Friday, March 30, 2012

Rumors, rumors, rumors

This posting on a Foreign Policy's blog gives an idea of the atmosphere in China today.
These wild founded or unfounded rumors are the logical consequence of an extremely opaque system.
How long will it last?
The regime in Beijing wants to control everything and does not control anything.
The government publication, Huanqiu recently published an article complaining about  rumors spreading in the Middle Kingdom; however, it did not analyze the root of the problem which is opacity. 
The article entitled "Hold the Line of Defense and Resist Rumors" says:
Recently, certain rumors have been spreading on and off of the Internet, with high visibility. Some of them even involve Changan Street (the location of the Chinese State Council) and Zhongnanhai (the headquarters of the Communist Party). These rumors are very bizarre and ridiculous, thus interfering with public opinion. Chinese society should be on the alert about this and should not let the rumor mill run without restrictions.” The commentary alleged that the rumors are quietly eroding society. “[To legitimize rumors] is in fact to build a publicly-accepted world outside of the current political framework and to constantly erode the authority of the current system. Once rumors are legitimized, they will become a cheap tool to disintegrate the country ideologically and politically.
If the Communist Party is interested to stop the ideological and political disintegration of the country, the only solution is to open itself (something Deng Xiaoping did in 1978 for the economy). 
Is the Party able to do so? 
The Burmese regime is the example of a most opaque system opening itself to the world in a peaceful and dignified manner.
Unless, this is done, rumors will continue and the Party will keep loosing whatever is left of its legitimacy in the eyes of the masses.

The Great Rumor Mill of China
Foreign Policy
ISAAC STONE FISH
MARCH 22, 2012
Something strange is going on in Beijing. Here are the five most virulent conspiracy theories making the rounds -- and a stab at the likelihood of them panning out.
The public hasn't seen or heard from high-ranking Communist Party leader Bo Xilai since he was sacked last week in Beijing, and the Chinese Internet has been awash with debate over what's actually going on behind palace walls. "People are nervous, there's not much information available," Bo Zhiyue, an expert on Chinese elite politics at the National University of Singapore, told AFP. "They are hungry for new information, and if there's nothing new, they will make up new information."
Speculation is rife that a coup might have happened, with the only general consensus being that something big is going on in Beijing. What follows is a curated guide to the "information" -- read: wild rumors and speculation -- floating around online in Chinese about Bo Xilai's surprising fall from grace and what his sacking means for the future of the Chinese Communist Party.

1. Bo Xilai was sacrificed in the name of party unity.
The rumor: Although Bo had widespread support in the high leadership, current President Hu Jintao and former President Jiang Zemin (who's not dead, though this was rumored, too) agreed to kick him out to facilitate a smooth power transition for Xi Jinping this fall. The 85-year old Jiang, an ally of Bo's now deceased father, turned on Bo Xilai for the good of the Communist Party.
Really?: For a party bent on showing a united front to outsiders, Bo Xilai, with his loud populism and his overt (at least for China) thirst for power, apparently proved too dangerous. Analysts sometime classify Hu Jintao as belonging to a different faction of the party than Jiang Zemin, but the two leaders have worked together to houseclean in the past; apparently cutting a deal to depose a powerful Shanghai party chief in 2006.
The source: Various Taiwanese and Hong Kong media websites that tend to mix assertion with fact when reporting on elite Chinese politics.
Likelihood: Possible but unprovable at the moment, at least until someone releases better sourcing or better documentation.

2. Mao Zedong's grandson will come to power.
The rumor: General Mao Xinyu will be promoted to Bo's position, or another high ranking post, to fight corruption in the name of his glorious grandfather and make the country strong once more.
Really?: General Mao, possibly the world's most obese major general, is a tragicomic figure in Chinese politics. Imagine if Jimmy Carter's embarrassing brother mixed with a slovenly version of Kato Kaelin were the venerated grandson of your nation's founder. Because of his illustrious lineage, though, he still appears at major meetings to present information, with the added benefit of entertaining reporters.
Jamil Anderlini, who interviewed him last year for the Financial Times, writes:
Unlike other "princelings," as the children of revolutionary heroes are known, General Mao has never been accused of using his pedigree to advance his business interests. On the contrary, he is considered incapable of doing much of anything besides memorizing a few tracts of his grandfather's famous quotes, something that every Chinese child in the 1960s and 1970s could do.
General Mao's penmanship is so childish it has even spun a parody account on Weibo, "Mao Xinyu the Calligrapher."
Source: Scattered comments on Chinese microblogs.
Likelihood: Slightly better than the Mayan Apocalypse.

3. Another high-ranking leader has been purged.
The rumor: Zhou Yongkang, ostensibly a Bo Xilai supporter, has been detained by order of President Hu Jintao in the biggest leadership shake-up, and possibly the most destabilizing, since the Mao's death in 1976.
Really?: Nine men currently sit on the Politburo Standing Committee, the top decision making body in China. Zhou, officially ranked last, oversees state security and the police, but some analysts see him as one of the Standing Committee's most powerful men. A former oilman who grimaces even when he smiles, imagine Zhou as a Dick Cheney with a slightly lower rank. Xinhua has reported that the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, which Zhou chairs, will host a training of more than 3,300 provincial, city, and county-level officials in April, but it's unclear what this says about Zhou's grip on power.
The source: A Chinese edition of the Epoch Times (the paper affiliated with the banned-in-China Falun Gong sect) compares Zhou's detention -- which no one else can corroborate -- to the arrests of the Gang of Four in 1976. The paper, however, sources this to "indications." The English edition is a bit more circumspect; in an article entitled "China's Security Chief Zhou Yongkang Pulled from Power?" they qualify their statement with the helpful phrase: "News of Zhou's arrest remains unconfirmed."
Likelihood: Not outside the realm of possibility, but the chance of this happening appears minuscule. It's more likely wishful thinking. The Epoch Times has written good stories and broken news, but on trustworthiness appears to fall somewhere between the Washington Times and Scientologynews.org. The Epoch Times also has an axe to grind here: given Zhou's role in the Falun Gong crackdown, it's a safe bet that many in that newspaper, and its shadowy backers, would be happy to see him go.

4. The son of Bo Xilai was killed in a Ferrari crash.
The rumor: Bo's son Guagua was driving the Ferrari that crashed on Sunday night in Beijing, killing him and injuring his two unnamed female companions.
Really? Bo Guagua, Bo's dapper, Oxford-educated son, has long been a favorite target of the Internet set. Bo is currently a student at Harvard's Kennedy School, and the snarkier corners of the Chinese web treat him like the worthy subject of Gawker-like attention.
Source: Comments in articles about the mysterious and censored Ferrari crash.
Likelihood: Almost impossible. The Wall Street Journal reported that Bo the younger drove a Ferrari to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing for a dinner last year, but that -- and his father's troubles -- appear to be the only thing linking him to the accident. The Weibo account assumed to belong to Bo has been active since, and, at the risk of stating the obvious, just because he hasn't been seen since his father's sacking doesn't mean he died in a Ferrari crash.

5. Armed chaos in Beijing.

Rumor: Yesterday saw gun-battles in Beijing, the airport has been sealed, and martial law had been imposed on the Avenue of Eternal Peace (the street perpendicular to Tiananmen Square and that runs alongside many important government buildings).
Really? There appears to be something strange afoot in Beijing, but fears of a return to June 4, 1989 -- when tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square and the capital fell under martial law, a response both to a student protest movement and disagreements among members of the Politburo Standing Committee -- seem outlandish.
Source: Chinese articles published on overseas websites, trying to explain and debunk the current rumors floating around the Internet. Mostly they're just adding to them. As Foreign Policy's Christina Larson pointed out, this is when a Chinese Peter Jennings would be useful.
Likelihood: It's possible there was sporadic gunfire in Beijing -- though it's a city where guns are heavily restricted. But sealing the world's second-busiest airport and imposing martial law on a major thoroughfare in a city filled with millions of bloggers, hundreds of foreign journalists, and thousands of international observers without any credible source reporting this seems, well, impossible.

***

So what are we to make of all this? For the time being, it's too early to say. Silence from official channels, and lack of information, has fueled a lot of speculation. Yesterday, in the state-run Global Times, an unsigned essay -- perhaps the longest and most direct mention of what is happening in China in mainstream media -- didn't even mention Bo Xilai by name, instead referring to "The Chongqing Incident." Unsurprisingly, it urged people to place their trust in the highest levels of the Communist Party.
"Because we now have become more diversified, we have other choices, we have realized that trusting in the Party Central Committee, implementing the path of the Party, is more dependable than any methods other people teach us," it reads. It's an odd time to talk about other paths, other teachers. The essay, which has been widely re-posted online, appears to have been taken down from the Global Times website, which could mean that someone chose to comment on a subject before the Communist Party decided the party line.
And when the party line doesn't even know what it wants to communicate, it's fuel to the flames of conspiracy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Open Letter to President Hu Jintao

This montage/picture appeared on iTél in 2011
Dear President Hu Jintao,

I am wondering if you believe in the Law of Karma.
You may not use that term in Marxist jargon, but you will admit that since the time you were elevated to the three highest posts of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), you have been very closely ‘connected’ with Tibet.
It started on the last day of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s memorable visit to China (December 23, 1989); on that day you were nominated Party Chief of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. It was the beginning of your long association with the Land of Snows.
During the preceding few months, the Party had been nervous about the situation in Tibet: monks and nuns had begun to revolt against their 'motherland’.
On December 10, 1988, riots occurred in Lhasa (according to official sources one person died; unofficial sources speak of twelve).
Many must have thought: if the situation is allowed to drift, China could follow the Soviet Union on the way to disintegration. Something had to be done.
It is why, you, a promising young cadre, were sent to Lhasa as Party Chief. You had a tremendous challenge in front of you; you had to show results in very short time to repay the confidence placed in you by the Politburo.
You reached the rebellious province on January 12, 1989. Soon after on January 23, you paid a visit the Tashilhunpo monastery in Shigatse. The respected 10th Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking Tibetan Lama after the Dalai Lama, accompanied you; the official occasion was the consecration of a stupa containing the mortal remains of one of the previous Panchen Lamas. To everyone's surprise, during the function, the Panchen Lama denounced the Communist Party's role in Tibet: “although there had been developments in Tibet since its liberation, this development had cost more dearly than its achievements.” It must have been such a shock for you. Four days later, the Lama passed away in mysterious circumstances.
When a demonstration erupted in Lhasa on March 5, 1989, you asked the People's Armed Police to take control of the situation. Eyewitnesses later said that on that day, hundreds of Tibetans were killed around the Jokhang Central Cathedral in Lhasa. It has never been verified by independent sources.
Three days later, with the blessings of the Central leadership, you decided to clamp down Martial Law in Tibet; it was to last an entire year. It was like a rehearsal for another momentous event: the student rebellion on Tiananmen Square in April/May/June’ 89.
Your actions in Tibet were perhaps an inspiration for the Elders who decided to save China from the 'chaos' in which the country was plunged.
In November 2002, you were finally anointed General Secretary of the Party. Many observers believe that your karmic ‘connection’ with Tibet helped you to become the 'core leader of the Fourth Generation'.
Since then, you have been the CCP’s ‘Tibet expert’.
A few weeks before you took over the helm of the Middle Kingdom, news agencies carried the news that a Tibetan team led by Lodi Gyari, the Dalai Lama's Special Envoy, had left for Beijing to ‘talk’ with your government. Though it was described as private visit and “a chance for exiled Tibetan leaders to see the progress in their homeland”, it created great hopes in China and India where more than a lakh of Tibetans live as refugees.
A year earlier, a Tibet Policy had been put in place during the Fourth Tibet Work Forum under the Chairmanship of President Jiang Zemin. It was planned to give a strong impetus to economic and social development, while preserving the ‘stability’ of the region.
Though development was brought to Tibet (particularly with the opening of the railway line to Lhasa in 2006), stability was never achieved. Worse, in March/April 2008, unrest erupted again all over Tibet. It must have sent a shock wave through the spines of your Politburo colleagues who do not have your knowledge of the ground situation in Tibet.
It is unfortunate that despite 9 rounds of talks since 2002 between your United Front Work Department’s officials and the Dalai Lama’s representatives, no breakthrough could be achieved and no acceptable formula for the future of Tibet could be found.
During your tenure, you always insisted on three points: the peaceful rise of China, scientific development and internal stability. The importance of stability was reiterated during the recent National People’s Congress (NPC).
When you had convened The Fifth Tibet Work Forum in January 2010, (attended by the 300 senior-most Party cadres, PLA generals and your Politburo Standing Committee’s colleagues), you declared: “We must also soberly understand that Tibet’s development and stability are still faced with many difficulties and challenges and have encountered many new situations and new issues.”
Though stability was the core of your Tibet policy, you have not achieved any significant results in the minority nationalities areas. In recent months, agitation has taken a novel form: self-immolation by monks and nuns (some 30 in less than a year) and large scale demonstrations.
Tibet Daily said that when you talked to a Tibetan delegation who called on you during the NPC’s Conference; you encouraged them to promote the ‘old Tibetan Spirit’. You explained “it would be necessary to be firm on anti-secession”. You said that the Party in Tibet authorities must “concentrate on keeping 'migrant monks and nuns' in line, clean up and regulate religious activities, strengthen the development of Tibet's Buddhist institutes, tighten management of the reincarnation of living Buddhas, build a long-term management system for monasteries, push forward the regulation and legalization of the management of monasteries, unite patriotic monks and nuns, and reduce disharmonious factors in society.”
You also told them that you wanted to recruit and train Party leaders who are “politically reliable, capable of safeguarding national unity, firm on anti-secession, and who dare to fight against the Dalai Lama group.”
When you speak of ‘stability’, it seems to me that you entire policy is aimed at denigrating the Dalai Lama.
Your website China Tibet Online published a number of postings purportedly attributed to Chinese Netizens: “If the Dalai Lama could hire others to set themselves on fire, why doesn’t he burn himself?” How does it help?
Already in 2008, Zhang Qingli, the then Party Chief in Lhasa had called the Tibetan leader, a “wolf in monks’ garb”; more recently, he was painted as a nazi in official publications.
Will this atrocious propaganda help dissipate the Tibetans’ resentment against repressive measures? In my opinion, the answer is ‘no’.
But when the time will come to prepare your ‘balance sheet’ as China’s Core Leader, it will be counted as your personal failure, you, the Party’s Tibet expert.
If you are unable to quickly change the tide, your leadership will go down in history as the darkest in relations with the ‘minorities’. This will remain in the annals of the People’s Republic of China.
You have 6 months to change this.
One way out would be to personally meet the Dalai Lama and threadbare discuss the situation with him. Do not forget that he remains the key to any solution for the Tibetan issue.
Both of you could certainly find a solution to the thorny issue of ‘autonomy’ in Tibetan areas. Is it not written in your own Constitution?
As a first step, you could jointly request young Tibetans to stop immolating themselves.
I sincerely hope that you will boldly take a step forward; it could save your Presidency and gave a brighter future to the People’s Republic of China.
In India one believes that Karma can be changed.
Yours sincerely
Claude Arpi

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Where are the 'Emergency Papers'?

This is frightening.
I have often written about the declassification of Indian  historical papers, but if the Government decides now to destroy documents so that the Indian public does not have access to the history of the Nation, it is even worse.
Let us hope that the 'emergency papers' will soon be found.

The present Government should read Nehru's letter dated August 27, 1957:
I am not at all satisfied with the noting on this file by Intelligence or by the Director of Archives. The papers required are very old, probably over thirty years old. No question of secrecy should apply to such papers, unless there is some very extraordinary reason in regard to a particular document. In fact, they should be considered, more or less, public papers. To say that they can only be seen by research scholars is not very helpful. Any person can become a research student for a time. The mere fact that he is investigating some matter may make it necessary for him to look at some old papers. Also the fact that a Communist wants to see them is irrelevant.
Emergency files: Papers safe but PMO clueless
New Indian Express
By Vishwas Kumar
25 Mar 2012
NEW DELHI: Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy’s statement in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday stating that ‘even after a thorough search, the documents pertaining to imposition of Emergency could not be traced in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) records’, has surprised RTI activists as they have been in the public domain since September 2010, courtesy the National Archives of India (NAI).
After a hard-fought battle, M G Devasahayam, an IAS officer who served as Chandigarh district magistrate during Emergency got the documents through an RTI application from the NAI, as early Sep 2, 2010.
Narayanasamy’s reply in the case of RTI activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal’s application becomes curious as the same PMO in 2010, in response to the Devasahayam’s similar application on Emergency documents, had referred it to the Home Ministry and then to the NAI from where the documents were finally obtained.
The matter become even more curious as Devasahayam’s fight to get the Emergency documents was extensively reported in newspapers in 2010.
In fact, documents obtained from the NAI had revealed that except for the document signed by Gandhi and sent to the then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, all others were available.
While the original proclamation bearing Ahmed’s signature was part of the documents, there was only a typed copy of the PM’s top secret letter that had recommended imposition of Emergency under Article 352 of the Constitution.
The scrutiny of the file also revealed that the Home Ministry had obtained a copy of Gandhi’s historic letter from the President’s Secretariat.

Emergence of atypical terrorism?

My article Emergence of atypical terrorism? appeared in DNA today.
Click here to read...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Atypical Terrorism?

Do you know how Rasputin died? Guseva, a prostitute, planted a knife into Rasputin's abdomen and screamed, "I have killed the antichrist!" Tsar Nicholas II’s Machiavellian advisor however recovered. Later, he was served cakes and red wine with cyanide; he still did not die. He was later shot ‘dead’, but managed to escape. Several more bullets would be necessary to finish him off.
The RAID (Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence), the crack commandos attached to the French police responsible to arrest 23-year old Mohamed Merah compared the young French of Algerian origin to Rasputin.
After the deaths of three French paratroopers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi, shot dead at a 4-day interval in the Southern cities of Montauban and Toulouse, Merah became the most-wanted person in France
When after a 32-hour standoff, the elite commandos entered his house, in which Merah had barricaded himself, they were received by volleys of bullets. The RAID had no choice but to return fire.
Merah received some 30 bullets, mostly in the arms and legs (a few of them piercing through his bullet-proof jacket) before he finally collapsed.
During the early negotiations with the Police, Merah had agreed to surrender, but later the RAID discovered that he had used these ‘talks’ to meticulously plan the fortifications in his house, particularly the shower where he rested during the night to be prepared for the final assault.
A neighbour had informed the Police: “he is like a cat, he practiced jumping over cars.” One of the commandos who participated to the assault told Secret Defence, a well-informed defence blog, “He was physically extremely impressive. He was shooting very fast (with three guns), moving at the same time. I have never seen such an efficient guy, except amongst us (RAID commandos).”
The entire episode however raises several questions.
In recent years, no event has stunned France as much as the awesome killings of military personnel and the Jewish kids. The precision, the ‘skills’ of these cold-blooded murders sent the French Government into a frenzy.
Further these events occurred only a few weeks before the crucial Presidential elections in which the outgoing President is far from the favorite.
Any faux-pas could have proved fatal for both Sarkozy or Hollande, the main contenders. Retrospectively, one can say that the 10 declared candidates have kept a decent posture, unanimously condemned the killings in the strongest terms and supported the police action.
Many thought that the incident and the 24-hour media spotlight on Toulouse could help boost the chances of Sarkozy to come back in the pre-poll surveys. It may not be the case, mainly due to what experts called the goof-up of the RAID. I still remember, one Indian commando, speaking on Indian news channels during the operations of 9/11 in Mumbai, explaining, “we are trained to kill”. It is not the case of the 168-personel RAID force; they are taught to catch terrorists alive. One can easily understand that a live jihadist will give more information than a dead one; Mohammed Ajmal Kasab is the best example.
From this angle, the RAID operations were a failure, but could it have been otherwise with the highly trained and heavily armed Merah? The comparison with Rasputin speaks for itself.
Should the Intelligence agencies, mainly the DCRI (Central Direction for Internal Intelligence) have been more vigilant?
Many voices, including the Foreign Minister, Alain Juppé, have raised some concern: “I understand that the question can be asked, was there a flaw or not, one should bring some light on this”.
The DCRI answers that since 2011 they had a file on Merah; one official told Le Monde: “Cases like Merah’s, are most difficult for us”. Merah apparently went through a ‘self-radicalization’ after several trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2010 and 2011, but he did not belong to any known networks.
When in November 2011, he was interrogated by the DCRI about his trips to Af-Pak, he showed the officer ‘touristic’ pictures.
Intelligence agencies believe that if this type of individual encounters known jihadist groups, the surveillance level needs to be upgraded. According to the DRCI, hundreds of young Westerners visit the tribal zone, without automatically being a hard core terrorist.
While Merah’s brother, Abdelkader had the perfect physical and moral profile of a jihadist (he has also been arrested), Mehra had a more atypical profile; he was even seen in a night-club a couple of weeks before the attack. That is why, tighter tailing was not considered necessary. It is at least the justification of the DRCI whose close links with Sarkozy can explain their retrospectively guarded approach: “one can’t illegally watch someone who has not demonstrated his dangerousness”, an expert told Le Monde.
The fact remains that after being arrested in Kandahar, Merah was on a U.S. no-fly list kept by the FBI forbidding him to fly to the US.
Probably a serious slip-up for the French Intelligence; but a more worrying perspective is the emergence of atypical terrorists on the jihadist scene!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stomping all over Tibet

My article Stomping all over Tibet appeared in The Pioneer on March 21.
Click here to read...
Chinese propaganda has gone a step further. Beijing now uses its netizens “to urge the Dalai Lama to immolate himself”. The Beijing-sponsored site, China Tibet Online, has several purported postings attributed to Chinese Netizens: “If the Dalai Lama could hire others to set themselves on fire, why doesn’t he burn himself? The Dalai Lama, do you dare to set an example by burning yourself?” Another says, “How disgusting those guys are by asking people to burn themselves! All Chinese netizens suggest the Dalai Lama set himself on fire. Dalai, please burn yourself right away.” Will this atrocious propaganda help dissipate the Tibetans’ resentment against repressive policies? Nobody seems to be asking this question in China.
At the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, Padma Choling, Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, spoke about the recent spate of self-immolations: “The Chinese Government respects freedom of religion and normal religious activities of the Tibetan people … whoever commits self-immolation is wrong and immoral ... Everyone enjoys the freedom of speech nowadays, and it is not necessary to show extreme and aggressive behaviour.” If this were true, why would young monks and nuns set themselves on fire?
Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, squarely blamed the Dalai Lama: “According to what I have heard, he (the Dalai Lama) publicly applauded the courage of these people who set fire to themselves.” That is not true. To my knowledge, the Dalai Lama expressed himself only once on the subject. A couple of months ago, he declared in Tokyo: “These incidents of self-immolation are very, very sad. The leadership in Beijing should look into the ultimate cause of these tragic incidents. These Tibetans have faced a tremendously desperate situation, otherwise nobody will commit such drastic acts.”


Click to read on...

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Realizing Power of Symbols

One remembers that on June 11th, 1963, a 66 year old Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc calmly walked to the center of a busy Saigon intersection and set himself aflame.
Some of his friends had taken a jerry can of petrol from a car and poured it over Quang Duc, who had begun meditating in padmasana.
A mala in his right hand, Quang Duc lit himself the fire; he was soon engulfed in flames.It marked the beginning of the revolt against the Diem regime who fell a few months later. 
Duc's last words were: 
Before closing my eyes and moving towards the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngo Dình Diem to take a mind of compassion towards the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the sangha and the lay Buddhists to organise in solidarity to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism.
Yesterday's images of Duc, like today's pictures of the Tibetans monks and nuns immolating themselves, have a great symbolic power in their struggle for justice. 
In fact, they have a Power of Realization: through these pictures, the prayers and aspirations of these monks and nuns will eventually materialize.
Do the Chinese regime understands this?
 
   
 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Phunwang on Autonomy

Gyalo Thondup, the Panchen Lama and Phunwang
When Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Tibetan so-called deputies during the Fifth Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) on March 9, he once again stressed "national integrity, ethnic unity and social stability in Tibet".
Hu Jintao told the delegates: "Stability and harmony should be maintained in Tibet, while social management being enhanced and improved."

He has probably his own understanding of 'social management', but the real question remains: is President Hu ready to implement the Constitution of the People's Republic of China?
As pointed by Bapa Phuntsok Wangyal, the 'first' Tibetan Communist in this Wikileaks cable: "a high level of autonomy is perfectly consistent with the PRC Constitution".
The present leadership will probably continue to stick to its guns and use repression as the best mean for 'social management'.
Will the new leadership (who will take over in October.November) be different?
A billion yuan question.

SUBJECT:TIBET COMMUNIST PARTY FOUNDER DECRIES REJECTION OF AUTONOMY PROPOSAL
DATE 2008-11-14 00:00:00
CLASSIFICATION: CONFIDENTIAL
ORIGIN: Embassy BeijingXT:

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor
Aubrey Carlson. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

SUMMARY
-------
1. (C) Phuntsok WANGYAL (protect), the founder of the Tibetan Communist Party, decried the lack of progress in talks between Chinese officials and envoys of the Dalai Lama in a November 7 meeting with PolOff. The Chinese government, he argued, should not be so quick to denounce Tibetan proposals for autonomy as an attempt to achieve "covert independence." A high level of autonomy is perfectly consistent with the PRC Constitution, he said. Phuntsok WANGYAL predicted that, despite the stalemated talks with China, Tibetan
exiles will decide to maintain the Dalai Lama's "Middle Way" approach at their conference in India later this month. Conditions for Tibetans in China, he added, have become difficult since the March 14 riots, and discrimination against minorities reached new highs during the Olympic Games. End Summary.

Background
----------

2. (C) PolOff spoke November 7 with Tibetan Communist Party Founder Phuntsok WANGYAL (protect), who is popularly known by the short form of his name, "Phunwang." As a young revolutionary, Phunwang assisted in China's "peaceful liberation" of Tibet and from 1951 to 1958 was the top Tibetan cadre in the region. Following the Tibetan uprising in 1959, Phunwang was imprisoned in solitary confinement in Beijing for 18 years for the crime of "local nationalism," a label given to ethnic minority leaders suspected of secretly plotting independence. After his release from jail, Phunwang was "rehabilitated" and he still receives some perks typical of high-level retired officials, including a government-appointed secretary. However, his outspokenness on Tibet makes him a sensitive person, as evidenced by the authorities desire to keep him out of Beijing during the Olympics (see para 6).

"Autonomy Does Not Equal Independence"
--------------------------------------

3. (C) Phunwang expressed disappointment at the lack of progress made during the latest round of talks between the Communist Party's United Front Work Department (UFWD) and representatives of the Dalai
Lama (reftels). He was especially critical of the Chinese side's outright rejection of the Tibetans' proposal for genuine autonomy. A high level of autonomy is possible under the Chinese Constitution, Phunwang argued, and "autonomy" does not equal "independence." Phunwang criticized a November 6 press statement in which United Front Work Department (UFWD) head Du Qinglin, the chief PRC representative to the talks, denounced the Tibetan autonomy proposal by saying China would never accept "Tibet independence, half independence, or covert independence." "When you see statements like this," Phunwang said, "it is easy to tell which side is lying."

Written Language in Danger
--------------------------

4. (C) Phunwang said Tibet should enjoy stronger autonomy in areas such as education and language. While Tibetan youth can generally speak Tibetan, he observed, the written language is under threat because fewer and fewer Tibetans can read and write fluently.

Independence "Not an Issue"
---------------------------

5. (C) Phunwang told PolOff the majority of Tibetans want to see the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government "come back together." Asked for his views on the conference of Tibetan exiles that will take place later this month in India, Phunwang predicted that the Tibetans will not give up the Dalai Lama's "Middle Way" approach, primarily because there is no alternative. Independence for Tibet is "simply not an issue." "It makes little sense to even debate independence since it is so clearly impossible." Most ethnic minorities, whether in China or elsewhere, wish to have their own independent state. Such sentiment is "natural" among minorities, Phunwang said, but it is unfeasible in the case of Tibet.

"Hard Time for Tibetans"
------------------------

6. (C) Since the outbreak of widespread unrest in Tibetan areas of China in March, Phunwang said, "things have been hard for Tibetans." He criticized continuing discrimination faced by Tibetans and other minorities. As an example, he noted that Tibetans were excluded from most Beijing hotels during the Olympics. Phunwang revealed that he and his wife were forced to leave the capital during the Games. Phunwang said he recently wrote an extensive letter to President Hu Jintao regarding the situation in Tibet.  Though unwilling to provide details of the letter to PolOff, Phunwang said the contents would be publicized in the near future.

[Ambassador] RANDT

Sunday, March 11, 2012

But there was no Speech

Website China Tibet Online
After he came to exile in April 1959, every March 10, on the occasion of the National Uprising, the Dalai Lama has issued a public Statement about the state of the Tibetan nation, the achievements of the past year and his aspirations for the year to come.
As Payul.com explained: "His Holiness’ March 10 Statements have been received by Tibetans as the head of the state’s address to the nation".

In his Statement last year, the Tibetan leader announced his retirement and the devolution of political authority to an elected leadership. 
This year, for the first time since 1960, the Dalai Lama did not issue his statement.
But the Chinese propaganda always faster than its shadow, has put a banner on their site China Tibet Online, The Dalai Lama 3.10 Speech Provoke wide Opposition.
But there was no speech.

Autonomy vs Repression

Chinese propaganda has gone a step further, Beijing uses now its netizens ‘to urge the Dalai Lama to immolate himself’.
The Beijing-sponsored site, China Tibet Online gives several purported Internet postings attributed to Chinese Netizens: "If the Dalai Lama could hire others to set themselves on fire, why doesn’t he burn himself? The Dalai Lama, do you dare to set an example by burning yourself?” Or “How disgusting those guys are by asking people to burn themselves! …All Chinese netizens suggest the Dalai Lama set himself on fire. Dalai, please burn yourself right away.”
Will this atrocious propaganda help dissolve the Tibetan’s resentment against repressive policies? Nobody seems to be asking this question in China.
At the yearly National People's Congress (NPC) held in Beijing, Padma Choling, the Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region spoke about the recent spate of self-immolations: "The Chinese government respects freedom of religion and normal religious activities of the Tibetan people …whoever commits self-immolation is wrong and immoral” adding: “Everyone enjoys the freedom of speech nowadays, and it is not necessary to take extreme and aggressive behaviour.”
If this were true, why would these young monks and nuns set themselves on fire?
Zhao Qizheng, the spokesman for the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), squarely blamed the Dalai Lama: "According to what I have heard, he [the Dalai Lama] publicly applauded the courage of these people who set fire to themselves."
It is untrue. To my knowledge, the Dalai Lama expressed himself only once on the subject. A couple of months ago, he declared in Tokyo: "These incidents of self-immolation are very very sad. The leadership in Beijing should look into the ultimate cause of these tragic incidents. These Tibetans have faced a tremendously desperate situation, otherwise nobody will commit such drastic acts."
However, The China Daily affirmed: "Evidence showed that the riots and assaults were planned beforehand and instigated by trained separatists."
During a press conference at the NPC, Wu Zegang, the Deputy Party Chief of Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) tried to defame the victims: “Some of the suicides are committed by clerics returning to lay life, and they all have criminal records or suspicious activities. They have a very bad reputation in society.”
Wu added, the fact that those who had immolated themselves in Aba were shouting pro-independence slogans, was the proof that the movement was "orchestrated and supported by Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence forces".
What the Chinese leaders fail to mention is the oppressive policies reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution put in place after the Fifth Tibet Work Forum in February 2010.
Tibet Work Forums are large gatherings called every 5 or 10 years to discuss the CCP’s Tibet policies. They are attended by all the members of the powerful Politburo's Standing Committee, senior PLA generals, regional leaders, etc. During the last one, it was decided to send 21,000 Han and Tibetan Party officials in teams of four to each of the TAR’s 5,453 administrative villages as well as in monasteries.
According to The Tibet Daily, the United Front Department started to promote the “Nine Haves Monasteries” (Have a poster of the four national leaders, Have a national PRC flag, Have a motorable road to the monastery, Have a good source of water, Have electricity, Have a broadcast TV set, Have the capacity to show films, Have a reading room for books, Have The People’s Daily and The Tibet Daily newspapers).
The Party added that all expenses would be met by the TAR Government.
Another scheme, “The Six Ones” was also initiated with slogans such as: “Make one friend. Each temple management official [Read Party members] should try to be soul-mates with one or several monks/nuns to understand their difficulties in life and what's going on in their mind.” Or “Build one file. Establish a file for every monk/nun to document in a detailed fashion their personal and family situation. This will aid in preparedness, understanding and management.”
The Nine Haves, the Six Ones are a mixture of good policies with dreadful ones; the objective of this goebbelsian system is said to ‘develop a mechanism for building harmonious model temples’, but it has had the opposite effect: Tibetans are becoming more and more desperate suffocating with these Cultural Revolution-type of policies.
Interestingly, most of the young monks or nuns, who today react to the oppressive and repressive system, have not witnessed the Tibetan uprising of 1959, the Martial Law in Tibet in 1988/89 or the riots of the early 1990's.
Ultimately, the stability of the region will depend on the degree of autonomy that the Tibetans can enjoy. This was promised long ago.
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek even spoke of ‘independence of Tibet’ (though it was already independent). In 1945, Chiang stated in the Chinese Parliament that he desired to allow the ‘frontier racial groups’ to attain independence, if capable of doing so. He also affirmed: “I solemnly declare that if the Tibetans should at this time express a wish for self-government our Government would, in conformity with our sincere traditions, accord it a very high degree of autonomy. If in the future, they fulfill economic requirement of independence, the nation’s Government will, as in the case of Outer Mongolia, help them to attain this status”.
Since then China’s Central Government has only gone backward on its promises.
To give another example, Zhu Weiqun, the deputy director of the United Front Work Department which ‘negotiates’ with the Dalai Lama’s Envoys since 2002, has recently suggested abolishing special privileges and preferential policies offered to minority nationalities, taking the nationality name off all IDs cards and passports.
It would obliterate the uniqueness (guaranteed by the Constitution of China) of ‘minority nationalities’ such as the Tibetans, the Uyghurs and the Mongols in the name of ‘national cohesion’.
The policies have not always been such. During a party meeting in Lhasa in May 1980, CCP’s General Secretary, Hu Yaobang (not related with Hu Jintao) gave a powerful political speech to some 5,000 cadres in Lhasa. Hu frankly admitted: “Our present situation is less than wonderful because the Tibetan people's lives have not been much improved. There are some improvements in some parts, but in general, Tibetans still live in relative poverty.”
Hu said: “[with] comrades in the Central Committee, we were very upset when we heard about this situation. We feel that our party has let the Tibetan people down. We feel very bad! The sole purpose of our Communist Party is to work for the happiness of people, to do good things for them. We have worked nearly thirty years, but the life of the Tibetan people has not been notably improved”.
Unfortunately, Hu Yaobang was eased out a few years later.
Can India help to ease the situation?
Speaking about India’s security, the recent report, Non-Alignment 2.0: a Foreign and Strategic policy for India in the 21st Century written by eminent India strategic thinkers, asserts: “Our Tibet policy needs to be reassessed and readjusted. Persuading China to seek reconciliation with the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan community may contribute to easing India-China tensions. The initial soundings must be discreet and exploratory. …The Dalai Lama’s popular legitimacy among his own people is a fact that the Chinese government must acknowledge.”
China has to understand that the Dalai Lama is their best bet, not their enemy. The faster the leadership understands this, the better it will be for China, Tibet …and India.
Let us hope that 2012 will see radical changes.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Nine Haves and the Six Ones

On the side of the National People's Congress (NPC) presently held in Beijing, Padma Choling, the Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region spoke about the recent spate of self-immolations in Tibet. He affirmed: "I feel very distressed over the self-immolation of Tibetan monks. Every life is precious, self-immolation goes against Buddhist doctrines. Those who support, instigate and did this act are also against morality and should be severely punished." He was, of course, pointing a finger at the Dalai Lama.
Padma Choling added:
The Chinese government respects freedom of religion and normal religious activities of the Tibetan people. I think human life is the most precious thing, whoever commits self-immolation is wrong and immoral. Everyone enjoys the freedom of speech nowadays, and it is not necessary to take extreme and aggressive behaviour.
This sounds like the same old style propaganda.
Zhao Qizheng, the spokesman for the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), squarely blamed the Dalai Lama: "According to what I have heard, he [the Dalai Lama] publicly applauded the courage of these people who set fire to themselves."
It is not true, to my knowledge, the Dalai Lama expressed himself only once on the subject. A couple of months ago in Tokyo, he declared: "These incidents of self-immolation are very very sad. The leadership in Beijing should look into the ultimate cause of these tragic incidents. These Tibetans have faced a tremendously desperate situation, otherwise nobody will commit such drastic acts." 
However, The China Daily said: "Evidence showed that the riots and assaults were planned beforehand and instigated by trained separatists, according to the Sichuan government's information office."
During a press conference at the NPC, Wu Zegang, the Deputy Party Chief of Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) dismissed the motivations of the victims; in fact he tried to defame them: "Some of the suicides are committed by clerics returning to lay life, and they all have criminal records or suspicious activities. They have a very bad reputation in society."
Wu added that those who had immolated themselves in Aba were shouting pro-independence slogans. It was a proof that the movement was "orchestrated and supported by Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence forces".
What the Chinese leaders fail to mention is the oppressive system put in place after the Fifth Tibet Work Forum in 2010.
As mentioned in an earlier posting, policies reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution have been initiated in Tibet; for example, it was decided to send 21,000 Han and Tibetan Party officials in teams of four to each of the TAR’s 5,453 administrative villages.
Further, according to The Tibet Daily, the United Front Department decided to promote the “Nine Haves Monasteries” 九有寺庙

1.    有四位领袖像 Have a poster of the four national leaders
2.    有国旗 Have a national PRC flag
3.    有道路 Have a (motorable) road (to the monastery)
4.    有水 Have a good source of water
5.    有电 Have electricity
6.    有广播电视 Have a broadcast TV set
7.    有电影 Have (the capacity) to show films
8.    有书屋 Have a reading room for books
9.    有报纸(《人民日报》、《西藏日报》)Have The People’s Daily and the Tibet Daily newspapers (both have Tibetan language editions)
The Party added that all expenses will be met by the TAR Government.

Another scheme: the  ‘The Six Ones’ was also started.

1. Make one friend. Each temple management official should try to be soulmates with one or several monks/nuns to understand their difficulties in life and what's going on in their mind. (要交一个朋友。每个驻寺干部都要与一至几名僧尼交成知心朋友,及时了解他们的生活困难和思想动态。)

2. Visit one family. Each temple management official to visit the families of one or more monks/nuns to understand what's going on in their homes.  (开展一次家访。每个驻寺干部都要联系一至几名僧尼,深入自己所联系的僧尼家中搞一次家访,切实了解僧尼家庭的实际情况。)

3. Solve one problem.  To solve the most urgent, real problem facing the family of any monk/nun so as to make them feel the warmth of the party and government. (办一件实事。发挥各自优势,为每个僧尼家庭解决一件最迫切、最现实的困难和问题,让他们切身感受到党和政府的温暖。)

4. Build one file. Establish a file for every monk/nun to document in a detailed fashion their personal and family situation. This will aid in preparedness, understanding and management.   (建一套档案。为每个僧尼建立一套档案,详细记录其个人信息和家庭状况,切实做到心中有数、底数清楚,便于管理服务。)

5. Keep clear one communication channel. Steady communications should be maintained between temple management officials and the families of monks/nuns through telephone, letters and house visits, so as to educate them to love the nation and love the religion, as well as to obey the law. (畅通一条渠道。通过电话、通信、家访等方式,建立起驻寺干部与僧尼家庭联系的稳定渠道,与其家人共同教育引导僧尼爱国爱教、遵规守法。)

6. Develop one mechanism. To build temple management committees (with full-time officials) that temple management officials, monks/nuns and families are jointly responsible for. This is to develop a mechanism for building harmonious model temples. (形成一套机制。建立起寺庙管委会(专职特派员)、驻寺干部、僧尼、家庭共同负责、协调联动的构建和谐模范寺庙的好机制。)

Like for the Nine Haves, it is a mixture of good policies with draconian ones.
One understands in these circumstances that some young monks or nuns who have not witnessed the Tibetan uprising of 1959, the Martial Law in Tibet in 1988/89 or the riots of the early 1990's, are desperate.
When will China get leaders such Hu Yaobang, who can realize the folly of a ever more oppressive and repressive system. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is China ready to listen to rage of young Tibetans?

My article Is China ready to listen to rage of young Tibetans? is posted on Sify.com.
Click here to read.

Three years after the demonstrations which saw more than one hundred dead in many number of incidents in Tibet, unrest has flared up again.
This time, it was a series of self-immolations which began on March 16, 2011 when Phuntsog, a 21-year old monk of Kirti Monastery, set himself on fire in Ngaba.
It continued on 15 August with Tsewang Norbu of Tawu Nyatso Monastery, and since the beginning of 2012, it has intensified further. More than 23 cases of self-immolation have been reported since then.
If one looks at the profiles of those who did the supreme sacrifice, one is surprised to see how young some of these monks or nuns were; for example, Tenzin Choeden, who immolated herself on February 11, was a young 18-year old nun of Ngaba (Eastern Tibet).
These new 'protestors' have not witnessed the Tibetan uprising of 1959, the Martial Law in Tibet in 1988/89, the Tiananmen Square events a few months later or the riots of the early 1990's.


To continue reading...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When British India planned to defend Tibet


British Map of Tibet in 1946
In the Report quoted yesterday on this blog, the border dispute between India and China is analyzed. The eventuality of the PLA 'grabbing' some pieces of Indian territory in Ladakh or Arunachal is studied.
The question is: what should India do in such circumstances.
The conclusions of the group of experts are:
The better way of responding to limited land-grabs by China is for us to undertake similar action across the LAC: a strategy of quid pro quo. There are several areas where the local tactical and operational advantage rests with us. These areas should be identified and earmarked for limited offensive operations on our part. More importantly, such a strategy will need the creation of infrastructure for mobility and housing troops. It would also entail building up our existing defensive formations. But this could be done as part of a larger rationalization of force structure by transferring forces that are currently deployed for operations against Pakistan. Though border infrastructure is under development, its progress has been slack and requires a major boost to speed up its implementation. Such a strategy will not only wrest the initiative from the Chinese, but will also be useful for our diplomatic efforts to restore status quo ante. 
Interestingly, in 1945/46, the War Office, the Foreign Office, the India Office and the Government of India went into the details of the possibilities of Tibet being attacked either by Russia (Soviet Union) or China.
A lengthy report was prepared taking into account all the contingencies. It was later approved by the Army Headquarters.
One feature of this report is the extensive use of the Royal Air Force and the para commandos. 
According to British archives: "The object of military aid is to prevent a hostile power establishing itself in areas from which it can threaten INDIA. In practice this means preventing the enemy from occupying those parts of TIBET from which air attack or rocket missiles can be launched on INDIA."
Eventually, a section of the Air Headquarters did not agree with the plan because they did not have the 7 required squadrons available.
Moreover, by mid-1946, the British had started packing and Nehru's new Interim Government was coming at the helm.
To defend Tibet was not Nehru's first priority.
Four years later, Tibet was be invaded, without the government moving a finger. 
Strategists realize today the blunder of the bhai-bhai (at any cost) policy.

Can India defend Tibet?
(from British Archives) 
A Letter from the Foreign Office, London


1. In his D.O. [Demi Official]  letter of 2nd November 1945 (WS. 17041 page 21) the D.M.O. [Directorate of Military Operations ] (I) referred to a new G.S.[General Staff ] appreciation that was being prepared on the military assistance that India would give to TIBET if the latter was attacked by either Russia or China.

2. A draft copy of this, which I bought home, is put up for information. This is a draft only at present and has NOT yet been approved by the C-in-C [Commander in Chief] or C.O.S. [Chief of Staff] India.

3.    An outline of the paper is as follows:

(a)    Military Object.
To prevent the enemy establishing himself south of a general line CHAMDO (MANE KHORCHEN) - GARYARSA (GARTOK) – LEH

(b)    Conclusions
•    That Tibetan Government should be approached to arrange for a nucleus of officers and NCOs [Non-Commissioned Officers] for a M.I. Group (3,000 men) to be raised in India. This Bde [Brigade ] Group is for purpose of imposing delay on enemy operation on main approaches to LHASA.
  • Suitable equipment should be provided free or at a nominal cost.
  • A resident Military Mission should reside in TIBET.
  • The maximum aid that can be given is one air supplied and air transported division with offensive air support.

(c)    Outline Plan includes
  • Construction of certain airfields by arrangement with TIBET
  • Detailed plans to be drawn up when Russian intentions against SINKIANG [Xinjiang], CHINGHAI [Qinghai] OR KANSU [Gansu province] are obviously hostile.
  • A meteorological appreciation of the whole area to be put in hand early.
  • Plan envisages employment of two bde gps in event of either Russian or Chinese aggression singly, or of one div. less one bde gp in event of attack by both, together with seven transport squadrons initially.

4.    This paper is prepared on the assumption that TIBET remains autonomous. I discussed with DMO who agreed that, if CHINA regained control of TIBET and entered into agreement with RUSSIA, our task would be much more difficult owing to the feet that we should not get prior information of Russian/Chinese intentions.

5.    I will pass this to Donaldson [British India Office] for information, DMO War Office already has a copy.

Sd: Kitson [Foreign Office]

[Then follow the Secret Report, only the Introduction is published here]

TOP SECRET
C in C’s SECRETARIAT
CoS (46) 736 – AID TO TIBET – (FINAL PAPER)

INTRODUCTION
1.    The domination of TIBET by a potentially hostile major power would constitute a direct threat to the security of INDIA. The Government of INDIA are, therefore, vitally interested in maintaining friendly relations, with TIBET and in preserving for TIBET at least that measure of autonomy which she now enjoys.

2.    The basis of Tibetan autonomy must rest in strong diplomatic support by HMG [His Majesty Government] and by INDIA so that the Tibetans will not be subjected to pressure by any potential hostile power.
In particular TIBET must be supported against the methods of “peaceful penetration” subversion which have been employed so successfully by RUSSIA in Northern PERSIA and which CHINA is very likely to employ against her.

3.    Neither RUSSIA nor CHINA must be allowed to violate Tibetan autonomy by such methods, since it would then be possible for them to build roads and airfields to their own advantage, which would vitally affect INDIA’s strategic position.

4.    Should it prove impossible to preserve Tibetan autonomy by diplomatic methods alone or should RUSSIA or CHINA attack TIBET, it might to necessary for the Govt of INDIA to provide direct military aid to TIBET which would involve war. The purpose of this paper is to study the extent and manner of direct military aid that could be given to TIBET in pursuance of the political object.

OBJECT
5.     The object of military aid is to prevent a hostile power establishing itself in areas from which it can threaten INDIA. In practice this means preventing the enemy from occupying those parts of TIBET from which air attack or rocket missiles can be launched on INDIA.

6.     Military aid must depend upon the goodwill of the Tibetans, and confidence in us both now and when direct military assistance is sent to them. It will therefore be essential to protect the capital and the wealthier provinces of the country.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

India's Strategic Policy towards China

The recent report, Non-Alignment 2.0: a Foreign and Strategic policy for India in the 21st Century, prepared by a group of eminent Indian strategic thinkers is quite remarkably in many ways.
First, the release of the Report in Delhi was attended by the National Security Advisor and two of his predecessors (MK Narayanan and Brajesh Mishra).
This speaks a great deal about the quality of the analysis. 
Then, it deals extensively and seriously about Chinese threats and the border issue (we will come back on this in a future posting).
The strategists write: “China will, for the foreseeable future, remain a significant foreign policy and security challenge for India. It is the one major power which impinges directly on India’s geopolitical space”.
One of the most important conclusions (which should have been reached 60 years ago, at least before signing the infamous Panchsheel Agreement in 1954) is that the Dalai Lama and Tibetans can be obstacle, but also a bridge for smoother bilateral relations between India and China; therefore it is good for India, for China and for Tibet, if Delhi plays a mediatory role to help sort out the Tibetan issuue. The Report says:
Persuading China to seek reconciliation with the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan community may contribute to easing India-China tensions. The initial soundings must be discreet and exploratory. And we must be mindful of the risk of hostile reaction, particularly from conservative sections of the People’s Liberation Army. The situation vis-à-vis Tibet has been complicated by the transition to a democratically elected Tibetan government-in-exile. The Chinese had, in part, expected that the Tibetan community would continue with its traditional method of selecting the Dalai Lama—a method that was amenable to manipulation by China. The Dalai Lama’s popular legitimacy among his own people is a fact that the Chinese government must acknowledge.
It is the first time that I read about this issue so clearly articulated.
Let us hope that the new Chinese leadership to be selected in October/November will understand this.
A small critic: the report fails to mention the water issue as one of the most serious threats to India’s security, the authors should have kept in mind the asymmetric constant ‘water’ menace. It could have far serious implications than a local border skirmish.
While admitting that their previsions “takes into account both the superiority of current Chinese deployments and posture on the land boundary, and the unlikelihood of the border issue being resolved in the near future”, the use of water as a weapon is not mentioned, though it is likely to be used in case of conflict or serious tensions.
However, the Report rightly says “on the political side, our posture towards China must be carefully nuanced and constantly calibrated in response to changing global and regional developments. China’s threat perception vis-à-vis India has both a local and a global dimension. The local dimension involves Tibet. Our Tibet policy needs to be reassessed and readjusted.”
Readjustments should translate into a greater autonomy for the Tibetan plateau and a bilateral agreement on the water issue.

Extracts of:
Non-Alignment 2.0: a Foreign and Strategic policy for India in the 21st Century

29. China will, for the foreseeable future, remain a significant foreign policy and security challenge for India. It is the one major power which impinges directly on India’s geopolitical space. As its economic and military capabilities expand, its power differential with India is likely to widen.

30. As is well known, India and China have long-standing disagreements on an agreeable border. Skirmishes and incidents have occurred across the Line of Actual Control. Our strategy should be to 'hold the line' in the north on the Sino-Indian land frontier, but maintain and, if possible, enlarge India’s current edge in the maritime south. This strategy takes into account both the superiority of current Chinese deployments and posture on the land boundary, and the unlikelihood of the border issue being resolved in the near future.

31. Given that China has managed to settle many of its border issues (at least for the time being) with other, smaller neighbours, the dispute on the Indian border stands out quite prominently. It is significant that on his last visit to India, Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, stated that it would take a long time to settle the boundary issue. This is a departure from the earlier position that the mechanism of Special Representatives could try to achieve a political settlement of the issue, taking advantage of the fact that relations between the two countries had now acquired a strategic and global dimension—which made the early settlement of the border issue, both possible and necessary. This has evidently changed. It is important that we accelerate the upgradation of our border infrastructure (especially in terms of habitation and supply lines) to reduce the asymmetry in our capabilities and deployments. At the same time we must put in place operational concepts and capabilities to deter any significant incursions from the Chinese side (these are dealt with in the Chapter Three).

32. Currently India has the edge in terms of maritime capabilities but China is catching up rapidly. China’s current focus is on acquiring dominance in the Yellow Sea, the Taiwan Straits, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. The Indian Ocean falls second in the present order of priority. It is in our interest that China remains preoccupied with its first-tier, more immediate maritime theatre. The retention of strong U.S. maritime deployments in the Asia-Pacific theatre, a more proactive and assertive Japanese naval force projection, and a build-up of the naval capabilities of such key littoral states as Indonesia, Australia and Vietnam: all may help delay, if not deter, the projection of Chinese naval power in the Indian Ocean. We need to use this window of opportunity to build up our own naval capabilities. Our regional diplomacy should support this include a network of security cooperation agreements with these states and regular naval exercises with them.

33. On the political side, our posture towards China must be carefully nuanced and constantly calibrated in response to changing global and regional developments. China’s threat perception vis-à-vis India has both a local and a global dimension. The local dimension involves Tibet. Our Tibet policy needs to be reassessed and readjusted.
Persuading China to seek reconciliation with the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan community may contribute to easing India-China tensions. The initial soundings must be discreet and exploratory. And we must be mindful of the risk of hostile reaction, particularly from conservative sections of the People’s Liberation Army. The situation vis-à-vis Tibet has been complicated by the transition to a democratically elected Tibetan government-in-exile. The Chinese had, in part, expected that the Tibetan community would continue with its traditional method of selecting the Dalai Lama—a method that was amenable to manipulation by China. The Dalai Lama’s popular legitimacy among his own people is a fact that the Chinese government must acknowledge.

34. On the global canvas, China looks upon India not as a threat in itself, but as a ‘swing state’ whose association with potential adversaries could constrain China. The challenge for Indian diplomacy will be to develop a diversified network of relations with several major powers to compel China to exercise restraint in its dealings with India, while simultaneously avoiding relationships that go beyond conveying a certain threat threshold in Chinese perceptions. This will require a particularly nuanced handling and coordination of our foreign policy, both through diplomatic and military channels. If China perceives India as irrevocably committed to an anti-China containment ring, it may end up adopting overtly hostile and negative policies towards India, rather than making an effort to keep India on a more independent path.

35. India-China economic relations also present a complex and somewhat ambiguous picture. Bilateral trade is rising rapidly but asymmetrically, with a growing trade surplus in favour of China. We could respond by trying to limit Chinese penetration of our market, particularly our infrastructure market. Or, we could allow access but with various conditions that safeguard and promote Indian interests in other areas. Given the fact that India’s infrastructure market is likely to be in the region of a trillion dollars in the next few years, China would obviously have a keen interest in expanding access to it. We should see this Chinese economic interest as a point of leverage for trade-offs favourable to us in other sectors, including political concessions in areas of interest to India.

36. One of the big concerns in our economic relations is the involvement of China’s state-owned enterprises. Chinese banks are often able to offer preferential financing to Chinese companies because of their scale and because they are not driven solely by market forces. Many of China’s premier manufacturing firms are also state-run, and thus have access to such financing. This means that when Chinese companies participate in competitive bidding for open tenders, they may actually have a big advantage over other bidders, which allows them to place stronger (lower) bids. However, such preferential financing could also be a useful asset in terms of the volume of infrastructure financing we need so there are multiple questions to be considered here. How India should systematically respond to such issues is an important, open question. There is the additional problem of the potential for espionage and intelligence gathering through software means, which was evidenced by the banning of import of Chinese telecom equipment.

37. Given the asymmetry in the economic and trade relationship, we should not overestimate our bargaining power. It may be more realistic to link large orders to economic and trade concessions, including fixed investments in India-based facilities. It is also reasonable to expect that growing economic interdependence might help make the political relationship more manageable and less subject to oscillations.

38. The growing trade surplus between India and China has been a cause for concern owing both to its degree and composition. Not only is the degree of dependence of Indian industries on Chinese imports on the rise. But India’s main exports seem to be natural resources, whereas its imports are largely higher end manufactured goods. Given India’s large services sector, it should be pushing for greater market access and presence in China to correct this imbalance.

39. One area where India may be able to bargain effectively with China is the domain of technology transfer. The ability to leverage access to our markets in order to secure access to sophisticated technology, and so develop domestic capacity is something India has not been able to do as effectively as it needs to, especially with developed countries.
For example, when an airline company like Indigo signs a $16 billion deal with Airbus, technology transfer should be a part of the terms of negotiation. Even India’s defence offsets have been quite disappointing in terms of technology transfer, with only the lowest value addition activities being sourced domestically.

40. China has managed to do this quite well, mainly because the government is able to coordinate the actions of various companies (many of which are state-owned), while India does not have this luxury. It may in fact be easier to negotiate technology transfer deals with China than other developed countries, which are intensely possessive about their intellectual property. Huawei, a telecom company from China, has recently agreed to set up a research facility in Bangalore to ensure that none of its imported devices contain any kind of covert listening technologies.

41. India’s China strategy has to strike a careful balance between cooperation and competition, economic and political interests, bilateral and regional contexts. Given the current and future asymmetries in capabilities and influence between India and China, it is imperative that we get this balance right. This is perhaps the single most important challenge for Indian strategy in the years ahead.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tibet's lost history

Book Review
My review of Tibet: a History appeared in The Pioneer today.

Tibet: A History
Author : Sam van Schaik
Publisher: Amaryllis,

Price: 695
Like the storytellers of ancient Tibet, Sam van Schaik gives us glimpses of the ‘Greater History’, concentrating only on the glorious period of the Tibetan empire, writes Claude Arpi
Looking at the cover of Sam van Schaik’s book, one immediately thinks: “Oh, a history of Tibet again!” During the last decade, in any decent bookshop, one finds several shelves filled with works on Tibet, whether it is focused on religion, politics or history. Some may say that it is because of the Dalai Lama’s popularity, while others may think it is due to the Shangri La myth. It remains a fact that the Land of Snows, its spirituality, its mystics and magicians, and its history occupy a special place in the people’s consciousness.
If today the Tibetan political landscape is well-known, it has not always been the case. Several years ago, I did a research on the French-speaking press of 1950. Most of the articles, written a few weeks after the People’s Liberation Army invaded the eastern Tibetan province of Kham, were an eye-opener. In the mid-20th century, very few people had the true knowledge of what was actually happening to Tibet, let aside its history. Some articles vividly portrayed the lives of monks spending their time dealing with ‘demons’: “The days are spent reciting countless litanies accompanied by the sound of the sacred drum, turning the prayer wheels and invoking the demons which are called to bother the irreligious farmers who are guilty of paying an insufficient amount in tax to the monasteries.” Others believed: “The Tibetan lamas less than a year ago were living in the lethargic atmosphere of a monastic life without worries and troubles. Today, they are burying their treasures in the crevices of innumerable rocks.” More correctly, they saw a Tibet, living outside a world which had “become the battlefield of a modern ideology which is attempting to change overnight what seemed timeless”.
Some were more prophetic: “The regime of the ‘lamaist’ aristocracy will perhaps have a successor which will only be a foreign organisation imposed by the invader. But it will not be so easy to destroy a spiritual power which has survived for centuries in its castle of eternal Himalayan snow.”
Sixty years later, the Chinese are still discovering this basic truth.
Most reporters failed to see the historic and strategic importance of the Tibetan plateau: “But what benefit would the invader gain from the conquest of 700,000 sq km of rocks, sands, and Tibetan glaciers? There is no resource for modern industries.” Unfortunately for the Tibetans, Mao and his ‘Liberation’ Army could see its significance.
Van Schaik is intelligent enough to call his book “A History”, and not “The History”. The author, working at the British Library in London, looks at different aspects of the past that are not often covered by other writers. His knowledge of ancient Tibetan history is apparent in his writing. The early chapters are devoted on the “Three Religious Kings” who ruled Tibet (and parts of Asia) during the 7th-9th century and their encounters not only with China’s Tang dynasty, but also India.
A conflict between India and Tibet during the reign of King Songtsen Gompo makes a fascinating read. In 648, when an embassy from the Chinese emperor arrived in India to meet King Harshavardhana, the envoys found him dead. The new king attacked the Chinese envoys, killing all of them except two who managed to reach Tibet and report the incident to King Gompo. The latter immediately dispatched an army of Tibetan and Nepali soldiers who thrashed the Indian king and sent him to China as a prisoner of war. This episode shows the power of the Tibetan kings at that time.
The author explains his personal motivations: “This history, this book, is a narrative, and any narrative is limited to the point of view of particular people and events. It is necessarily partial and incomplete. Yet, the plot-driven framework of narrative may not be the worst way to approach Tibet... The Tibetans have their own marvellous tradition of historical writing, and the corpus of modern scholarship on Tibet grows everyday. It is no longer possible, if it ever was, to grasp the whole; but we can choose a path.”
Like the storytellers of ancient Tibet, Van Schaik gives us glimpses of the ‘Greater History’. In Van Schaik's words, his history “follows those individuals who have been most influential in the making of Tibet, or have at least made the biggest impact on Tibet’s own historians and storytellers”. One can, however, regret that his narrative only starts during the seventh century. The present Dalai Lama once told this reviewer that Tibet’s should begin by citing the latest archeological discoveries.
Though archeological study of the Tibetan plateau is a relatively new discipline, explorers such as Tucci, Hedin, Richardson or Roerich did the first archeological surveys in the early 20th century; their studies remained superficial.
The scenario has changed during the past two-three decades with more scientific studies being conducted by Tibetan, Western and Chinese archeologists. Their research dwells not only upon western Tibet, rich in ‘pre-Buddhist’ vestiges, but also on other parts of the plateau like Amdo and Kham. The latest archeological discoveries open new perspectives on the history of the plateau, particularly regarding the Zhangzhung kingdom. Some archeologists believed that a climate change altered the balance of power a few millennia ago. Due to drought and the subsequent increased salinity in the areas around the large lakes of northern Tibet, the political centre may have progressively shifted to warmer and moister regions like Yarlung.
Van Schaik, however, prefers to concentrate on the glorious period of the Tibetan empire: “In that time Tibet had become a participant in the currents of world culture, with its capital Lhasa developing into an unlikely cosmopolitan centre.”
In the ‘Preface’, the author articulates his query: Where is Tibet? A geographical definition is difficult; a political one has changed over the centuries; many myths have surrounded Tibet, saying it was always non-violent, weak and even isolated. In these circumstances, the problem is obvious: “How can one write a history of Tibet when we can hardly say where ‘Tibet’ begins or ends, when it exists in so many places at once?” remarks Van Schaik. For him, those who undertake to write a history of Tibet “can only hope to capture something of this diverse, ever-changing realm and the complex people who have inhabited it”.
This is what he has done in style. Though Van Schaik writes “There is more to Tibet’s history than its relationship with China”, the fact remains that Tibet is today a colonised nation and its sons and daughters have to immolate themselves to be heard outside the People’s Republic of China. This is a historical fact.
The reviewer, an India-based French journalist, is a Tibet expert

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Power-play in China

My article Power-play in China (The Succession War Is Not Over) appeared in the The Statesman on 26 February 2012.
Click here to read.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Climate is changing!

Sand dunes on the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet
The Indian press yesterday reported that Brahmaputra river had dried up in Arunachal Pradesh. 
The information sent waves of fear in the North-East.
The press affirmed the Siang, known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet and Brahmaputra in Assam, had almost dried up in Pasighat in East Siang. 

Tako Dabi, a political advisor to Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and State government spokesperson declared: “People found that the water level of the river receded so much this evening that it almost dried.”
Dabi said that China could have diverted the water of the river or there could be some artificial blockade due to which this has happened, adding: “The panic of the people cannot be simply brushed off”.
The truth will
only be known after an in-depth inquiry, but the suggestion that the Yarlung Tsangpo could have been diverted is utter rubbish. Such pharaonic project would take more than a decade to complete and would be seen through satellite imagery.
One better hypothesis could be found in the article posted below: higher temperatures, reduced rainfall and excessive grazing worsen the situation on the Tibetan plateau.
Unfortunately, it does not stop the Chinese and the Arunachal Pradesh Governments to plan mega structures on the Yarlung Tsangpo/Siang/Brahmaputra. Disasters in-the-making!


Encroaching deserts threaten life along Tibet's longest river
By Teresa Rehman
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AlertNet) Rising temperatures, reduced rainfall and excessive numbers of grazing animals are worsening desertification and drying up grasslands in western Tibet, says a Chinese geologist who has explored one of the region's uncharted rivers.
Yang Yong said he had observed desertification in parts of the upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River, and believes this could be caused by climate change as well as human activity.
The Yarlung Zangbo (also called the Yarlung Tsangpo) is Tibet's largest river, originating in the west of the region. Along its 2,057 km (1,286 mile) length, it passes through India, where it is known as the Dihang and the Brahmaputra, and Bangladesh, where it is called the Jamuna.
The United Nations Environment Programme says that desertification - land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, caused by climatic variations and human activities - affects a quarter of the world�s total land area and one-sixth of its population, and is a major factor in widespread poverty.
Yang, who has explored western Tibet three times since his first visit in 1998, has seen that firsthand in the upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo.
"People move due to desertification and their traditional occupation of herding hasn't changed," said Yang at a workshop in Kathmandu on climate change effects in the Yarlung Zangbo/Brahmaputra Basin.
The herders that Yang spoke to linked the encroaching deserts to drought brought on by increasing temperatures and reduced precipitation.
"This has deteriorated the quality of the grassland that they used to herd on and increased the possibility of strong winds that turn to sandstorms," he said.

EXPANDING DUNES
Herders who previously lived by the river have been forced by to move several kilometres away by the growth of sand dunes. They must now graze their herds at altitudes as high as 5,500 metres (18,000 feet), close to the snow line.
Yang said that several villages are now surrounded by dunes up to 40 metres (130 feet) in height and 100 metres (325 feet) wide, although Yang said he had seen some dunes twice this height and width.
Wetlands between the dunes are deteriorating rapidly, and residents are considering relocating farther away from the river.  Yang believes the dunes will eventually become connected, causing the wetlands to disappear.
Along the upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo, where the river is known as the Maquan, the connected dunes already extend for 100 km (63 miles) and are 10 km (6 miles) at their widest.
Yang noted that evaporation is intensifying due to global warming and that rainfall has become less predictable. He said that the region he visited now experiences extreme rainfall in summer, contributing a significant portion of the annual total, and that there is now rain in some areas that used not to receive it.
Glacial melting is also making the traditional hydro-geological pattern fragile and less predictable, he said.
Yang pointed out that the river is an important water source for all three countries through which it flows, but especially for Bangladesh, where it passes through heavily populated areas. In India, the Brahmaputra does not flow through many cities, and Yang said it was important to maintain its relatively pristine condition there.
The science of desertification along the Yarlung Zangbo needs to be better understood before steps can be taken to combat the process, he said, emphasizing the importance of reducing human impacts in the region.
"Over-herding is significant and needs to draw more attention," he said, and both commercial logging and harvesting of vegetation in the middle and lower reaches of the river in Tibet have contributed to the deterioration of land, Yang said.
He also recommended restrictions on industrial development and mining in the region, and said that any hydropower development should include detailed evaluations of environmental impacts, especially in terms of geology and biodiversity.
What the region needs, Yang said, is an integrated river basin plan agreed on by all countries affected by the river system � China, India and Bangladesh. Such a plan, among other things, would need to look at how to control hazards associated with the river, at hydropower plans, at water flow and at demand for water in each country.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/encroaching-deserts-threaten-life-along-tibets-longest-river/

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Cause of Resentment

The Tibetans are becoming more and more desperate with new immolations,, new shootings, new arrests. 
I often mentioned on this blog the causes of the deep resentment in Tibet against the Communist Party . 
The new scheme of Zhu Weiqun can only increase the mistrust between Tibetans and Hans.

Is there a way out?
Ultimately, the degree of autonomy that the Tibetans can enjoy depends on the leadership in Beijing.
Today, the hardcore leftists are still at the helm, trying to impose policies reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution.
For example, during the 5th Tibet Work Forum  in January 2010 (Tibet Work Forums are large meetings called every 5 or 10 years to discuss the CCP’s Tibet policies. They are attended by all the members of the powerful
Politburo's Standing Committee, senior PLA generals, United Front Work Department officials, regional leaders, etc.), it was apparently decided to send 21,000 Han and Tibetan Party officials in teams of four to each of the TAR’s 5,453 administrative villages; they had to remain there for a period of 4 years. Each team member could rotate to a new location after 12 months only; they were assigned to a particular village for at least 25 days in a month. Their objectives were five‐fold:
  1. to strengthen the Party organization at the local level,
  2. to promote stability by persuading villagers to join the struggle against the Dalai Lama’s splittist activities and independence plans,
  3. to improve the economy of each village and create new jobs for the village youth,
  4. to educate the locals to appreciate and be grateful to the motherland and the Party, and
  5. to get each village to begin to more effectively carry out the plans and policies of the Party.
In addition, teams were to be sent from the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) to each of the seven TAR prefectures “to oversee that prefecture’s work teams, receive work reports and monitor the success or failure of the new policies”.
The scale of the scheme, said to the largest since the Cultural Revolution can only bring further rancor and resentment.

This Press Release of the TCHRD describes some places where the scheme is implemented.
This reminds me of an interview with the Dalai Lama’s Representative who headed the Tibetan fact-finding delegation to Tibet in 1979. 
He recalled his arrival on the Roof of the World: “The Chinese definitively did not expect that we would be received with so much enthusiasm”.
In fact, they Chinese were bewildered. Thirty years after the so-called liberation of Tibet during which “the Chinese administration had tried their best to denounce and put down the Dalai Lama, the Chinese authorities thought that the Tibetan people had lost their faith in their leader”.
The Tibetan official continued: “When we arrived in Tibet, the Chinese thought that the people might spit on us because we were the Dalai Lama’s representatives, or throw stones at us”. The Chinese authorities had forbidden the Tibetans to do so.
As they arrived in Tibet, the Tibetan delegates were mobbed; people having waited for hours or days to have their
darshan, to touch them or to steal a piece of their dress as a relic. The Chinese officials were utterly shocked.
Another delegate recounted that the local Tibetans collected the dust from the tyre prints of the envoys’ car, to keep it as
prasad.
Party education or re-education will not work.


Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
PRESS RELEASE
29 February 2012
Dharamsala              
Increased Religious Repression Forces Monks to Flee, Monasteries to Close
Beginning October 2011, the 'work teams' instituted by the Chinese authorities have launched campaigns such as 'Nine Must-Haves' and 'Harmonious Model Monastery' in Tibet. Monks and nuns are arrested for not complying with the restrictive activities organized by the work teams. This heightened religious repression has forced many monks and nuns to flee into nearby mountains and forests leading to the closure of monasteries in Tibet.
In Diru County, Nagchu Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), work teams visited about 22 monasteries and conducted 'patriotic re-education' classes. Feeling harassed and traumatized by the relentless 'education' sessions, many monks and nuns left their respective monasteries, according to sources.  Monasteries like the Bekar Monastery in Diru County have been closed. After Bekar's closure, local Tibetans reportedly took a dead body to the township office complaining to the authorities that there were no monks to perform religious rites for the deceased and urged the local authorities to reopen the monastery and to let the monks return.
In Markham (Chinese: Maerkang) County, Chamdo Prefecture (TAR), local officials visited Dama Monastery thrice a month to conduct patriotic re-education classes and distribute relevant books. Dama Monastery had about 30 monks out of which only 8 were registered with the authorities. The 22 non-registered monks were expelled. In the aftermath of the 2008 protests, the local officials and police officers had come to the monastery and ordered the replacement of the Dalai Lama's portraits with pictures of Chinese leaders.  It is feared that the monastery might be closed soon.
In Pema County of Golok Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP) in Qinghai Province, holding any religious activities, ceremonies and mass gatherings at the A-Kyong Jonang Monastery has been banned since 18 January 2012. The ban, coupled with relentless patriotic re-education campaigns, has forced many monks to flee the monastery with some taking shelter in nearby mountains. Before the ban, A-Kyong Monastery used to hold an annual nine-day religious ceremony during the last month of the Tibetan calendar. This grand ceremony was a highly-awaited religious event in the area. During this ceremony, the monastery used to organize Cham religious dance and other traditional dance performances which would attract a crowd of over 5,000 people. The ban on this ceremony has caused profound sadness among the local people.
Five monks from Lhungting Monastery in Dachu Township, Ngamring County, Shigatse Prefecture, TAR were arrested for refusing to hoist the Chinese national flag in the monastery compound. A number of work team officials had visited the monastery ordering the monks to hoist the Chinese flag in the monastery. But the monks protested and reportedly told the officials not to spread political propaganda in religious places.
On 14 February 2012, the Chinese government-owned Tibet Daily newspaper quoted Te Feng, Director of the Nyingtri County United Front Work Department as saying that the reason for harmony and stability in Lama Ling Monastery (Nyingtri County) is due to the efficient work done by the Communist Party branch (Dang zhi Pu) in the newly established Monastery Management Committee. The report also said the new management committee's first priority is to set up a Communist Party branch in the monastery and to enforce campaigns such as the 'Nine Must-Haves'. 
On 15 February 2012, the Global Times reported since November 2011, the government had established Monastery Management Committees in 1,787 monasteries.
On 30 October 2011 in Lhasa, the communist party of Tibet Autonomous Region organized a meeting, during which a decision was made to select 'Model Monastery' and 'highly advanced and patriotic monks and nuns.' A Tibet Daily report said the local religious bureau and the United Front Work Department would be responsible for carrying out these tasks, adding the goal of this new policy is to 'instill love and patriotism towards the Motherland in the minds of monks and nuns and destroy the forces of separatism.' The monks and nuns are ordered not to participate in acts of 'separatism and sabotage'; they are told to oppose the 'splittist activities of the Dalai clique to secure peace, stability and unity of the motherland.' 
The monasteries, nunneries and other religious institutions in Tibet are the target of intense patriotic re-education campaigns during which monks and nuns are forced to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They are also restricted from observing and performing religious festivals. Chinese police and military are stationed within the monastic compounds. Monks and nuns are harassed, arrested and even expelled for presumed political activities.
According to the Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution, "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The state protects normal religious activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state. Religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination."
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
However, the current repressive climate has led to violation of the above provisions as monks and nuns are arrested and expelled; highly-revered religious heads are targeted; and an increasing number of monasteries are being shut down.
For picture accompanying this report, please visit http://www.tchrd.org/press/2011/pr20120229.html