Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Liberated or Subdued?

Recent Immolation in Lhasa
If you speak about 'liberation' to a Frenchman, he will immediately think of General de Gaulle's speech at the Hotel de Ville of Paris on August 25, 1944.
The French troops had just entered Paris and chased away or arrested the remnants of the Nazis in the French capital.
De Gaulle pronounced one of his greatest speeches: “Paris! Paris outraged! Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated! Liberated by itself, liberated by its own people!"

After reading this speech, it is difficult to understand what the Chinese meant by ‘liberating Tibet’.
On January 1, 1950, a day after the Government of India had decided to hurry the recognition of the Communist regime, a broadcast of the New China News Agency (Xinhua) proclaimed: "the task for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) for 1950 are to liberate Taiwan, Hainan and Tibet... Tibet is an integral part of China. Tibet has fallen under the influence of the imperialist."
During the following months, China never missed a chance to assert again and again that Tibet was part of China's territory and it was "China's sacred duty to liberate Tibet."
On January 22, an interesting conversation took place in Moscow between Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin:

Mao Zedong: I would like to note that the air regiment that you sent to China was very helpful. Let me thank you Comrade Stalin, for the help, and ask you to allow it to stay a little longer so it could help transport provisions to (Chinese Communist Central Party Committee member and commander of the PLA’s 2nd Field Army). Lui Bocheng’s troops, currently preparing for an attack on Tibet.
Joseph Stalin; It’s good that you are preparing the attack. The Tibetans need to be subdued. As for the air regiment, we shall talk this over with the military personnel and give you an answer.
This was 10 months before the 'liberation' began; Stalin said ‘subdued’, not ‘liberated’. These two words have an opposite meaning.
At that time, the only detail that the Chinese were not sure about was the degree of resistance of the Tibetans. Would the second Army of Marshall Lui Bosheng enter Tibet in a triumphal way (by being invited by the some Tibetans ‘friends’, for example) or would force be required?
It is to be noted that Deng Xiaoping, the man who did not care if a mouse was black or white as long it could catch mice, was the Political Commissioner for China's South-Western Region based in Sichuan and was over-all responsible for the 'liberation'.
During all these months the Chinese leaders, particularly the mild-mannered Zhou Enlai kept on assuring India through Panikkar, the Indian Ambassador in Beijing, that "China has no intention of using force against Tibet".

Another discussion took place in Moscow in September 1952; this time between Joseph Stalin and Zhou Enlai, the Chinese Premier.

Stalin. Tibet is a part of China. There must be Chinese troops deployed in Tibet. As for Burma, you should proceed carefully.

Zhou Enlai says that the Burmese government is concealing its true position with regard to China, but is actually maintaining an anti-China policy, orienting itself with America and Britain.
[Then] Zhou Enlai explains that Chinese troops were deployed in Tibet a year ago, and are now at the Indian border. The question of whether there should be Chinese troops in Tibet is moot.
Emphasizes that maintaining communication with Tibet is difficult. In order to communicate with Lhasa one needs 4-motor transport planes, equipped with oxygen tanks and de-icing devices. Could not the Soviet Union provide such planes? 2-motor planes can go 3/5 of the way, but that’s as far as they’ll go.

Stalin replies that Soviet Union can assist with this.

Zhou Enlai. In that case could China request 20 4-motor planes from the USSR?

Stalin replies that first we will provide 10, and then another 10. Points out the importance of building a road to Tibet.

Zhou Enlai says that such a road is being built, but that its construction will take up all of next year and part of 1954.

Stalin notes that without a road it’s difficult to maintain the necessary order in Tibet. Tibetan Lamas are selling themselves to anyone - America, Britain, India - anyone who will pay the higher price.

Zhou Enlai says that, indeed, the Lamas are hostile. This year (February, March, April) they were planning a rebellion, but the Chinese People’s Government was able to suppress the rebels. Notes that as a result of this, the Dalai Lama’s brother fled abroad.

Stalin says that a road to Tibet must be built, and that it is essential to maintain Chinese troops there.
Note that Zhou Enlai does not speak of ‘liberation’, but ‘suppression of the Lamas’.
Sadly 60 years later, it is still what is happening.
Two months after the entry of the ‘Liberation’ Army in Kham province of Eastern Tibet, Jawaharlal Nehru the Prime Minister of India made that candid remark during a debate in the Lok Sabha (December 6, 1950): “From whom they [the Chinese] were going to liberate Tibet is, however, not quite clear.”
It is still not clear!

China Cracks Down Following Tibetan Immolations
May 29, 2012
VOA News
Reports from Chinese-ruled Tibet say government forces have clamped tight controls on community life in Lhasa, after two young men set themselves on fire there Sunday afternoon, the first such incident to take place in the heavily guarded Tibetan capital.
The reports said one of the protesters, a 19-year-old male, died at the scene outside the Jokhang Temple, while the other remains hospitalized.
Sources told VOA's Tibetan service Monday there have been an undetermined number of arrests since the incident, as Chinese authorities seek to control the spread of anti-government self-immolation protests. Those protests have rocked southwestern China and the neighboring Tibetan Autonomous Region for the past 14 months, as Buddhist monks, nuns and their supporters push their demands for freedom and the return of their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Tibetan sources also said that eyewitnesses have photographed the latest protest, but they could not be forwarded because Chinese authorities immediately cut information links to the outside world.
There have been at least 37 self-immolations since March 2011.
China says the immolations incite separatism and are directed from outside the country. However representatives of the Dalai Lama say Tibetans who carry out immolations are driven to do so because they can no longer live under Chinese rule. They accuse China of using separatism as an excuse to crack down even harder on Tibetan culture and religion.
Sunday's protest is the most dramatic act of defiance in Lhasa since a 2008 uprising, when Chinese security forces placed the city in a permanent state of lockdown. 
It follows a new Chinese move to ban Tibetan Buddhists, including current and former government officials, students and party members, from engaging in religious activities during the sacred month of Saka Dawa, which began May 21. Saka Dawa commemorates the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An Indian Mission in Lhasa?

Dekyi Lingka, the Indian Mission in Lhasa
According to The Hindustan Times, India would like to reopen its consulate General in Lhasa: "India has sprung a surprise on China by seeking to re-open its consulate in Lhasa, Tibet that was closed after the 1962 war between the two countries. India’s demand came after a Chinese request to open a third consulate in Chennai. Beijing has consulates in Mumbai and Kolkata and embassy in Delhi".
One of the greatest blunders of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian Prime Minister was to have downgraded the full-fledged Indian mission (equivalent to an embassy) to a Consulate General in 1952.
I quote here from my book Born in Sin: the Panchsheel Agreement 

The Downgrading of the Mission in Lhasa
One of the most astonishing aspects in the exchange of Letters and Notes between the Indian and Chinese governments after the latter’s troops entered Tibet [October 1950], is that India never insisted on the rights she had inherited from the Simla Convention.
In 1950 India still enjoyed several privileges in Tibet; apart from the full-fledged Mission in Lhasa, there were three Indian Trade Marts managed by Agents posted in Gyantse, Gartok and in Yatung. These Agents were entitled to a military escort. The Post and Telegraph Service, a chain of rest-houses and the principality of Minsar (near Mt Kailash) were also under the Indian Government’s control.
Ideologically, Nehru was not comfortable with these ‘imperialist’ sequels, though he admitted that they were useful for trade. However after the arrival of the Chinese troops, the Indian government found it increasingly difficult to retain these benefits on the ground. Even though Delhi could have protested when visitors and traders from India were harassed or put to hardship, they hardly did so.
Soon after the signing of the 17-Point Agreement, Panikkar, the Indian Ambassador to China, came to India for consultation with his government. By this time he was already fully in love with the Communist regime. Nehru, too was convinced that the future of India lay with the East. In one of his letters to the Chief Ministers, he described the situation thus: “it is important to know what the new China is and in what direction it is going… For the first time, China possesses a strong Central Government whose decrees run even to Sinkiang and Tibet. Our own relations with China are definitively friendly.”
But a few weeks after the above letter, the Indian Prime Minister admitted for the first time that there were some differences of perceptions with the Chinese government. At a press conference on 3 November 1951, when someone pointed to certain differences between India and China especially about the Indian Mission at Lhasa , he remarked that the Indian mission would continue to remain there.
A few months later, at another press conference when questioned again about the position of the Indian Mission in Lhasa, Nehru vaguely answered that the Mission was dealing “with certain trade and cultural matters more or less [sic!]”.  He added that technically the Mission never had any diplomatic status. 
During the same press conference the Indian Prime Minister declared that he was not aware of “any infiltration of Chinese troops in India.” Rumours had begun about Chinese incursions through the U.P.-Tibet  border as well as through the Ladakh-Tibet border. The first Chinese surveys for the Sinkiang-Tibet highway cutting through the Aksai Chin probably occurred during these years. Unfortunately, as we shall see later the Indo-Tibetan border in the western sector was still shown as ‘undefined’ on the Indian maps.
At this point in time, the Government of India decided to renegotiate some of the arrangements it had with Tibet.
By June 1952, the situation had further evolved. The Chinese had physical control of most parts of Tibet and the Tibetans were discovering the hardships caused by an invading army.  During another press conference in June 1952, when asked about the negotiations with China on Tibet, Nehru’s hinted at changes:
Nothing very definite has taken place yet... Obviously once it is accepted and admitted that the Chinese Government is not only the suzerain power in Tibet but is exercising the suzerainty, then something will flow from it. Then you cannot treat Tibet as an independent country with an independent representation from us. Though our Representative remains, this changes his character somewhat, and the trade mission and other things also follow.
During the following months, in direct contradiction of the Simla Convention which had been ratified by the Government of India and the Tibetan Government, the question of involving the Tibetans in negotiations would be completely ignored. In the worst colonial tradition begun by the British at the beginning of the century, India was ready to negotiate an agreement with China on Tibet without any reference to the Tibetan authorities.
Although a few months earlier Nehru had ambiguously declared that the Mission in Tibet never had a diplomatic status, in June 1952 he declared more prudently that “the status of the representative in Lhasa has never been defined for the last thirty years.”
The Prime Minister admitted that the circumstances had changed and from an independent country, Tibet had become a country under the effective suzerainty of China: “China is now exercising its suzerainty”.
Nehru announced that as Tibet was no longer an independent country, the Indian Representative in Lhasa would soon be re-designated as a Consul-General. There will be no “difficulty in fixing these and like matters up.” 
The decision had been taken to demote the diplomatic relations between Tibet and India.
In the same month, the clever Zhou Enlai told the gullible Indian Ambassador in China that he “presumed that India had no intention of claiming special rights arising from the unequal treaties of the past and was prepared to negotiate a new and permanent relationship safeguarding legitimate interests.”
It would be good to have an Indian Consulate General in Lhasa, after all India had for centuries very close cultural and trade contacts with the Land of Snows. It was a tragedy that this connection was discontinued after the 1962 War.
Whether the Chinese are happy with this 'connection' is another matter.

India wants to reopen Lhasa consulate, China not game
Jayanth Jacob,
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 28, 2012
India has sprung a surprise on China by seeking to re-open its consulate in Lhasa, Tibet that was closed after the 1962 war between the two countries. India’s demand came after a Chinese request to open a third consulate in Chennai. Beijing has consulates in Mumbai and Kolkata and embassy in Delhi.
Although Nepal has a consulate in Lhasa, China of late has been more wary than ever about opening up Tibet because of a series of self-immolations, which Beijing claims were done at the behest of the Dalai Lama.
China’s initial reaction wasn’t so encouraging and it preferred a consulate somewhere else. But official sources said New Delhi would like to push for Lhasa.
India holds Tibet as an integral part of China. It maintains that the Dalai Lama is its “honoured guest” and follows a stated policy of not allowing Indian soil to be used for anti-China activities. China’s dislike for the Dalai Lama is well-known.
Beijing is New Delhi's largest trade partner in goods. Officials say a consulate in Tibet would only help bilateral trade and pilgrimage, such as the Kailash Mansarovar yatra.
The consulates that come under the Indian embassy in Beijing include Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
Incidentally, Shivshankar Menon, India’s national security adviser and special envoy for India-China boundary talks, spent some of his childhood days in Tibet while his father was posted as India’s consul general in Lhasa in the 1950s.

The myths of wild roses and Pakistani presence in Siachen

My article The myths of wild roses and Pakistani presence in Siachen appeared yesterday in the DNA.

Indians are nice people. ‘It’s time to resolve Siachen’ says Pakistan army chief Parvez Kayani and immediately voices rise all over India to say, ‘Yes, it would be so nice to finally befriend Pakistan; are we not brothers?’
The good general called for demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier and advocated peaceful coexistence with India. He solemnly stated: ‘The world knows why we are in Siachen,’ inferring that Pakistan troops are positioned on the glacier. However, there is something wrong in the general’s reasoning, for the simple reason that Pakistan has never occupied the glacier, which lies east of the Saltoro Ridge, also in India’s possession. So why should India vacate a place belonging to her and in her possession? To give ideas to the Chinese that India should also vacate Tawang?
In 1984, a certain Brigadier Pervez Musharraf tried his luck. In a ‘Kargil’ style coup, he sent troops to take over the Siachen glacier. New Delhi was compelled to retaliate and occupy the treacherous Saltoro Ridge to stop Pakistan grabbing the gate to the Shyok valley and the entire Ladakh region. Since then, Pakistan has not set foot in the area.

Click here to read...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

China needs the Dalai Lama

My article China needs Dalai Lama appeared today in the Sunday magazine of The Pioneer.
The Tibetan leader has recently revealed his fears about the Chinese plot to kill him. CLAUDE ARPI, however, believes that the Tibetans’ resistance to China will only grow — and even turn more aggressive — after the Dalai Lama’s exit.

...As for China, a new set of leaders will be selected towards the yearend. When the time comes for President Hu to prepare a ‘balance-sheet’ of his 10 years at the helm of the Middle Kingdom, his Tibetan policy will be shown in the liabilities column; it is a personal failure for someone who started his ascent to the top as Party Secretary in Tibet in 1988.
His presidency will remain the darkest for the Tibetans and other ‘minorities’. His best bet was the Dalai Lama, a moderate leader by excellence; he should have met him and discussed threadbare the Tibetan situation. A solution was certainly possible.
With the political struggle going on in China today, will we see the emergence of a new Hu Yaobang? Can a reformist leader last in the presently locked Communist system? This is the key to a solution of the Tibetan issue. A solution has to come from China.

Click here to read the article

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Buddha Dharma with Chinese Characteristics

Third World Buddhist Forum organized by China in Hong Kong
It is really difficult to understand China.
On one hand, Beijing promotes Buddhism; in fact the Chinese State tries hard to be the leader of the world Buddhist movement.
The best example of this policy is the Third World Buddhist Forum, organized in Hong Kong from April 25 to 27 . 
It was jointly organized by the Buddhist Association of China, the Hong Kong Buddhist Association and the China Religious Culture Communication Association. 
The two first fora were held in the mainland in 2006 and 2009.
Clearly, it was an initiative of the Communist regime in Beijing.
According to China Daily: 
It is the biggest international Buddhist conference held in Hong Kong. More than 1,000 Buddhist monks, academicians, entrepreneurs, artists and politicians from more than 50 countries and regions will attend the event. The theme of the Third World Buddhist forum is a continuation of the connotation "harmony" established in the previous forums. The forum will fully demonstrate the essence of Buddhism "actions and aspirations," and launch comprehensive dialogues and discussions on the role of Buddhism in the construction of a harmonious society and peaceful world.
During the two-day event, eminent monks, well-known scholars from home and abroad, including the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Australia, the United States and Europe, will participate in seven sub-forums and several TV forums, discussing how to propagate Dharma teachings and protect Buddhist scriptures, exchanging ideas on the development of Buddhist education and the promotion of Buddhist charity.
The 11th Panchen Lama, one of the two most senior living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism, will also attend the event.
The China Daily forgets to mention who is the senior most 'Living Buddhas' (the Dalai Lama, the 'devil in monks' garb, in Communist leaders' words).
At the same time, that the Buddha Dharma is promoted on a large scale, it is banned in Tibet as this communiqué of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy shows.
This is called 'double standards' with Chinese characteristics.

Official Chinese Notification Bans Tibetan Participation in Religious Activities
The Chinese authorities in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) have issued a notification banning members of the Party, cadres, government officials and even students from participating in religious activities such as the Sagadawa [corresponding to Buddha Poornima in the Indian tradition].

The notification, issued by the TAR [Tibetan Autonomous Region] Committee for Discipline Inspection and Supervision Department, stated that participation in religious activities and rituals by Party members, cadres, and students amounts to “serious violations of political discipline and stability work” and severe punishment will be meted out accordingly, reported the official Tibet Daily newspaper on 24 May 2012.
The official notice made special mention of ‘some Party members and cadres particularly some retired personnel who still believe in religion, participate in religious activities, and illegally cross the border to attend religious teachings by the Dalai Lama’, saying such behavior shows that their political stand is not strong, and the pendulum of their ‘understanding of the struggle against separatist activities is not stable swinging openly towards the Dalai Lama’.
It also ordered the strengthening of supervision and inspection work ‘to uphold and enforce political discipline, [to] strictly and quickly investigate the behavior of party members and cadres who follow the Dalai Lama clique to undermine national unity, and endanger the unity of the motherland,’ adding that such offense would be ‘dealt with severely according to law.’
The notification pointed out the ‘struggle against separatism’, the ‘relationship between national security and national unity’, and ‘stability in border areas’ as major political issues for the government.
Any ‘dereliction of duty’ toward stability maintenance work will be investigated and ‘severely punished’ with the responsibility lying chiefly lie with the ‘main leadership of the unit under who the party members and cadres failed ‘to actively perform their duties to educate and guide families and those around them to not participate in the "Sagadawa"  religious activities’, the report quoted the notification.
The notification warned that no matter how much credit any officer or party member had earned so far or how high one’s position is, the failure to ensure stability would lead to immediate firing after which the case will be referred to the Discipline Inspection and Supervision department and the Organizational and Personnel Departments for investigation. It also said that information regarding such cases will be released in major news media in the region.
The notice said forces of instability inside and outside Tibet has further increased the pressure on the government’s anti-stability work especially during large-scale religious festivals such as Sagadawa when many pilgrims visit Tibet and the tourist arrival in Tibet is at its peak.
The TAR Committee Discipline and Inspection Department also called for the strengthening of supervision and inspection work in regards to the implementation of an 18-point regulation introduced in February 2012.  Citing the new rules, the circular directed the party members and cadres particularly the special cadres deployed in towns and villages as well as staff of the Monastery Management Committees to quickly respond and immediately tackle
To ensure and maintain the ‘Party's purity and stability work in implementing stability-maintenance measures’, the notification directed the police stations to quickly respond to emergency situations by ‘focusing on prevention and control of key positions, all localities and units of the internal security work, leading cadres at all levels’ and to strictly implement stability maintenance work.
Since the beginning of this year, 19 officials in Tibet, both of Tibetan and Chinese descent, have either been demoted or fired for failing to implement stability maintenance work, according to information received by TCHRD.
A lot of emphasis is put on maintaining stability, which translates into widespread crackdown on the rights and interests of the Tibetan people not only in TAR but also in Tibetan areas of Kham and Amdo incorporated into Chinese provinces.
Of particular concern is the fate of thousands of Tibetans who last year attended the Kalachakra teachings given by the Dalai Lama in India. On their return home to Tibet, hundreds of Tibetan pilgrims were arrested at the border and taken to political education sessions for months.  The current notice apparently warns these pilgrims for ‘illegally crossing the border to attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings,’ and warned of further review of their cases.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Threats from China

This type of photo irritates Beijing. 
Though the recent statement of the Kashag (Tibetan Cabinet of Ministers) concentrates on the threat on the Dalai Lama's life originating from Tibet, there are other threats to the Tibetan leader. 
The Kashag mainly speaks of the danger coming from the Party bosses in Lhasa and violent groups, like the Shukden's practitioners, but this is probably not all.
Regarding the Kashag's statement, it is first doubtful if such an operation could be decided and executed by local authorities of the Tibetan Autonomous Region only.
The Standing Committee of the Politburo could not be kept in the dark, though as we have seen with the Bo/Zhou Yongkang episode, it is clear that the security apparatus is a State within the State, with a larger budget than the PLA. 
Would there be such a plan to poison the Dalai Lama, it is bound to be a Central Government's initiative. Of course, the plans could be executed by the Special Services at Beijing's disposal, while help and logistical support could  be arranged from the 'local' authorities .
The statement of the Kashag did not touch another threat: the danger encountered when the Dalai Lama travels to Europe or America where the Dalai Lama's security officials have to depend on 'local' intelligence and police.  It is more tricky, though in countries like the US, the UK or France, there should be a good collaboration between the two. 
What about smaller countries where China has a lot of influence?
Two years ago, a French think-tank (Asie 21) published in their Newsletter a short, but interesting piece. Here is a rough translation.
It is entitled Rumour 
Rumour is not a fact but can create the event
More and more preoccupied by what they denounced as “the diplomatic activities” of the Dalai and more particularly with regard to two countries, the United States and France, the military Chinese Secret Service would have started to dispatch ‘operational’ agents in the countries to be visited by the religious leader in order to study the conditions which could be used as a structure for his physical elimination and in a first stage, find out the country which will present the best facilities. The coordination of the preliminary actions would have been given to services attached to the [Chinese] Prime Minister. In January in Denver, the Taiwanese would have warned the Dalai Lama. The US authorities would also be aware of the danger.
Chinese leaders fear that the Western chancelleries would take the issue of Tibet before the United Nations, which could lead them to propose to recognize the province as a country invaded and occupied by China.
The location of the ‘action’ would be neither the U.S. nor France, because they have, according to Beijing, sufficient capacity to internationally to develop and support charges against China. The choice is oriented towards a smaller country, one of the European Union is not excluded.
The method may be selected is a poisoning appearing as a natural death. It involves an approach by touching the victim or through access to his food or the capacity to make an injection. Like Mossad, the Chinese have an experience with number opponents.
For example, in 2006, General Lang Tao, a former military commander of Shanghai died. He was suspected of having communicated to Americans plans for coastal defense of China.
Likewise a tea made was made deadly when the party official Wa Yong who, after serving in the embassy in Washington and Paris, was suspected of treason in favor of his former contacts in foreign special services. He was having tea with a family member in 2009 in Frankfurt. The product usually used is the sap of makayo, a plant in Northern China, which within 24 to 48 hours provoke the symptoms of a cardiac arrest.
I mentioned briefly on the blog the death of the 10th Panchen Lama, he was obviously poisoned. In his case, it must have been relatively easy for the Chinese intelligence to organize the 'heart attack' as a large proportion of the Tashi Lhunpo's monks were on Beijing's payroll.
For the Dalai Lama, we can only pray that all people concerned will keep doing their job at the best of their capacities and that they will get the necessary collaboration from all in India and abroad.
The Dalai Lama in 1972 in Dharamsala
The departure of the Dalai Lama would be a tragedy for Tibet, a tragedy for the world, but also a tragedy for China. 
The Middle Kingdom needs the Tibetan leader more than ever. The problem is that some senior officials have not realize this as yet.
I found this old photo taken 40 years ago in Dharamsala. In a way, life was simpler, but the Dalai Lama had not begun delivering his message to the world.

Kashag’s Statement on the Security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
May 20, 2012 11:21 am
In the recent days, there has been considerable media attention concerning reports of a possible security threat to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a matter of great concern.
On 8 May 2012, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave an interview to the Sunday Telegraph in Dharamsala, India, during which the interviewer commented on the security surrounding His Holiness. In response, His Holiness remarked that the concerned security agencies have taken his security very seriously ever since his first arrival in India. He mentioned that some time ago the officials responsible for his security received reports from a Tibetan working for the Chinese security establishment inside Tibet that Tibetan women were being trained to poison him by applying poison to their hair and to traditional greeting scarves. When His Holiness meets with Tibetans, they often present him with such scarves and bow their heads to receive his blessing. However, His Holiness also made it quite clear to the interviewer that there is no way to verify such reports. Although His Holiness takes security threat to his person lightly, there are a variety of threats to his well-being that the security agencies are obliged to take it seriously.
According to reports received from Tibet in June 2010, Chinese intelligence agencies are making concrete plans to harm His Holiness by employing well-trained agents, particularly females. It is also learnt that they are exploring the possibility of harming him by using ultra-modern and highly sophisticated drugs and poisonous chemicals. In another report received in October 2011, it is also learnt that Chinese intelligence agencies have stepped up their clandestine efforts to collect intelligence on the status of His Holiness’s health, as well as collecting physical samples of his blood, urine and hair. They are reportedly co-opting Tibetans inside Tibet to visit India with the intention of seeking an audience with him to this end.
In early April 2008, Zhang Qingli, the then Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) held a meeting of all top officials in the government. During that meeting, he quoted as saying, “those who must be killed should be killed and those must be imprisoned must be imprisoned.” Recently in February 2012, Chen Quanguo, the current Party Secretary of TAR, called for “a war against secessionist sabotage”.
In recent years, Chinese government has launched an unprecedented offensive campaign against His Holiness inside Tibet and has also issued instructions to its concerned officials to organise protests by overseas Chinese communities against the Dalai Lama during his visits outside India. A number of such protests have since been organised in the United States, Europe and Japan.
His Holiness’s efforts to reform and democratise Tibetan society have also emboldened certain fundamentalists within the Tibetan community. This relates to differences arising from the worship of the Shugden spirit, which His Holiness had advised the Tibetan people from worshipping against. The primary group among these fundamentalists is the Dorje Shugden Devotees Charitable and Religious Society (DSDCRS), founded in May 1996 with its headquarters in Delhi, India. The supporters of DSDCRS are perhaps the most violent group. The Indian police have identified and charged DSDCRS of murdering three monks close to His Holiness, including his Chinese translator. This triple murder occurred in Dharamsala, India, very close to His Holiness’s personal residence in February 1997. A Red Corner Notice was issued by Interpol in June 2007 for the arrest of two of the accused in this case. Various reports also point to the fact that the Chinese government is also covertly backing the Shugden fundamentalist groups. The leaders of an association called “North America Gelug Association”, which was established in March 2011 in United States, met Chinese officials in New York several times and have also visited China on a regular basis.
The Central Tibetan Administration is grateful to Government of India for the efficient security arrangements provided to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Central Tibetan Administration cautions all concerned to remain vigilant and alert in this regard.
May 20, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Normal clichés!

The press just loves clichés?
The latest one is on the new French President, François Hollande whom the media calls ‘Mr Normal’.
After the G-8 Summit at Camp David, Reuters titled: “France's ‘Mr. Normal’ stands out in diplomatic debut”
What does ‘normal’ mean?
Hollande was born in a middle-class family in Rouen, Normandy. His father Georges Gustave Hollande was an ENT specialist involved in extreme right local politics. The young Hollande revolted against the strict religious education imposed by his father; it is probably ‘normal’.
Later Hollande did the most brilliant studies in the top French educational institutions: the HEC (High Institute of Commerce), the IEP (Institute of Political Studies, Paris) and the ENA (National School of Administration), the most select school in France producing the cream of the cream of bureaucrats, diplomats or CEOs ; he topped. Is it ‘normal’?
Rather unusual in France: before graduation, Hollande went as a university student to the United States in the summer of 1974.
And another abnormal aspect of Holland, he lived with Ségolène Royale, the loser of the 2007 presidential battle against Nicolas Sarkozy, without getting married!
Hollande and Royale, who spent some 25 years together, have 4 children. They had met while studying at the ENA. Some newspapers speculated: if Fate had been different, Royal could have attended the G8 Summit in the US and Hollande would have been the ‘First Boy Friend’. But that’s tabloid news.
It is probably during his tenure as the Socialist Party’s First Secretary that Hollande learned the trick of being a man of consensus; there, he had no choice, with all the different factions and ‘currents’ trying to express their divergent views, often threatening to pull apart the Party.
It is these qualities that he will require to govern France, par excellence an ungovernable country; and this since the time of the Gaullish tribes.
The leitmotiv of the Socialist candidate during the electoral campaign was to put an end to “austerity everywhere, austerity that brought desperation to people throughout Europe". For him, one of the problems of ‘austerity’ is that it creates a depressive mood.

Today, Hollande has perhaps a chance to change the tide.
Though against the principle at the national level, during his first Council of ministers, President Hollande advocated that ‘austerity’ should start at home. He reminded his colleagues of his promise of "dignity, simplicity and sobriety".
The Council voted from something unusual (for India at least): a 30% cut in the salaries of all ministers as well as of the President.
A masterstroke, analyzed many observers (Hollande's predecessor had increased his salary by about 170% at the time of joining office) and for the first time, half the appointed ministers were women (17 out of 34).
Further, the Ministers were asked to adhere to a strict code of conduct regarding official ‘gifts’ (‘not more than 150 Euros’) and ‘private’ invitations. Ministers were asked to travel by train whenever possible and, if travelling by car, to respect the road code. Hollande had given the example by ordering his convoy to stop at red lights when he drove through Paris on his way to the Elysée palace for the investiture ceremony.
A two-page ‘rules’ asks the ministers to respect “the existence of a line of confidence between the citizens and those who govern them, …these simple principles that should guide your behaviour", the note said.
This does not seem ‘normal’ in India.
The Government was also requested to avoid internal squabbles. "The expression, direct or indirect, of disagreements can only weaken the government and provoke the skepticism of people with regard to the credibility of political action …Once a decision is made … the principle of solidarity comes first.”
Well, well, well! One can hope that a translation of this note will be prepared in all the official languages of India.
After Hollande’s first G8 Summit at Camp David (Maryland), Reuters reported: “Despite some awkwardness, Hollande appeared to pass his initial diplomatic tests. He claimed victory after G8 leaders backed his calls for more economic stimulus in Europe, and forged an apparently jovial relationship with President Barack Obama.”
The first words of the Summit’s communique: "Our imperative is to promote growth and jobs."
The French President told a news conference: “I think the G8 was fruitful and enabled us to send a twin message. There will not be growth without confidence and there will be no confidence without growth."
Commentators thought that Hollande’s “conciliatory, understated manner” was a positive departure from his impulsive predecessor. Comparatively, he was normal.
It will not be a rosy task for Francois Hollande to take over as the second Socialist President after Francois Mitterrand in 1981.
President Hollande did not have any ‘grace period’ like his predecessors had. He immediately plunged into the European mess and more particularly in the state of the Greek economy and this possibility of Greece dropping out of the Eurozone. On the evening of his investiture, Hollande jumped into the French ‘Air Force One’ and took the direction of Germany.
Unfortunately, a few minutes later, his plane was struck by lightning and had to return to the base. He used another plane to have his first encounter (and dinner) with the pro-austerity German Chancellor.
France’s relations with Germany and the European Union are now bound to change. Soon after Hollande’s take-over, the spokesperson of Angela Merkel stated that there was no question to come back on signed treaties, particularly on ‘financial discipline’.
But can Europe continue the German way?
Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman believes that the elections in France and Greece: “were in effect referendums on the current European economic strategy, and in both countries voters turned two thumbs down.”
He adds: “It’s far from clear how soon the votes will lead to changes in actual policy, but time is clearly running out for the strategy of recovery through austerity — and that’s a good thing”.
And the relations with India in all this?
As Hollande was returning to France after his visit to the US for the G8 and NATO summits, the visit of Indian Air Chief Marshall NAK Browne was announced. The IAF Chief is to have talks with the new French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian; the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Edouard Guillaud and his counterpart, General Jean-Paul Palomeros.
This comes at a time when the final negotiations for largest-ever defence project are on. India is to acquire 126 Medium-range Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for which the Rafale of Dassault Aviation has been selected.
Defense has always been a key component of the Indo-French partnership. During a visit to Delhi last year, the same Admiral Edouard Guillaud quoted Kautilya: “An unfailing ally is one who receives and provides help because of old bonds, friendship and generosity”. He explained that India and France not only “share similar ideals of freedom, democracy and cultural diversity”, but the two countries also have common objectives, namely “a safer world.”
Will Hollande follow his political guru, Mitterrand’s footsteps? An article published in Le Monde on May 22, 1981 titled: “India chooses the Mirage 2000 to modernize its Air Force”. A day earlier, Francois Mitterrand had become the first elected Socialist President of the 5th Republic.
There are many things that India and France could do together, in the field of defence, but also in economic, cultural and scientific domains. Let us hope that the new French President will grab the opportunity.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finally equal?

Declaration of Independence (1913)
As Tibetans in exile celebrate the 100 years of the proclamation of their Independence (issued by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1913), a great news was announced.
As put it: "After years of debate and careful deliberation, Tibetan Buddhist nuns are finally set to receive Geshema degrees (equivalent of a PHD in Buddhist Philosophy)."
Can you imagine that a 'revolutionary' religion like Buddhism would not accept the equivalent of a doctorate degree for a woman/nun?
Can you imagine a Western or Indian University refusing a PhD to a woman because she is a woman?
It sounds like Middle-Age.
Though we are living in the 21st century, many Lamas (or so-called Lamas) still believe that women are 'inferior' (or 'different').
The 'historical' decision was arrived at a high-level meeting arranged by the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala.

The Secretary of Department affirmed that the push came from the Dalai Lama: "His Holiness the Dalai Lama has over the years strongly advocated for Geshema degrees and guided the concerned people in arriving at this decision.”
The Karmapa (who, by the way, has been cleared of all charges in the pending cases for unaccounted money) has also been pushing hard.
Phayul conitunes: "Nuns have been graduating from the rigorous 19-year program of philosophical studies as required for the normal Geshe curriculum study of the Five Great Canonical Texts. Now with the decision, nuns, at par with monks, have the opportunity to appear for the very stringent doctorate examinations."

The two issues (the Independence of Tibet and the place of nuns in the old Tibetan society),seem unconnected, but they perhaps are not. 
The Fate of Tibet would perhaps been different if women had been given their due place and if the large monasteries had not been so conservative.
Old Tibet was in many ways a very backward society, but it was certainly no reason to enslave it in a more backward system (Marxism with Chinese characteristics).

Proclamation of Independence issued by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1913 (Eighth Day of the First Month of the Water-Ox Year)

I, the Dalai Lama, most omniscient possessor of the Buddhist faith, whose title was conferred by the Lord Buddha's command from the glorious land of India, speak to you as follows:
I am speaking to all classes of Tibetan people. Lord Buddha, from the glorious country of India, prophesied that the reincarnations of Avalokitesvara, through successive rulers from the early religious kings to the present day, would look after the welfare of Tibet.
During the time of Genghis Khan and Altan Khan of the Mongols, the Ming dynasty of the Chinese, and the Ch'ing Dynasty of the Manchus, Tibet and China cooperated on the basis of benefactor and priest relationship. A few years ago, the Chinese authorities in Szechuan and Yunnan endeavored to colonize our territory. They brought large numbers of troops into central Tibet on the pretext of policing the trade marts. I, therefore, left Lhasa with my ministers for the Indo-Tibetan border, hoping to clarify to the Manchu emperor by wire that the existing relationship between Tibet and China had been that of patron and priest and had not been based on the subordination of one to the other. There was no other choice for me but to cross the border, because Chinese troops were following with the intention of taking me alive or dead.
On my arrival in India, I dispatched several telegrams to the Emperor; but his reply to my demands was delayed by corrupt officials at Peking. Meanwhile, the Manchu empire collapsed. The Tibetans were encouraged to expel the Chinese from central Tibet. I, too, returned safely to my rightful and sacred country, and I am now in the course of driving out the remnants of Chinese troops from DoKham in Eastern Tibet. Now, the Chinese intention of colonizing Tibet under the patron-priest relationship has faded like a rainbow in the sky. Having once again achieved for ourselves a period of happiness and peace, I have now allotted to all of you the following duties to be carried out without negligence:

1. Peace and happiness in this world can only be maintained by preserving the faith of Buddhism. It is, therefore, essential to preserve all Buddhist institutions in Tibet, such as the Jokhang temple and Ramoche in Lhasa, Samye, and Traduk in southern Tibet, and the three great monasteries, etc.

2. The various Buddhist sects in Tibet should be kept in a distinct and pure form. Buddhism should be taught, learned, and meditated upon properly. Except for special persons, the administrators of monasteries are forbidden to trade, loan money, deal in any kind of livestock, and/or subjugate another's subjects.

3. The Tibetan government's civil and military officials, when collecting taxes or dealing with their subject citizens, should carry out their duties with fair and honest judgment so as to benefit the government without hurting the interests of the subject citizens. Some of the central government officials posted at Ngari Korsum in western Tibet, and Do Kham in eastern Tibet, are coercing their subject citizens to purchase commercial goods at high prices and have imposed transportation rights exceeding the limit permitted by the government. Houses, properties and lands belonging to subject citizens have been confiscated on the pretext of minor breaches of the law. Furthermore, the amputation of citizens' limbs has been carried out as a form of punishment. Henceforth, such severe punishments are forbidden.

4. Tibet is a country with rich natural resources; but it is not scientifically advanced like other lands. We are a small, religious, and independent nation. To keep up with the rest of the world, we must defend our country. In view of past invasions by foreigners, our people may have to face certain difficulties, which they must disregard. To safeguard and maintain the independence of our country, one and all should voluntarily work hard. Our subject citizens residing near the borders should be alert and keep the government informed by special messenger of any suspicious developments. Our subjects must not create major clashes between two nations because of minor incidents.

5. Tibet, although thinly populated, is an extensive country. Some local officials and landholders are jealously obstructing other people from developing vacant lands, even though they are not doing so themselves. People with such intentions are enemies of the State and our progress. From now on, no one is allowed to obstruct anyone else from cultivating whatever vacant lands are available. Land taxes will not be collected until three years have passed; after that the land cultivator will have to pay taxes to the government and to the landlord every year, proportionate to the rent. The land will belong to the cultivator.

Your duties to the government and to the people will have been achieved when you have executed all that I have said here. This letter must be posted and proclaimed in every district of Tibet, and a copy kept in the records of the offices in every district.
From the Potala Palace.
(Seal of the Dalai Lama)
Source: W.D. Shakabpa, 'Tibet: A Political History'

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thoroughly unscrupulous, unreliable and determined power at our doors

The same Assam Rifles accompanied the Dalai Lama in 1959
This letter of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India's Deputy Prime Minister to Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai, the Secretary General of the Ministry of External Affairs is not as well known as Patel's letter to Nehru on the same subject, written 4 days later (November 7, 1950).
It is here apparent that Patel's 'clairvoyant testament' was based on a Note from Bajai.
It is unfortunate that this note has not yet been declassified, though one can understand that it has a direct relation with the border talks with China.
The question is: why the Foreign Minister (Nehru) did not take note of his Foreign Secretary's Report and it is only the Home Minister (Patel) who seemed concerned by the issue of having an "unscrupulous, unreliable and determined power at the doors"?
This was probably not glamourous enough for the Pandit.
One of the consequences of Patel's interest in the borders of India and the possibility to have China as a neighbour, was the question of Tawang, which legally belonged to India since 1914, but had never been properly administered.

The McMahon Line
At the end of 1950, the entire area down to Dirang Dzong (South of the Sela Pass) was under some vague Tibetan administration, with the Tibetan dzongpon (District Commissioner) of Tsona in Tibet, collecting 'monastic' taxes from time to time.
It is there that Major Bob Khathing of the Assam Rifles entered the scene.
Born on 28 February 1912 ,in Ukhrul district of today's Manipur, Ranenglao (Bob) Khathing belonged to the Tangkhul Naga tribe.
In 1942, Khathing joined the newly raised Assam Regiment in Shillong and became a captain. Later he was asked by Sir Akbar Hydari, the first Governor of Assam after Independence to join the Assam Rifles.
He served with the 2nd Assam Rifles in Sadiya and by 1951 he was inducted into the Indian Frontier Administrative Service as an Assistant Political Officer (APO).
I am quoting here from an excellent article written by Yambem Laba in the Imphal Free Press.

Summoned by then Assam governor Jairamdas Daulatram, [Khathing] was asked, “Do you know Tawang?” He was then given a 'secret' file to study and told to “go and bring Tawang under Indian administration”. This task could not be implemented by the British for 50-odd years.
On 17 January 1951, Khathing, accompanied by Captain Hem Bahadur Limbu of 5th Assam Rifles and 200 troops and Captain Modiero of the Army Medical Corps left Lokra for the foothills, bound for Tawang. They were later joined by a 600-strong team of porters. On 19 January, they reached Sisiri and were joined by Major TC Allen, the last British political officer of the North East Frontier Agency. Five days later the party reached Dirang Dzong, the last Tibetan administrative headquarters, and were met by Katuk Lama, assistant Tibetan agent, and the Goanburras of Dirang. On 26 January, Major Khathing hoisted the Indian flag and a barakhana followed. The party stayed in Dirang for four days, during which time they received airdrops.
On 1 February, they moved out and halted at Chakpurpu on their way to Sangje Dzong. On the third day, they made a five-mile climb to cross Sela Pass and pressed on to what was entered in Khathing’s diary as the “Tea Place” where water could be collected from the frozen surface to make tea. By 7.30 pm, the party closed in on Nurunang.
On 4 February, they reached Jang village where two locals were sent out to collect information and gauge the people’s feelings towards their coming. The next day, the headmen and elders of Rho,Changda and the surrounding villages of Jang called on Khathing, who lost no time in explaining the purpose of his visit and told them in no uncertain terms that they were no longer to take orders from the Tsona Dzongpens. That day, he, Captain Limbu, Subedar Bir Bahadur and Jamadar Udaibir Gurung climbed about half a mile on the Sela Tract to choose the site for the checkpost and construct a barracks.
On 6 February they camped at Gyankar and Tibetan representatives of the Tsona Dzongpens came to meet them. It was also Tibetan New Year or Lhosar, the first day of the Year of the Iron Horse. In the evening it snowed heavily and the villagers took this as a very good omen.
Tawang was reached on 7 February and two days were spent scouting the area for a permanent site where both civil and military lines could be laid out with sufficient area for a playground. A place was chosen north-east of Tawang Monastery and a meeting with Tibetan officials was scheduled for 9 February, but they had shown a reluctance to accept Indian authority overnight. Khathing told me in 1985 — when I’d accompanied him on his last trip to Tawang – that, left with no option, he told Captain Limbu to order his troops to fix bayonets and stage a flag march around Tawang to show he meant business. By the evening it had the desired effect and the Tibetan officials and elders of the monastery came to meet him. They were then given notice that the Tsona Dzongpens or any representatives of the Tibetan government could no longer exercise any power over the people living south of the Bumla range.
On 11 February, Khathing visited the monastery, called on the abbot and presented him and the other monks gifts that comprised gramophone players, cloth and tiffin-carriers. The next day all the chhgergans (officials) of the 11 tsos or Tibetan administrative units were called up and a general order was issued directing them not to take any more order from the Dzongpens or Drekhong or pay tribute to them any longer. That afternoon, Tibetan officials and the Nyertsang called for time and permission to exercise their authority till they heard from the Tibetan government in Lhasa. Khathing put his foot down and told them the “area is ours according to the Treaty of 1914” and there was no question of a reply from their government in Lhasa and, hence, no extension could be given. Thus did Tawang effectively become a part of India from that day on.
Some rumours have recently circulated that Nehru did not know about the operation; it would mean a truly serious lapse as the Assam Rifles worked directly under the Ministry of External Affairs and Nehru was then the Minister.
Did Patel and Bajpai (the Secretary of the Ministry) decided the operation on their own and ordered Jairamdas Daulatram accordingly? 

It is possible, but it is certain that a 'military' operation of this scale needed the approval and funds of the Central Government.
The website of the Assam Rifles explains:"Following the end of the war, the five Assam Rifles battalions became part of the civil police under the Assam Inspector General of Police. After independence, however, the Indian government assigned the Assam Rifles its own Inspector General. The Assam Rifles were then placed under command of the Ministry of External Affairs as part of the North Eastern Frontier Agency."
It clearly means that the order to send Khathing to Tawang came from South Block. Whether or not the Minister was informed is irrelevant.
It is only relevant to realize that Nehru may have not known what was happening in his own Office.
But it could also be Bajpai's last homage to Sardar Patel who had passed away on December 15 and who had understood the meaning of integrating all territories belonging to the Union of India and above all that a "thoroughly unscrupulous, unreliable and determined power" was knocking at India's doors.
The Chinese 'Liberation' Army arrived in Lhasa on September 1951, just a few months after Khathing had taken the control of Tawang.

Letter from Sardar Patel to Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai, I.C.S.,
Secretary-General, External Affairs Ministry, New Delhi.

4 November 1950
My Dear Sir Girja,
Thank you for your letter of the 3rd November 1950. I am sending herewith the note which you were good enough to send me. I need hardly say that I have read it with a great deal of interest and profit to myself and it has resulted in a much better understanding of the points at issue and general though serious nature of the problem.
The Chinese advance into Tibet upsets all our security calculations. Hitherto, the danger to India on its land frontiers has always come from the North-West. Throughout history we have concentrated our armed might in that region.
For the first time, a serious danger is now developing on the North and North-East side; at the same time, our danger from the West or North-West is in no way lessened. This creates most embarrassing defense problems and I entirely agree with you that a reconsideration of our military position and a redisposition of our forces are inescapable.
Regarding Communists, again the position requires a great deal of thought.
Hitherto, the smuggling of arms, literature, etc. across the difficult Burmese and Pakistan frontier on the East or along the sea was our only danger. We shall now have to guard our Northern and North-eastern approaches also.
Unfortunately, all these approaches-Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and the tribal areas in Assam-are weak spots both from the point of view of communications and police protection and also established loyalty to India.
Even Darjeeling and Kalimpong area is by no means free from pro-Mongolian prejudices. The Nagas and other hill tribes in Assam have hardly had any contact with Indians. European missionaries and other visitors have been in touch with them, but their influence was, by no means, friendly to India and Indians.
In Sikkim, there was political ferment some time ago. It seems to me there is ample scope for trouble and discontent in that small State.
Bhutan is comparatively quiet, but its affinity with Tibetans would be a handicap. Nepal (we all know too well, a weak oligarchic regime based almost entirely on force) is in conflict with an enlightened section of the people as well as enlightened ideas of the modern age. Added to this weak position, there is the irredentism of the Chinese. The political ambitions of the Chinese by themselves might not have mattered so much; but when they are combined with discontent in these areas, absence of close contact with Indians and Communist ideology the difficulty of the position increases manifold. We have also to bear in mind that boundary disputes, which have many times in history been the cause of international conflicts, can be exploited by Communist China and its source of inspiration, Soviet Russia, for a prolonged war of nerves, culminating at the appropriate time, in armed conflict.
We have also so take note of a thoroughly unscrupulous, unreliable and determined power practically at our doors. In your very illuminating survey of what has passed between us and the Chinese Government through our ambassador, you have made out an unanswerable case for treating the Chinese with the greatest suspicion. What I have said above, in my judgment, entitles us to treat them with a certain amount of hostility, let alone a great deal of circumspection. In these circumstances, one thing, to my mind, is quite clear; and, that is, that we cannot be friendly with China and must think in terms of defense against a determined, calculating,unscrupulous, ruthless, unprincipled and prejudiced combination of powers, of which the Chinese will be the spearhead. There might be from them outward offers or protestations of friendship, but in that will be concealed an ultimate hideous design of ideological and even political conquest into their bloc. It is equally obvious to me that any friendly or appeasing approaches from us would either be mistaken for weakness or would be exploited in furtherance of their ultimate aim. It is this general attitude which must determine the other specific questions which you have so admirably stated. I am giving serious consideration to those problems and it is possible I may discuss this matter with you once more.
Yours sincerely,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Who is bestowing Happiness?

While Beijing is getting tougher and tougher on the Tibetans (whether it is in the Tibetan Autonomous Region or in the other Tibetan-inhabited areas), at the same time some saner voices begin to express themselves in China.
Wang Yang, the Communist Party Chief of Guangdong province, who recently approved some local elections as well as an investigation into a group of villagers' complaints of corruption said that it is not the Party which bestows Happiness. 
Can you believe it?
On May 10, 2012,
Xinhua reprinted an article of China Youth Daily originally titled “It Is Wrong to Say ‘The Party or the Government Bestows People's Happiness.'”
A day earlier, Wang Yang, an aspirant to a seat in the Standing Commoitte of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, gave a speech in Guangzhou at the opening of the Guangdong Provincial Chinese Communist Party 11th Congress. 

He asserted that "the role of people in shaping history and called on officials to break with a wrong notion that it is the Party or the government that bestows people with happiness."
He added: "People are the main body for building up their well-being. They need a space to freely create happiness. The responsibility of the Party and the government is to give them the space and the freedom."
Well, it is not so in Tibet as yet. 
Just read the 'Legal Education' rules, you will see that Zhou Yongkang, the outgoing Security Boss is still able to impose his rule.

China Re-launches 'Legal Education' Campaign in TAR
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
17 May 2012
The Chinese authorities in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) have re-launched a new wave of 'patriotic re-education' and 'legal education' campaigns targeted at Tibetan monastic institutions in the name of maintaining stability, enhancing unity, and promoting harmony in Tibet.
In the afternoon of 11 May 2012 at Lhasa, the TAR government held a meeting called “Mobilization Meeting on In-depth Legal Education Campaign in Tibetan Buddhist Temples” which marked the uniform and in-depth implementation of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) basic policy on religion and the rules and regulations passed by the State Religious Affairs Bureau in all the monasteries and nunneries in TAR, reported the Chinese government-owned website
Addressing the meeting, the TAR governor Pema Thinley said that widespread legal education campaigns have been launched in all the monasteries and nunneries in TAR after receiving instructions from the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council since March 2008 and the directives from the TAR CPC and the TAR government, The successful implementation of legal education campaigns, which teach the monks and nuns to love the Chinese motherland, take pride in national identity, legal and civic awareness, have contributed to the protection of long-term stability in the region, the TAR governor Pema Thinley was quoted as saying in the report.
The report also quoted Pema Thinley as saying that since the end of 2011, the TAR party committee and the TAR government have introduced various measures such as the Nine-Must-Haves in all the monasteries to strengthen and innovate the management policy of monasteries according to the law and to offer public service to the monks and nuns. The TAR governor also said that the recent conferring of awards on 'model monasteries' and 'patriotic' monks and nuns has greatly aroused the enthusiasm of many monks and nuns to contribute to social harmony and stability.
Further, the TAR governor said the “continued implementation of legal education in monasteries and nunneries is crucial for strengthening the management of monastic institutions and an important starting point for maintaining harmony and stability, adding that providing guidance to Tibetan Buddhism in adapting itself to a socialist society is an effective way to resist the infiltration and sabotage from the Dalai clique.”
The 'patriotic re-education' campaign was first started in 1996 in a number of monasteries and nunneries in TAR. The campaign is used as a tool to stabilize and to exert control over what the Chinese authorities term "the hotbed of dissent activities," referring to the monastic institutions. Refusal to comply with the requirements of the re-education sessions have resulted in arrests and expulsion of monks and nuns; minor monks below the age of 18 had to discontinue their education after they were ordered to leave their monasteries. Since 2008, the Chinese authorities have introduced the innocuous-sounding 'legal education' campaign which is now increasingly being used as substitute semantic for the intrusive 'patriotic re-education' campaign. In the second half of 2011, the TAR authorities publicised the selection of what it called 'model monasteries' and 'highly advanced and patriotic' monks and nuns and implemented various programs such as the Nine Must Haves and The Six Ones to further strengthen its control over monasteries and nunneries.
After the widespread demonstrations in Tibet in 2008, control and surveillance on Tibetan monastic institutions have increased with the official work teams permanently stationed in monasteries and nunneries carrying out patriotic re-education and legal education campaigns. This has severely restricted the religious activities of monks and nuns who are arrested and expelled for not complying with the rules and regulations made by the party and government authorities.
Regular religious classes are cancelled to accommodate the legal education sessions run by the work teams in monasteries and nunneries. Movement of monks and nuns are severely restricted making it difficult for monks and nuns to go outside their monasteries and nunneries and to visit other sacred monasteries and religious lamas. Sometimes, such restrictions on movement have made it hard for the monks and nuns to purchase their daily necessities including groceries. These restrictions have forced many monks to flee their respective monasteries forcing many monasteries to close down.
On 30 September 2010, the State Religious Affairs Bureau held a meeting and issued a 44-point regulation called 'Management Measures for Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries and Temples’ to further control monastic activities. Also known as Order No. 8, the regulation went into effect on 1 November 2010. The regulation is aimed at creating clear distance between monastic institutions in Tibet and foreign influence and 'separatist activities'. Monasteries and nunneries in Tibet having sister affiliations abroad are barred from maintaining any contacts. This has severely affected the traditional spiritual ties between Tibetan Buddhist practitioners in Tibet and abroad.
Since November 2011, the Chinese authorities have begun implementing coerive programs such as Nine Must Haves and The Six Ones to regulate and restrict the activities of monks and nuns. The Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, under the Nine Must Haves program, are required to hang the portraits of four Chinese Communist leaders and the Chinese national flag and to make available in the respective monasteries newspapers and television programs produced and published by the Chinese government. Further, the government would supply electricity and water to the monasteries as a welfare measure. The Democratic Management Committees which earlier used to oversee and decide on the management and activities of the monasteries have now been replaced by the Monastery Management Committees (MMCs), an unelected body whose staff are directly appointed by the party and the government. A Communist Party cell is embedded in every MMC.
Tibetan monasteries and nunneries have become a major area of crackdown for the Chinese authorities. After the introduction of various regulations and campaigns on after another by the authorities, the Tibetan monastic institutions have now become a regular base for the government to publicise its political propaganda. The continued implementation of forced 're-education' campaigns has severely affected the normal functioning of Tibetan Buddhist institutions and the religious freedom of monks and nuns are consistently violated.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Liberators no more

If it is confirmed, it is good news.
The China Defence Blog announced a historic change in China.
It pointed to the missing 'Liberation' in the new appellation of the Chinese Army, Air Force and Navy.
The blog affirmed that without fanfare, the PLA quietly dropped the 'People' off its name.
The PLAN Special Force is now, the Special Force of China Navy.
PLAAF is now China Air Force
PLA Army Aviation is now China Army Aviation.
The PLAN is now China Navy

The blog quotes the MOD's own website, PLAN is now "CN".
Ships will all be CNS "name"

Chinese military vessel Zhenghe makes first visit to Thailand.

BANGKOK, Nov. 10 (Xinhua)
Chinese navy ship (CNS) Zhenghe entered the Bangkok Port on Monday morning, starting its four-day official visit to the capital of Thailand.
While docking here, this ocean-going training vessel with 411 crew members will be open for the public on Nov. 11 and 12. Its staff will hold volleyball and push-and-pull matches with the Thai navy troops based at Bangkok, said Captain of the ship Fan Kuiju.

This could have serious strategic implications. 
Can Beijing now 'liberate' a few islands in the South China Sea or the Monpa populations in Tawang area of Arunachal?
If Beijing does not speak in terms of 'liberation' any more, how will any military adventure in the Himalayas be ideologically considered ? 
An invasion?
What about retrospectively?
If Tibet was not 'liberated' when the Second Field Army of Marshal Lui Bosheng entered Chamdo in October 1950, what was it? 
What about the "Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet", known as the 17-point Agreement forced on weak Tibetan delegates on May 23, 1951. 
Will the People's Republic of China simply become the Republic of China?
These are important questions to ponder.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The New French PM and the Tibetan flag

Jean-Marc Ayrault hoisting the Tibetan Flag
One photo that may not see again. 
The new French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault was the Mayor of Nantes when this picture was taken.
He is still a deputy in National Assembly and has been President of the Socialists' group in the Parliament for a long time. 
The BBC said: "Mr Ayrault is likely to have a greater say in formulating policy than some of his predecessors, as the president has indicated that he will leave day-to-day business to the government. His contacts at European level, in particular his expertise on Germany, have already come in useful to Mr Hollande."
But one thing he will probably not able to do anymore is to hoist the Tibetan flag. 
Though, as I mentioned several times on this blog, Mao Zedong had no objection to the Dalai Lama hoisting the Tibetan Flag on his place of residence in Beijing in 1954-55.

He is Normal, situation isn't

One more article on the French elections and President Hollande, He is Normal, situation isn't appeared today in the Edit Page of The Pioneer.
Francois Hollande takes over as France's President at a critical time. The economy is low and people's expectations from him are high. He has to manage both.
Click here to read...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Brahmaputra is still flowing

A couple of months back, I termed as 'rubbish' the news that the Brahmaputra had dried up because of a presumed Chinese diversion: "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."
I am happy that the issue has now been clarified in the Parliament.   
Diversion is not an easy undertaking and if it ever happen, it will take a long long time to complete.

No evidence that Brahmaputra had dried up in Arunachal: Govt
Monday, May 14, 2012,
New Delhi: Government on Monday dismissed reports that Brahmaputra river in Arunachal Pradesh has dried up and said that its average monthly flow has been better than the previous years.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Water Resources Vincent H Pala said, "There is no evidence that Brahmaputra river had dried up in the state recently. Central Water Commission (CWC) maintains river water level and discharge data at Tuting in Upper Siang district near the border to the Tibet Autonomous Region, China."
He was asked whether the Arunachal Pradesh government has expressed its apprehension that China had diverted water of Brahmaputra river which had dried up in the state recently.
"The analysis of Siang River flows at Tuting undertaken by CWC for January and February months of preceding years (2007-2011) shows that the average monthly flows in Jan/Feb 2012 are at least 50 to 100 per cent higher than the corresponding average monthly flows during the previous years," Pala said.
He added that the government keeps a constant watch on all developments in the region having bearing on India's interest and takes necessary measures to protect them.
"In Oct 2011, Vice Minister of Chinese Ministry of Water Resources also stated that the Chinese government has no plans to conduct any diversification project of Yarlung Zangbo/ Brahmputra River," Pala said.
Government has ascertained that construction activity on Brahmputra river at Zangmu on Chinese side is Run of the River hydro electric project, which does not store water and will not adversely impact the downstream areas in India, he said.

Monday, May 14, 2012

China: the Domino Effect

This article in The  Epoch Times (published in Hong Kong by the Falun Gong group), about the fall of Zhou Yongkang might be speculative, but it nevertheless shows the end-of-dynasty atmosphere  prevailing in China today.
The fact that Zhou,China's  Security Tzar is under "renewed pressure from the incumbent leadership" is certain.
What would be interesting to follow is the domino effect that the fall of Zhou could trigger. 
Let us not forget that the 'public security' budget managed by Zhou is higher than the Defence budget.
The China Brief of the Jamestown Foundation wrote in March 2012:
Beijing’s preoccupation with maintaining domestic stability has been reflected in reports over the past two years that China’s “public security” budget is larger and growing faster than defense spending. As reported by Reuters, “For 2012, China set combined central and local government spending on "public security" to 701.8 billion yuan ($111.4 billion), compared with 629.3 billion yuan in 2011, when it grew by nearly 13.8 percent” (Reuters, March 5). Meanwhile the defense budget rose by 11.2 percent to 670.3 billion yuan ($106.4 billion).
The “public security” budget includes funding for the police, “state security,” PAP, courts and prison system at the national and local levels of government throughout China. The number of people involved (1.9 million police, up to 1 million PAP and unknown numbers of “state security,” courts and prison system personnel) is greater than the number of active duty PLA (2.3 million) and reserves (over 500,000).
The “public security” budget however complicates part of reasoning behind estimates of “actual” defense spending that conclude it to be significantly higher than the announced figure. Most organizations that attempt to estimate China’s “actual” defense spending usually include the PAP budget in whatever larger amount they finally arrive at, despite the 2006 White Paper’s statement “The [PAP] has an independent budgetary status in the financial expenditure of the state” (China’s National Defense in 2006). If the PAP budget is included as part of “public security,” then it should not be double-counted as part of “actual” defense spending. These budget classifications also suggest the growing distance between the PLA and its direct support to maintaining internal stability.
All the 'public security' is under Zhou Yongkang, till now at least.
About the 'domino effect', I wonder if  the appointed of Hu Chang Shen as the new party secretary replacing Li Dao Ping in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Sichuan Province) is one of the first visible effect of Zhou's fall.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported:
The appointment of Hu Chang Shen was announced on 27 April 2012 by Liu Chuan Chang, the vice party secretary of Sichuan Province at a high-level meeting attended by officials and cadres of the Kardze Prefecture in Kardze, reported the official Chinese news agency Xinhua on 28 April 2012.
At the high-level meeting in Kardze, the vice provincial party secretary Liu Chuan Chang spoke highly of Li Dao Ping saying the outgoing Kardze party secretary had "worked in Tibetan areas for 13 years with strong party spirit and selfless dedication to implement the policies of the central and provincial governments in their struggle against separatist forces of the Dalai clique". Li, according to the provincial vice party secretary, had made significant contributions for the stable development of the Tibetan areas in Ganzi Prefecture.
Li Dao Ping had worked as party secretary of Kardze Prefecture for two terms from 2003 to 2006 and then 2007 to April 2012. Li has also worked as the vice party secretary of Kardze Prefecture from 2000 to 2003. From May 1998 to September 2000, he was the vice party secretary of Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu) Prefecture in Tibet Autonomous Region.
The newly-appointed party secretary Hu Chang Shen has worked for a long time in various governmental positions in Sichuan Province. He was the party secretary of Suining City before his appointment as Kardze party secretary.
It is too early to speculate, but things are for sure moving fast in China.

With Abuse of Blind Man, Chinese Security Czar May Have Hastened Fate
Matthew Robertson
The Epoch Times
May 8, 2012
The announcement that the abuse of Chen Guangcheng will be investigated could be a threat to Zhou Yongkang, the security boss.
News Analysis

The announcement from human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng that an investigation will be conducted into the abuses he suffered at the hands of local security officials has political significance at the highest levels of the Communist Party.
Chen said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday that he had been visited four times by an official, who took a statement from him last Thursday. AP said the official was from “a central government bureau that handles citizens’ complaints,” indicating that he is not part of Zhou Yongkang’s security apparatus, and would be acting under the ultimate orders of Party leader Hu Jintao.
“After he took my statement, he said they would launch an investigation as long as there are facts,” Chen said in an interview with AP. “If there are facts about the illegal actions, then the issue definitely would be openly addressed,” Chen said the official told him.
While the hint of an investigation ostensibly shows the unprecedented occurrence of the communist leadership responding to the demands of a persecuted activist, the timing also aligns with insider leaks to The Epoch Times that Zhou Yongkang, the security czar who ultimately oversaw the treatment of Chen, is under renewed pressure from the incumbent leadership.
A source said that Hu Jintao has ordered the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection to speed up and place importance on its investigation of Zhou Yongkang, for improper use of state funds and violations of Chinese law.
Zhou is being “internally controlled” and his movements are being restricted, the source in Beijing told The Epoch Times.
Rumors have persisted since March—published by Western press and shared among those close to the circles of power in Beijing—that Zhou is under some form of control. He no longer has power over the 1.5 million strong People’s Armed Police (PAP), the source said.
Zhou is a member of the nine-member Standing Committee of the Politburo, the highest organ of power in the regime, and he controls all of China’s internal security forces. Rumors emerged in March that he had, along with the recently disgraced and ousted Bo Xilai, plotted a coup to thwart the rise of Xi Jinping and install Bo to the heart of power in China.

Currently, central Party leaders have made a point of ensuring that Zhou keeps up a relatively regular schedule of public appearances, mirroring Bo Xilai’s treatment before he was suddenly and swiftly dispatched from his Party posts.
Recent events indicate that Zhou Yongkang still has the mettle to turn events in his favor, however, which may have given renewed impetus to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao’s attempts to deal with him.
As head of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC), Zhou Yongkang oversees the vast security apparatus that coordinated the persecution of Chen Guangcheng, who is blind. Chen was first sent to jail for four years after he exposed the violence associated with the implementation of the one-child policy in Linyi, Shandong Province.
After he was released from jail in 2010, he was put under strict house arrest. During this time he and his family were also sometimes harassed and violently beaten by people they described as thugs, but who were actually local security officials.
After Chen’s improbable escape on April 20, Zhou did not make things easy for leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, nor for the Foreign Ministry officials involved in the negotiations with U.S. diplomats. Advocates and friends of Chen were seized, threatened, beaten, and put under house arrest in Beijing and elsewhere. Locally, security enforcers raided the houses of Chen’s relatives, demanding information about how he escaped.
Chen was also given an ultimatum on May 2, when he first emerged from U.S. care: either he would come out that very day, or his wife would be sent back to their home in Shandong. Chen had already learned from his wife that local toughs had set up shop in his home, putting up an electric fence, installing seven cameras, and eating at his kitchen table.
After being released during the daytime, Chen reported at 9 p.m. from his hospital bed that he still had not received food. This was interpreted as another subtle form of intimidation directed by Zhou. American officials were later denied access to Chen. It all appeared to be a design by the security chief and his cohorts to strike fear into Chen and demonstrate who was in charge. U.S. officials were ultimately criticized for letting Chen go back to the Chinese, and criticism against the Chinese side often fell implicitly on Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.
With the reported investigation into Zhou, the situation could change quickly yet again.
“Zhou Yongkang is already a snapping turtle in a pot,” the source said, using a Chinese idiom to indicate that Zhou is trapped. “We won’t have to wait long for an official investigation to be announced.”