Monday, August 31, 2015
Mail Today a few days ago.
Innumerable books have been published about the remarkable life of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. The one written by French Sanskrit scholar Sofia Stril-Rever (H.H. the Dalai Lama XIV: My Appeal to the World) is however special as it deals the political Statements pronounced by the Tibetan leader, every March 10, from 1961 until 2011.
Year after year, the Statements highlight the achievements not only of the Buddhist monk, but also the struggle of his people to survive under Chinese occupation or in exile.
On March 10, 2011, the ‘simple monk’ as he likes to call himself, pronounced his last Statement as he renounced his temporal power. As Stril-Rever notes, this marks ‘the end of the political authority of the Dalai Lamas’: “The speech was short, …eighteen minutes that have radically changed nearly four hundred years of Tibetan history.”
Ever since the Great Fifth Dalai Lama was given in 1642, the temporal and spiritual responsibility to lead the people of Tibet, the Dalai Lamas have ruled over the Roof of the World.
Why this ‘ritual’ statement every March 10?
On that day in 1959, the Tibetan ‘masses’ rose against the Chinese invaders and ‘with their bodies’ protected their beloved leader, who had been invited for a performance in the PLA garrison in Lhasa. The entire population of Lhasa stopped the Dalai Lama to attend the Chinese show, especially ‘without his usual Corps of Body Guards.’
Since then, March 10 is termed ‘Tibetan Uprising Day’.
The greatest lie of Communist China has been to make the world believe that Mao and his colleagues just wanted to ‘liberate’ the Tibetan people from the oppression of the aristocracy and the clergy.
During the days following the Uprising, according to Chinese figures, 87,000 Tibetans were killed for resisting the so-called Liberation. Ultimately on March 28, Beijing proclaimed ‘The Serfs are emancipated’ and since then, China celebrates the day as the ‘Serf’s Emancipation Day’.
What a price to be emancipated!
Stril-Rever’s work highlights each March 10 Statement by giving a detailed commentary on the existing situation, a few times with some minor inaccuracies, (a big one is that Tawang is not ‘a Tibetan village’).
It makes fascinating reading because it shows the evolution of a two-thousand old nation, which in 50 years is metamorphosed from a theocracy with all its imperfections into a modern State with democratic institutions.
Though not often reported by the world media, the Dalai Lama’s first and greatest gift to the Tibetan people is undoubtedly ‘Democracy’.
This collection of the March 10 Statements is the Tibetan leader’s log on this arduous path, often struggling against his own people, reluctant democrats. But, year after year, the persevering Dalai Lama managed to force into the Tibetans’ mind, the necessity of a more modern governance system.
Tenzin Gyatso knew that if ‘democracy’ was not imposed, after his passing into the Eternal Fields, Tibet would have two Dalai Lamas, like there is today two Panchen Lamas. The temptation would be too strong for political leaders in Beijing, to not choose ‘their’ own candidate.
This explains why the Dalai Lama recently told the BBC “The Dalai Lama institution will cease one day. These man-made institutions will cease.”
Soon after the events of March 10, 1959, the Dalai Lama secretly left Lhasa and took the direction of India and finally crossed the border, north of Tawang on March 30. During the following months, some 80,000 Tibetans joined him and settled in India.
On April 29, 1959 from the hill station of Mussoorie, the Dalai Lama formed a Tibetan Government-in-Exile, also known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA); a year later the CTA moved to Dharamsala, where it is still located.
The process of democratization then started. As a first step, on September 2, 1960, the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, then called ‘Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies’, came into being.
On 10 March 1961, in his first Statement, the Dalai Lama formulated a draft Constitution of Tibet, incorporating traditional Tibetan values and modern democratic norms. Two years later, it was promulgated as the Tibetan Constitution-in-Exile.
The process continued during the following years; in 1990, the Tibetan Parliament was empowered to elect the Kashag or the Council of Ministers, which was made answerable to the Parliament. A Supreme Justice Commission was also instituted.
The newly-empowered Parliament soon drafted a new Constitution, known as the Charter of the Tibetans in Exile which defines the role of the three organs of the government: judiciary, legislature and executive. Today, the CTA functions as any democratic government. This fact deeply irritates China, which is still governed by a one-Party system.
The Dalai Lama has often had to fight to impose these democratic institutions on the Tibetan ‘masses’, who often thought that “the Dalai Lama is wiser, why do we need a human governance, when we have a divine one?”
But it shows the wisdom and the vision of the Tibetan leader, who knows that in the long run, democracy is a more stable system.
This book is a good addition to the large collection on the Dalai Lama; it documents a rare historical process, whereby a theocrat par excellence, decides to be the father of the democracy for his own nation.
What makes China so angry with the Tibetan leader is that Beijing is unable to follow his footsteps.
A Foreword of Prof. Robert Thurman is always a plus.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
It was about Nehru's rejection of a seat for India in the UN Security Council.
It occurred twice.
The first time in 1950, when the State Department made the offer and a few years later, when the Soviets were ready to sponsor India for a seat.
Both times, Nehru refused.
Since then, I got a copy of a letter from Nehru addressed to his sister, Vijaya Lakshi Pandit, then the Indian Ambassador in the United States, in which he justifies his refusal.
Here is Nehru's letter.
To Shrimati Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit,
Embassy of India,
Washington, D.C., USA.
August 30, 1950.I have your letter of August 24th. Also Einstein’s new letter.
As far as I can see at present, I shall not be going to Lake Success, But of course there is always a possibility of some new development which might induce me to go there. I am quite sure that my going there casually will do no good to anyone. Einstein and people like him, with their simplicity and good-heartedness, think that some magic might result by a personal intervention. We can hardly plan for magic. Frankly, I do not want to make myself cheap and to get entangled in the internal controversies and debates of Lake Success.
Living in the United States, you are naturally oppressed by the atmosphere there at the present moment. You dislike it and you criticize it. Nevertheless, your view of the world situation is necessarily influenced by your environment. That environment and what happens there is of very great importance because, as you put it, the issue of war and peace may depend upon it.
It is clear that the world outlook today of the British people is markably different from that of America, even though they might be functioning more or less as allies. Western Europe again is also different in its own way. If you travel further to Russia, you are of course in a new world entirely. With new fears, new apprehensions, new ambitions. Here in India though there may not be much intelligent thinking on international affairs, there is nevertheless an instinctive reaction to them which is not at all favourable to the US.
It is no easy matter to deal with this complicated situation where each group thinks differently and where perhaps the only common feature is some kind of fear. Only today I received a letter from Panikkar from Peking together with a report on the present-day China. Both the letter and the report are very interesting and I am therefore enclosing a copy of them for you. Here also you will see an entirely different world with its own way of thinking on problems. What a vast difference there is between this and the US view of China as a stooge of Moscow!
Panikkar is a man of extraordinarily acute intelligence and powers of observation. In fact, his mind is so keen that it over-shoots the mark and goes much further ahead than facts warrant. But his analyzing the situation, apart from the time factor, is usually good. What will happen to China during the next few years is anybody’s guess. But it is a complete misunderstanding of the China situation to imagine that they function like a satellite State of Russia. Only one thing will push them in that direction to some extent. And even then this cannot go far. That one thing is isolation from the rest of the world. The US policy is the one policy which will make China do what the US least want. That is the tragedy or comedy of the situation. We grow blindly to achieve something and get something entirely different.
There can be little doubt that the Chinese Government is trying its best to be friendly to us. Apart from present day conflicts and in the long run, I am sure that it is of great importance to Asia and to the world that India and China should be friendly. How far we shall succeed in this endeavour, I cannot say.
In your letter you mention that the State Department is trying to unseat China as a Permanent Member of the Security Council and to put India in her place. So far as we are concerned, we are not going to countenance it. That would be bad from every point of view. It would be a clear affront to China and it would mean some kind of a break between us and China. I suppose the State Department would not like that, but we have no intention of following that course. We shall go on pressing for China’s admission in the UN and the Security Council. I suppose that a crisis will come during the next sessions of the General Assembly of the UN on this issue. The Peoples’ Government of China is sending a full Delegation there. If they fail to get in there will be trouble which might even result in the USSR and some other countries finally quitting the UN. That may please the State Department, but it would mean the end of the UN as we have known it. That would also mean a further drift towards war.Pakistan is busy building up a big case against us. There is of course Kashmir. They are now demanding from us a reference to the International Court at The Hague of the canal water dispute. Obviously they are going to raise this matter in the UN and are likely to do so directly on the ground that this might involve a breach of peace between the two countries. They have also written to me after many months about my proposal for a “No War” declaration in the simple and general form which I have originally proposed and which Pakistan had not accepted them.
India, because of many factors, is certainly entitled to a permanent seat in the Security Council. But we are not going in at the cost of China.
Meanwhile, the continuance of the Kuomintang representative in the Security Council becomes more and more Gilbertian. Here is a Permanent Member of the Security Council with power of veto supposed to be a great power. In fact what we have is a Representative of the Government of Formosa having this authority and power at Lake Success. That Government of Formosa too is practically protected by a foreign power, the US.
As regards canal waters, I have not answered them yet, but I shall do so in the course of the next week. I do not propose to agree to The Hague tribunal. But we are prepared for arbitration, that is each party to nominate an arbitrator and a third to be chosen by them.
I am thinking of going to Assam for two or three days soon to confer with people there and to fly over the earthquake areas. We do not yet know the full extent of the earthquake and the damage it has caused. Many areas are completely isolated and people are marooned. It is said that the landscape of upper Assam has changed considerably. Some hills have disappeared and rivers are following new courses. Fortunately that area is not a heaily populated one, or else the damage would have been colossal.
Sd/- Jawaharlal Nehru.
China visit and after – Undoing Nehru’s folly
Here is the link of my May article....
A few months ago, a European diplomat confidentially told me, ‘in fact, the job of Modi is just to undo the knots in which the UPA tied up India in the past’. He was probably thinking of the complex Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) put in place by A.K. Antony, the UPA’s Defence Minister, who made the DPP so complicated that it became impossible for India to arm itself or even ‘make arms in India.’ This is the sad story of the Rafale deal; finally, during his recent visit to France, Prime Minister Modi had cut the MMRCA ‘bind’ and buy a few airplanes ‘off-the-shelf’.
Unfortunately, it is not only in defence issues that the previous governments have entangled India into insolvable predicaments.
The case of a seat in the United Nations’ Security Council is a stark one.
After Modi’s meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, I was curious to see what the Joint Statement would say on this issue and if China’s position had moved. I thought that if Beijing is truly keen to enhance the trust between India and China, it should make a gesture and sponsor India’s candidature to the Security Council. Unfortunately, it did not happen.
The Joint Statement says: “The two sides support a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including recognizing the imperative of increased participation of developing countries in UN’s affairs and governance structures, so as to bring more effectiveness to the UN. China attaches great importance to India’s status in international affairs as a large developing country, and understands and supports India’s aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations including in the Security Council.”
It does not say that India should have a permanent seat with veto power, like China has. This is really ingratitude from China’s side.
One remembers the 1955 Soviet offer to sponsor India’s case for a permanent seat.
Sarvepalli Gopal wrote in his 3-volume biography of Nehru: “He [Jawaharlal Nehru] rejected the Soviet offer to propose India as the sixth permanent member of the Security Council and insisted that priority be given to China’s admission to the United Nations.”
Now some ‘experts’, like A.G. Noorani have argued that Nehru did the right thing as ‘the offer was unlikely to materialize’.
Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin had told the Indian Prime Minister: “We propose suggesting at a later stage India’s inclusion as the sixth member of the Security Council”; Nehru had replied: “This is to create trouble between us and China. We are, of course, wholly opposed to it. Further, we are opposed to pushing ourselves forward to occupy certain positions because that may itself create difficulties and India might itself become a subject to controversy.”
In another letter, Nehru elaborated about India’s position and the reasons to reject the ‘proposals’: “We have, therefore, made it clear to those who suggested this that we cannot agree to this suggestion. We have even gone a little further and said that India is not anxious to enter the Security Council at this stage, even though as a great country she ought to be there. The first step to be taken is for China to take her rightful place and then the question of India might be considered separately.”
But there is more. Recently, a young scholar, Anton Harder, working on his PhD at the London School of Economics, went through the Vijayalakshmi Pandit Papers kept at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library in Delhi.
Harder found that in August 1950, Mrs. Pandit, then posted as Ambassador to the US, wrote to her brother: “One matter that is being cooked up in the State Department should be known to you. This is the unseating of [Nationalist] China as a Permanent Member in the Security Council and of India being put in her place. …Last week I had interviews with [John Foster] Dulles and [Philip] Jessup, reports of which I have sent to Bajpai. Both brought up this question and Dulles seemed particularly anxious that a move in this direction should be started.”
Five years before the Soviet offer, Washington was ready to sponsor India for a seat in the Security. A few days later, Nehru answered to Pandit: “You mention that the State Department is trying to unseat China as a Permanent Member of the Security Council and to put India in her place. So far as we are concerned, we are not going to countenance it. That would be bad from every point of view. It would be a clear affront to China and it would mean some kind of a break between us and China.”
The Indian Prime Minister added: “We shall go on pressing for [Communist] China’s admission in the UN and the Security Council. …The people’s government of China is sending a full delegation there. If they fail to get in there will be trouble which might even result in the USSR and some other countries finally quitting the UN.”
Thus whole background is all the more shocking as at that particular time, China was preparing to invade Tibet; a position in the UN would have helped India’s prestige and influence. K.M. Panikkar, India’s Ambassador to China knew about the communists’ intention: on August 15, 1950, it had been reported from Hong Kong that Chinese troops had begun advancing towards Tibet’s borders. Nehru too was aware of the impending ‘liberation’: “This invasion of Tibet might well upset the present unstable equilibrium and let loose dangerous forces. Some of our border States will be affected. But I am more concerned with the larger issues which this involves,” he wrote.
What were the larger issues? One of them was the Chinese admission to the UN!
On October 25, when the news of the Chinese invasion became known, Nehru was unhappy, he frankly told Panikkar: “Our views regarding [the] threatening invasion of Tibet and its probable repercussion should have been communicated to them clearly and unequivocally. This has evidently not been done.”
One can still regret India’s inaction even today and though Modi can’t officially admit it, India has been suffering due to this ‘lapse’ for the past 65 years. But in October 1950, for the then Prime Minister: “The Chinese Government's action has jeopardised our persistent efforts to secure the recognition of China in the interests of world peace have suffered a serious setback.”
What to say? The rest is history, sad history.
As Prime Minister Modi arrived in Xi'an, the first leg of his high profile visit to China, I was wondering if he would speak with the Chinese leadership about Tibet. Apparently, he has not!
The ‘T’ word appears only once in the Joint Statement, when the Kailash yatra is mentioned: “The Indian side appreciated the support and cooperation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the local government of Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China to Indian pilgrims for the Kailash Manasarover Yatra …the Chinese side would launch the route for the Yatra through Nathu La Pass in 2015.”
Note that Beijing always speaks of ‘Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China’! Delhi never speaks of ‘Tamil Nadu of the Republic of India’ or ‘West Bengal of India’. Perhaps it shows that Beijing is still unsure about the legal ground of its ‘presence’ in Tibet.
Apart from this reference, nothing on 'T'.
The fact remains that in the years to come. Narendra Modi will have a lot of work to untie the many knots left by Jawaharlal Nehru and his advisors like K.M. Panikar and V.K. Krishna Menon.
As for the Chinese, the least that one can say is that they have shown little gratitude towards India; Indian leaders should know that till today, Beijing has been unable to appreciate kindness and generosity.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
|Wang Yang on an 'inspection' tour in Tibet|
I must say that I was mistaken by the meeting of the Politburo of the CCP’s Central Committee which on July 30, discussed Tibet.
I was then under the impression that it WAS the 6th Tibet Work Forum.
On July 30, Xinhua had announced: “Chinese leaders discuss Tibet development, stability …Chinese leaders met to discuss economic and social development in Tibet and how to ensure the autonomous region achieve prolonged stability.”
A statement issued after the Politburo meeting presided over by President Xi Jinping noted: “Safeguarding national unity and strengthening ethnic unity should be highlighted in work involving Tibet. …Efforts should be made to unswervingly carry out the anti-separatism battle, promote the region's economic and social development, safeguard and improve people's welfare, and enhance exchanges and integration of different ethnic groups.”
It was then said that the Communist leadership agreed that “strengthening Tibetan infrastructure, helping it foster competitive industries while ensuring environmental protection are the means to achieve marked improvement in living conditions and more social cohesion.”
The solution to the Tibet issue was to “maintain national religious policies and promote patriotism in Tibet.”
Easier said than done!
The leadership then promised more support “to provide assistance to Tibet by pairing its cities with flourishing coastal cities and state-owned enterprises.”
At that time, it looked like an announcement for the Tibet Work Forum.
It was not!
A Serious Issue
It however raises a serious issue.
Why did the leadership need a full meeting of the Politburo to ‘prepare’ a Tibet Work Forum to be held 4 weeks later.
It is unheard of.
Remember on August 5, Xinhua published a news item titled, “Do Not Wait Anymore; No Meetings in Beidaihe.” The official news agency then said, “sources have speculated on the themes of the Beidaihe meeting this August and whether or not one will be held.”
But Xinhua argued: “Not long ago, the CCP Central Politburo met twice, on July 20 and on July 30, which was unusual. They have already discussed ‘The Thirteenth Five-Year Plan’, the CCP Fifth Plenary Session, economic strategies, the ‘anti-tiger campaign’, and other important issues.”
The article, though it does not mention the Tibet issue, asked: "Is it meaningful, necessary, or possible to talk about these issues again in Beidaihe several days or ten days later?”
So why to have a Politburo meeting on Tibet (even presuming that ‘Tibet’ was just a topic on the agenda of the July 30 meeting) to discuss the same things 4 weeks later?
A plausible explanation could be that there was some disagreement amongst the leaders on the Tibet policy to be followed during the next 5 or 10 years.
The air had to be cleared (or the positions fine-tuned) before calling for the much larger forum which is usually attended by 200 or 300 cadres.
It is a fact that since the time of the so-called ‘liberation’ in 1950-51, the leadership has always been sharply divided on the direction to take as far as the fate of the Roof of the World is concerned.
The July 30 Meet probably decided on a middle-path approach, which translated, as mentioned on my earlier post, in a dual objective to improve the ‘local conditions’ and ‘beef up social cohesion’ and rejecting the Dalai Lama's 'Middle Way' approach.
In President Xi’s words: “Key efforts in the work for Tibet should be spent on ensuring national unity and consolidating ethnic unity, with realizing long-term and comprehensive social stability."
‘Stability is an obligatory task’ hammered Xi, who affirmed that China “should firmly take the initiative in the fight against separatism, vowing to crack down on all activities seeking to separate the country and destroy social stability.”
Between the 30-July Politburo meeting and the Forum two important visits took place in Tibet, probably to take a final decision on the directions to be taken.
Visit of Vice-Premier Wang Yang in Tibet
Apart for the meeting chaired by Sun Chunlan on August 18, to discuss the preparations for the visit of a delegation from Beijing to Tibet on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, two other members of the Politburo visited Tibet during the week preceding the Forum.
Wang Yang, Vice Premier of the State Council ‘inspected’ Lhasa and Nagchu.
The report says that he “investigated relevant work [linked to] poverty alleviation and development, animal husbandry, tourist industry and meteorological services.”
In Ngachu, Wang visited a meteorological station.
According to Xinhua, he expressed the Party’s “respect to those who work in these remote areas, high mountain regions and islands [sic] and persistently contribute to meteorological knowledge.”
The Chinese new agency commented: “The hardworking and plain-living spirit of plateau meteorological members also touched Vice Premier Wang Yang.”
The Vice-Premier declared: “Tibet can take pride in the advancements and achievements of meteorological cause; it has impressed and inspired us all.”
He spoke of the importance of meteorological observations on the plateau for weather forecasts and climate prediction for downstream regions: “to ramp up the research of meteorological science and technology along with climate change, in view of Tibet’s location, carries a significant implication.”
But Wang did not go only to study the weather patterns.
In Lhasa, he spoke of the implementation of different programs “to vigorously alleviate poverty by developing modern agriculture, animal husbandry as well as tourism development.”
This is an indicator of the direction in which the Forum would go a week later. Wang spoke again and again of “effective measures to further the implementation of poverty alleviation, remove poverty, accelerate the transformation of agricultural development, promote the construction of modern agriculture and animal husbandry, and the healthy development of tourism in Tibet”.
He added that this could help the region to find a solid foundation for the sustained and healthy economic and social development of Tibet by 2020.
Wang Yang was in Tibet between August 13 to 15.
On August 14 afternoon, Wang Yang chaired a forum and listen to the work report of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
He later stressed the need to thoroughly implement Xi Jinping’s vision for the Tibet work and ensure the timely realization/implementation of the Party’s objectives.
And of course, Wang Yang mentioned the ‘stability’ of Tibet: “the whole region of Tibet strives for national unity and oppose separatist, your efforts are commendable,” he says.
He concluded: ‘We are proud of the great achievements made for the development of Tibet, Tibet has a precious natural and cultural heritage; it should be cherished.”
This was a prelude to the 6th Tibet Work Forum.
Another important visit: CMC's Vice-Chairman Xu Qiliang
On August 13, Xinhua reported that Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), visited Tibet (and Chongqing). He urged the military forces posted for defense of the border [with India] “to make down-to-earth efforts and follow the path to building a strong army”.
Xu had a call for strengthening education and urged the army to make “efforts to thoroughly clean up the negative influence caused by corrupt former military leaders [Generals] Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou.”
He pleaded for better management and control of the borders “as well as innovation with ideological work at military forces to shore up the morale of servicemen for border defense.”
He requested senior officers and army leaders to strictly observe the political discipline and rules, adding that modern ideas and elements should also be used in the management of the military.
Xu’s exhortation will be reflected in Xi’s speech during the Forum.
Xi reiterated his theory about the ‘border areas’; he said that “a series of strategies that have been in effect during the 60-plus years of governing Tibet," he then cited the theory that "governing border areas is the key for governing a country, and stabilizing Tibet is a priority for governing border areas.”
Tibet’s border areas are India’s frontiers; let us not forget this.
And of course, “the Central Government did not in the past, nor is now and will not in the future accept the [Dalai Lama's] Middle Way solution to the Tibet issue,” said an article penned by an official the United Front Department after the Forum.
The hard line has prevailed once again.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Here is the link...
Communist leadership in China believes that China is ‘big and strong', but the Shanghai and Chinese stock exchanges have shown that China is shaky too. A weaker China may, however, become more aggressive
On Monday, the Shanghai Composite index dropped down by 8.52 per cent. Can you imagine, markets in China lost a paltry one trillion dollar as the sell-off deepened not only in Shanghai, but also in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The world’s markets followed suit and started crumbling.
The South China Morning Post said, “Chinese stocks closed at their lowest level in six months as a wave or risk-off selling pummeled the market with only about 100 stocks listed in Shanghai still trading late as the other 993 stocks listed on the benchmark index.”
A first ‘explosion’ had occurred on August 11, when the yuan was devaluated for three consecutive days; at that time, many predicted long-term consequences for the Middle Kingdom.
Different explanations, often contradictory, have been given about the risky move: Some ‘experts’ explained that since a few years, Beijing kept the rate of the yuan more or less fixed at 6.20 per dollar, hoping to become a member of the exclusive club of reserve currencies of the International Monetary Fund. However, the IMF recently announced that China’s immediate inclusion was not on the cards as the fund would like Beijing to undertake more in-depth reforms, for example, by letting the exchange rate fluctuate. It is, however, doubtful if the devaluation was a first step in this direction.
Others have argued that the move would help China’s exports, but it will also push the dollar higher, making imports more expensive for China, the world’s largest user of energy, metals and grains. The question is: Has the leadership lost control over what is happening? Perhaps not, but the trust of the investors is fast vanishing.
Strangely, it is ‘holiday times’ in Beijing and all the big bosses have moved to a more clement sky in the sea resort of Beidaihe in Hebei province. On August 5, Xinhua published a news item titled, ‘Do Not Wait Anymore; No Meetings in Beidaihe.’
The news agency explains that every year since the Mao Zedong era, current and retired Chinese Communist Party leaders meet at Beidaihe in July or August.Xinhua however adds: “Not long ago, the CCP Central Politburo met twice, on July 20 and on July 30, which was unusual. …Is it meaningful, necessary, or possible to talk about these issues again in Beidaihe several days or 10 days later?”
So, no talk, though the communist leadership is on a warpath for something else. On August 10, the People’s Daily published an article mysteriously titled: ‘Dialectically View the Phenomenon of Tea Turns Cold When People Are Away.’
The article explains, “People come and go; the present day replaces old times. Over the years, many of our party cadres have correctly treated their status changes after having stepped down from their leadership positions. They consciously have not intervened in the work of the new leadership team …they have thus won everyone’s respect.” This targets former President Jiang Zemin and his clique.
Since then, websites in China have reported that Mr Jiang was under house arrest. It is difficult to check the veracity of the information, though a full-fledged war seems on the cards between Chinese President Xi Jinping and the ancient regime. Who will win is open to bets.
Simultaneously, Beijing is becoming more aggressive; not only in the South China Sea where it reclaimed number of large reefs, but also in the Pacific and elsewhere. Take the preparation of the military parade to be held on September 3, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan in World War II.
Xinhua announced that the People’s Liberation Army will unveil hundreds of new domestically developed pieces of armament. The grand show will feature 12,000 soldiers and 500 pieces of China’s latest military gadgets.
According to Xinhua, the Second Artillery Forces, the PLA’s strategic missile force, will display seven types of missiles, “The scale and number of the missiles will surpass any previous outing.”
During the National Day parade in 2009, China showcased five types of missiles, including the DF31A, a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the shores of the US.
Will the DF41, the latest inter-continental ballistic missile with a range upto 15,000 km be displayed? A Pentagon report recently asserted, “China is developing a new road-mobile ICBM, the DF-41, possibly capable of carrying multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle.”
The parade is “partly aimed at sending a message of warning to the us,” said Huang Dong, president of the Macau International Military Institute in an interview with Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper. Mr Huang asserts that the purpose of the parade is “warning Washington to not ‘interfere’ in its regional activities, in particular its territorial disputes in the East China Sea and the South China sea.” The aggressiveness does not stop here.
On August 18, the PLA daily published an editorial, ‘Be Ready to Fight at All Times’. It re-emphasised the importance of building a strong Army which should be ready to fight ‘at all times’.
The article, later re-published (in Chinese) by all the major media, states: “Through these phenomena, we can easily see that Japanese militarism’s desire to eliminate China has never died, that is has refused to recognise the defeat in that war, and that it has secretly been gathering strength in an attempt to stage a comeback.”
It concludes, “China is at the critical juncture of becoming big and strong. Some Western countries are unwilling to see the rise of China, doing everything possible to contain and suppress China, repeatedly squeezing China’s strategy for development …thus the likelihood of disturbances and war taking place on our doorstep has increased.”
Closer to the Indian border, on August 24, the People’s Daily Online reported that three more unattended radars were soon to be installed in Tibet. The mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party reminds us that China’s “first unattended radar station has stood eight years on the top of Ganbala mountain, with a height of 5,374 meters above the sea level on Qinghai-Tibet plateau.”
The website affirms that the unattended radars would form a radar network with the previous one. Kampala (Ganbala in Chinese) is located in Nagartse county of Shannan Prefecture, not far from Lhasa.
Incidentally, on August 11, China Military Online published photos with this comment: “Air force J-11 regiment boosts night combat power, the PLA Air Force conducted night combat training in Tibet on August 9.” The pictures show a high plateau military airfield (Lhasa Gongkar) surrounded by snow-clad mountains and a group of J-11 heavily-Armed fighters taking off amid twilight.
The communist leadership believes that China is today ‘big and strong’, but the Shanghai and other Chinese stock exchanges have shown that China is very shaky too.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
It was presided over by President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).
According to Xinhua, addressing the Forum, Xi spoke of the promotion of the economic and social development of Tibet.
Xi Jinping asked for more efforts to promote economic growth and all-round social progress in Tibet and Tibetan-inhabited areas.
He also vowed to take sustainable measures and continue preferential policies for the region(s).
Note that the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Tibetan-inhabited areas in four provinces (Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai and Yunnan) have been clubbed as far as Beijing’s policies for Tibet are concerned.
Xi said that Tibet “has entered ‘a critical stage’ toward fulfilling the country's goal of building a moderately prosperous society in a comprehensive way.”
He promised that special financial, tax and investment policies will continue to be in place in the future.
The Chinese President asserted: “Development, which aims to improve living conditions for various ethnic groups and beef up social cohesion, should be advanced in a prudent and steady manner, and all measures taken should be sustainable.”
The dual objective of improving the ‘local conditions’ and ‘beefing up social cohesion’ is pervading the speech of the President who urged “bettering basic public service and adopting targeted measures to alleviate poverty, solve key problems which lead to poverty and improve living conditions for the impoverished as soon as possible.”
It is an admission that poverty among the local population in Tibet still exists, 60 years after the 'liberation'.
Xi explained further: “More active employment policies should be carried out to help residents of all ethnic groups to walk out of their farms and pastors to work in towns and companies and start businesses.”
‘All ethnic groups’ refers mainly to Tibetans.
It is clear that in the years to come, farmers and nomads will be encouraged to migrate to the city. Is it really a sustainable policy?
Xi also said that, “efforts should also be made to incorporate education on ‘socialist core values’ into courses in schools at various levels, popularize the national commonly-used language and script, and strive to foster ‘Party-loving and patriotic builders and successors of the socialist cause’.”
Will the Tibetans believe this one?
Imposition of Putonghua could have severe backlashes on the Tibetan plateau. The unrest in March/April 2008 has already been a sign of rejection of the imposition of a new culture with Chinese characteristics.
Premier Li Keqiang was also present at the Forum.
He affirmed that “it will be an arduous task for Tibet to build a ‘moderately prosperous’ society over the next five years.”
This is a component of the Chinese Dream, so dear to President Xi.
For the Chinese Premier, his government “will give top priority to improving people's livelihood, alleviating poverty and increasing employment among Tibetans.”
He urged the TAR government to make more efforts to boost education, medical care and social security in the Tibet region.
Li believes that the key for Tibet is “to sharpen its self-development capability through promoting its specialty industries, infrastructure construction, and environmental protection.”
But more infrastructure construction means more roads, airports, railway lines and dams.
For India, it is certainly a cause of worries.
Premier Li added: “Efforts should be given to the development of agriculture and animal husbandry and related processing business, making Tibet an important tourism destination in the world, and promoting commerce and trade with South Asia to boost the Tibetan economy."
Tourism is certainly the best way for China to change forever the Tibetan landscape and finish off the Tibetan cause for greater autonomy (or independence).
Li further noted: “Moreover, the building of local infrastructure should be sped up, including transportation networks, water conservation projects, power-grids, among others.”
Li pledged to increase financial aid and preferential policies to Tibet.
Once again, it is ominous for Tibet’s southern neighbour (i.e. India), which develops the borders areas at a snail speed.
The entire politburo, including the seven members’ Standing Committee were in attendance (apart from Xi and Li, Yu Zhengsheng, Zhang Dejiang, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli were present).
Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference pleaded with those who attended the Forum “to learn from the spirit of the meeting and work out effective measures to boost the development of Tibet.”
During the weeks to come, the ‘Tibetan’ leaders will return to Lhasa and speech after speech will hold fort about the ‘Spirit of the Sixth Work Forum’.
The true ‘spirit’ of the Forum was however expounded in another article published by Xinhua.
Ethnic Unity with Chinese Characteristics
The news agency released another report of the Forum entitled ‘Xi stresses unity for Tibet, vows fight against separatism’.
The entire article focuses on China’s main worry , namely ‘instability’ of the Land of Snows, or in other words, the ‘nationalist’ aspirations of the people of Tibet.
According to the official news agency, President Xi Jinping spoke of “national and ethnic unity as the key plans for Tibet, vowing a focus on long-term, comprehensive stability and an unswerving anti-separatism battle.”
It seems to be the main issue for the present Chinese leadership.
Xi stated: “Key efforts in the work for Tibet should be spent on ensuring national unity and consolidating ethnic unity, with realizing long-term and comprehensive social stability as an obligatory task."
It shows that China is still trembling, more than 60 years after Tibet was ‘liberated’.
‘Stability’ is an obligatory task.
Xi affirmed that China “should firmly take the initiative in the fight against separatism, vowing to crack down on all activities seeking to separate the country and destroy social stability.”
If China had done so much for Tibet (as Beijing always pretends), why does it remain so nervous?
Is it an admission that the policies decided during the previous 5 Tibet Work Forum have failed?
The answer is probably ‘Yes’.
Xi reiterated his theory about the ‘border areas’; he said that “a series of strategies that have been in effect during the 60-plus years of governing Tibet," he then cited the theory that "governing border areas is the key for governing a country, and stabilizing Tibet is a priority for governing border areas.”
Borders often come in the Chinese discourse.
Does it mean that China is afraid of India?
After all, Tibet’s main border is with India.
Or is it a pretext to bring more dual infrastructure on the Tibetan plateau?
Then comes the crux of Beijing’s’ policy towards Tibet for the next 5 to 10 years. Xi called for “a comprehensive and accurate implementation of the Party's policies concerning ethnic and religious affairs as well as efforts to increase a sense of identity for people from various ethnic groups with the motherland, Chinese nationality, Chinese culture, the CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics."
It is rather frightening and it can only lead to further resentment amongst the ‘ethnics’, especially when Xi urged “the promotion of Marxist values in people's views on ethnics, religion and culture.”
Are the Tibetan traditional Buddhist values compatible with the doctrine of Karl Marx (at least the way Marx’ philosophy has been implemented in China and Soviet Union)?
President Xi added that “authorities must draft long-term plans and rely on local officials and ordinary people to ensure persistent stability for Tibet and neighboring provinces.”
For the purpose, Party’s officials should “keep pace with the CPC Central Committee in their thoughts and deeds, telling them to ‘cherish unity as if it was their eyes’.”
Will Tibetans one day cherish unity with Han Chinese as if the latter were their own eyes? It may never happen.
In the meantime, Xi exhorted: "We should help people of various ethnic groups understand, support, appreciate and study from each other.”
He called for educational campaigns to promote ethnic unity and a sense of belonging to the same Chinese nationality.
Can it work?
The Chinese President is particularly keen to apply his recipe to the monastery: “efforts should be made to promote patriotism among the Tibetan Buddhist circle and effectively manage monasteries in the long run, encouraging interpretations of religious doctrines that are compatible with a socialist society.”
Are Marxism and Buddhism compatible, is the central question?
It would have perhaps been more productive, if the Chinese leadership had taken the opposite view: “to encourage an interpretation of Marxism which is compatible with Tibetan religious doctrines.”
What about Marxism with Buddhist characteristics?
It may work in Tibet!
But can the present leadership understand this?
The common man in China may.
Sun Chunlan chairs meeting for ‘Tibet celebrations’
A few meetings were held to prepare for the Forum.
I mentioned a few on this blog.
According to Xinhua, on August 17, Sun Chunlan, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of the United Front Work Department (UFW), chaired another meeting to discuss the preparations for the visit of a central delegation to Tibet on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
The meeting was held not only in view of the ‘celebrations’, but also to clear the way to the Sixth Tibet Work Forum.
During the meeting, Sun Chunlan gave a speech about the ‘achievements’ of the Party in Tibet and the importance of the 'celebrations'.
She said that this “grand event was expected by people of all nationalities in Tibet, and it was also very important for the national people's political life.”
Obviously, as it sealed the annexation and dismemberment of old Tibet.
The UFW minister further stated: “During the past 50 years, under Central Government's correct leadership, national people’s full support and the joint efforts of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet, Tibet has undergone enormous changes. Holding the 50th anniversary celebrations of TAR is very significant to encourage the people of Tibet to closely unite around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the general secretary, boost morale and confidence together with people across the country to achieve a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way and realize the long-term stability in time.”
Nobody can deny that Tibet has changed, but whether ‘ethnic’ Tibetans are convinced about Sun’s declarations is another issue.
If Sun was right, why should Xi Jinping have focused so much on ‘stability’ during the Tibet Work Forum?
The meeting chaired by Madam Sun was held in preparation of the Forum (called barely 5 days later).
Apparently, during her meeting, Sun affirmed that the celebrations “should adhere to a grand and warm, frugal and pragmatic principle so that the cadres and masses of all ethnic groups in Tibet can broadly participate and share the joy.”
It is not clear how the celebrations can be ‘grand and frugal’ at the same time, but we will not to wait long to know.
Sun’s conclusion was that the celebration will “show the great advantages of socialism and vitality of the regional ethnic autonomy, and it will also demonstrate the glorious history and great achievements of revolution, construction and reform performed by Tibetan people led by the Party.”
Once again, why this obsession about ‘stability’ is the above declarations are true?
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
On August 24, The People's Daily Online reported that three more unattended radars were soon to be installed in Tibet.The mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party reminds us that China’s “first unattended radar station has stood eight years on the top of Ganbala Mountain, with a height of 5,374 meters above the sea level on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.”
Now, the website affirms that “another three unattended radars were going to be installed in order to form a radar network with the previous one.”
As mentioned on this blog in 2012, Kampa-la (Ganbala in Chinese) is located in Nagartse County of Lhoka/Shannan Prefecture.
At that time, we were told that a very good road had been built to serve the highest radar station in Tibet (and the world).
Kampa-la is the last pass in Nagartse county, before the road reaches Lhasa valley. Nearby is the stunningly beautiful 72 km-long Yamdrok Yumtso Lake, one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains. It has become a tourist attraction and literally millions of Han visitors come every year to click a selfie on its shores.
The news of a radar station in this area, first appeared in 2008, when some soldiers were demobilized from the radar regiment of the PLA Air Force. The Chinese media then commented: “The percentage of oxygen in the air on the Ganbala Mountain is only 48 % of which at the sea level. That is why the mountain is viewed as the ‘life forbidding zone’.”
Today, The People’s Daily admits that in October 1965, China had already completed the construction of Kampa-la radar station: “then the highest manned radar station in the world.”
The radar station is today unmanned.
The People’s Daily now adds: “For over 40 years, this radar station is used to secure surveillance and provide civilian air navigation services in Tibet.”
Night Military Exercises in Tibet
Incidentally, on August 11, China Military Online published photos with this comment: ‘Air force J-11 regiment boosts night combat power’.
It explained that a J-11 regiment of the PLA Air Force conducted night combat training in Tibet on August 9.
The pictures show a high plateau military airfield (Lhasa Gongkar?) surrounded by snow-clad mountains and a group of J-11 heavy fighters taking off amid twilight.
The captions said:
They were to engage in a confrontation drill in the black sky. The regiment pays much attention to the training of air battle at night, which has become a routine training program in its annual training plan. To enhance the combat capability of the air force, China began to make J-11 heavy fighters by introducing from Russia the production line of Su-27 heavy fighter in 1990s. Since 2002, the China-made J-11 heavy fighters have been among the arrays of warplanes of the PLA Air Force. The J-11 and J-11A heavy fighters are now widely serving in the aviation troop units of the Air Force and the Navy of the PLA.Also incidentally, on August 18, The PLA Daily published an editorial, “Be Ready to Fight at All Times”.
It re-emphasized the importance of building a strong army which should be ready to fight 'at all times'.
The article was later posted on all the major state media and military websites (in Chinese only).
Today, although the smoke of war has dispersed, the ghosts of militarism still linger. Some Japanese political organizations and politicians go against the tide of history and against peace and justice; they selectively forget the disaster they brought to another country but they always remember their own ‘misfortunate.’ They resolutely deny the barbaric crimes of the Japanese invasion, insist on paying tribute to their war criminals, forcibly lift the ban on collective self-defense, openly distort historical facts, trample on the human conscience, and undermine the post-war international order.”It was emphasized in bold font:
Through these phenomena, we can easily see that Japanese militarism’s desire to eliminate China has never died, that is has refused to recognize the defeat in that war, and that it has secretly been gathering strength in an attempt to stage a comeback. Without vigilance and precautionary measures, there is still the risk of a repeat of this tragedy of history.The Editorial concluded:
At present, China is at the critical juncture of becoming big and strong. Some Western countries are unwilling to see the rise of China, doing everything possible to contain and suppress China, repeatedly squeezing China's strategy for development, and bringing the focus of international strategic competition toward the Asia-Pacific region. Thus the likelihood of disturbances and war taking place on our doorstep has increased.‘Tibet’, in other word ‘the borders with India’ needs too, to be ready for any eventuality. The radars and the night exercises are the best proof of the intensive 'preparations' which are going on.
But about China becoming 'big and strong', but it is not what the Shanghai and other Chinese stock exchanges have shown the recent days.
But a weaker China could become more aggressive.
Monday, August 24, 2015
Here is the link...
It was a week of explosions.
At around 11:30 pm on August 13, two consecutive explosions blasted warehouses containing hazardous chemical materials in Tianjin, a city located at a 30 minute train-ride from Beijing.
A day after the mishap, 50 people had already been confirmed dead (among them were 17 firefighters) and some 700 had been hospitalized. This is what the world came to know as a partial blackout was declared on the information coming from Tianjin.
Another explosion, with perhaps longer-term consequences, was the devaluation of the yuan for 3 consecutive days.
On Tuesday (August 11), the Central Bank of China lowered the rate of the Chinese currency by 1.87 %; then, the next day in another move, it was further devaluated by 1.6% and once again on Thursday. It was the first time since 2005, when the current mechanism of change was set up, that Beijing went for such brutal and unexpected moves.
More than 4% in 48 hours is a lot.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) commented: “The Central Bank shocked the markets by devaluing the yuan by the most in a day in more than 20 years.”
The Hong Kong daily added: “With a dramatic devaluation of the yuan, Beijing brought out the bazookas in a move that might escalate a regional currency war that it had until now chosen to avoid.”
Why the bazookas?
This reminded me of the book Unrestricted Warfare, written in 2001 by two Senior PLA Colonels about the ‘Many Forms of Total War’. It says: “Terrorism may be the most transparent form of total war, but it is just one of the many forms of unconventional warfare. ‘Financial warfare’ in which a country is subjugated without a drop of blood being spilled, means entering and subverting banking and stock markets and manipulating the value of a targeted currency.”
Was the devaluation a guerilla tactic? Was it the beginning of a new war?
Experts are yet to agree on the meaning of Beijing’s sudden move.
Will it make China’ exports more competitive against its Asian rivals? Could this restore China’s competitiveness vis-à-vis other currencies such as the Japanese yen and the Korean won? It is not certain.
It is true that the Korean won reached its weakest level since June 2012 and the Taiwan dollar was also at its lowest since 2010.
The Indian rupee followed suit. But India’s Chief Economic Adviser, Arvind Subramanian affirmed that the impact of the devaluation of the yuan on the Indian rupee will only be ‘temporary’, given ‘adequate’ foreign exchange reserves; for him, “China is responding to its own internal development of slowing down of growth and exports in order to give its economy a boost. All of us policymakers around the world, including India, have to take notice of this action.”
Another explanation was that China had, for a few years, kept the rate of the yuan more or less fixed at 6.20 per US dollar, hoping to become a member of the exclusive club of reserve currencies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, in a recent report, the IMF said that China’s immediate inclusion was not on the cards as the Fund would like to see China undertaking more in-depth reforms, by letting exchange rate fluctuate. Is it a first step in this direction? It might be.
Others have argued that the move to push the US dollar higher can only make imports more expensive for China, which is the largest user of energy, metals and grains. The devaluation could worsen the crash in the commodities market.
Interestingly, analysts also differ on what is going to happen next.
Reuters has another reading: “There are a bunch of reasons why China decided to devalue the yuan, ranging from falling exports to an ailing property market. The most worrying, though, is probably a destructive change happening in the country's labor market.”
Benjamin Robertson in the SMCP commented: “Regardless of other factors, Chinese firms with high non-yuan denominated debt holdings, and reliance on imported components, are now out. Chinese commodity producers, Chinese exporters, and Hong Kong companies with strong yuan cash flow, are in.”
Some time may be necessary to see the full implications of Beijing’s move.
The New York Times remains optimistic: “Here are two things that China’s government wants very badly: first, for its economy to remain on an even keel, keeping growth and employment high. Second, for its currency, the renminbi, to become globally pre-eminent, helping promote the country’s diplomatic goals and solidifying the country’s centrality to the global economy. Frequently those goals are in conflict. But on Tuesday, China did something it thought would advance both at once.”
And of course, there are the believers in China’s collapse, the “I told you soers”, for whom it is the beginning of the end. They believe that the Communist regime is trembling, that its end is coming fast.
To relax the atmosphere, after three days of explosions, the Central Bank of China affirmed that an adjustment to close the gap between the yuan’s mid-price and its actual trading rate was ‘basically completed’ and that the currency will now remain strong in the long run.
Instead of doing more predictions, it might be more interesting to look at the situation in the Middle Kingdom at the time of the ‘devaluation’.
It is ‘holiday times’ in Beijing and all the big bosses of China have moved to a more clement sky in the sea resort of Beidaihe in Hebei province.
Was a council of war held there? Apparently not.
On August 5, 2015, Xinhua published a news item titled, “Do Not Wait Anymore; No Meetings in Beidaihe.”
It explains that every year since Mao Zedong era: “current and retired Chinese Communist Party leaders met at the Beidaihe summer resort in July or August.”
The Official news agency is not shy to admit: “The annual Beidaihe retreat meeting is one of the CCP’s most mysterious meetings. Many major decisions or policies have been made there.”
Though it adds, “sources have speculated on the themes of the Beidaihe meeting this August and whether or not one will be held.”
Xinhua’s conclusion is clear: “Not long ago, the CCP Central Politburo met twice, on July 20 and on July 30, which was unusual. They have already discussed ‘The Thirteenth Five-Year Plan’, the CCP Fifth Plenary Session, economic strategies, the ‘anti-tiger campaign’, and other important issues.”
The article asks: "Is it meaningful, necessary, or possible to talk about these issues again in Beidaihe several days or ten days later?”
It probably means that the decision to devaluate was already taken before the ‘holidays’ started.
But the Communist leadership appears to be on a warpath for something else. On August 10, 2015, The People's Daily published an article sending a strong political message. It is titled: "Dialectically View the Phenomenon of Tea Turns Cold When People Are Away.” It might be far more serious than the devaluation.
The article explained: "People come and go; the present day replaces old times. Over the years, many of our Party cadres have correctly treated their status changes after having stepped down from their leadership positions. They consciously have not intervened in the work of the new leadership team, which demonstrates the open-mindedness and noble sentiments of a senior Party member and veteran cadre. They have thus won everyone's respect.” This targets former President Jiang Zemin.
It was insinuated that ‘a highly positioned cadre’, when he was in power, arranged for his trusted aides to be in the top positions for the purpose of being able to manipulate power in the future: “This phenomenon causes a dilemma for the new leader and puts him in an inconvenient position.”
The People's Daily compares the retired cadre as ‘cold tea’. This, of course, triggered many comments on the Net; one example: "If ginger tea [Jiang Zemin] insists on being as hot as before, what should we do? In such a case, we should pour it (the ginger tea) out!”
A full-fledged war seems on the cards between Xi Jinping and the ancient regime. Who will win is open to bets?
In the meantime, the ‘devaluation’ may stabilize.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
It gave some details about China's latest ‘sustainable’ prowess: “A colossal complex emerges from the sand, right in the Gobi Desert at Delingha, in the heart of China's Mainland. The complex, constructed on no less than 25 km², is designed to generate power through solar concentrators, one of the cleanest and secure electricity production methods to date.”
That sounds great.
The article continues: “Despite its poor ecological balance, China is making considerable efforts to limit as much as possible its carbon emissions. It has become the largest investor in renewable energy in the world. Given the high demand for energy of its 1.3 billion people, projects for clean energy are proving equally colossal.”
The article explains that this technique should not be confused with a photovoltaic farm.
In Delingha, the heat generated by the sun is captured and converted into electricity by using turbines as in a conventional thermal power plant: “After its construction, with its 25 square kilometers, it will be the largest solar power plant ever built.”
The project is a collaboration between BrightSource Energy, a Californian company and the Shanghai Electric Group.
Apparently, the project aims at providing electricity to more than one million homes: “With molten salts capable of maintaining the stored heat the day, designers estimate that 7 hour storage time of solar power will be enough to guarantee a stable and continuous production of electricity.”
But the website continues: “Beyond its own electricity production, the plant is expected to replace the equivalent of 4.69 million tons of coal per year (the main energy source in China), a reduction of 896,000 tons of emissions of carbon dioxide per year and 8906 tons of sulfur dioxide.”
Again great! But who needs all this electricity?
The article gives some details: “The first phase of the project is to fence the first two solar towers with a capacity of 135 megawatts each. A total of 6 mirrors fields (for 6 towers) will be provided, with the hope of starting production by 2017. At the end, the project is expected to save nearly 20 million tons of carbon emissions during its existence. With this effort, China hopes to peak emissions of carbon dioxide by 2030 and then decline.
Will it be sufficient to avoid an ecological crash?”
The conclusion is “Only the future will tell us.”
A few years ago, I mentioned Delingha on this blog.
Not for solar energy!
It is the main base for nuclear ballistic missiles in the Middle Kingdom.
I quoted from an article ‘DF-21C Missile Deploys to Central China’, written by Hans M. Kristensen for the serious Strategic Security Blog of the Federation of American Scientists.
Kristensen said: “Analysis of commercial satellite imagery reveals that launch units for the road-mobile DF-21C medium-range ballistic missile now deploy several hundred kilometers west of Delingha in the western part of central China.”
Now, the desert site will be supplied by solar energy.
We can not say 'great' anymore!
Read Kristensen' article, you will understand for what the solar energy produced in Delingha is for.
But it is certainly not to feed electricity into one million houses.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
In June, Beijing reiterated its ‘peaceful’ doctrine in a White Paper (WP) on ‘China's military strategy’, which affirmed that the country generally enjoys a favourable environment for development, though external challenges are increasing.
Of course, in Beijing’s eyes, the main villain is Washington; Beijing does not appreciate the US ‘rebalancing’ strategy’ and its enhanced military presence in the region. Then, there is Japan. Mao would have probably called Tokyo a US lackey; the WP affirms that Japan is “sparing no effort to dodge the post-war mechanism, overhauling its military and security policies.”
Although China is a peaceful nation, Beijing is getting ready for any eventuality.
On August 10, the Chinese media, led by Xinhua announced: “China ramps up joint military exercises; it further reported: “A joint military drill that started in late July, entered a live fire stage in a plateau area in southwest China's Sichuan Province.”
‘Plateau area’ is another word for Tibet, i.e. India’s northern borders.
The drill, coded ‘Joint Action-2015D’, is organized by the Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC) of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). It is the first of five such drills, to be held during the current year in different MACs.
Xinhua further pointed out: “It will involve a total of more than 140,000 soldiers from over 140 PLA regiments of various types.”
That is not a joke, nearly one and half lakh of soldiers for a ‘joint operation system’ which includes the ground forces (PLA) as well as the PLA Air Force (PLAAF), the PLA Navy (PLAN), the Second Artillery Forces (missiles), the People’s Armed Police (PAPF), but also intelligence, reconnaissance and electronic warfare units. This is what He Qimao, head of the joint drill bureau of the PLA General Staff's training department, announced.
It was further reported that the PLA plans to complete more than 100 such joint exercises, which should involve over 50 army corps.
Xinhua adds: “Military experts consider joint exercises the most demanding training, as they require a high degree of coordination.”
In March 2014, the Central Military Commission (CMC) which overlooks the activities of the PLA had set up a Leading Group ‘on joint military exercises’.
These Leading Groups are important structures for the coordination between the different ministries, departments and units to achieve a declared objective in any field of governance in China.
On the ‘peaceful side’, the PLA will participate to several joint military exercises scheduled with more than 20 countries including Pakistan, Colombia, Thailand and Turkey in 2015 (the exercises with Russia and Thailand have already been completed).
The South China Morning Post commented: “The 2.3 million-member People’s Liberation Army has stepped-up both the rigour and frequency of training as it emphasises more realistic scenarios for fighting and winning battles around China’s periphery. New stress has been placed on exercises integrating different branches of the armed forces, with a special command on joint exercises.”
One of the PLA’s exercises recently made the news, when pictures appeared on the Internet showing a military assault on a mock-up of the presidential palace in Taiwan. It was obviously not appreciated in Taipei. Taiwan’s Defence Ministry officially protested against the ‘exercise’. Later a Chinese military spokesman denied that the drill targeted any specific parties, on the PLA’s television channel.
Of course, China is a peaceful country.
At the same time, pictures of soldiers carrying out bedding and clothing during a supply drill appeared in the Chinese media. The caption says “on August 8, 2015, the PLA General Logistics Department (GLD) started its materials and POL (Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants) supply drill codenamed ‘Supply Action-2015’ in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Another picture shows troops receiving ‘vital supplies by way of vertical replenishment’, while another unit sets up pipelines for POLs supply; also seen a group of armored vehicles refueling during the same 'supply drill' as soldiers are moving military materials and drinking water during a replenishing operation.
Probably part of the same drill, on August 11, China Military Online displayed a J-11 regiment of fighter planes, belonging to the PLAAF which was ‘kicking off its night combat training’ in Tibet on August 9.
The PLA website explains: “At a high plateau military airfield surrounded by snow-clad mountains, groups of J-11 heavy fighters were seen taking off amid twilight. They were to engage in a confrontation drill in the black sky.”
It further comments: “The regiment pays much attention to the training of air battle at night, which has become a routine training program in its annual training plan,” and gives some technical details: “To enhance the combat capability of the air force, China began to make J-11 heavy fighters by introducing from Russia the production line of Su-27 heavy fighter in 1990s. Since 2002, the China-made J-11 heavy fighters have been among the arrays of warplanes of the PLA Air Force. The J-11 and J-11A heavy fighters are now widely serving in the aviation troop units of the PLAAF and the PLAN.”
In the meantime, the Chinese press praised ‘the development of transportation in Tibet over past 5 decades’.
Xinhua published photos taken on October 30, 2010 showing an A319 plane landing in the Shigatse airport. The caption says: “People witnessed amazing progress of the transportation in Tibet over the past five decades. A total of 75,000 kilometers road have made the transportation in Tibet much easier than 50 years ago. The Qinghai-Tibet railway, running from Northwest China's Qinghai province to Lhasa, was opened in 2006. …Above the railways and highways, the air transportation in Tibet also embraced a huge leap-forward. In the half-century development, over 24.71 million passenger trips were made and the total volume of goods reached nearly 329,900 tons.”
As mentioned in an earlier post, the entire infrastructure in Tibet is meant for dual use (civilian and military).
Not so peaceful is the interview of General Zhu Wenquan, a former commander of the Nanjing MAC on China Military Online.
The retired General speaks of his latest book On Island War and offers his advices on global island and reef disputes. The military website adds: “[Zhu’s] comment also holds water for the current tension in the East China Sea and South China Sea.”
Zhu argues: "According to incomplete statistics, 85 countries in the world have disputes over more than 410 islands (peninsulas and reefs) in 83 places. They all indicate a stern fact that the island war is in progress."
Answering why did he wrote the book, General Zhu Wenquan explains: “Comrade Deng Xiaoping once said that the three major tasks for China in the 1980s were fight against hegemony, economic development and the resolution of the Taiwan issue, but when I started this book in 2007, the Taiwan issue was still unsolved, not even today. As a military leader, I wrote this book to provide theoretical support for winning large and medium scale island wars and make my contribution to solving the Taiwan issue one day.”
When Zhu Wenquan is asked how to break the island chain blockade, he answers: “The strait is flat, so if we cannot pass it, we can always fly over it. Some countries have deployed underwater submarines and monitoring systems on the islands, but we are fully able to destroy them with firepower if there is really a blockade. So strategically speaking, there is no need to overemphasize the island chain blockade. We should play it down.”
His conclusions are clear (even if not peaceful): “Developing China's armed forces in the sea, air and space at a faster pace is the fundamental solution to all problems. If we have a powerful navy, air force and space troop, what are we afraid of? At that time, the first island chain will be like a straw rope that breaks at the first touch. Therefore, developing military forces in the sea, air and space is the only way to solve the island chain blockade.”
China is a peaceful country …but always ready for war.
Here is the link...
China is satisfied to have ‘stabilised’ the situation in the South China Sea; Beijing got what it wanted, ie an extension of its territory far away from the coastal line of the Middle Kingdom. The next stage is the Pacific
Recently, this writer read an article in the Taipei-based WantChinaTimes, which said, “China is equipping its maritime militia, with more armed fishing boats bolstering its muscle in the disputed South China Sea.” This reminded the writer of an interview with an MP from Ladakh. The writer was explained the various tactics used by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to intrude into the Indian territory in the mountainous region. “The easiest way”, said the MP, “was to push Tibetan ‘herders’ with their yaks into Indian grazing grounds and then watch. If no immediate response was forthcoming from the Indian side, the territory de facto became Chinese”.Sending ‘grazers’ and yaks in the Himalaya or pushing ‘fishermen’ onto the South China Sea or in the Pacific is on the same page of Sun Tzu’s Art of War; it is the easiest way to conquer territory.
The Taiwanese publication quotes Zhang Hongzhou, a researcher from the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, “Equipped with armed civilian fishing boats, China’s maritime militia is one of the less studied agencies in the exercise of Chinese maritime power,” said Zhang during a two-day conference held at the Center for Naval Analyses in Virginia, US.
Zhang cited a report by the Tokyo-based diplomat, “They are usually deployed by the Chinese Government to carry out various types of missions in disputed waters, from rescuing stranded vessels to conducting controversial island landings. To enhance their activities, Beijing is for the first time considering the formation of the country’s first fishing fleet.”
According to the same report, President Xi Jinping recently told the maritime militia that their mission is “not only to lead fishery activities in the region but also to collect oceanic information and support the construction of artificial islands and reefs.”
In other words, China can expand its territory using a state-owned fishing boat fleet. This applies to the Pacific too. On the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (August 1), the official PLA daily stated that the challenges facing China are extremely severe and there is a risk of chaos and war.
According to the mouthpiece of the Chinese Army, there are growing risks along its sea and land borders. The PLA paper believed that although China says it is a threat to nobody, “(it) needs to update equipment and has to be able to defend what is now the world’s second-largest economy.”
The front-page article added, “The situation surrounding our country is generally stable, but the risks and challenges are extremely severe, and the possibility of chaos and war on our doorstep has increased. …The maritime security environment is more complicated, and the undercurrents in the East and South China seas have been gushing up.”
Around the same time, China’s Defence Minister Chang Wanquan affirmed that “the nation was committed to being a force for peace, but would not compromise on core principles like Taiwan”. He added, “We will uphold the principle that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family and go down the path of peaceful development of relations, (but will) resolutely oppose and hold back the plots of Taiwan independence separatists.”
But Taiwan is not really the priority today, Beijing has other plans. For the moment, China is satisfied to ‘have stabilised the situation’ in the South China Sea; Beijing got what it wanted, ie an extension of its territory far away from the coastal line of the Middle Kingdom, and this, without much objection/opposition from the US and weaker neighbours.
On the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum, Foreign Minister Wang Yi could declare with a straight face that China has stopped reclamation work in the South China Sea. Even if Southeast Asian nations expressed their fear that China’s construction will destabilise the region, Mr Wang affirmed, “China has already stopped.” He said, “You look, who is building? Take a plane and look for yourself.”
With the South China Sea’s phase ‘completed’, the next stage is clearly the Pacific. A report, prepared in November 2014, by the Air Force Command Academy (a Beijing-based think tank for the PLAAF) said that “China’s Air Force needs to broaden its air surveillance and attack capabilities in the western Pacific including the area near Japan to ensure its command of the skies.”
According to The South China Morning Post, the report also “stressed the need to develop and enhance nine types of ‘strategic equipment’ with an eye specifically towards the United States and its pivot to Asia.”
Though not officially released, the think-tank’s study set the vision for China’s air strategy till 2030. It lists the US, Japan, Taiwan, India and Vietnam as ‘threats’ in military airspace.
It recommends “broadening Beijing’s scope of surveillance from the so-called ‘first island chain’ (linking Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines) to the ‘second island chain’ (which includes Japan’s Izu Island chain, Guam and New Guinea).”
The report suggests that Beijing “should enhance the ability to attack US bases within the ‘second island chain’ with a new type of strategic bomber and ‘deter US military intervention’ in the event of a defence operation involving Chinese islands.”
For this, new equipment is required. The report cites terminal high altitude area defence ground-based interceptor system, a high-speed air-launched cruise missile, a large transport plane, an airship that moves in the upper atmosphere, a next generation fighter, unmanned attack aircraft, Air Force satellites and precision-guided bombs.
The report also mentions “the ability to attack US bases on the China side of the second archipelago line with strategic bombers and deter US military intervention in the event of a defence operation involving Chinese islands.”
Vassily Kashin, senior research fellow at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, citing The Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, also asserts that the PLAAF intends to expand its ‘area of control’ to the western Pacific.
The Global Times asserted that the aims mentioned in the report are realisable, “The PLA’s Navy and Air Force have been increasingly active in the area between what the Chinese military call the ‘first island chain’ and the ‘second island chain’.”
It is said that China is in the process of setting up an effective observation system for the area between the first and second island chains, including surveillance satellites, manned aircraft or drones, as well as warships and submarines.
Without waiting for sophisticated new equipment, fishermen can be extremely useful to Beijing to fulfill its new aims. The good old ways!
Monday, August 10, 2015
|Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Dalai Lama (April 24, 1959)|
The article continues: “The Chinese were plotting to ‘kill or capture’ Dalai Lama during a final pacification in Tibet in 1959 and President Eisenhower believed India could provide asylum to the Dalai Lama.”
It quotes one Major William Corson, said to be ‘intelligence aide to the President’ (it is probably not true) who would have revealed that “Nehru was a hard bargainer and made it amply clear to Eisenhower that India wants its own nuclear assurance against China!.”
The article further comments: “It was a dangerous commitment to make and Eisenhower was not willing to comply. However, he did offer a middle ground, a compromise.”
According to Carson: “Eisenhower decided that the US would accept 400 Indian students into American graduate programmes in the nuclear sciences. The course of the negotiations left no doubt that Nehru would assign the American-trained scientists to produce nuclear weapons.”
It concludes: “India tested its first nuclear device in May 1974, less than 16 years after Nehru and the US PENNED ‘the deal’. Nehru did a good job of laying the foundation for future tests, but it also became incumbent upon India to ensure that the Dalai Lama remained safe from the clutches of the Chinese.”
Obviously, this story does not make sense.
The grant of asylum to the Dalai Lama and his party was decided between March 22 and 30, 1959.
At that time, it was obvious (for the Prime Minister, the Parliamentarians and the Indian public) that the Dalai Lama would stay in India.
Where was the question (and time) of ‘bargaining’ anything with the US?
The debates in the Indian Parliament which followed the Prime Minister's statements (on March 23, March 30, April 2, April 27 and May 4, 1959), soon after the Lhasa uprising, make it clear that the Dalai Lama was a welcome guest in India.
In this context, I repost the transcript of the first meeting between Nehru and the Dalai Lama, soon after the latter's arrival in India.
A remarkable historical document
A document has just been published by the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund in the Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru (Part II - Volume 48, April 1- 30, 1959).
First the first time, we have a transcript of the meeting between Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Dalai Lama, who a few weeks earlier has taken refuge in India.
The Government of India had provided a residence in the hill station of Mussorie (in today's Uttarakhand) for Tibet's temporal and spiritual leader.
The original transcript is to be found in the Nehru Memorial and Museum Library (Subimal Dutt Papers).
The Editor says that besides the official interpreters, only Subimal Dutt, the Foreign Secretary was present during the encounter which lasted 4 hours.
(Editor's note) This document has been reproduced faithfully. As is evident, there are numerous spelling and other errors which have not been corrected in any way.
This completes the collection of documents posted on my website on the events of March/April 1959 in Lhasa.
Talk with the Dalai Lama
Record of Prime Minister's Meeting with the Dalai Lama on 24th April 1959 (15:20 hours to 19:20 hours)
After the usual greetings, Prime Minister enquired from the Dalai Lama whether he has had some rest after his hard journey. The Dalai Lama replied that he has had two days of rest after arriving in Mussoorie and felt much better.
P.M. conveyed Indira Gandhi's personal greetings to the D.L. and the D.L. thanked him for it.
D.L. then expressed his great pleasure in meeting the P.M. once again after an absence of two years. DL said that he has been looking forward to this meeting, especially in view of the troubles that had overtaken Tibet. His Holiness thanked the P.M. for the special officers he had sent to meet him and for all the sympathy he had expressed regarding the Tibetan cause.P.M. [:] Yes, I know the background.
D.L. mentioned that he was not going to repeat all that he had said to Mr. P.N. Menon since it must have been duly conveyed to the P.M.
D.L. [:] I wish to tell Your Excellency something more in this occasion. The story of Tibet up to 1956 is well known. In 1957, during D.L.'s visit to India, he had the benefit of detailed talks with the P.M. and in the light of those talks the DL had tried on his return to Tibet, to improve relations with Chinese authorities. On his way back to Lhasa, at Gyantse he had spoken to his Tibetan officers that although spiritually Tibet was advanced, they were in the material field very backward and that the Chinese were coming up with modern ideas and, therefore, economic and social reforms were inevitable. D.L. himself welcomed such reforms, but was of the view that they should be in accordance with the wishes of the Tibetan people. Since the Chinese had announced that they were endeavouring to improve the social, economic and cultural standards of the Tibetan people, it should be welcomed so long as it was not carried out against the wishes of the Tibetan people. That was the fundamental criterion by which all reform measures in Tibet were to be judged. When the D. L. had gone back to Lhasa, he told all his Tibetan officers of the Preparatory Committee that when the autonomous Governmental set up is brought into force, the Government of Tibet will have to be carried on by the Tibetan people themselves and that till they have adequate trained personnel carrying out the various activities of the Government, they should accept guidance from the Chinese Government. It was, of course, understood that in the long run the Tibetan people themselves would run their own Government. These declarations of the D.L. created a good feeling and strengthened the nationalist sentiment of the Tibetan people. These suggestions of the D.L., which were first expressed at Gyantse were brought to the notice of Tibetan students studying in the national minority institutions in China proper.PM. enquired how these ideas of the D.L. were conveyed to these Tibetan students and the D.L's reply was that Tibetans who went to China and met the students, conveyed them.
D.L. continued to say that afterwards Tibetan students in minority schools in Peking, etc., thought that this was good principle to be followed. The students, therefore, suggested to their Chinese teachers that further instructions to them should be on these lines, Viz., to make them capable of standing on their own legs and running their own Government in Tibet.P.M. [:] Before this, were the Tibetan students satisfied with the instructions given to them?
D.L. [:] They were not satisfied entirely, because they were not being taught about history and culture of Tibet. Since then (1956-57) Tibetan students started asking for more lectures on Tibetan culture, religion, history, etc., just like the study of Chine se history, culture, etc., which they were already undertaking.
D.L. said that "I have mentioned to Mr. Menon about these matters and he can explain them to P.M., if necessary."P.M. [:] When did the Kham troubles actually start?
P.N. Menon and the Dalai Lama at Siliguri station
D.L. continued: It was his hope as well as that of his government to improve Tibet further. They told the Chinese that whatever programme of reform was envisaged should be first checked and discussed with Tibetan officials, so that there was no defect or flaw in them while implementing them. The rebellion against the Chinese had already started in 1956-57 and by the time D.L. returned to Lhasa, the Tibetan people were alarmed at the drastic action taken by the Chinese against the Khampas. The troubles started in Kham because the Chinese wanted to push the pace of reform considerably. When the Chinese found that the people were not satisfied with them and their policies, they tried to make some slight changes by reducing their own staff (civil cadres), a minor form of retrenchment. The news from Kham steadily became worse and worse and D.L. felt this minor modification in policy in Tibet was a direct result of this. D.L. and the Tibetan Government tried hard to come to terms with Chinese.
D.L. [:] By the end of 1955.P.M. [:] So, there was trouble at the time of D.L.'s visit to India?
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. [:] Is Kham in the Chinese part or Tibetan part of Tibet?
D.L. [:] The troubles started in the Chinese part and by 1957 had spread to the Tibet part of Kham.P.M. [:] How did the troubles originally start?
D.L. [:] The Chinese pushed ahead with their 'liberation' policy in the southern area (Sadam) in 1956. The revolt of the population in Sadam sparked the uprising in Kham and spread to Lithang, and Chating as the reforms attempted were clearly intolerable to the people there.P.M. [:] Was the reform agrarian?
D.L. [:] No.
D.L. [:] It also included agrarian reforms.
D.L. then said that on account of this violent reaction of the people, the Chinese started saying in Tibet that they would carry out such reforms only in Chinese areas; they would introduce them only later in Tibet.P.M. [:] When did they say this?
D.L. [:] Before they held a meeting in 1954-55 at Tachienlu, they had said that such a reform will not be carried out in Tibet on the ground that since religion and traditional culture was deep-rooted there, any reform in Tibet will be with reference to the wishes of the people themselves.P.M. [:] Reforms. What does it mean?
D.L. [:] Agrarian, economic, social and other reforms.P.M. [:] Rebellion in Kham was the direct result of these reforms and because the people there did not like them?
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. [:] What did the Chinese do? Crush the rebellion?
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. [:] Was there much fighting?
D.L. [:] There was a very great fight. Many Chinese were killed.P.M. [:] Many Chinese killed? How many? I mean numbers.
D.L. [:] There was a great fight.P.M. [:] What were the casualties in the Khampa side? - heavy?
After some thought, D.L. said that in 1958 about 20,000 Chinese were killed in Kham. D.L. again said that sporadic fighting still continues in Chinese Kham.
D.L. [:] The Chinese loss is greater than that of the Tibetan side.P.M. [:] How is that ?
D.L. [:] One Khampa can fight with ten Chinese.P.M. [:] The Chinese have good arms and how is this possible?
D.L. explained that the Khampa's superiority lay in close in fighting. Their tactics were not to exchange many shots until the Chinese got very close and then the Khampas fought very well.PM. [:] Where do the Khampas get arms from?
D.L. [:] Since ages they have been an armed people. They have further captured arms from the Chinese.P.M. [:] The rebellion was in the Kham on the Chinese side and then it spread to Tibet part, although the reforms had not been introduced in the Tibetan part?
D.L. [:] Yes, because the Chinese started using strong words only recently and did not initiate reforms.P.M. [:] During the Kham troubles, did the Chinese use aerial bombing?
D.L. [:] Yes, many monasteries were damaged.P.M. [:] In Chinese or Tibetan area?
D.L. [:] Damage was done in the Chinese area of Kham.P.M. [:] After that?
D.L. [:] Since the great troubles in Lhasa recently, great damage has also been caused there.P.M. [:] When did this revolt spread to Tibetan areas?
D.L. continued: After the destruction of monasteries in Kham, monks of Kham fled their towns and villages and took to hills and the Chinese started anti-religious propaganda there.
D.L. [:] By the middle of 1957, viz. by the time D.L. returned.P.M. [:] What did the D.L. do about that?
D.L. [:] In 1956, Gyawa Karmapa (head of the Red-Head Sect) [Red Hat] and Ngapho [Ngabo Ngawang Jigme] Shape were sent to Kham to tell the people there to be peaceful. By 1958 the situation became much more tense in Kham and there was more Chinese aerial bombing and a stepping up of blasphemous antireligious propaganda in these areas.P.M. [:] What kind of blasphemous anti-religious propaganda? Was it done through papers or by speeches of leaders, etc.?
D.L. [:] In papers and in talks. The talks were started in the Committee, which considered the question of introducing communes in Kham and Kokonor areas. They said religion was very bad and introduced by a very bad man. So, Lamas should be eradicated in order to achieve real progress.P.M. [:] During this time, did the Chinese discuss the situation about the rebellion with D.L.?
D.L. [:] Yes. The topic of talk was that only a small number of people were involved and it was, therefore, easily suppressed.
D.L. [:] Whenever there was any contact with the Chinese, they played down the rebellion and D.L. got his information about the extent of the troubles from other sources.P.M. [:] Did they ever ask for D.L.'s support to suppress the rebellion?
P.M. [:] Even on the Tibetan side did they not ask for support?D.L. [:] Never.
D.L. [:] Only after the troubles took place in Lhoka [Southern Tibet] and Tsang [Central Tibet] areas, they asked.P.M. replied about one and a half hours.
D.L. enquired at this stage, how much more time the P.M. could spare him.
D.L. [:] So shortly religious activities in Kham and Amdo areas were completely stopped. Khampas on the Chinese side of Kham are suffering very much in consequence.P.M. [:] Have they suppressed the revolt completely?
DL [:] Very heavily suppressed. But guerilla fighting is going on although all inhabited areas have now been occupied by Chinese.P.M. [:] What is the reason for this request?
D.L. continued: By 1958 the Chinese started anti-religious propaganda in Lhasa itself. Usually, the Tibetan papers published in Kantze and Kokonor were never received in Lhasa. These papers were intentionally brought to Lhasa in 1958, so that people would study them. Although the Chinese tried to censor Kham news, the bad news from there spread to the rest of Tibet and the Chinese intention to harm the religion made the Tibetan people most unhappy. Although autonomy is said to have been given to Tibet, it is a sham autonomy. All suggestions come from the Chinese themselves and the Tibetans have to sign on the dotted line. By the end of last year, the people in Tibet changed their attitude towards the Chinese. It became worse by early this year. An invitation to D.L. to attend a theatrical function and the sudden fixing up of a certain date, viz, 10th March for it, alarmed the people. The people thought that the Chinese would take the D.L. forcibly away to China. Crowds gathered and what happened afterwards has already been conveyed through Mr. [P.N.] Menon. The people openly voiced their sentiments in demanding overthrow of Chinese rule and set up committees to rule themselves. The old local Government of Tibet tried their best to come to terms with the Chinese and pacify the people. It was a very critical time for the local Government and they were faced with a dilemma whether they were to go over to the Chinese or side with the People. They followed a policy of peace. At that time three letters from Gen. Tan Kwan San [General Tan Guansan, Acting Representative of the Central People's Government in Tibet and Political Commissar of the Tibet Military area Command] were received and D.L. and the Kashag also wrote letters. In their letters to the D.L., the Chinese mentioned (1) that the restoration of law and order in Lhasa was the responsibility of the local Tibetan Government; (2) dispersal of crowds to be carried out, otherwise there would be serious consequences; and (3) D.L. will either come over to the Chinese or show where he was actually staying in the Norbulingka [Summer Palace] compound by sending a plan of the actual palace in which he lived. This letter asking for the plan of the palace was accompanied by an explanation to the Dalai Lama by Ngapho [Ngabo] Shape.
D.L. [:] The reason is not known but from the trend of the letter the Chinese probably had the intention of destroying everything el se in Norbulingka except that palace. But on the dawn of 20th March they shelled the entire Norbulingka Palace with heavy artillery.P.M. [:] Has the D.L. seen his letters to the Chinese General?
D.L. emphasised that these letters of the Chinese did not contain any suggestion for coming to terms with the Tibetans.
In response to P.M.'s direct query, D.L. confirmed that he received 3 letters from the Chinese General and that he had sent the replies. Referring to the first letter, which D.L. wrote to Gen. Tan, he said at that moment Norbulingka was surrounded by the people and it was impossible for him to come out of the palace.
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. drew D.L.'s attention to his first letter. D.L. confirmed it. The second letter written by D.L. also was confirmed by D.L.
P.M. [:] D.L. puts the blame in part of his first letter to Gen. Tan entirely on the Tibetans?
D.L. [:] The reference could be to the Chinese as well.P.M. [:] No. The reference is clearly to the Tibetans.
D.L. [:] It was under Chinese provocation that Tibetan elements referred to in that letter acted as they did.P.M. [:] The second letter of Gen. Tan to the D.L. refers to military preparations of the Tibetan people of Lhasa and of Military provocation.
D.L. confirmed this.P.M. [:] Your second letter casts all the blame on the Tibetan people for the troubles and was this not supporting the Chinese thesis regarding these troubles?
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. [:] Was this what the D.L. felt at the time or was it what he just wanted to tell the Chinese?
D.L. [:] Such feelings as expressed in the letter can never be held by the D.L. against his people. But he has to give out such an explanation to the Chinese. He was trying to find a peaceful solution all the time. Till 16:00 hours on 17th Match he had hopes of finding a peaceful solution. However, from 10th to 17th March he had another idea and because of that he wrote like this. From 10th March onwards he was thinking of going away from Lhasa, but he did not want to create any suspicion in the minds of the Chinese.P.M. [:] Was D.L. preparing for it (leaving) if he was thinking of it for a week?
DL [:] No preparation. I only got hours' preparation, viz., from 16:00 hours on 17th March.P.M. referred to Gen Tan's last letter which said about the possible abduction of the D.L. by rebels.
P.M. [:] Did D.L. get this letter?
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. took D.L.'s letter of the 16th replying to the General and read out the second paragraph. DL confirmed having written this.
P.M. queried regarding the expression of intention of joining the Chinese secretly in that letter and asked D.L. if this was correct.
D.L. [:] The intention was to delude the Chinese.P.M. [:] Although the hope was not given up for a peaceful settlement?
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. [:] What kind of settlement was envisaged?
D.L. [:] It was hoped that the passions of the people in Norbulingka (consisting of Khampas, Tibetan people, etc.) would cool down.P.M. [:] Who were demonstrating in Lhasa?
D.L. [:] The people of Lhasa.P.M. [:] You mentioned Khampas?
D.L. [:] In Norbulingka there were about 2,000 Khampas volunteers who were guarding the palace.P.M. [:] How did they come? Secretly?
D.L. [:] No. The Khampas had collected in Lhasa.P.M. [:] Not invited?
D.L. [:] They were trying to send them away but they insisted on coming in.P.M. [:] Why did the Chinese not take any action till the 20th while all this was taking place?
D.L. [:] They were not fully prepared.P.M. [:] But they got reinforcements?
D.L. [:] Yes. They were stationed in 3 places in Lhasa.P.M. [:] Were they reinforced in the next few days?
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. [:] What was the normal Chinese military strength in Lhasa before the disturbances?
D.L. [:] It was a military secret. About 20,000 or so. It may not have been to that extent even. The Tibetans were kept in the dark about the strength of the Chinese troops.P.M. [:] How did they come? By lorry or by air?
D.L. [:] Soldiers in the outskirts of Lhasa were centralised. After the 20th they may have come up to Dan Shung aerodrome (near Lhasa) by air and then brought up by trucks.P.M. [:] While all this was happening, was anything happening in other parts of Tibet?
D.L. [:] Not in other parts of Tibet except at Tsethang, where some Chinese troops were surrounded by Khampas.P.M. [:] So a big change took place with the firing of shells or mortars which fell in the pond in Norbulingka.
D.L. [:] Because there were other reasons also. (1) The Chinese request for the exact place or building where D.L. stayed and (2) the Chinese had already started firing the Tibetans with rifles.P.M. [:] The Chinese because of D.L.'s letter, are entitled to think that he has been abducted.
D.L. [:] I agree.P.M. [:] That is, on the basis of this that Premier Chou-en Lai [Zhou Enali] goes on asserting this?
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. [:] That is why despite the Tezpur statementhttp://www.claudearpi.net/maintenance/uploaded_pics/Tezpur.pdf they do not believe it.
P.M. continued: Where was Panchen Lama all this time.
D.L. [:] At Shigatse.
D.L. continued: Now that the Prime Minister knows the full facts about these letters, D.L. would like to take guidance from him and in that connection, would like to say something. At 2200 hrs, on 17th March they left Lhasa. On 26th March they set up a new Tibetan Government and after leaving some officials in charge of that Government they came to India for shelter and guidance. D.L. continued: Indo-Tibetan bonds have been existing for thousands of years and from the geographical point of view India and Tibet are very close neighbours. The honour shown to D.L. and party during the Buddha Jayanti Celebrations in India had filled the entire Tibetan people with hope. At this time, it was only through India that peace can be restored in Tibet. Tibetans needed the real help of the people of India. D.L. continued: it was because of the backwardness of Tibet that they were in the present situation. The old generation of Tibetans had thought only of religion. The present situation is a result of their past mistakes. At the time of Indian independence they had wanted to establish sound and close relationship with India, but this did not corne off. Between 1947 and 1950, Tibetan officials had failed completely in this respect. At the present time, the entire Tibetan people were conscious of the need for reform in their country's political sphere. They felt that they should adopt the best methods in the political field and at the same time not harm their religion. If the Chinese make any interference in such kind of reformation, it would be clearly anti-religious. They think they have to lead their own life and the Chinese should not interfere. D.L. said whether in Tibet or in the Kham areas of China they are all Buddhists. The whole foundation of Tibetan tradition is based on religion, and if they cannot carry on on that basis, they would become like a people without their souls. If any changes are to be brought about in Tibet they should be brought about by the Tibetan people themselves and not by foreigners and especially the Chinese, who were non-religious. They must gain complete independence and attain the real peace which can only be had by the practice of religion. D.L. emphasised that the Tibetans were no longer so conservative and wanted reforms to be carried out but according to their own people's wishes. He had received many letters from his people asking for efforts to attain Tibet's independence in the long run. The Tibetan students in China have also been showing strong national feelings.Interrupting D.L., P.M. said emphatically: Let us be relevant. I agreed with all this conception of a new world, etc. I myself would like to see a new India, but these are only wishes and one does not know whether I would actually live to see it. We have to see the situation as it is and understand realities. We understand about religion. If religion is really strong and dynamic it should be able to face up to a situation like this and if it is not able to do so, then there is something radically wrong with it. There are only two choices: either an armed struggle in which case the party with the bigger arms wins. The example of the students and their nationalist feeling is no doubt a good one and it goes to prove that you cannot convert a whole nation into anything unless they are themselves convinced that it would conform to their interests.
P.M. continued: If one has to fight for anything one should choose one's weapons carefully weapons which are to one's own advantage and not to that of the enemy. Violence is alright if one can be equal or superior to the enemy in arms. One must also know how to use violence in that case. I am not criticising but only analysing the factors of the situation in Tibet. Spiritual efforts and physical force are two different things. In an actual physical conflict the physical force that can be brought to play and its results will have to be taken into account. Something to this effect I had spoken to the D.L. at the time I met him during the Buddha Jayanti Celebrations. Speaking practically and not philosophically, Tibet became an economically and socially backward country. Such a country is physically weak and a poor country which cannot easily resist the force of a powerful country. To say "Now give us a chance to become a strong country" ignores the actual position. We cannot go on, on that basis. In all such cases, the effort of the people themselves is required to improve their position. Take India's own case. We had a background of relative backwardness ourselves and how hard the Indian people had to struggle before they actually achieved independence.
P.M. then asked: Did D.L. at any time speak to Premier Chou-en Lai and Gen. Tan that autonomy given to Tibet was not working or it was not real autonomy.
D.L. [:] Yes, I spoke to Chang Kuo-hua [Zhang Guohua (1914-1972); Chinese politician; led Chinese forces into Tibet in 1951; commander of PLA in Tibet; Commander, Tibet Military Region, and First Secretary, Tibet Autonomous Region, 1965-67; suppressed Red Guard movement in Tibet, 1966-67; Director of Communist Party Affairs in South West China, 1967-68; First Political Commissar, Chengdu Military Region, 1967-68; Chairman, Szechwan Province Revo1utionary Committee, 1968-72], in 1959 about the reforms in Kham being carried out against the wishes of the people there, but not about autonomy.
|Panchen Lama in 1959|
D.L. [:] In Delhi.P.M. [:] Why did he not say this not once but a hundred times to Premier Chou en Lai [Zhou Enlai] that there was not real autonomy in Tibet? Now to say that it was not working is not very effective.
P.M. went on: D.L. stated at Tezpur or somewhere that from May 58 onwards the Chinese suspected him-what actually happened then?
D.L. [:] The main point is that when they (Tibetans) tried to resist some of the harmful policies the Chinese opposed them and got angry with them. Since then, they are suspicious and now they are called rebels. D.L. confessed that it was their mistake not to have mentioned to Premier Chou en Lai about autonomy. The Chinese, although outwardly make a show of welcoming criticism, were extremely angry when any criticism is leveled against them. There was, therefore, no change to tell them about this.P.M. [:] The choice is between recourse to arms or standing up to the Chinese in frank talks in a direct manner. As regards help from India, undoubtedly there is a good deal of sympathy for Tibet in this country, undoubtedly, we do not want 'the Tibetan religion to be suppressed or submerged by the Chinese or by Communism. But exactly what do they want us to do? We cannot go to war with China or Tibet and even that would not help Tibet? What else do they expect us to do?
D.L. [:] Tibetans expect the achieving of independence in the long run.P.M. [:] Let us face facts. One cannot bring heaven to the people in India even if I wish it. The whole world cannot bring freedom to Tibet unless the whole fabric of the Chinese State is destroyed. U.S.A., U.K., and others or anybody else cannot do this at present. D.L. should realise that in the present context Tibet's independence would mean the complete break-up of the Chinese State and it is not possible to envisage it as likely to happen. To defeat China is not easy. Only a world war, an atomic war can perhaps be the precursor of such possibility. Can one start a world war? Can India start a world war? Let us talk of the present and not of the future and be more realistic.
D.L. [:] Help is required for the present juncture. Since 20th March, the Chinese have been killing indiscriminately and burning large numbers of people. Can't this be stopped?P.M. [:] How can I stop it? How can I stop anything from happening inside Tibet?
D.L. [:] There are killings by machine-gunning from the air. If there can be only a solution to this?P.M. [:] There is a definite contradiction between this talk of a fight and this fear of killing. Ultimately if Tibet's independence is to be achieved, it will be due to its own people's courage and ability to stand up to suffering, whatever it may be, and not due to any help anybody el se in the whole wide world can give.
D.L. [:] We do not have a speck of a desire to fight the Chinese violently for our independence. It was the Chinese who said that the Tibetans started the fight but this is completely untrue.P.M. [:] It does not matter who started the fight and there is no good complaining. Only old women complain! Physically it is not possible to fight on behalf of Tibet. Even such a suggestion will harm them and their cause. Sympathy at present for Tibet cannot be converted into help by any country. D.L. should be under no illusion and, therefore, should fashion his policy with reference to actuality. Gen. Chiang Kai Sheikh's name is mud and an association with him would only tend to make the cause much more hopeless and likely to end in complete failure. U.S.A., U.K. can do nothing. Therefore, at the present moment if the D.L. reads newspapers he will find the anger of the Chinese against India. See for example the Panchen Lama's statement.
[Note: According to press reports, on 19 April 1959 in Peking, the Panchen Lama claimed that the Dalai Lama had been coerced by India into making his statement at Tezpur on 18 April; on 22 April he accused India of expansionist designs on Tibet and declared that Tibet had been a part of China since the thirteenth century].
We have gone to the limit of our efforts. It is true not much has been done. Today we cannot even privately advise Chinese, because of this suspicion. The so-called help being given to you would close all the doors to such help. D.L. would remember that P.M. had spoken about Hungary. The troubles there aroused tremendous feelings and sympathy for hundreds of Hungarians were shot down but they could still not do anything except to help the refugees. Therefore, we have to consider all these things.
P.M. then referred to the requests for interviews with D.L.: The case of Harrer, who is known to D.L. and who wants to see D.L. While there was no objection in principle, the suggestion that he might be invited to Austria or to U.S.A., etc., would make the D.L. look like a piece of merchandise. This is an insulting way of dealing with His Holiness and it is clear that these attempts were merely efforts to try to make as much money out of him as is possible. In America, there is no real sympathy for Tibet. Chiang Kai Sheikh has no sympathy. In fact, he has quarreled with P.M. 12 or 13 years ago because P.M. has said Tibet was a separate country. They all want to exploit Tibet in their cold war with the Soviet Union.
P.M. continued: As a practical question, what can we do about it? We are anxious to help but our capacity to help is very limited and the moment we try to extend it, it would stop even that capacity. War was not possible. Cursing the Chinese was no alternative. It would only stop every possibility of a peaceful settlement. P.M. himself intended to kept very quiet except when necessary in speaking in Parliament. His own advice would be to let the present excitement go down so that talks would be possible. The Chinese say India wants to grab Tibet and with this suspicion they suspect everything we say. P.M. was trying in these few moments to explain some basic facts to the D.L. He asked for the D.L.'s reactions to what the P.M. had already said.
D.L. [:] The Prime Minister has been kind enough to express the views of India. D.L. agreed India should be in the middle and try to help Tibet through China. At the present juncture the attempt should be to develop good relations between India and China so as to find a solution to Tibet. They cannot expect any military help from India knowing fully well the experience of Korea in the event of a conflict developing on the basis of a cold war.P.M. [:] At the moment, our relations with China are bad. We have to recover the lost ground. By threats to China or condemnation of China we do not recover such ground. On the other hand, we do not show any fear of China or surrender to China's strength. We have yet to maintain good relations with China - a middle but difficult course. Does D.L. agree with this?
D.L. [:] Yes.P.M. [:] The mere fact of D.L. living in India has some consequence to India, to Tibet, to China and to the rest of the world. In China it is immediately one of irritation and suspicion. D.L. being in India, keeps alive the question of Tibet in the minds of the world. Tibet, as it were, cannot close up without news. It becomes a difficult thing to manage. The tendency of the Chinese authorities would be to crush Tibet as soon as possible. Nobody can help. I cannot understand how the Khampas can resist overwhelming Chinese force? One should, therefore, not close the doors of settlement; otherwise, it becomes a fight to the death.
P.M. continued: I am glad that the D.L. issued a statement before coming here and not after reaching Mussoorie. This statement is also suspected by the Chinese. In the main it covers all points. P.M. then advised no more long statements. The only kind of statements, if at all necessary, could relate about peace and ending of fighting in Tibet. An indication that despite all her sufferings Tibet had no quarrel with the Chinese may be helpful. P.M. deprecated the taking up of an attitude like "we must have independence or nothing else." This would not help, nor would the cursing of China .help. Stress on peace and stopping of fighting and killing will help in keeping the subject in the right place and level.
P.M. then enquired whether D.L. thought this approach was all right.
D.L. [:] Judging the situation in Tibet, this is correct.P.M. [:] Both the Tibetan situation and the DL's presence in India also warrant the adoption of such an attitude. For a month or six weeks there need not be any statements.
P.M. then enquired about the report about the setting up of a new Government and the details regarding it were given by the D.L.
P.M. [:] Certain consequences follow from this. We as a country cannot recognise this Government under international law. The moment we do this, we will have to withdraw our C.G. [Consul General, Major Chhiber] in Lhasa and lose all touch with Tibet.
D.L. enquired whether our C.G. was not responsible to the old Tibetan Government and since it has dissolved, did not the position change?P.M. [:] It is an act of war against China, a step like that of withdrawing our C.G and recognising the new Government.
P.M. then referred to D.L. and his party's contacts with this new rebel centre and said that while some contacts for news, etc., may be good, if it is publicly known that they are directing the rebellion from here, then international questions will come up.
D.L. frankly admitted that they had no time to think about the consequences of setting up of a new Government and its position under international law. The difficulties of communication were there and they had certainly no intention of embarrassing India, since he did not want India's relations with any other country to be at all adversely affected.P.M. [:] It also comes in the way of a settlement. If D.L. has agents, etc., it should not be openly known and kept secret.
P.M. mentioned that he had been talking for three and a half hours and could perhaps talk more. But this was not possible; particularly speaking, we should watch events and reactions for the next 2 to 3 weeks. D.L. can send messages orally or in writing by bag to Delhi. In the near future, P.M. cannot see him. After a while, when D.L. wants to come to Delhi he can come. If any necessity arises, Foreign Secretary [Dutt] can come and see him. P.M. expressed a hope of meeting D.L. later, of course, but not in the near future.
D.L. thanked the P.M. for his kind suggestions. He will convey it to the Kashag and will give full consideration to them.P.M. [:] [P.N] Menon will be here and can send messages from you.
PM. then raised the question of Tibetan refugees. A large number of Tibetans were coming through our frontiers. If the number goes on increasing it will become a big problem. While not wanting to deny refuge we do not also want to received too vast a number either.
D.L. [:] Indeed, it will be a great problem for India. In the circumstances, Tibetans cannot go anywhere except to India. They rush to save themselves from the Chinese killings and he would appeal to the Government to be kind. As regards economic condition, D.L. wished they should look after themselves so that they are not parasites on the Government of India.P.M. [:] How many does he expect to come in as refugees?
D.L. [:] It may not be more than 2,000.P.M. [:] We have already got two thousand. It is not so much the economic aspect. It causes unhappiness to those who cannot fit themselves into the new environment and Tibetans cannot live in plains. He will keep in touch with D.L. about this.
P.M. then pointedly told D.L. that he was no prisoner here and can go for walks, etc., in Mussoorie. As far as crowded parts were concerned, it is advisable to go by car. The entourage can also go out; but preferably in small groups and there was the language difficulty also. P.M. strongly advised D.L. not to have too many dealings with the press.
D.L. entirely agreed about the press.P.M. [:] How did DL and party come out of Lhasa-in small groups?
D.L. [:] Groups of five. Sometimes one by one and then joined as groups.
P.M. enquired about the journey, whether it was extremely difficult.
D.L. [:] It was fairly difficult.P.M. enquired about how the mother and members of the family took to the journey and whether it was too much of a strain for them.
D.L. [:] Not so difficult.P.M. [:] Certainly. How he could do this, D.L. will have to consider carefully.
D.L. then thanked the Prime Minister and expressed his gratefulness for sparing so much time. He enquired whether as suggested by P.M., he could carry on religious activities in India and outside India?
D.L. then expressed a desire to meet the political officer in Sikkim [Apa Pant].P.M. [:] Some time later. Partly because our Communists have been specially accusing Political Officer, Sikkim, of intriguing against the Chinese.
F.S. [Foreign Secretary Dutt] mentioned that the Political Officer, Sikkim, could be called up to Delhi for consultations and then come to Mussoorie.
P.M. [:] He will come a little later. D.L. will be busy with many things. It may be worthwhile improving his Hindi and English.
D.L. [:] I know a few sentences in Hindi. Meanwhile I am thinking of learning English.P.M. [:] If D.L. wants any help, we will provide them.
D.L. mentioned that learning English might help him to understand international law and practice better.Finally D.L. expressed the desire that continued guidance may be given to him in future as well by the Government of India.
The meeting ended with D.L. expressing once again his gratefulness to the P.M. for coming and spending such a long time with him.
The Prime Minister later gave a Press Conference.
The Dalai Lama met the press only on June 20.