Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Two Chinas' Tibet Policy

Shen Zonglian, Chinese Commissioner in Tibet with Minister Surkhang
According to the article posted below, scholars from the People's Republic of China and Taiwan are planning to write a 'common' history of Tibet.
Does it mean that Beijing will accept Chiang Kai-Shek's position on Tibet as enunciated by the Generalissimo in his speech to the Kuomintang Executive on August 24, 1945?
I quote:
...Second, if frontier racial groups situated in regions outside the provinces have the capacity for self-government and a strong determination to attain independence, and are politically and economically ready for both, our Government should, in a friendly spirit, voluntarily help them to realize their freedom and forever treat them as brotherly nations, and as equals of China we should entertain no ill will or prejudices against them because of their choice to leave the mother country.
Our frontier racial groups should, in a friendly spirit and through legal channels, make known their wishes to the Government of their mother country. In this way, they may be able to realize their aspirations. They should not defy the mother country and stir up mutual hatred.
Third, we should accord the large and small racial groups inside the provinces legal and political equality, and unhindered economic and religious freedom, so that a warm community spirit and friendly collaboration may develop among all the groups.
As regards the political status of Tibet, the Sixth National Kuomintang Congress decided to grant it a very high degree of autonomy, to aid its political advancement and to improve the living conditions of the Tibetans 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 tradition, accord it a very high degree of autonomy. If in the future they fulfill the economic requirement for independence, the National Government will, as in the case of Outer Mongolia, help them to gain that status. But Tibet must give proof that it can consolidate its independent position and protect its continuity so as not to become another Korea.
Finding a solution for the racial problems of Outer Mongolia and Tibet is a very great task of our National Revolution. It will be a touchstone of the success of our Principle of Nationalism. We should be ready to assume responsibility for a solution. I hope that all the Chinese people, in accordance with our revolutionary principles and spirit of national independence, assist the Government in finding an answer to these questions. For world peace and security as well as for the solidarity and reconstruction of our own nation, we must deal with the world's racial questions in conformity with the spirit of the Atlantic Charter and the Three Principles of the People.
Inasmuch as several problems in connection with our southwestern frontiers are also intimately related with future world peace and security, I should like to state here China's hopes.
At that time, a British Memo remarked: “There would seem to be nothing irreconcilable between this offer of ‘a very high degree of autonomy’ and the attitude of His Majesty’s Government. It is clear however, from conversations which took place between British and Chinese representatives in Lhasa [Shen Zonglian on the picture] in 1944 that with regard to Tibet, there is a considerable difference between the British and the Chinese conceptions of the word autonomy.”
Beijing has never gone that far in offering a large degree of autonomy or independence to Tibet.
It has however to be noted that Tibet did not need to be offered a larger autonomy as it was a de facto independent nation, and Nationalist China knew this.
A couple of years earlier, Anthony Eden, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had clarified the British position. On August 5, 1943, he wrote to Dr. T. V. Soong , China’s Foreign Minister: "Since the Chinese Revolution of 1911, when Chinese forces were withdrawn from Tibet, Tibet has enjoyed de facto independence. She has ever since regarded herself as in practice completely autonomous and has opposed Chinese attempts to reassert control."
The Memorandum is well-known, it represented the British policy towards Tibet for several decades.
There was no protest or complaint from Nanjing.

Cross-Straits scholars to finish book on Tibet's History
China Tibet Online
Tashi Dawa
September 10, 2012
A multi-volume book "General History of Tibet" is to be completed and published in 2013, said by two scholars from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan Province in a recent interview.
Lin Guanqun, a Tibetologist and professor from Taiwan, told that the book is expected to be finished next year, and he is now busy with reviewing the manuscripts from scholars.
The writing of General History of Tibet dates back to ten years ago when scholars from across the Straits exchanged their views over the book with each other and laid the cooperation foundation in a "Cross-Straits Tibetology Forum" in 2002.
Ten years before the forum, it is still hard for scholars from across the straits to understand each other.
But, with the communication deepened, scholars find they in fact have many common senses in areas such as the status of Tibet and opposing the "Tibet independence".
That facilitates their joint work of compiling the book.
Scholars from Taiwan not only hold their positions in the book's editorial committee, but also take charge of some parts of the book's edition.
Through their systematic and close cooperation, the part about Tibet’s history in the Republic of China era has been published, followed by the other volumes to be accomplished early next year.
"Despite the foundation to some extent, it is difficult for both sides to reach a consensus 10 or 20 years ago, however, all cooperation seem so natural today," said Zhang Yun, who is a co-editor of the Tubo Kingdom volume of the book with Professor Lin and president of China Tibetology Research Center.
(Source from

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