Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Dalai Lama's Birthday and Beijing's dilemma

Huge crowds welcomed the Dalai Lama in Zanskar and Ladakh
The Dalai Lama is 79 years old today.
Surprisingly, China Tibet Online, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party in Tibet, remembered the date by publishing an appeal calling for his return China.
The language is relatively more moderate than usual (it does not speak of the 'Dalai Lama's clique', for example) though Beijing sticks to its old position, the Dalai Lama is welcome back ...if he gives up is 'separatist' stance ...and lives in Beijing.
Time and again, the Dalai Lama declared that he is not interested in his personal 'position'; he wants a solution for 6 million Tibetans.
The China Tibet Online article asserts that: "all successive Chinese leaders have stated very clear[ly] the consistent stance and policy towards the Dalai Lama and the contact and talk with his representatives, and even the future plan for his followers around him can be negotiated."
Beijing's conclusions is "Therefore, the way back home is clear. But how to come back and whether he wanted to come back could only depend on the 14th Dalai Lama himself."
The leadership in China probably realizes the immense popularity of the Tibetan leader on the south of the Himalayan range; it seems unable to deal with this phenomenon. 
Plain insults (like during the tenure of Zhang Qingli, the previous Party Chief in Tibet) did not work; repression is not working too; so, why not an invitation to come back 'home'?
However, it is not what the Dalai Lama is asking for.
He wants a 'genuine' autonomy for his people.
This is clearly unacceptable to Beijing; it would have serious implications for the Middle Kingdom. You just need to look at the neighbouring Xinjiang, to understand!
The fact that Deng Xiaogang has been roaming around Ngari for weeks, is a sign of Beijing's dilemma.
Where is the solution? 

Looking into Dalai Lama's way home upon his birthday
Lethe Guo
China Tibet Online
Born in 1935, the 14th Dalai Lama is celebrating his 79th birthday on July 6, 2014. The old monk has lived in a small town of Dharamsala in northern India for more than half a century since he fled from China's Tibet in 1959.
"Falling leaves return to their roots", as a Chinese saying goes. As a man gets older, he or she would inevitably think about returning home. On this occasion, it might be interesting to ask if the Dalai Lama has some genuine reminiscence and expectations on returning home besides using it as a political wager.
For the past 54 years, this homesickness, if any, could be fathomed from the name of Daramsala meaning "little Lhasa" since Lhasa is not only the capital of the current Tibet Autonomous Region but also the place where his Potala Palace stood in old Tibet.
The geographical distance between Dharamsala and Lhasa is 1,443 km. Yet, how long is the journey for Dalai Lama to cross the snow-capped Himalayas and return to China's Tibet?
The answer is clear in Chinese government's stance. For a long time, the Chinese central government has made it clear how the 14th Dalai Lama could return to his homeland, which can be noted in many top leaders' remarks.
In October 1959, seven months after the 14th Dalai Lama's flee from Tibet, Mao Zedong stated: "He (the 14th Dalai Lama) could come back as long as he admitted that Tibet is part of China and agreed democratic reform to be carried out in Tibet."
In December 1978, Deng Xiaoping said during an interview with the US Associated Press (AP) that the 14th Dalai Lama could return as a Chinese citizen, which meant he should behave like a Chinese citizen and stop persisting on a separatist idea or doing any such activities.
In 1998, Jiang Zemin made it clear in expounding China's principles and stance towards the contact and talk with the 14th Dalai Lama that, "As long as Dalai Lama drops his 'Tibet independence' position, stops any separatist activity, acknowledges officially that Tibet is an indispensible part of China…and recognizes the government of People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government to represent China, the door is open for talk."
In May 2005, Hu Jintao also pointed out that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet, socialist system, and the system of regional autonomy for ethnic groups in Tibet must be kept.
Therefore, what is common in all of these Chinese leaders' statements is that the idea of democracy, autonomy and national integrity can't be challenged by the Dalai Lama.
Recently, the Dalai Lama and his group managed to send radical representatives to spread such words and fan the flame of separatism to orchestrate self-immolations, according to the previous reports by Xinhua on the crackdown of such cases in Sichuan and Gansu provinces. Besides, what else has the 14th Dalai Lama done?
His calls for contact and talk always land on the proposal of the "Middle Way Approach" including the idea of "Greater Tibet" that schemes all Tibetan-inhabited areas as "Tibet" and asks to drive out people of all other ethnic groups from these areas, and the proposal of "high-degree autonomy" preceded by the "genuine autonomy".
The first is by no means practical or lenient, and to some degree undermines the wisdom of a religious personage. Above all, different ethnic peoples live in Tibetan-inhabited areas in the surrounding provinces such as Qinghai and Gansu historically. These places are as much rooting homeland for Tibetans as for other ethnic peoples. Besides, in an era of the "Earth Village", migration and national integration is the trend, which is inevitable throughout the human history if any global development is made. After all, historically speaking, the "Greater Tibet" has never existed in ancient China. Thus, it's not the "Middle Way" but rather an innovative and hegemonic way that against history and practice.
Second, the idea of "high-degree autonomy" proceeded by the "genuine autonomy" stands out rather as much ironic. The administration in Tibet is a regional ethnic autonomous one led and funded directly by the central government. Tibetan cadres and all civil servants in the administration account for 70 percent to make decisions for the Tibetan people's well-being and speak for them in attending the central government's conferences. Interestingly, the Dalai group did explain at times what they wanted, in particular the Tibetan army, the right to establish diplomatic relations with some international organizations or foreign countries. To what extent, are these rights not the rights of an independent country?
A little serious look at the two proposals as the wager bid for "promoting contact and talk with the central government of the PRC" could come to this conclusion of his insincer political motive.
Moreover, the mostly acknowledged and respected identity of the 14th Dalai Lama lies in his religious position as one of the two most influential rinpoches enjoying highest positions in the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism with the other one being Panchen Lama. However, the 14th Dalai Lama doesn't seem to value his holy title so much as to often wear the crimson robe to show around his religious identity for pitiful donations and publicity like a pop star.
He could hold four times the "Kalachacra (one of the most well-known meditational deities in Tantrism, or the wheel of time) Consecration Great Assembly" in one year. Buddhists all know that the "Kalachacra Consecration Great Assembly" is so divine that it could only be organized once a year or even once in several years for exceptionally special events. For example, Jamyang Gyatso, the sutra teacher of the 11th Panchen Lama, held a "Kalachacra Consecration Great Assembly" in the Labrang area in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu last summer, when nerly 100,000 people assembled to hear the highly esteemed lama Jamyang Gyatso chanted sutra and prayed for Buddha's blessings for people. Compared with Jamyang Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama indeed has a higher religious position, but does it mean he could do everything to his desire? Even his teacher, Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug sect, could simply conduct such great grand assembly once in his lifetime, which was in the Jokhang Temple in 1409 wen China was the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with more than one year's preparation, how could the 14th Dalai Lama play himself and Tibetan Buddhism like that to woo innocent westerners?
Likewise, he tended to play with his reincarnation issue as well. That might be why he could talk about incarnating into a woman, a foreigner, or a "bee" and even appointing a reincarnated soul boy while he is still alive. Words are indeed ironic, especially for "experts" to address "ignorance", aren't they? Yet, can the Tibetan Buddhism followers expect more respect towards Dharma from the 14th Dalai Lama?
According to Xinhua's recent report, the Chinese government invested 2.5 million yuan (some 410,000 US dollars) in October 2012 to restore the 14th Dalai Lama's old residency in Hongya Village of Shihuiyao Township in Pin'an County, Haidong Prefecture of Qinghai. In the family prayer room, statues of Shakyamuny the Buddha, Thousand-hand Avalokitesvara and the 14th Dalai Lama are consecrated.
The 14th Dalai Lama, or Tenzin Gyatso, was born into a farmer's family in Huangzhong County of Qinghai Province in 1934. After being confirmed as the 14th Dalai Lama, he became the top leader of old Tibet. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he sent representatives to Beijing to talk with the central government's representatives and signed the "17-Article Agreement" to liberate Tibet peacefully under the leadership of the central government. In 1959, some Tibetan serf owners, the noble ruling class, launched armed rebellion, and then the 14th Dalai Lama flew to India.
As mentioned above, all successive Chinese leaders have stated very clear the consistent stance and policy towards the Dalai Lama and the contact and talk with his representatives, and even the future plan for his followers around him can be negotiated.
"If the Dalai Lama is to improve his relations with China's government, he must give up his separatist position…and stop making statements which disrupts the peaceful development of Tibet," said a China's top religious official on June 29, according to AFP.
Therefore, the way back home is clear. But how to come back and whether he wanted to come back could only depend on the 14th Dalai Lama himself.

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