Monday, July 8, 2013

Tibet’s Winter

US Ambassador Locke in Tibet
My article Tibet's Winter appeared today in The Statesman.

Will the cold Winter Wind continue to blow on the Roof of the World or a more refreshing Spring Breeze be felt? With the  current  instability  in  China,  it  is difficult to know in which direction the wind will blow

Xinhua recently filed a report on  'extreme weather in Tibet’. Quoting the Chinese Meteorology Administration, the Chinese news agency said that heavy rain storms had been occurring since June 15 in the western part of Ngari Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region [TAR]. Located north of Uttarakhand, Ngari experienced the most extreme weather conditions; on June 17, an unimaginable 96 mm precipitation created havoc in Purang County; it was a new record for June. The weather was so bad that the first batch of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims reached the Tibetan border six days late and the following eight batches of the ‘Kailash yatra’ were cancelled by the Ministry of External Affairs.
But that is not all. At the same time, Tibet seemed to witness another ‘climatic change’, a political one. Can it be a Tibetan Spring? First, an interview of Prof Jin Wei of the Central Communist Party School, published by a Hong Kong weekly generated a lot of speculation. Is China’s policy regarding Tibet changing?
Jin Wei (and Beijing) seemed bothered by the possibility of having two Dalai Lamas in the future (one in exile and one in China); Prof Wei suggested making friends with the Tibetan leader and inviting him to Hong Kong. Prof. Jin even admitted that the ‘Golden Urn’ process of selection for the Dalai Lamas can be manipulated (by who else than Beijing?).
The Tibetan blogger Tsering Woeser (today under house arrest) commented on Jin Wei’s interview, saying it was a trick. Difficult to say, but one can foresee that Beijing’s legitimacy in Tibet may be postponed for several decades if the next Dalai Lama takes birth in India or in the US.

Click here to read on...

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