些人未经审判就失去了自由。还有一些人 屈难申,按照法律规定的程序寻求公平,这些人被称作‘上访人员’,这个词在中文里的含义是讨厌鬼、精神病人和恐怖分子。为了对付他们,我们的政府动用了大 量人力物力,有时把他们赶回老家,有时把他们关进监牢,最聪明的是把他们关进疯人院。

Recently a famous petitioner, a blind lawyer called Chen Guangcheng has attracted a lot of attention. Chen is an advocate for people’s rights and dignity. At this very moment, he is a prisoner in his own home. Many people, including myself, have attempted to visit Chen but all have been chased away by government employed thugs.


In my country, there are many peculiar ways to die in detention and officials are more creative than a novelist like me in coming up with explanations: died playing hide-and-seek; died while dreaming; died of psychosis; died sipping water. But in all cases the bodies of those who die in custody are covered in bruises and wounds.


In my country, every city has demolition crews equipped with bulldozers and truncheons. The bulldozers are for levelling people’s homes and the truncheons are for bludgeoning stubborn homeowners. To protect their homes, some homeowners beg on their knees, others cry, and some threaten to kill themselves or even actually self immolate. But nothing can stand in the way of the demolition crews and no official is ever brought to account when demolitions result in deaths.

在这个国家,每个城市都有拆迁队,他们的标准装备是铲车和棍棒,铲车用来拆除别人的房子,棍棒用来殴打和驱赶那些不听话的人。为了保卫自己 的家园,有人痛哭,有人下跪,有人把汽油泼在身上点火自焚,但无论他们做什么,都不会影响到拆迁队的工程进度。许多人因此而死,却从来没有人为他们的死亡 负责。

In my country, elections are a charade—the government decides the results in advance. Their candidates are always elected. Very often people are asked to elect two out of two candidates. Other times, elections even defy basic math—three winners can be elected from two candidates. Every five years there is a national election and the winners are called people’s representatives but the majority of them only represent the government.

在这个国家,选举是一场奇怪的游戏,最终结果由上级决定,上级需要哪个人当选,哪个人就一定会当选,很少出现误差。在很多时候,人们需要从 两个人中选出两个人来,还有些时候,这种选举甚至会违背数学原理,要求选民们从两个人中选出三个人来。每过五年,会有一次全国范围的选举,选上的人被称为 人民代表,而事实上,他们几乎不能代表人民,只能算政府雇员,也只会帮政府说话。

One woman in her seventies, for example, has been a people’s representative for over fifty years and yet she has never tabled a motion, and never once voted against a motion. Her job is simple. All she has to do is raise her hand and she can live a comfortable life for performing this task. In recent years some people have attempted to compete in these elections without receiving government approval. These people almost always lose and often suffer miserably for their actions.


In my country, government-run relief organisations engage in human trafficking; intellectually-disabled people slave away in factories and mines; pregnant women are coerced to have abortions and infants are taken by force to be handed over to orphanages. These infants then are sold to other regions and even foreign countries if their parents cannot come up with the cash to buy them back.


In my country, the job of the press and electronic media is to promote the government, not to report the truth. The education system is tasked with instructing the people to be loyal to the government and keeping the people ignorant, not with disseminating knowledge. As a result, many people have never grown up intellectually even though they are adults. Even today, many people in my country still are nostalgic for the catastrophic Cultural Revolution that ended over thirty years ago and still promote the cult of personality. Some people still deny that the unprecedented great famine of the early 1960s ever occurred, and insist that the millions of deaths by starvation is a fabrication.

在这个国家,报纸和电视的责任不是报道真相,而是为政府做广告。教育的目的不是传授知识,而是教人愚蠢,教人效忠政府。这种教育和宣传,让 许多人都活在未成年状态,他们有成年人的身体,但在精神上,就像是世事懵懂的孩子,时至今日,还有许多人在怀念文革,鼓吹个人崇拜,还有一些人认为那场空 前绝后的大饥荒纯属子虚乌有,只是某些阴险小人阴险的编造。

In my country, every academic undertaking must serve the interests of the government. Academics must fabricate history in accordance with the government’s political interests. Economists must develop economic theories to support the government’s political agenda. In my country, leaders invent truths and their pronouncements are applied to every field of human endeavor, be it political, economic, cultural, or even animal husbandry.

在这个国家,每一种学问都必须为政治服务,政治需要什么样的历史,学者就会创作什么样的历史;政治需要有什么样的经济学,学者就会发明什么 样的经济学;大人物可以随意发明真理,这些真理适用于任何一个领域,能够指导这个国家的政治工作、经济工作、文化工作,甚至能够指导动物交配。

In my country, the government claims to have eradicated classes, but in reality, class divisions are glaringly obvious. The highest class enjoys exclusively produced foods while the lower classes are left to consume contaminated and dangerous products. Children of the dominant class study at opulent private schools, while children of the second-class study at ordinary schools. The third class attend shabby schools for migrant workers and the fourth class, well, they don’t get to go to school at all.


My county takes delight importing the latest jet airplanes and providing aid to foreign countries, despite destitute beggars roaming the land at home, despite many of her people being unable to afford medical care, despite many children being too poor to go to school and despite a huge number of people living in poverty.


In my country, informing on others is encouraged. The government has a secret dossier on every single citizen which records everything about us until the day we die—from innocent remarks about us to unsubstantiated accusations as well as many things we don’t even know about ourselves. Secret agents in factories, schools and residential neighbourhoods covertly record everything people say and do. The atmosphere is oppressive—people do not trust the government, employees do not trust employers, students don’t trust teachers, and wives do not trust husbands.

这个国家鼓励告密,政府为每个人都建立了一份秘密档案,档案中记录了从生到死的每一个变化、别人的评价以及许多当事人自己都不知道的事。在 工厂、在学校、在街头,密探们正秘密地观察每个人的言行。这里的空气压抑而紧张,民众不相信政府,员工不相信老板,学生不相信老师,妻子不相信丈夫。

In my country, there is a strange system that rewards liars, and with the passage of time, people have become accustomed to lying. People lie as naturally as they breathe, to the point that lying has become a virtue.


In my country, writing is a dangerous occupation. People are sent to prison for writing essays, or saying a few words of truth. Writers are not allowed to talk about history, or to criticise the present, let alone fantasise about the future. Many words cannot be written, many things cannot be spoken, and many issues cannot be mentioned. Every book has to go through a rigid censorship regime before it can be published. Many books are banned in my country, and then become bestsellers overseas.

在这个国家,写作成了一种危险的事业有人因为写文章而入狱,有人因为说了某句真话而入狱。作家不能评述历史,不能批判现实,更不能幻想未 来。许多字不能写,许多话不能说,许多事件不能提及,每一本书的出版都要经过严格的政治审查,许多书被查禁,然后它们就会成为国外的畅销书。

My country is capable of launching a satellite into space but not of building a safe bridge across a river. My country is capable of building palatial government offices yet condemns children to substandard schoolhouses. My country provides millions of luxury cars to government official yet few safe school buses for children. Only two days ago in Gansu province in China’s northwest, 64 children were crammed into a nine-seat school bus. Then there was an accident and nineteen of them died. Most of these children came from poor families. They had never been to a McDonalds, a KFC, or a zoo. Their lives ended tragically before they even started.

这个国家可以把卫星送入太空,却造不好一座桥。这个国家可以把政府大楼造成金碧辉煌的宫殿,却让孩子们坐在摇摇欲倒的危房之中。这个国家有 无数豪华的行政座驾,却没有一辆坚固的校车。就在两天之前,在中国甘肃,一辆只有坐9个人的校车塞进了64个孩子,然后很不幸地遇到了车祸,19个孩子因 此而死。这些孩子大多来自最贫穷的家庭,他们还没有吃过一次麦当劳和肯德基,还没有去过一次动物园,他们的人生还没有开始,却已经过早地结束了。

In my country, extravagant structures have been built one after another to host one extravagant event after another. However, many citizens considered “dangerous elements” are forced to leave their own homes in tears whenever such an event is held. Yet, government officials insist that these people leave their homes voluntarily.


My country has one of the largest bureaucracies in the world. Most of these bureaucrats are either bribing or taking bribes. Power is being abused in every way imaginable and turned into a money-generating tool. According to publicly available reports, enormous amounts of public funds are wasted on sumptuous banquets, luxury trips and expensive cars provided to these bureaucrats. We are talking about 900 billion yuan or over US$140 billion a year. Some may ask: Why don’t the taxpayers say no to this practice? I’m sorry, the concept of taxpayers’ rights doesn’t exist in my country. All we have is the term “the people.”

这个国家有全世界是庞大的官僚队伍,他们中的绝大多数都在贪污或受贿,每一种权力都被污染,成为致富的法宝或伤人的利器。根据公开的报道, 每年有大量的财富用于这些官僚的吃喝、旅游和公车消费(每年九千亿人民币)。或许有人会问:纳税人为什么不反对?抱歉,在这个国家,没有纳税人这个词,有 的只是‘人民’。

Some may say, well, this is nothing to get excited about, because corruption exists in every country, at any time. I agree. But still, I want to say that if there were degrees to measure the rampancy of corruption, then the difference between five degrees and a hundred degrees is not merely a difference in readings—the former shows minor defects, but my country’s rampant corruption means disaster. I also want to add: It’s wrong to suggest my compatriots should put up with corruption simply because corruption exists elsewhere.

有人会说,这些事不足为奇,任何一个国家都会有,任何一个国家都曾经有过。我承认,但还是要说,如果腐败可以分度数,那么5度腐败和100 度腐败的差别不仅是个数字,前者还可以算是瑕疵,而后者已经成了灾难。我还要说,不能因为别的国家有腐败,就认为中国人应该忍受这种腐败。

Chinese people don't deserve a better life because “the quality of the Chinese people” is low. Believe me, people who say this are themselves of low quality. The Chinese people should not be given too much freedom due to China’s “unique situation.” Believe me, people who say this are themselves perpetuating China’s “unique situation”. Stability is what China needs the most, not freedom, not human rights. Believe me, people who say this are themselves contributing to instability.

难道因为中国人的素质太低,所以不配享有更美好的生活吗?请你相信,说这话的人,他自己的素质就很低;难道因为中国的独特国情,所以不能给 民众以太多自由吗?请你相信,说这话的人,他自己就是国情;难道中国最需要的真的不是自由,也不是人权,而是稳定吗?在这里,我请你相信,说这话的人,他 自己就是不稳定的因素。

At the end of 2009 I infiltrated a gang of pyramid scammers. After spending some time living with them, I realised that the world of pyramid selling is Chinese society in miniature. A Chinese scholar once defined this kind of society as being in a “primitive state,” a society that is comprised of three kinds of people: liars, the deaf and the mutes. The good news is that Chinese society is moving forward —now there are more and more liars and we’re running out of the deaf and the mute.

2009年底,我混进了一个传销团伙,在其中生活了一段时间之后,我发现传销团伙几乎就是中国社会的缩影,一位中国学者曾经对此做过精准的 论述,他把这种社会称为‘前现代社会’,主要有三种人构成:骗子、傻子和哑巴。不过令人高兴的是,中国已经进步了,情况发生了深刻的变化,那就是:骗子越 来越多,傻子和哑巴都快不够用了。

The English scholar Henry Maine refers to the transition from individuals bound by social status or belonging to traditional social castes, to a modern world where people are independent entities free to make contracts on their own, as the progression of "from status to contract." If this progression is the benchmark for entering a modern civilised society, then China is still a nation in a primitive state.


My country was entirely a status-oriented society just over twenty years ago. What a person could do depended not on that person’s intelligence and competency. Rather, it depended on who that person’s father was. During the Cultural Revolution, if someone was deemed a “son of a bitch,” then his son would be deemed a “son of a bitch,” and many years later his grandson would also be deemed a “son of a bitch.”


Twenty years on, is there any progress? Yes, there is, but not much.


In my country, the sons and grandsons of officials are still officials while second and third generation migrant workers are still migrant workers. All power, all business and all resources are monopolised. There is almost no hope for the sons of ordinary citizens to move up. There is no possibility of them ever becoming an Obama or a Steve Jobs.


In my country, just striving for a normal life is difficult. In fact, in recent years life has become much harder for the urban population due to the heavy tax burden, exorbitant housing prices, high inflation and low wages. Driving a taxi previously provided a good income, but a taxi driver recently told me he had not eaten meat for several months. He sighed as we passed a luxury residential estate. “More and more skyscrapers are going up,” the driver said. “But why is my life getting harder and harder?”

在这个国家,人们即使只想过正常的生活也无比艰难。最近的几年,中国市民阶层的生活正日益艰难,沉重的税负、昂贵的房价,日益上涨的物价和 微薄的工资。在这个国家,开出租车可就在几个月之前,有位司机亲口告诉我:他已经有几个月没吃过肉了。当我们经过一片豪华住宅区,他这样感慨:这里的大楼 越建越多,为什么我的日子却一天比一天艰难?

My country has become the world’s largest consumer of luxury goods. And now, even living and dying in my country have become a luxury. A popular song encapsulates people’s anxieties:
Can’t afford to have children—caesarians cost five thousand and more
Can’t afford to go to school—a good school costs at least thirty K
Can’t afford an apartment—more than ten thousand for a meter of floor
Can’t afford to get married—no house, no car, no wedding, she’ll say
Can’t afford to get sick—medicine costs an arm and a leg
Can’t afford to die—cremation costs are through the sky

中国已经成了奢侈品消费大国,但更令人高兴的是,在这个国家,连死亡本身都已经成了昂贵的奢侈品。有一首歌谣极为生动地描述了人们的忧虑:‘生不 起,剖腹一刀五千几;读不起,选个学校三万起;住不起,一万多元一平米;娶不起,没房没车谁跟你;病不起,药费让人脱层皮;死不起,火化下葬一万几。’

Creativity never flourishes in a status-driven society. That’s why in every field of endeavor—industry, agriculture, commerce and culture—my country contributes few innovations and new ideas, but excels at counterfeits and imitations. I believe that without reforming this rotten system, China will continue to be a nation that contributes few innovations and new ideas to mankind. It may have a lot of money but there won’t be much culture left. It may become a mighty military power but it will still be incapable of making its people feel secure.

一个以身份为主导的社会,必然是一个缺乏创造力的社会,所以我们看到,无论在工业、农业、商业还是在文化艺术领域,中国人都绝少创新,有的 只是抄袭和模仿。我相信,如果不改革这糟糕的制度,在未来的几十年间,中国仍将是一个缺乏创新与发明的国度,它或许会有很多钱,但一定不会有太多文化;或 许会有强大的武力,但一定不会让它的国民感觉平安。

People in China have come up with a multitude of explanations for my country’s numerous problems. Those who want to hold onto power say China has problems because the Chinese are just a “low quality people.” Therefore, they have to be controlled and managed. Conservatives say China’s current problems result from the Chinese people abandoning traditional moral values. Some religious groups say China’s problems result from the Chinese not having any faith, and consequently commit evil because they do not fear the wrath of god.


In my view, everything stems from the rotten system. A system with no restraints on power can only lead to corruption; a system in which the law exists in name only turns the law into a deadly weapon high officials use to oppress the citizenry. In this system, the primary purpose of the police and the military is to maintain the political rulers in power and inspire terror, not for making people feel secure. In this system, no one takes responsibility for the past, present and future.

但在我看来,这一切都是因为我们有一个糟糕的制度,在这种制度之下,权力不受约束,只能渐趋腐败;法律形同虚设,它是权贵的利器,更是平民 的枷锁;在这种制度之下,警察和军队最大的作用是维护统治,只会让人们感觉更加恐惧,而不是更加安全;在这种制度之下,没人对历史负责,所以也就没人对现 在负责,更不会有人对未来负责。

In this system, people only care about short-term profits. In this system, not following the rules is the rule, and unscrupulous means are the only means in government and business so only the dirtiest players emerge victorious. In this system, everyone is a criminal so no one needs to repent. In this system, humiliation is felt by everyone, so no matter how much a “harmonious society” is promoted, the majority of people dream of escaping to a safe place.

在这种制度之下,人们只关心眼前的利益。在这种制度之下,不守规矩成了最大规矩,不择手段成了最好的手段,在官场,在商场,大多数竞争其实 都是底线的竞争,总是让卑鄙的人胜出;在这种制度之下,人人都在犯罪,却没人需要忏悔;在这种制度之下,每个人都会感觉屈辱,不管身边有多少‘和谐社会’ 的广告,大多数人想的都是同一件事:离开这里,到平安的地方去。

This rotten system is the mongrel of Stalinist-Maoism and Imperial Chinese political culture, a cross-breed of the rule of the jungle with traditional Chinese trickery and communism. Decades later, this creature now has become a monster. This monster is vain, tyrannical and arrogant. It never admits to mistakes. It destroys people in the name of justice and rehabilitates them, also in the name of justice. It takes credit for everything positive, and blames others for all failures. It wants to lord over everything and only tolerates one faith, faith in itself. This monster only allows praise to one thing, praise to itself. It owns every newspaper, every school, and every temple. Without its permission, even flowers may not bloom.

这糟糕的制度,斯大林—毛泽东主义和中国王朝政治的不伦之子,丛林法则、儒家权谋和共产主义的混血产品,经过几十年的发育,已经成长为一个 又大又丑的怪物,它虚荣、蛮横、自视甚高、从来不会认错,它打倒一个人是因为正义,给这个人平反,还是因为正义。一切好事都是它领导的,一切坏事都是因为 背叛了它的领导。它主宰一切,只允许一种信仰,那就是信仰它;只允许一种感谢,那就是感谢它;它拥有每一份报纸、每一所学校、每一座寺庙,没有它的允许, 连花朵都不能随便开放。

This monster may be frail, but it is still resilient. It is terminally ill, yet it still possesses lethal power. It is dumb yet is also extremely sensitive—the slightest breeze can set off anxiety attacks, trivial matters can ignite a towering rage. This rotten system is like a festering tumor that is poisoning every drop of blood and every nerve cell of my country, and will ultimately drag the entire nation towards catastrophe.

这个怪物既强壮又脆弱,既身患重病,却有着强大的杀伤力;既异常笨拙,又有着无比敏感的神经,一点风吹草动就能让它神经紧张,一件微不足道 的小事就能让它怒火中烧。这糟糕的制度,就像一个越来越大的毒瘤,毒害着每一滴血液、每一根神经,并将最终把整个国家拖入可怕的灾难之中。

Wars and man-made catastrophes over thousands of years have taught people one thing: Power is a monster that kills. Therefore, it must be caged. But rather than striving for a better system, many Chinese people are still dreaming of a wise and kind-hearted ruler—a not-so-vicious monster. I believe this dream will remain a dream because a monster will attack as long as it is not caged—it is the nature of the beast.

几千年的战争和杀戮之后,人类终于明白了一个道理:权力如同猛兽,随时可能暴起伤人。因此,必须把它关到笼子里。但在中国,大多数人总盼望 迷信明君贤相式的统治,总希望有一只不那么残暴的猛兽来统治他们。我觉得这是不可能实现的愿望,因为猛兽的野性尚存,随时准备择人而噬。

When this powerful monster roars, people become timid. They are content to be mute as long as they can survive. They neglect their own rights, and the rights of others. They stand by idly when their neighbour’s home is bulldozed. When their own homes are bulldozed, other people stand by idly.


In a speech I delivered a month ago I spoke about the responsibilities of the Chinese people. I said: As citizens of our country, we must know that every one of us is an owner of our country. We are responsible for both its goodness and its flaws. We must not pretend we have nothing to do with China’s problems. We all live on the same planet and no one can stand by idly. When one person’s freedom is deprived, no one is free; when one person’s safety is jeopardised, no one is safe. Some people say China is a nation that behaves as if it doesn’t have a bottom line. I disagree. I believe there is a bottom line—we are the bottom line. This rotten system persists because we all have contributed to it, in one way or another— we are the system. If the system improves, that’s because we have worked on it. If the system gets worse, that’s also because we have contributed.

一个月前,我在一次演讲中谈到中国人的责任。我说,作为现代公民,我们应该知道,这国家有你的一份,它好,有你的一份,它不好,也有你的一 份,我们不能假装自己可以避开了这些问题。人类社会是一个整体,没人可以置身事外。一人不自由,则人人不自由。一人不安全,则人人不安全。有人说,中国是 一个没有底线的国家,这话不对,这国家并非没有低线,它以你我为低线。这糟糕的制度能够运行,是因为我们都曾经为之出过力,我们就是制度。如果它越来越 好,是因为我们都曾为之努力,如果它越来越坏,也是因为我们的努力。

To make this country a better country, we first must make ourselves better. A group of slaves can never build a great nation, but modern citizens can—citizens who are intelligent and responsible. They not only love themselves, but also their country. They not only care about their own rights but also the rights of others; they not only defend their own freedom, but also the freedom of others; they not only defend their houses, but also their neighbour’s houses. They will never evade their responsibilities and will speak out when everyone else is silenced; they will never stop advancing when everyone else halts in hesitation. To make ourselves better is an honourable process and we are bound to encounter setbacks and hardship. Despite hardship, more and more Chinese people now are aware of their responsibilities. They break the silence, speak the truth, and calmly make suggestions. Some are suffering for their actions but refuse to be cowered or silenced.

要想这个国家变好,首先要做的是让自己变好。一个美好的国家不是一群奴隶能够建成的,她需要许多聪明而有担当的人,这就是‘公民’二字的含 义。他们不仅爱自己,还爱国家;不仅关心自己的权利,也关心别人的权利;不仅捍卫自己的自由,也捍卫别人的自由。不仅捍卫自己的房子,也勇于捍卫邻居的房 子。他们在大众沉默之时敢于发出声音,他们在大众踟蹰之时敢于迈出脚步。把自己变好是一场光荣而艰难的事业,注定要经历挫折和磨难,但我们看到,有越来越 多的中国人开始明白自己的责任,他们从沉默中走出,诚实地说话,温和地建言,有些人因此而遭受不幸,但他们还在坚持,坚持在黑暗中发出孤独的声音。

Over two thousand years ago, Confucius said one should only serve the state if it is righteous, otherwise one should eschew serving the state. However, to become citizens of a modern society, I say we should criticize the government if it does not do the right thing, and we should also keep an eye on the government even if it is already doing the right thing. This is my belief and this is what will I do for the rest of my life.


Finally, I hope you believe me that I am not a class enemy, nor an over-thrower of governments. All I want is to cage the monster. Yes, I am criticizing my country, but that doesn’t mean I hate my country. Rather, I love my country. I love her splendid mountains and rivers and her great civilization. I appreciate the suffering she has experienced. In fact, I love my country even more because of the suffering she has been through. Yes, I am criticizing her rotten system, but I do not want to see bloodshed while my country is improving herself. I hope the system will improve gracefully. I hope in the near future, in my country, flowers of freedom will blossom and children will smile without fear. I hope in the near future, my country, an ancient civilization, a land of suffering, will become a nation of prosperity, peace and freedom, for all.

最后我要说,我不是阶级敌人,不是颠覆分子,我只是想把怪物关进笼子里。没错,我是在批评自己的国家,但这并不表示我恨这个国家,相反,我 爱我的祖国,我爱她壮丽的山河、辉煌的文明,也爱她的苦难,并将因为这苦难而加倍爱它。没错,我是在批评这糟糕的制度,但在这个制度变好的过程中我绝不希 望看到流血,我只希望可以使这制度温柔地变好。我有一个梦想,希望在不久的将来,花朵能在我的祖国自由绽放,中国的孩子可以尽情欢笑,中国,这古老的国 家,苦难钟爱之地,能够变成富足、和平而自由的国家。

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Are Indian thinking?

This article based on the "Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program" prepared by the International Relations Program of the University of Pennsylvania shows that no Indian think tank is able to make it amongst the top 30 of the world.
But are the results of the US University reliable?
The Americans have taken the habit to note themselves and everybody else. They usually top the list.
Ditto with universities and now the think tanks.
I do not want to praise for Indian think tanks (often funded by the US), there is however a political factor in the present noting.
On January 19, 2012, The People's Daily published in article entitled "The Political Factor behind the Downgrade of European Countries' Credit Ratings".
The People's Daily's commented on Standard & Poor's motivation for the recent downgrade of European countries' credit ratings. It further suggested that the downgrade increased the complexity of resolving Europe's debt crisis and that it is more than a simple financial move. 
The article stated: "Britain's debt crisis is rarely discussed in media reports, but Britain is a country heavily dependent on finances. Its debt crisis is no less severe than in any other country. However, Britain is the closest ally of the United States. Therefore, it is almost impossible to downgrade Britain's credit rating... Austria was downgraded unexpectedly, but looking at it from a political angle, Austria has been Germany's most intimate friend. Therefore, America's Standard & Poor's downgrade of Austria's credit rating can have the effect of giving Germany a warning. Downgrading France appears to be reasonable, but it is actually still politically motivated. It has very little effect on the French government's borrowing costs, but it can have a dire consequence for Sarkozy's reelection efforts."
I am not usually biding for the Chinese views, but the Communist mouthpiece has probably a point: there are indeed different views on the credit, university or think tank ratings. 
Unfortunately, it depends on who conduct the survey.
If one looks at the directions recently taken by US Foreign Policy makers, one can only conclude that they have been wrongly advised by the think tanks (in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere).
So why to invest so much in top think tanks, for such a poor harvest?

India’s Think Tank Failure
The Diplomat.com
By Jason Miks January 19, 2012
Diplomatic Courier* has released its new list of the world’s leading think tanks, which always makes for interesting reading. In top spot this year in their global list is Washington-based Brookings Institution, which also came in second overall in the United States on the specific area of international affairs, behind the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The list is drawn up largely by the University of Pennsylvania, and this year included nominations for 5,329 think tanks around the world.
“Our rankings process, as in the past, relies on a shared definition of public policy research, analysis, and engagement organizations, a detailed set of selection criteria, and an increasingly open and transparent nomination and selection process,” said James McGann, director of the university’s think tank and civil societies program, in announcing the results.
It’s no surprise on the overall list to see organizations like Brookings, Chatham House in the U.K., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Council on Foreign Relations and CSIS making up the top five. But what is in some ways surprising is the failure of India to place a single think tank in the global top 30.
That American think tanks dominate the top 30, taking 12 spots, isn’t a surprise – they are extremely well-funded here, and there’s a long-established culture of ideas generation based around this format in Washington and elsewhere that’s boosted by the ease with which former politicians and government officials move in and out of the “circuit.” U.S. think tanks undoubtedly benefit from the U.S.-style of government, which often involves officials being appointed, serving a relatively short period in government, making contacts and then returning to the research sector. You only have to look at the staff line-up of any of the top organizations to see a host of former (often very senior) government officials making up the ranks.
This is in stark contrast to parliamentary systems such as the U.K., where cabinet positions are typically filled by members of parliament – a British Foreign Office minister whose term in government has ended returns to the back benches rather than becoming a fellow at, say, Chatham House.
But none of this explains the absence of India on the list – an absence that should trouble Indian policymakers. At their best, think tanks can be a hotbed of ideas for government to draw upon, and if India has aspirations toward looking past its neighborhood and stepping up on the global stage it will need to draw upon the vigorous exchange and debate of ideas and policy proposals that such research centers can offer. And yet clearly, in the eyes of their peers, Indian think tanks lack the rigor and influence of a Germany, Canada or indeed Kenya, at least according to the latest list.
I’m going to quote here at some length from one of our writers on this issue from a couple of years back:
“Apart from (the) persistence of endemic poverty and poor infrastructure, India faces other critical challenges in its search for great power status: its acute shortage of critical human capital. At one level, the country can justifiably claim that it has some institutions of higher education which can compete with their peers on a global basis. But these institutions are mostly confined to the realms of science, engineering and management and despite the existence of these centers of excellence, mediocrity is the hallmark of many of India’s other educational institutions.
“For example, with the possible exception of the discipline of economics, India lags woefully behind in the other social sciences such as sociology, anthropology and political science. Few, if any, significant contributions to these fields of intellectual endeavor have emerged from India in recent decades. Most scholarship in these areas is either derivative, or worse, still mostly descriptive and hortatory.”
It’s the kind of damning indictment I’ve come to expect from those engaged in the China vs India debate that rages on our site and elsewhere. And yet these words were written by one of our Indian Decade bloggers, Sumit Ganguly.
And he’s right. When we’re sourcing material for the site, too often we find Indian think tank analyses littered with basic errors, unsubstantiated claims or rehashings of long debunked theories (Flashpoints contributor James Holmes is just one of many to have expressed frustration at how a likely non-event involving the Chinese and Indian navies last summer is still treated as fact in Indian media and policy circles).
It goes without saying that India has an enormous amount to offer the international community. But there’s no excuse for its absence on a list like this.
*I mistakenly referred to this year's list as being published by Foreign Policy as it was in previous years. This year, it's being being published by Diplomatic Courier, although the report is also being hosted on Foreign Policy. My apologies for any confusion.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Discuss wisely, calmly and properly with the Dalai Lama

WE ARE HUMAN from Lhaksam on Vimeo.

According to Louise Watt of the Associated Press: "Dozens of Tibetans, including monks, held up a portrait of the Dalai Lama in a community in southwestern China in an act of defiance days after other Tibetans set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule."
She quoted a unnamed Chinese official of Seda County's Public Security Bureau in Sichuan province:  "On Monday, fewer than 100 Tibetans gathered and held a portrait of the Dalai Lama. The New Year festival is coming up so they want to draw attention by creating an incident."
This protest was related to the immolation of Sopa Rinpoche, a local revered Lama of Golok country.
Before visiting India for border talks. China's Special Representative and State Councillor Dai Bingguo said that both countries should to settle their disputes “wisely, calmly and properly”. He travelled to New Delhi  for the Special Representative's 15th round of talks (since 2003) on the boundary dispute.
Dai also stated that both countries needed to “deepen political trust.”
China also needs to "deepen political trust" with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans in general. Don't you think that the issue of Tibet should also be solved "wisely, calmly and properly"?
Repression has not helped and will not help.
Why can't Dai Bingguo and his colleagues of the State Council who are intelligent people understand this?
In fact, Dai should have taken the opportunity of his visit to Delhi to discuss wisely and camly with the Dalai Lama the Tibetan issue.
Let us be clear, unless the Tibetan issue is solved, the border issue CAN NOT be solved.
All those who have been involved in the 'talks' since 1960 are aware of this.

Thousands attend Sopa Rinpoche's funeral; Protests reported
January 17, 2012
DHARAMSHALA, January 17: Thousands of Tibetans from around the Golok region of eastern Tibet attended the funeral of Sonam Wangyal Sopa Rinpoche on Sunday morning.
Sopa Rinpoche, a respected spiritual figure in his early forties passed away on the spot after drinking and spraying kerosene all over his body before lighting himself up on January 8.
According to the Beijing based award winning Tibetan writer, Woeser, Tibetans in Amdo Golok and in the neighbouring regions of Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan were in deep mourning at the passing away of Rinpoche.
Writing on her blog, Woeser said thousands of Tibetans participated in the funeral ceremony of Sopa Rinpoche in Darlag (in Chinese, Dari) county of Golok.
Elsewhere in Golok, hundreds of Tibetans took out a daylong peaceful demonstration following Sopa Rinpoche's funeral ceremony.
Citing contacts within the region, an exile Tibetan, Khenpo Ogyen Rigzin told US based radio service VOA that over a hundred Tibetans carryong photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Gyalwang Karmapa in Amdo Golok Pema district carried protests from around 9:30 am to 5 pm.
“The demonstration was carried out in solidarity with Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives since the 2008 mass uprisings in Tibet,” Kehnpo Rigzin said.
“The demonstrators were raising slogans for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom in Tibet,” Khenpo Rigzin said while adding that he also heard people wailing and crying through a phone conversation he had with a local Tibetan while the demonstration was being carried out.
“The demonstrators were also carrying banners urging Tibetans to rise up in solidarity with all those who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet,” Khenpo Rigzin said.
Chinese security personnel had apparently let the demonstration go on while taking pictures and videos of the demonstrators.
Sopa Rinpoche set himself ablaze in front of the police station of Darlag County in Golog after shouting slogans calling for Tibet's freedom and the long life of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
In leaflets that Sopa Rinpoche distributed just before his fatal self-immolation, he stated his fiery sacrifice was not for his “personal glory but for Tibet and the happiness of Tibetans."
"The Tibetans should not lose their determination. The day of happiness will come for sure. For the Dalai Lama to live long, the Tibetans should not lose track of their path," Sopa Rinpoche said in his last statement.
In the past 11 months, 16 Tibetans have set their bodies on fire demanding the return of the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I have Ten Dreams

Don’t you think that what makes humans different from other living beings is their faculty to dream.
More than 2500 years ago, the Buddha spoke of’ ‘dukh’, our human’s self -inflicted suffering. I sometimes wonder what the Buddha would have thought of the present-day ‘dukh’; everything seems to have got worse: we are living in a world full of pollution, corruption, social inequality, violence, ugliness and greed. In fact, it often looks like a nightmare. But, as a human being, we can still dream of a better tomorrow. Our dream may help hasten the venue of a happier India and a more harmonious planet.
Here are Ten Dreams that I have for India for 2012.

1.    I Dream of an Incorruptible India
As it is certainly the issue which got the most media coverage in 2011, I have to start with corruption. Whether the Lokpal Bill is voted on or not, ordinary citizens (why should we call them ‘common men’?), have started dreaming: can we have a corruption-free India? Of course, many still believe that an external mechanism, like an Act of Parliament could by miracle eradicate the poison. It may be a dream, but the mere fact that tens or perhaps hundreds of millions Indians have started believing that something could be done is the first step towards a solution. Year 2012 will probably not see the disappearance of corrupt practices; but one can dream of a Scandinavian type of governance where politicians take their children out on Sundays in their private cars after filling up gas with their own money; in India, it may not happen immediately, but hopefully, something will happen. The civil society and the media have to keep the issue alive and press further and further to remove this malady from India’s body. If this does not happen, India will never become the Superpower that it dreams to be.
Of course, if the external mechanism works, the capacity of jails will have to be increased ten or hundred fold, but this can only have positive results as it will create employment.

2.    India and Nature
Left alone, Nature is so incredibly beautiful. But men’s greed can just destroy in a short span of time, what Nature took millennia to build. The tales of ‘illegal’ (or even ‘legal’) mining in Karnataka, in Jharkhand or Goa (in fact, in most of Indian States), is just one of the depressing stories of national life. I dream of an India which will respect the Environment and Nature. Human beings should not act like white ants eating up the forests, taking life away from rivers by building dangerous dams or digging out the ‘national’ wealth from the earth for a few crores more. But today, the greed of the politicians and some industrialists has no limit. Instead of being concerned about the forthcoming climate changes and finding innovative solutions, India remains the bad pupil and allows the looting of its own natural assets (in some cases to export to China) by some of its unscrupulous ‘representatives’

3.    I dream of a Democratic India
Why can’t India become a real democracy? Today, Bharat is everything except a democracy. Politicians only dream seeing their offspring taking their mantle as ‘representatives’ of the people. At best, it could be called a dynastic or feudal system of governance, but certainly not a democracy, at least not the way it was practiced in ancient Greece or in the Buddha’s days when village councils would take decisions for the common good and not for personal or parochial interests. A State in which a candidate needs crores of rupees to become an ‘elected representative’ can’t be called a democracy. Today if someone having all required qualities to represent the people of an area does not have wealth, he does not stand a chance to be elected. This is not diplomacy or even meritocracy, but moneycracy. I dream of a democracy where the main factor will not be (black or white) money, but ethics and human qualities like honesty, sincerity or compassion.

4.    I dream of rationality
I dream that a dose of rationality befall the people of India, more particularly on the politicians of this country. During the past year, we have witnessed countless occasions when emotionality has taken the center stage. Instead of discussing issues in a rational manner, problems are debated in the midst of high drama and emotion. This does not lead anywhere, whether it is to calculate the resistance of an old dam or the safety of a nuclear plant or the opening of India to new food-processing technologies. Without dreaming of a Cartesian India (that would be rather boring!), a minimum of rationality would help when the nation faces serious problems and reasoned solutions are crucial for her future. Emotionality only blurs realities and stops people from having a clear perception of the pros and the cons of an issue. Unfortunately, politicians are very fond of emotionality because it divides people on cast, communal or regional lines thereby creating new vote banks. This will lead India nowhere, except into chaos and more ‘dukh’.

5.    I Dream of a more Egalitarian India
I dream of an India where everybody will have a chance to make a decent living. Hours after hours, days after days, headlines and analyses are blaring that India is doing extremely well economically. “Will we catch up with China?” “Will we get a double-digit growth this year?” But growth for what? For whom? To enrich the wealthy while tens (or hundreds) of millions still live under the poverty line? Wealthy Indian people are often indecent (as they are in China and elsewhere). Nobody needs a twenty-five storey house, 10 cars or 500 pairs of shoes to be a success story. I dream that thousands of wealthy Indians will, like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, pledge 50% of their fortune to provide all Indians a good solid education and health care. Then, we may not need reservations any more.

6.    I Dream of an India where Woman are safe
I dream of an India where women can walk safely and their true place in society. One still reads too often about rapes, molesting or burning of women in several States of India. Women represent the Shakti, the energy and at the same time the love and care of the Mother. If India is to play a role on the world scene, it should not be only an economic, but societal change where women get due respect. Then with the feminine creativity and strength, India will truly be able to blossom.

7.    I Dream of a Young Dynamic Visionary Leadership
For once, India should learn a lesson from China. The Middle Kingdom partly owes its dynamism to the fact that while remaining an authoritarian system, every 5 years the Party is able to induct fresh blood into its own system. It is not the case with India where the political system is based on gerontology. It is a great pity that the land which invented the Four Ashramas is unable to practice what it once taught. Can you imagine an India where all leaders above 65 years would be forced to take sannyasa (or at least go into retirement)? It would bring a great deal of new energy into Indian politics and probably new ideas, and why not new ideals.

8.    I Dream of a Free Tibet
While Palestine is given a seat at UNESCO or the Armenian genocide is acknowledged by the French Parliament, Tibet continues to not exist on the political map of the world. Why? Because ‘we need China’, the Heads of State of the Planet will tell you. Why do we need China? Because they have a lot of money and we don’t. I dream of a Free Tibet because a ‘genuine autonomy’ under a totalitarian regime does not any make sense. Tibet has an old civilization with its own language, script, philosophical system and cultural heritage. It should have a place on the planet. Why should the people of Tibet not be free? If Tibet is independent, the people of Tibet can later choose to be associated with a freer China or not, on their own will. Don’t you think that it would be good for humanity to have a country where inner values are more important than material possessions? And for India, it would solve the border issue.

9.    I Dream of a Thinking nation
One hundred years ago, Sri Aurobindo wrote: “Our first necessity, if India is to survive and do her appointed work in the world, is that the youth of India should learn to think,—to think on all subjects, to think independently, fruitfully, going to the heart of things, not stopped by their surface, free of prejudgments, shearing sophism and prejudice asunder as with a sharp sword, smiting down obscurantism of all kinds as with the mace of Bhima.”
Have we progressed since then? As mentioned earlier, most of the time emotions replace deep thought. With some efforts this could change, because Indians are thinkers par excellence.

10.     I dream of a new (ancient) set of values
One makes fun of Bhutan with their Gross National Happiness, an attempt to measure the quality of our lives and social progress in a more holistic way than the Gross Domestic Product, but the Himalayan Kingdom is perhaps tuned to the right note. For more than 5000 years, Indian culture and philosophy have sought to find answers to one question: “Who are we? What are we doing on this Planet?” With the deepening of the economic crisis (and it is going to deepen further in 2012), it is perhaps time to dream of another set of values, deeper and truer. After all one does not need so many pairs of shoes when one is taken on the pyre. Is it not worth thinking about?
Do you believe that these are just Dreams? But Dreams have a power to bring down the Future. Only what is perhaps required is a critical mass of human beings who aspire to make these Dreams come true. And then things can change.
A Sage once wrote: “If the French Revolution took place, it was because a soul on the Indian snows dreamed of God as freedom, brotherhood and equality.”
Let us hope that God will dream of a Rejuvenated India. But the problem is that things always take time with God.

Monday, January 16, 2012

They missed an opportunity for 'wider considerations'

The Special Representatives of India and China have began their 15th Round of talks on the border issues.
The discussions were postponed when Beijing objected to the participation of the Dalai Lama in the Global Buddhist Congregation in December.
Shiv Shankar Menon, India's National Security Adviser, and Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo are leading the two delegations.

This round should cover "the range of long-standing territorial disputes and other issues" an official communique said.
Dai said: "While working hard to develop itself, China is fully committed to developing long-term friendship and cooperation with India ...there does not exist such a thing as China's attempt to 'attack India' or 'suppress India's development'".

I am posting here a chapter of my book, Born in Sin, the Panchsheel Agreement. In the early 1950's India lost an opportunity of solve the border issue when she had all the cards in her hands, the Indian politicians then decided to give these cards away to show her great magnanimity. 
At that time, Delhi was only interested by 'larger issues'.
India still pays for the foolishness of its leaders.

Born in Sin
Chapter 7  

In September 1952, before his transfer to Cairo, Panikkar had several meetings with Zhou Enlai who told the Ambassador that the downgrading of the Lhasa Mission was only the first step to pave the way for negotiations on ‘all outstanding problems’.
During the first months of 1953, Nehru may have felt that the situation was settling down in Tibet and slowly the Tibetans were accepting the invasion of their country by the Liberation Army as a fait accompli.
In September 1953, Nehru wrote to his Chinese counterpart that India was anxious to come to a final settlement about “pending matters so as to avoid any misunderstanding and friction at any time”. Quoting a letter sent one year earlier, he said that “No further steps have been taken since then to negotiate a settlement”.
It appears that different visitors and informants were briefing Nehru about the situation inside Tibet. It was reported that everything was quiet on the Roof of the World. In early December 1953, Nehru mentions that, he had received a letter from George Roerich, the Russian painter and scholar living in Kulu giving him more information.  After admitting that “our Intelligence has looked upon them [the Roerich] with some slight suspicion although they have never had anything to get hold of,” Nehru told T.N. Kaul, the Joint Secretary in the China Desk in the Ministry of External Affairs:
His [Roerich] general report to me has been that things are very calm in Tibet and both the people and the Lama hierarchy have adjusted themselves to the new order. This is chiefly so because the Chinese have refrained from interfering in anything. The Tibetans are, therefore, not so apprehensive as they used to be. 
As we have seen in the case of food supply to the Chinese troops and the sacking of the Tibetan Prime Ministers , the report was not completely true. The Chinese had begun interfering actively in the life of the Tibetans. In fact, they started meddling in the internal affairs of Tibet almost immediately after the signature of the 17-Point Agreement.
In the same letter Nehru requested Kaul to meet Roerich  “to gain some information about conditions in Tibet, the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama, etc.”
Nehru considered that the time had come to renegotiate the old Simla Convention signed in 1914 between the British and the Tibetans. He therefore decided to take the initiative and propose negotiations to resolve ‘all outstanding issues’. The talks were to begin in December 1953 in Beijing and were schedule to last a maximum of six weeks. Unfortunately, they would take four months to reach a conclusion. Kaul, one of the main negotiators in Beijing  described the preparations for the Conference thus:
Many meetings and discussions were held and it was decided to sound the Chinese. Not unexpectedly they welcomed the idea. It was decided to send a small delegation to Peking to discuss the matter and reach an agreement, if possible. The spade work had already been done by Panikkar, Raghavan and me in Peking. The new Indian Ambassador to China, N. Raghavan, was appointed the leader and I the deputy-leader of the Indian delegation. Director, Historical Division, External Affairs Ministry, the late Dr. Gopalachari, was a member. His knowledge of history and facts of the Sino-Indian border was an asset. We were authorised to co-opt such other members of the Embassy as we found necessary. It was a small delegation, as delegations go, but convenient and closely knit.
Most of the correspondence or instructions during the following months will be routed through Kaul, one of Nehru’s Kashmiri blue-eyed boys.

The Instructions
In early December, the Secretary General put up a Note  in which he defined the main points for discussions at what became known as the Beijing Conference. These points were:
1.    The question of India’s frontier with Tibet,
2.    Indo-Tibetan trade and trade agencies,
3.    Freedom of movement of Indian and Tibetan traders and pilgrims,
4.    Passports and visas,
5.    Telegraph, post office and hospitals
6.    Security guards and escorts and
7.    Special position of Bhutan.
On 3 December 1953, Nehru replied to this Note giving the framework for negotiations to be held in Beijing regarding the relations between India and China and India’s interests in Tibet. He clarified the position to be adopted by the Indian delegation during the Beijing Conference. More particularly on the border question, though he generally agreed with the points made by the Secretary General, he chose to remain faithful to the Panikkar doctrine: “remain silent about the border”:
We should not raise this question. If the Chinese raise it, we should express our surprise and point out that this is a settled issue. Further, during the last two years or so, when reference was frequently made about Indo-Chinese or Indo-Tibetan problems, there has never been any reference to this frontier issue and it is surprising that this should be brought up now. Our delegation cannot discuss it.
Though Panikkar had been transferred more than a year earlier to Cairo, Nehru was still keen to consult him on China’s affairs. The former Ambassador had suggested a step further, he had written: “if China insisted on reopening  the whole issues of the frontier, the Indian delegation could walk out of the conference and break off the negotiations.” Nehru was not as extreme as Panikkar, he did not recommend walking out of the Conference, his instructions were: “We should avoid walking out unless the Chinese insist on taking up this question. If such an eventuality occurs, the matter will no doubt be referred to us.”
To agree to discuss the border issue was for Panikkar an admission that there was a problem.   But can wishful thinking take away an issue?
Nehru objected to the inclusion of some parts in Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the discussions. He pointed out that India was not in possession of these territories .
He also believed that it was important to keep the trade marts alive as he envisioned an increase in the commercial exchanges with Tibet in the future. He wrote: “Tibet is our natural market and we should develop it normally.” He was in favour of keeping the trade agencies functional: “Gartok is important. Yatung especially, and, to some extent, Gyantse are likely to become more important as trade between India and Tibet increases. They are on the main route. Therefore, it is eminently reasonable that we should have some trade agents there or at least at Yatung.”
The Prime Minister noted the case of a small village/principality called Minsar which was under the suzerainty of the Maharaja of the Jammu & Kashmir State . This principality located near Mount Kailash was supposed to provide the revenues to maintain the temples around the sacred mountain and the holy lakes. Being inside the Tibetan territory, Nehru thought that India should renounce her rights as a gesture of goodwill. He wrote:
Regarding the village of Minsar in Western Tibet, which has belonged to the Kashmir State, it is clear that we shall have to give it up, if this question is raised. We need not raise it. If it is raised, we should say that we recognize the strength of the Chinese contention and we are prepared to consider it and recommend it.
But the matter will have to be referred to the Kashmir Government. The point is that we should not come to a final agreement without gaining the formal assent of the Kashmir Government. 
However, it does not appear that the Chinese raised the question and no reference seems to have been made to the Kashmir government.
The Indian rights to this small town were inherited from the Peace Treaty between Ladakh and Tibet signed in Tingmosgang in 1684. Apart from the confirmation of the delimitation of the border between Western Tibet and Ladakh, the Treaty said:
But the king of Ladakh reserves to himself the village of Minsar in Ngari-khor-sum, [Western Tibet] that it may be independent there; and it sets aside its revenue for the purpose of meeting the expense involved in keeping up the sacrificial lights at Kang-rin [i.e., Kailash], and the Holy lakes of Mansarowar and Rakshas Tal.
The note of the Ministry also mentioned some disputed areas in Hunza which is located in the part of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan. Nehru indicated that India could “hardly discuss these with them [the Chinese] and we can point out that all this area is under dispute with Pakistan.”
As for trade, Nehru felt that it should be restricted to the trade between India and Tibet. This remark once more proves that the purpose of the Beijing Conference was mainly to ‘update’ the Trade Regulations of 1914. We have to add that the Commerce Ministry had agreed with Nehru about the restriction of the Agreement to the trade with Tibet. Nehru noted that Tibet was India’s ‘natural market’ and that it should be developed. But here again, as in the case of food supply, he was ready to bargain:
As regards prohibited articles, this prohibition should generally continue. But we might be a little more generous in regard to petrol, etc. A few thousand gallons does not make any difference to us, nor does it make any great difference on the other side from the military points of view. But, as a bargaining counter, we might agree to relax our rules to a small extent.
A point was then raised by the Prime Minister: the right of Free Transit. According to a Convention signed in Barcelona in 1921, Tibet and China could claim free transit for goods from India. Nehru commented that the question of free transit of foreign goods from India hardly arise because China hardly purchases foreign goods. However, he thought that it would be interesting if China claimed the right under the Barcelona Convention of 1921: “That itself would slightly weaken China’s attempt to bypass or reject old conventions and customs.”
The Sikkim road, as we saw earlier, had been used for carrying food grains to the PLA. The interesting point here is: were the Chinese ready to recognize old treaties and conventions? In fact, the raison d’être of the Beijing Conference was that the Chinese  were refusing to recognise the Simla Convention which they considered an ‘imperialist’ (or ‘unequal’) treaty signed on behalf of India by the British Empire.
It is perhaps Nehru’s perception that old treaties or conventions could be discarded or sent to scrap which most weakened the Indian stand. It is certainly a wrong interpretation in international law  and it made it easy for the Chinese to tell their Indian counterparts “look here, McMahon was an imperialist, McMahon line is an imperialist fabrication, it is illegal ”.
On the one hand, India was ambiguous about the rights and obligations that she had inherited from the British and on the other hand she wanted the McMahon line to be recognised as the international border.The Indian stand lacked logic: in accepting that Tibet was only ‘a region of China’ and that China was entitled to discuss the Tibetan issue, without even referring the matter to the Tibetan authorities , India was not only nullifying the role and presence of the Tibetans during the Simla Convention, but also invalidating the main outcome of the Convention namely the McMahon Line. The disastrous consequences of this stand can still be seen nearly fifty years later .
Regarding the Karakoram High Road , Nehru held a pessimistic view, he thought that it was ‘exceedingly unlikely’ that India regain the territories annexed by Pakistan: “I do not know that it will serve any useful purpose for us to ask for the restoration of the old trade route between Sinkiang and Kashmir. That route passes through territory held by Pakistan. It is exceedingly unlikely that we shall get back this territory. However, there is no harm in mentioning this.”
Regarding Bhutan, Nehru did not want anything to be mentioned but in case the matter was raised by the Chinese, he directed the negotiators to make it  “clear that External Affairs of Bhutan are under our direct guidance,” the Chinese will have to deal with us in regard to External Affairs relating to Bhutan.”
This was the framework for the Beijing Conference.

India’s Wider Considerations
The briefing as retold by Kaul is very different from the Note sent by Nehru to the Secretary General of the Ministry of External Affairs. While we just saw that the Note dealt with down-to-earth problems of trade, pilgrimage or even the border question, Kaul mentioned only what he calls ‘broad guidelines’ for negotiations which is in fact a very vague general policy. Whom should we believe? What was the true briefing of the negotiators? We should perhaps have look at Kaul’s guidelines before tentatively answering this question.
In his book “Diplomacy in War and Peace” , Kaul wrote: “Before our departure for Peking, the following broad guidelines were formulated.”
Kaul then began explaining that Nehru's idea was “to evolve a method of peaceful and friendly co-existence with the Peoples' Republic of China, in spite of our different political, social and economic systems.” For the Indian diplomat, it was the first time in history that ‘a modus vivendi between a communist and a non-communist country’ was to be worked out and in very specific terms.
He continued by quoting Lenin’s idea of ‘peaceful co-existence’, the Charter of the UNO, the Kellog Pact  and other documents which were ‘general declaration’ of intentions.
Nehru wanted to go a step further: it is what Kaul considered unique in the negotiations. For the first time, a bilateral agreement between two sovereign independent countries was to be signed insisting on peaceful co-existence. One can seriously question the interpretation of Kaul. These five principles are the plain and ordinary principles on which normal relations between independent nations are based, but for Kaul considered that Nehru was the first world statesman to formulate these ideas and ideals into a code of conduct governing bilateral relations and that it was remarkable that these principles could apply to two countries with different social ideologies and forms of government.
The negotiations lasted from the last day of 1953 till the end of April 1954. If we analyze Kaul’s report, we see that his contention that a consensus evolved week after week, seems more an after-thought than a hard reality.
What was supposed to be merely a trade agreement, to replace the Simla Convention and Anglo-Tibetan Trade Regulations of July 1914, took a disproportionate magnitude and became a full-fledged philosophical and ideological exercise of diplomatic idealism .. Nevertheless, we should not forgot that the primarily purpose of the Beijing Conference was to regulate the trans-border trade and traffic between India and Tibet and replace the earlier Trade Regulations which were, for Nehru and Mao, ‘imperialist’ in nature.
Ideologically Kaul gave his own justification for the ‘briefing’ before the Agreement:
In India, one school looked upon China as the main threat to India's security in the North and North-East. It was further developed by some into a thesis that India should align herself with America and the West to meet this threat, as she could not meet it alone. 
In Kaul’s opinion, this thesis however firstly overlooked the fact that it was not easy for the Western powers to get involved in a war between China and India, and for them to provide help to the Indian subcontinent. Secondly, “it also ignored the fact that a country like India, with its tradition, history, culture, policy of non-alignment, and its size and potential, could not become the client-state of any other power.”
The main argument was that as the world was living in the middle of the Cold War, India should not ‘push’ China further into the Russian camp. On the contrary, an alliance between the Asian giants could augur a loosening of the Cold War, creating the space for a third ‘neutral’ block. But this theory does not consider the fact that Mao’s China was not interested in creating a third pole. Though they had strong divergences with Moscow , Beijing nevertheless always remained in the socialist world.
General Samuel B. Griffith, the famous expert in Chinese warfare  wrote an interesting analysis of Communist military strategy:
Chinese political dogma postulates certain axioms fundamental to long-term grand strategy. Principal among these is the stereotyped concept of a bipolar world in which the forces of ‘imperialism’ are inexorably arrayed against the forces of ‘socialism’. This concept specifically excludes the possibilities of ‘non-alignment’ and neutralism. There can be no middle way, no third road, no fence straddling. A nation must, in Mao’s word, ’lean’ to one side or the other.
As Panikkar had wished few years earlier, it was perhaps Kaul’s intention to ‘convert’ Mao. Once more, one wonders at the connection between this naive and romantic diplomacy and the trade regulations for Tibet. But Kaul continued with another argument which is more difficult to follow:
They [the proponents of the first school of thought] forgot the facts of geography and geo-politics that India was physically much closer to China and Russia and their combined hostility could prove a much more serious threat to India than only China's or that of the West… 
He then described the other trend in the Indian politics:
The other school was represented by the doctrinaire wing of the Indian communists who saw in the liberation of China the panacea for India's troubles, and therefore, wanted India to go the Chinese way. They wanted to have an alliance with both China and Russia and go communist. They were supported by some camp followers and fellow travellers who waxed eloquent on the sentiment of Asian brotherhood and "Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai.”
It is surprising that Kaul could analyze the situation as though the Communists in India were the only proponents of the Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai policy.  Kaul concluded that: “Nehru belonged to neither school of thought. He was a realist, proud of India's heritage and conscious of its destiny.” But history is witness that none else than Nehru and his advisors fathered the Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai policy which ballooned into incredible proportions in the mid-fifties before being punctured in October 1962.
Kaul said that he had tried to recapture Nehru's thoughts and added that Nehru: “believed in non-alignment because his pride in India would not allow any other country or group of countries to dominate our policies.” Unfortunately this attitude was not supported by the necessary strength and consistency  and ultimately collapsed on the slopes of the NEFA.
The historian Parshotam Mehra in a well-researched book Negotiating with the Chinese: 1846-1987 brings forward another aspect of the India’s China policy when he quotes J.S. Grant, the Acting British High Commissioner in Delhi:
A perceptive contemporary British observer of the Indian scene who called New Delhi's attitude towards China as 'the most complex piece in the puzzle of Indian foreign policy' was convinced that 'fear is really their [Indians'] basic motive.' New Delhi, he argued, was 'horrified at the possibility of war' and was determined 'at all costs to avoid any involvement in any clash with China: In the event, it had resolved 'to cultivate and retain friendly relations with China' for achieving which it was prepared to pay 'almost any price .'
As indicated earlier, in its wish to align with China, India could not remain non-aligned. Thus one often comes across a violently anti-American stance in Nehru’s writings (and even more in Krishna Menon’s). Both had probably many good reasons to hold such views, particularly when they realized the biased attitude of the West on the Kashmir issue, but to be caught in a vicious circle of reaction and counter-reaction could certainly not be the basis of a foreign policy. The more Nehru’s government reacted to the West, the more the West tended to believe that Pakistan was a surer bet and a safer ally.
Around that time, South Block saw the Beijing Conference as an opportunity to ‘break’ the alliance between the Soviet and the Chinese, thereby creating a third ‘neutral’ pole. The Indian diplomats were certainly presumptuous to presume that India could break the axis Moscow-Beijing.
The theory of a non-aligned movement and more particularly the motivations behind India’s move to come closer to China to counterbalance the two blocks (preventing China from leaning towards Russia) can now be seen as a myth.
One can accuse China of many things, but as long as Mao was alive, the communist ideology remained unwavering. In spite of its own ‘fraternal’ problems with Russia. China never considered India a natural ally, the Chinese leaders had too much contempt for India to do so.
Kaul may have thought: ”Mao's China, though communist, had its own brand of communism which had not yet become dogmatic as in Stalin's Russia,” but movements like the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution have proven him wrong.
Another of Nehru’s motivations for signing an agreement with China was that it would be the first of long series of bilateral agreements between the various free nations of Asia. Burma and Indonesia were the next in Nehru’s mind. Slowly, the scope of the movement would increase. He thought that it would eventually bring peace which would spread, first in Asia and then in the world. A movement of peaceful coexistence of which he would represent a sort of radiating centre.
While Indian diplomats seemed obsessed with ‘broader perspectives’ and ‘larger issues’, in contrast, the Chinese were very down to earth with their problems: they had objectives which had to be reached, and no philosophy or emotion was involved. This reminds us of the message written by a Chinese Emperor on a Stone Pillar in Lhasa after a war between Tibet and Nepal: the Emperor wrote : “If a people abandon military pursuits and make literature their chief object, they become unable to safeguard their former position. This should be known.”
The Indian diplomats never understood that the Chinese could think or react differently from them. To convert them to Indian philosophy was a mere utopia. Again Kaul confused the issues, putting thereby the Indian side in a position of inferiority vis-à-vis China:
Negotiations would be restricted to trade and cultural inter-course between India and the 'Tibet region of China’. However it was important not to lose sight of the broader perspective and larger interests of putting Sino-Indian relations on a proper footing.
The border question was not to be raised by us. We would not express any doubts about the border. If the Chinese raised it we would affirm that the border was traditional, historical and well defined by treaties, geographical and other features. 
The Beijing Conference was to redraft the Simla Convention and the Trade Regulation of 1914, but the border which was the direct and main outcome of this Convention was not to be raised as an issue!
We can conclude that though this general policy vis-à-vis China may have been discussed informally, it seems clear from the detailed instructions of the Indian Prime Minister that the Beijing Conference was about the regulation of trade with Tibet. It is another matter that, in delaying an early agreement, the Chinese managed to derail the main purpose of the Conference and sidetrack it onto the vague level of eternal friendship (or brotherhood) between India and China.
Here again we quote again General Griffith:
Generally, the Chinese are predisposed to indirect, rather than direct, means, an approach summarized in the phrase “sheng tung; chi hsi” (“Uproar in the East; Strike in the West”). This was a basic ingredient in the successful operations carried on by the Eight Route Army and its predecessor and successor armies. Obviously, the principle is not confine to tactical application.
For Mao and Zhou, there was only one struggle. Diplomacy and armed struggle were two aspects of the same combat. In the case of the Beijing negotiations, the Indian delegation themselves were creating the ‘uproar’ with their ‘wider’ issues, China would strike on the only point which mattered to it at that time: official recognition of Tibet as a ‘region’ of China.

India and the larger perspectives
In early 1953, Nehru had once again explained to the Lok Sabha his decision to press for the recognition of China by the UN as it was: “not a question of any one of us liking or disliking the present Government in China or approving or disapproving of China's revolution, but it is a question of one of the biggest countries in the world not being represented there, not being recognised there.”
Since Mao’s take over of China at the end of 1949, Nehru had constantly, in all fora, been the champion of the recognition of Communist China’s status. Many in Nehru’s circle thought that this kindness would be repaid one day and that China would return the help and support given by India. Nehru’s first ‘confirmation’ of this view came in June 1953, when an agreement was concluded in the Korean war between the UN and the Northern Command on the repatriation of the prisoners of war in Korea. The resolution, finally accepted by China was very similar to the one proposed earlier by New Delhi. The fact that under the Armistice Agreement it was at the insistence of China that India was named Chairman of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission vindicated Nehru’s view that China had now become India’s friend.
The Indian Communists pushed harder than anybody in North Korea’s and China’s favour. During a debate in the Lok Sabha on 23 December 1953, a communist member, Hiren Mukherjee urged the Government to provide as much help to the Chinese and the North Koreans as possible in order to enable them to gain their objective [to take over the South]. But many dissident voices were heard both from the socialist benches as well as the Hindu Mahasabha.
V. G. Deshpande  criticized India's unnecessary interest in the Korean question and observed: "So far as Korea is concerned we had been warning the Prime Minister that he should not ... go out of his way to please or displease other countries so that China may be recognized..."
The nomination of India as Chairman of the Neutral Commission for Korea encouraged South Block to see the situation very positively; China’s attitude towards India was changing. Kaul view of the situation was optimistic:
The Tibet problem was, for the moment, out of the way. India's attitude on Korea and refusal in the UNO to brand Peking as aggressor had made an impact on the Chinese leaders. India's leading role in repeatedly pressing for the right of the Peking Government to represent China in the UNO was a principled and consistent stand which China appreciated. India's efforts to bring about a cease-fire in Korea impressed China of India's helpful and positive role in international affairs. 
With Tibet and Korea out of the way: wider perspectives could now be tackled.
Kaul had another argument: he thought that the only way to stop China from dominating her neighbours, was to have a formal agreement with China. Unfortunately, history has shown that China has never been too attached to pieces of papers or agreements. If Mao considered the atom bomb a ‘paper tiger’, one can imagine what a mere piece of paper was!
Kaul analyzed the situation differently:
… there was danger of a strong, united, isolated and expansionist communist China dominating her neighbours. India would be the main obstacle in this. But Nehru argued that if India and China could work out a modus vivendi of respecting each other's sovereignty and integrity and non-interference in internal affairs, it would be a step away from the cold war and prevent its penetration into Asia.
China had more urgent tasks ahead than to take on India, but Beijing did use the Beijing Conference as a unique opportunity to formalize its occupation of Tibet. Another Chinese interest was the ‘non-interference’ provision: it could help them to keep the Americans away in the Indochinese peninsula.
Kaul concluded: “This was the best time to make a rapprochement with China. It might still be possible to reach a tacit understanding on our border and other problems peacefully.”
We should not forget that though Tibet had been ‘liberated’ , the treaty signed between the British and the Tibetan government in Simla in 1914 was still in force. It had to be replaced by new one where the ‘ownership’ of China would be accepted once and for all by India. Once again, the situation demonstrates the confusion and incoherence of the Indian side. On the one hand Nehru said that there was no border problem and the issue should not be mentioned and on the other hand, Kaul said that it was the occasion to reach an understanding on the border.
The Indian diplomat further analyse: “It seemed there were also two main trends of thought in China. One, represented by Chou En-lai, hoped for a peaceful, cooperative co-existence with India. The other represented by the so-called "radicals" wanted to humiliate India. Mao was perhaps, somewhere in the middle.”
Kaul was also certainly wrong in his analysis of the political currents within the Chinese leadership. Mao was the supreme leader and the other members of the Politburo merely executed his strategy.
As for the negotiation, it had been decided that if there were any doubts during the course of the talks, these would be referred to Delhi for final decision.