Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In kalyug we shall return ahimsa for ahimsa, but if anybody resort to force against us we shall meet it with force

I am posting today, what is probably the last public speech of Sardar Patel.
On November 11, 1950, the Deputy Prime Minister of India addressed a meeting organized by the Central Aryan Association to commemorate the 67th death anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
This raises a serious question: very little research has been done on the last weeks of Patel's life.
It is highly regrettable.
One of the problems is that all historical documents of this period remains classified in the MEA.
Why should the Modi Government follow a Congress policy is difficult to comprehend.

The Sardar passed away on December 15, two days after being 'shifted' to Mumbai (because 'Delhi was too cold').
What do we know about the last one month of Patel's life?
Practically nothing, except that he opposed Nehru's policy on Tibet.
His prophetic letter on Tibet written on November 7 raises further questions.
A note sent to Bajpai shows that Patel had got his information from the General Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs (Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai), who was getting regular information from Sumul Sinha, the Head of the Indian Mission in Lhasa.
Another unanswered question: did Nehru acknowledge Patel's 'prophetic' letter addressed which raised number of serious security issues for India.
Probably not.
Did Nehru inform Patel about his decision in early November, to radically change India's Tibet policy, as reflected in Nehru's note addressed to B.N. Rau, the Indian Representative to the UN on November 18.
Probably not.
Patel, by the end of November, was a dejected man and he fell sick.On December 13, after he had been 'shifted' to Mumbai, Patel was divested of all his portfolios by the Prime Minister, he was not even informed.
He was deeply hurt and he passed away 2 days later.
On that day, ministers were told to continue their business as usual.

Here is a report of his last speech.

Sardar Patel Exhorts people to stand unitedly to see conditions in Tibet and Nepal and defend their country
The Hindustan Times, 11 November 1950

"In this kalyug we shall return ahimsa for ahimsa. But if anybody resorted to force against us we shall meet it with force." 

Sardar Patel said in Delhi that the present or potential dangers arising from what was happening in Tibet and Nepal made it incumbent on the people to rise above party squabbles and unitedly defend their newly-won freedom. The path shown by Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Dayanand, he added, would help the people to tide over these none too easy times.
Sardar Patel was addressing a meeting organized by the Central Aryan Association to commemorate the 67th death anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, social reformer and thinker.
Referring to the recent developments in Nepal, Sardar Patel said: "In this country, our near neighbour, the Raja has sought sanctuary in the Indian Embassy. How could we refuse to give him refuge? We had to give it.
Those who are wielding real power today in Nepal do not accept the Raja as the head of the State. They have installed the Raja's three-year-old grandson on the gaddi. They want us to accept this position. How can we do so?"
Sardar Patel emphasized that the 'internal feud' in Nepal had laid India's frontiers in the north wide open to outside dangers. It was imperative, therefore, for Indians to be well prepared to meet any challenge that might come from any quarter.
Sardar Patel criticized Chinese intervention in Tibet and said that to use the `sword' against the traditionally peace-loving Tibetan people was unjustified. No other country in the world was as peace-loving as Tibet. India did not believe, therefore, that the Chinese Government would actually use force in settling the Tibetan question.
"The Chinese Government," he said, "did not follow India's advice to settle the Tibetan issue peacefully. They marched their armies into Tibet and explained this action by talking of foreign interests intriguing in Tibet against China. But this fear is unfounded: no outsider is interested in Tibet. India made this very plain to the Chinese Government. If the Chinese Government had taken India's advice, resort to arms would have been avoided."
Continuing, Sardar Patel said that nobody could say what the outcome of Chinese action would be. But the use of force ultimately created more fear and tension. It was possible that when a country got drunk with its own military strength and power, it did not think calmly over all issues.
But use of arms was wrong. In the present state of the world, such events might easily touch off a new world war, which would mean disaster for mankind.
In these difficult times, Sardar Patel said, the duty of the Indian people lay not in fleeing from trouble but facing it boldly. That was the real message of both Swami Dayanand and Mahatma Gandhi. "Do not let cowardice cripple you. Do not run away from danger. The three-year-old freedom of the country has to be fully protected. India today is surrounded by all sorts of dangers and it is for the people today to remember the teachings of the two great saints and face fearlessly all dangers."
The Deputy Prime Minister continuing declared: "In this kalyug we shall return ahimsa for ahimsa. But if anybody resorted to force against us we shall meet it with force." Sardar Patel said that Swami Dayanand was one of the two great saints Gujarat gave to the world. Although Swami Dayanand and Mahatma Gandhi were born in Gujarat, they had dedicated their lives to the service of mankind. Ultimately they belonged to not only the whole of India but the world. It was for the people now to understand the teachings of these two saints and follow them in their actual lives.
The greatest contribution of Swami Dayanand, he said, was that he saved the country from falling deeper into the morass of helplessness. He actually laid the foundations of India's freedom. A movement against untouchability, later to be supported by Gandhiji, was launched, and reconversion to Hinduism of the already forcibly converted persons was started. Swami Dayanand put a complete stop to the tendency in those days of preaching adharma in the name of dharma, which had made the Hindu Dharma the laughing stock of the world. ,
"Swami Dayanand wiped off," he said, "the dirt and grime that had settled on the Hindu Dharma. He swept aside the cloud of superstition shrouding it and let in light."
In the Indian Constitution untouchability had been declared a crime and Hindi accepted as the national language. It was actually Swami Dayanand, Sardar Patel said, who first propagated that Hindi be made the national language.
People should also remember that Swamiji did not get foreign education. He was the product of the Indian culture. Although it was true that they in India had to borrow whatever was good and useful from other countries, it was right and proper that Indian culture was accorded its due place.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Why China will change: The Tibet factor (An Interview with Lodi Gyari)

Lodi Gyari Rinpoche is no more. He passed away yesterday morning in a San Francisco hospital, where he was being treated for liver cancer. 
Rinpoche was 69. His family members were reported to be with him.
Gyari Rinpoche was born in 1949 in Nyarong in eastern Tibet, where he received a traditional monastic education as the tulku of Khenchen Jampal Dewe Nyima from Lumorap Monastery. 

In 1959, he fled with his family to India.  
In 1970, Rinpoche had been one of the founding members of the Tibetan Youth Congress.
In 1982 and 1984, he was a junior member of the delegation which went to China to 'negotiate'. 
See my book, Dharamsala and Beijing: the Negotiations that never were. 
From 2002 to 2009, he conducted the talks with China as the Dalai Lama's Special Enjoy. 

I am posting today a twelve-year old interview with Lodi Gyari Rinpoche.
It appeared on April 20, 2006 in under the title Why China will change: The Tibet factor

Here is the link...

A few days before his departure for Beijing for the fifth round of talks with the People's Republic of China, the Dalai Lama's chief negotiator and Special Envoy in Washington, DC Lodi Gyari Rinpoche spoke to Claude Arpi.
Examining the dynamics of the 'dialogue process' with China, he shared his frustrations and hopes for the future. He also explained how difficult it has been for the Dalai Lama to abandon his claim for independence and to accept that Tibet becomes a 'genuinely autonomous' part of the People's Republic.
He also examined an interesting factor which may play a role in finding a solution to the Tibetan tangle: The revival of Buddhism in China.

What can you tell us about the negotiations that you are conducting with China?

The Tibetan movement is a very unique movement. This can be seen from the way we are conducting the negotiations with the People's Republic of China. We are doing it in a different way. If one day, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's' efforts succeed, it will not only have an impact on the six million Tibetans, but it will also be a breakthrough for humanity, because of the nature of our negotiations.
Even for someone like me, engaged in the negotiations, I see it more as a spiritual practice than an exercise in diplomacy. Let me explain this. I remember very vividly that in 1987, when His Holiness first presented the 'Middle Way approach' in a formal document, he consulted a few people outside of the Tibetan leadership.
One of them was former (US) President (Jimmy) Carter. His Holiness has a lot of respect for President Carter, not because he had been the US president, but because His Holiness believes he is very wise and religious minded (in fact he became closer to us after he left the White House). So I flew directly from New Delhi to New York to Minneapolis, where President Carter was staying at that time, to show him an 8-page document, which later became the 'Strasbourg Proposal'.
He really took time to read it through (he is famous for that) and took nearly one hour to study it very carefully. Then he turned to me and asked: "What is His Holiness' bottom line?" I told him: "This is the bottom line." He was surprised: "If this is the bottom line, you have to start from somewhere else."
I responded to President Carter saying this issue was raised, but His Holiness' position is that he is not a politician and that he was a simple monk who wants to be really sincere and transparent and place on the table what he really wants.
It is because of such a nature of our negotiations position that I feel our success, when it happens, will be a major breakthrough in the art of negotiation.

Was it difficult for the Dalai Lama?

It has been extremely difficult for His Holiness. When he chose 'the Middle Way' path, there were tremendous protests from his own people. This strong opposition came from people who were ready to give their lives for the cause. And as someone who served His Holiness very closely and has been intimately involved in the process, I can tell you, it was very painful. It was certainly a difficult thing for those of us who had the honour to be associated with him. But it was even more difficult for His Holiness to take such a decision.
He showed that he was a real leader, because a real leader has sometimes to take unpopular decisions. He showed that he had the courage to take difficult decisions. I always share this with my Chinese colleagues to give them an idea of the extent His Holiness has gone to work for a mutually satisfactory solution.
I would like to mention a personal experience. My mother was one of the first women to take on the fight against the Chinese. She was quite well known. Though she was a very gentle woman, she never hesitated to fight the Chinese.
When I accompanied His Holiness to Strasbourg to present the Proposal, she was deeply upset with me. Until His Holiness' presentation of his proposal to the European Parliament, I would keep this document under my pillow because it was extremely confidential.
When I returned from Strasbourg, the first thing my mother told me: "If I had known that the documents that you were so preciously guarding were this Proposal, I would have ripped it apart."
This is just to give you an idea about the mindset of the Tibetan people when they first heard of the Proposal. This shows how difficult the process has been.

Tell us more about your involvement in this dialogue.

My first trip to China was in 1982, when I was chairman of the Tibetan parliament. I was part of the high level exploratory delegation sent by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When we first landed in China, the Chinese officials came forward to greet us. For a moment, I did not know what to do: if I shake hand with them, it would a betrayal of the thousands Tibetans as well as my family members.
At that moment, I had a flashback of my grandmother and my brothers who died under indescribable circumstances. I thought that if I shake hands, I would betray all those Tibetan who died. Many Tibetans had a similar experience.
Despite all this, we are today engaging the Chinese because we believe that it is the best solution. From this angle also you can see how important the dialogue process is. This is certainly not just diplomacy. It is the background of our dialogue with China.

How would you describe the negotiations?
Usually some kind of glamour is associated with negotiations of this nature, but in our case, it is not like this. There is a real human approach. That is why I believe that the impact of this type of dialogue goes far beyond the Tibetan people and the Tibetan plateau.
Further, if these efforts of His Holiness bear some fruits, it can bring about some fundamental shift in China. You may think it is too ambitious, but if it sincerely done, it is possible though it is difficult. From this point of view also it is very important that our process succeed.

Does anybody else in the world show interest in the Sino-Tibetan dialogue?

Lately, there is a renewed concern about China, especially in Washington, DC. There was a time when there was so much enthusiasm about China: it was considered as the most important country to be courted. It was the biggest market that ever existed. China could get away with everything. But things have changed.
If the Middle East developments had not happened, it would have come even earlier, but there is today a great concern about China; some people even see China as a threat.
I tell my American friends: "Well your concern is real, but You can not solve anything through confrontation or by using force. You should make China more friendly and less isolated."
That is why I think that with the positive attitude of His Holiness, the Tibetan issue can be a tremendously positive factor for the future of China. I do not say this in an idealist way, but am being very practical.

Can you give us some examples?

Zhao Ziyang, the former Chinese premier, died recently after spending many years under house arrest. When he was critically ill, we received a message from one of his sons: 'My father is very ill, can you ask His Holiness to pray for him?' We assumed that this request came because the son was interested in Buddhism. I passed the request to His Holiness who prayed for him. Then after the death of Zhao Ziyang came a communication from all his children thanking His Holiness for praying for their father.
But what surprised me most is when we were informed that virtually the last word of Zhao Ziyang was the name of His Holiness. We are talking about a person who reached the highest level of the Chinese hierarchy (general secretary of the Communist party and premier).
This illustrates the extent of reverence for His Holiness even in China today. There are many other instances.
I do not believe that it is too far-fetched to think that the Tibetan issue can have a profound impact on tomorrow's China. This sentiment is shared by many Chinese. I see this through my contacts not only with the Chinese government, but with Chinese of all shades.
I am surprised and encouraged to come across Chinese in the government, in the Communist party, but also this new class of rich Chinese entrepreneurs who believe that what China really needs is the presence of His Holiness.

Are you trying to negotiate the future of the Tibetan people?
If you look at the Tibetan plateau, you see that Tibet is the giver of life: all the major (Asian) rivers have their sources in Tibet. Perhaps in a few years time, definitely in 50 years time, people will be fighting wars over water.
Recently, I dined with some senior Indian officials. I was telling them that it was very smart of them to invite the Saudi king as chief guest for the Indian Republic Day. They said their prime minister made a special exception and went to receive the king at the airport. I said: "Yes, after all, he is the custodian of the most holy shrine for the Muslims." They said: "Yes, he is also the custodian of oil."
Unfortunately, the time will come when there will be a scarcity of what we today take for granted, particularly resources like water. You do not need to be a prophet to know that there will be shortage of water in 50 years time. Just with that consideration alone, imagine how important the plateau of Tibet is.
You know that former Chinese premier Zhu Rongji took the wise decision to stop the deforestation in Tibet. He took the decision not because he cared for the environment, certainly not for the sake of the Tibetans, but he realized that the floods in China were due to the deforestation in Tibet, which was not natural ones, but man-made.
For many decades, the Chinese authorities had not cared for the Tibetan plateau, thinking that whatever they can take from Tibet will only benefit them. But at the end the people of China began to suffer much more than the Tibetans.
So you can see that the whole issue of Tibet is larger than the interest of Tibet and the Tibetan people, and has wider ramifications.

What about India?

In terms of geopolitics, it is very encouraging that there is today much more trade relations between India and China. It is not the Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai relation, which was very unfortunate, but a much more rational relation. But then, it would be an illusion if anyone in South Block (the Delhi area where India's ministry of external affairs is located) feels that there could be a real progress in the relations with China without solving the problem of Tibet. It would be very naïve.
For centuries, Tibet acted as a buffer between these two great Asian civilisations. Now we can become a bridge. A buffer was important during the 19th and the 20th century to bring a certain amount of stability: It was like a wall separating empires during what is known as 'the Great Game.'
Today we do not need a buffer, but a bridge. Tibet could play that unique role, to be the bridge. This could help find a lasting and genuine solution. A solution in which the Tibetan issue would not be considered would not be lasting.
A genuine and lasting solution will be in the interests of these two great Asian nations. No one else than Tibet can help to bridge the difference between India and China. Though we are very much part of the Indian civilization, many people feel the Tibetan language must be similar to Chinese language, just because of the fact that Tibet is under China. Similarly, they believe that the Tibetan culture or civilisation is similar to the Chinese.
I have to explain that our link is much deeper with the Indian civilisation. His Holiness describes the link between the Tibetan and Indian civilisations as a filial link. Many aspects of the Indian civilisation have been kept intact in Tibet.
His Holiness jokes and says that the Indian civilisation has been put in a deep freezer on the Tibetan plateau. One of the good things out of our misfortune is that many texts, the ancient wisdom of India, has been preserved in Tibet.
Today scholars in Sarnath are retranslating these texts into Sanskrit or Pali. But by circumstances, we are politically and otherwise very much part of the Chinese political orbit. This fact is also a positive factor.

What is the status of your negotiations today?

The first round of negotiations dates from 1982, when the first Tibetan high level exploratory delegates went to China. More recently, I went thrice to China after 2002 and we had a fourth round of talks in Geneva in January 2005. Soon, I will go back to China to conduct the 5th round of talks.
It is a very slow process; it is going to take a long time, before we can make substantial progress. I always tell my Tibetan friends: "Don't be in a hurry and don't ask me to hurry." We should not allow ourselves to be forced into an agreement too quickly. After all, we have already waited very long.
His Holiness is in good health; we have time. We are committed and optimistic and we will continue very slowly.

Are you optimistic about the outcome of the talks?

Yes, I am hopeful, because if I had lost hope, I would have no business to conduct these talks. If I did not believe in this process, it would be immoral for me to continue to lead this team. I do it as my spiritual practice.
His Holiness is not only my political leader, but also my guru. If I had any doubt in my heart, my job would be to go to His Holiness and tell him: "Your Holiness, please take me out of this business because I do not believe in it."

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Party carries the people in its heart …when they are away from the border

'Happy' relocated Tibetans in their new home
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) policy on the Indian borders is two-fold: one, to build ‘model’ villages (the villagers are said the ‘Guardians of the sacred land and the builders of happy homes’); two, to relocate recalcitrant Tibetans to place further away from the sensitive Indian borders.

Li Keqiang’s visit

Remember Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Southern Tibet on July 25. The Premier went directly to Nyingchi (Nyingtri in Tibetan) Prefecture (now City) bordering Arunachal Pradesh.
He visited a village (Shiga village?) in Mainling County; it is a new village inhabited by Monpas.
Why Monpas in this area?
According to a press release, the inhabitants of this ‘Monpa’ village have been relocated from 'impoverished areas'.
The ‘impoverished’ region is the wealthy Metok County.
The Chinese Premier asked a ‘relocated’ villager: “What is the main source of income? How much could you make in a year? What about your health care and children’s education? What kind of difficulties do you still have now?”
Kunsang, one of the villagers, told Li that his family moved from Metok County, where ‘road travel is fairly difficult’.
This is rather surprising considering that after a tunnel was opened in 2013, the area is doing rather well, thanks to the tea plantation and large income brought by tourism; at the same time, the Chinese propaganda kept insisting that Metok, after the arrival of the all-weather road (via the tunnel), is doing well.
Better communications, are the positive ‘changes’ often mentioned for Metok.
Kunsang explained to the Premier that his family has now an income of 150,000 yuan a year (US $ 2,400), thanks to farming and tourism. Further, the State “ensured health care service and children’s education program.” There are a total of 72 households in the new ‘relocated’ village and 90% of families have similar income. Li affirmed that he was really pleased “to see that the villagers have cast off poverty, though the relocation program and lived a prosperous life.”
It is difficult to understand why this family was shifted from Metok to Mainling County. The only reason can be: the Party wants only ‘safe’ Tibetans on the borders with India.

Received by the border forces
Strengthening the border north of Bhutan
A few days ago, another article appeared in the French edition of China Tibet Online, it was titled: “Relocation of the villagers of Lhodrak: mission over”
It affirmed “After a first wave of successful relocation on October 15, a second wave is now over.”
Lhodrak, the legendary birthplace of Marpa the Translator is located north of the Bhutanese border.
An explanation is given with several telling pictures: “The villagers' relocation project represents the completion of scheme which is part of the strategy of the CPP’s Central Committee's for strengthening of the border. It is also a good example to illustrate that ‘the Party carries the people in its heart’, it provides a housing solution to families in need, and a strengthening of the masses on the borders and a strengthening of the border defence.”
Tibetan ‘uniforms’ are clearly provided for the photo op.

Relocation started long ago
On October 19, The China Daily published another article on “Relocation raises living standards for Lhopas”.
Lhopa or Lhobas, according to Wikipedia is “any of a diverse amalgamation of Sino-Tibetan-speaking tribes living in and around Pemako, a region in southeastern Tibet.” It included Metok and Zayul counties in Nyingchi Prefecture and Lhuntse County in Lhoka (also known as Shannan). The Chinese government officially recognizes Lhoba as one of the 56 ethnic minorities in China.
The article affirmed: “The lives of members of the Lhoba ethnic group in the Tibet Autonomous Region have improved markedly in recent decades, thanks to the reform and opening-up policy that was launched 40 years ago.”
What were these reforms?
It is explained that until about 50 years ago, the Lhobas were savage, they lived in the forest as hunters: “Now, about 3,000 Lhobas live in Tibet, in sparse communities such as the group in Mainling county.”
A Lhoba named Dawa was interviewed by the newspaper: "As hunters on the mountain, we lived in simple wooden sheds and our diet mainly consisted of meat from animals we hunted, corn we grew, and a few edible wild herbs. People often suffered from hunger, and they were forced to exchange bears' gallbladders and the skins of the animals they hunted for daily necessities such as grain, salt, tea leaves and clothes.”
But in 1985, a first group of 18 households, totaling 80 people including Dawa, were relocated from remote mountain and forest areas to Tsedro, a village where they were given houses, fields and livestock. Since then, the number of households has risen to 41, with more than 190 people.
This was probably one of the first cases of ‘relocation’.
But today’s relocation is done more systematically way and on a much larger scale.

The Modern Villages
On October 19, China Tibet News reported that since the beginning of 2018, Tsona County, near of Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh has been “vigorously promoting the construction of border well-off villages.”
We are told that Tsona County has invested 519 million yuan in the construction projects of 9 border well-off villages which can benefit 1961 people of 617 households. Some 42.3% of the total project quantity has been completed, and an investment of 2.2 billion yuan has been spent.
In May, China Tibet News said that Lepo Valley, the first village in Tibet, north of the Tawang district, boasted of a rich vegetation and clear waters: “With impressive natural scenery and unique ethnic customs, Magmang ecological civilization village is also situated in Lepo Valley, Tsona County. …The construction of Magmang ecological civilization demonstration village began on March of 2014 and was completed on December. On January of 2015, this village was put into operation. In 2016, Magmang village was awarded the name "China's beautiful leisure village’ by China's Ministry of Agriculture.”
China has 26 national key tourist attractions; Lepo Valley is on the list.
A new scheme is now implemented, "Slowing down the speed of tour, enjoying the sea of azaleas in Lepo Valley", it prolonged the peak season said the authorities.
Dekyi Tsomo, a 27-year-old villager of Magmang, told the journalist: "Previously, houses in the village looked fairly rundown, and all roads leading to the village are muddy. Nowadays, the houses we live in are comfortable and big, with underfloor heating and hot water supply. This kind of house costs more than 400,000 yuan. We only pay 120,000 yuan, the other is paid by the government. Facilities in family inns are provided by the government, for which we all feel grateful.”
The Chinese website concludes: “Magmang village persists in following the notion that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, focusing on the ecological conservation and promoting ecotourism.”
Incidentally on March 30, 1959, the Dalai Lama spent his last night in Tibet in Magmang; he was on his way to India. The next day, he crossed the border in Khenzimane/Chuthangmu.
Since then, he never returned to Tibet. He would certainly not recognize the ‘model’ villages.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

New Problems of Internal Security Caused by the Chinese Occupation of Tibet

In a few days, the world's tallest statue, the Statue of Unity dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel will be unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The work of 182-meter tall statue has been completed after round the clock work by 3,400 labourers and 250 engineers at Sadhu Bet island on Narmada River in Gujarat.
Sadhu Bet, located some 3.5km away from the Narmada dam, is linked by a 250-meter long bridge.
Flowers will be grown on the hillocks adjoining the statue to make the 230-hectare area look like a Valley of Flowers.

Scarce Scholarly Research
For several reasons, scarce scholarly research has been done on the internal history of the Congress; the main cause is probably that a section of the party would prefer to keep the history under wrap.
Take the acute difference of opinion between Sardar Patel, the Deputy Prime Minister and ‘Panditji’, as Nehru was known.
In the last weeks of Patel’s life (he passed away on December 15, 1950) there was a deep split between the two leaders, leading to unilateral decisions, for which India still has to pay the heaviest price.
The most serious apple of discord was Tibet’s invasion by the Chinese ‘Liberation Army’ in October of 1950.
In the course of recent researches in the Indian archives, I discovered several new facts. Not only several senior Congress leaders, led by Patel, (other leaders were C. Rajagopalachari, President Rajendra Prasad, KM Munshi, etc) violently opposed Nehru suicidal policy, but many senior bureaucrats too, did not agree with the Prime Minister’s decisions and objected to his policy of appeasement, which lead India to lose a peaceful border. 

Patel's letter to Nehru on Tibet 
It is usually assumed that on November 7, Sardar Patel wrote a ‘prophetic’ letter to Nehru, detailing the implications for India of Tibet’s invasion. In fact, Patel used a draft given by Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai, the Secretary General of the Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth.
A month after the entry of the People’s Liberation Army in Tibet, Patel sent Bajpai’s note under his own signature, to Nehru, who decided to ignore the Deputy Prime Minister’s letter.
Bajpai, the most seasoned Indian diplomat, lost his legendary cool after witnessing the nefarious influence of KM Panikkar, the Indian Ambassador to China, who ceaselessly defended the Chinese interests.
On October 31, in an internal note, Bajpai detailed the sequence of events which followed Tibet’s invasion and the role of Panikkar, whose attitude was compared to the one of Sir Neville Hendersons toward Hitler.
What decided Patel to send his letter to Nehru was a note from the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
We are reproducing below the IB note which is probably dated from the end of October 1950.
The IB Note was sent by Sardar Patel along with his letter to the Prime Minister.

Draft of Patel's letter kept in the National Archives of India

New Problems of Internal Security Caused by the Chinese Occupation of Tibet
(a Note from the Intelligence Bureau)

India occupies a very important position in the general pattern of world communism and next only to Russia and China. As early as 1923 Lenin after posing the question “Can we save ourselves from the impending conflict with these Imperialist countries”, gave the answer in the following words” “In the last analysis the upshot of the struggle will be determined by the fact that Russia, India and China account for the overwhelming majority of the population of the globe and it is precisely this majority that during the past few years has been drawn into the struggle for emancipation with extraordinary rapidity so that in this respect there cannot be the slightest shadow of doubt what the final outcome of the world’s struggle will be. In this sense the complete victory of socialism is fully and absolutely assured”. Lenin also said that the shortest way to Paris was through Peking and Delhi. In 1924 Moscow declared that India most stand at the head of free Eastern Republics. This view has been reiterated by Soviet leaders since 1923 on numerous occasions and even as late as 1949 Malenkov, the Communist leader next only to Stalin in Soviet Russia, stressed this aspect of the revolution. In fact, India is considered to be the pivotal point round which the south East Asia and the Middle East Asia must revolve not only because of her strategic position but also on account of her vast resources, non-power and moral influence. In articles published in 1949 in the “Problems of Economics” in Moscow, it was stated that during the period between the first and second world wars China was in the vanguard of the revolutionary movement of the peoples of the colonies and semi colonies and now during the period between the second and the third world wars it was India’s turn to take its place. Consistent with these steadfastly held ideas, the USSR and International Communists can never give up their ambition of converting India into a communist State and in fact they can never feel secure in their socialism me long as India does not accept and practise the same creed. Just as India’s struggle for freedom culminated not only in the achievement of independence for India but also for many neighbouring countries, and it is India’s example which is inspiring freedom struggles in other colonial countries in Asia, similarly there is no doubt that India’s conversion to the Communist faith will also envelop all the neighbouring countries in communism. So long as India holds out these countries can also held out, but if India goes they cannot resist. The International Communism therefore must do everything possible to convert India to communism. There is no question of their deviating from this idea by any amount of negotiation or diplomatic pressure. In all Cominform and Russian authoritative publications and even in the publications of the satellite countries, India has been described to be a colonial state, groaning under the heels of the Anglo-American Imperialists and the ‘Nehru’ Government as their lackeys. The Indian Communists have been repeatedly told to unite all progressive classes against the ‘Nehru’ Government, create agrarian troubles and initiate armed struggles which have been held to be the only way in which national liberation can be achieved. All groups in the Communist Party in India have accepted this directive and are trying to pool all their strength to follow it by creating new Telanganas everywhere and put the countryside progressively on the rails of armed struggle. As has been seen repeatedly in the past, Russia and her satellites are quite willing to negotiate on their own terms but they have always achieved their aims by the application of force only.

2. Soviet Russia now feels that India will be more swayed by the influence of China than of Russia and Mao Tse Tung will make a better leader for the Indian masses than even Stalin can. It is with this object that the Peking Liaison Bureau was established last year, that Mao Tse Tung has been given a dominating voice in the affairs of India and Far east and that the Indian Communists have been told by numerous Communist publications, as well as by the Cominform, in clear unambiguous words, to follow the China way to victory. If therefore the occupation of Tibet by the Communist forces gives to the world Communism any strategical and tactical advantages of furthering the cause of communism in India, all such advantages will be exploited legally and illegally to the fullest extent without any consideration for international conventions and even though the Chinese Government may continue to remain superficially in the friend list terms with the Indian Government. And the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese Communists does open up vast possibilities for creating internal disorders and disruptions within India.

3. Up till now India’s northern frontier from Ladakh in the west to the Sadiya Hill Tracts in the east has been free from any dangers of external invasion or from even any subversive movements fostered by external forces. With Tibet as a weak and autonomous country, giving many facilities to India which no other independent country would give, India could rightly feel absolutely secure about its northern frontier and this sense of security was reflected in is best in all the policies followed with respect to this northern frontier and actions taken for its security in these areas and on the understanding that no danger would come to India from the north very little security measures have been taken which in the altered circumstances will be found to be completely inadequate.

4. Within our borders in all these frontier areas live races and tribes who have been practically semi independent and who by religious, linguistic, cultural and ethnical ties are bound more with Tibet than with India. In fact, the hill tribes of the Sadiya Hill Tracts, the Bhutanis, the Sikkimis or the Ladakhis have little affinity with the Aryans of the Gangetic and the Brahmaputra Valleys. The tribes living in the Sadiya Hill Tracts have never been properly subordinated and India exercises only nominal authority over them leaving them free to live their own lives. If given a choice to affiliate either with India or with Tibet, under existing circumstances they are almost sure to vote for Tibet and not for India. Bhutan’s foreign affairs are controlled by India, but this has been possible only because Bhutan’s other neighbor, Tibet, was weak. With a new and aggressive Tibet under China’s guidance there is every likelihood that Bhutan will change her attitude towards India and by all standards the Bhutanese are more akin to the Tibetans than to the Indians and given the freedom of choice there is no doubt in which direction her choice will lie. Sikkim is inhabited by a large number of Tibetans and members of the ruling family have all their marriage ties with the Tibetans. There is little to distinguish between the Sikkimese and the Tibetans. Kalimpong and Darjeeling were originally parts of Sikkim and a fair proportion of the population in these areas also consists of the Sikkimese and the Tibetans. Nepal, which forms the frontier with Bihar and U.P., has got a regime which in extremely unpopular and where the ruling family is sitting on the top of a volcano which may burst out at any moment. Similarly, Ladakh is more a part of Tibet than of India.

5. With an aggressive Chinese Communist Government in Tibet, intent on furthering the creed of International Communism in India and holding the belief that World Communism and so Communism in China can never be safe unless India becomes a Communist country and following the basic Communist creed that the International proletariat (which in other words means the Soviet and the Chinese Governments) must assist the peoples of all Colonial countries (which include India) in their fight for national liberation (which in India means the overthrow of the ‘Nehru’ Government), every method will be adopted to disrupt the integrity of India and what will be more opportune and easy than to foster trouble in these frontier areas where India’s administrative control is not strong and where her cultural influence is less.
All these tribes living the frontier regions will be directly encouraged to agitate for independence so that they can later be drawn into the Communist fold. Russia’s method of solving the problem of small nationalities has been extremely successful and it appeals to all under-civilized tribes and races. Communist China has successfully prosecuted the same policy within its own frontiers and India must be prepared to meet this challenge. There are large numbers of Gurkhas who are residents of Tibet and just as the Chinese formed a Tibetan Liberation Army, similarly they after the occupation of Tibet will form a Nepalese Liberation Army and attempt to liberate Nepal where the present rulers can show very little resistance. There is reliable information that the Nepalese Communists are trying to go into Tibet to contact the Tibetan and Chinese Communists. Even on the eastern frontier of Assam, China claims the northern triangle of Burma, which is inhabited by the Kachins, as part of her own territory and there are reports that some Kachin leaders have already gone to Yunnan and are receiving training under the Communists, probably to form a Kaohin Liberation Army. Burmese Government will be able to offer little resistance to it. If Kachin goes under the Communists, the tribals living in the Naga Hills, Manipur and the Lushai Hills will start trouble because even now the Lushais, the Kukis and the China living on this frontier areas are trying for accession of their territories to Burma. They certainly have more ethnical and cultural ties with the population on the other side of the frontier than with the Aryans of India. Even the Ahoms have agitated for linking up with the Kachins to form an independent State. For the sake of her security, India must firmly retain her hold or influence in these areas because once India loses her control her entire belly will be opened up to direct attacks. Militarily also these areas can be held with comparatively smaller forces but once the Communists establish their hold in there areas the defence of the plains will become extremely difficult and will require large manpower. Communists will no doubt arm these tribals and make them the spearheads of their attacks on and frays into India. There areas will then be just as difficult to protect as the N.W.F.P. has been in the past.

6. With China on India’s long unguarded frontier, the Indian Communists will be in a good position to get help by the way of supply of arms, by the infiltration of trained agents and by direct contact with the Chinese Communists. The Indian Communists have been badly mauled during the last 2 ½ years and they are passing through a difficult period and there is definite information that they are wanting direct guidance from the foreign Communists. So far attempts to make such contacts have to a great extent been countered by Governmental action but with China strongly entrenched in Tibet it will be extremely difficult to stop this contact. With the commencement of trouble in the frontier areas where India’s Armed forces will have to be moved, more Telengana struggles will be launched in India itself so as to dissipate India’s Armed forces by wide dispersal.
Communications and industries will be sabotaged to make the movement of troops difficult and to disrupt India’s economy thereby creating wide dissatisfaction amongst  the masses. These are not more speculations because it is known that these firm instructions have been issued by Soviet Russia to the Indian Communists and the circulars issued by the C.P.I. show that the Indian Communists are preparing to carry out these directives. Therefore the occupation of Tibet by Communist China not only raises problems of security from external danger across India’s long and practically unguarded frontiers and problems of security in the border tribal regions now under India’s control but also very serious problems of internal security in the Sub-continent itself. Suggestions that follow for taking measures against this three-fold danger cover many aspects of the problem, many of which are not the concern of the Intelligence Bureau but they are being made to provide material for the M.H.A. to make final proposals to the Government.

7. Administrative Measures
Sadiya Hill Tracks
Modern administrative measures should be introduced immediately. The area held by each tribe should be formed into a district and a District officer with all necessary staff should be posted. Police Stations should be opened and instead of continuing the old tribal system of maintaining law and order, modern Police methods of administration should be introduced. District officers should make a detailed survey of the economic needs of the areas under them and see that these needs are met by supplies from Indian so that economically these areas are tied to India and not to Tibet. Schools should be opened in which the languages to be taught will be both Hindi or Assamese and the tribal so that the inhabitants may gradually forge cultural links with the plains people. Hospitals and dispensaries should be opened and philanthropic missions, such as the Rama Krishna Mission, may be encouraged by payment of subsidies to open centres in these areas. The strength of the Assam Rifle battalions in these areas should be increased and each district should have the minimum equivalent of one battalion with reserves kept at strategic centres. In the Assam Rifles, the recruitment of northern Indians should be encouraged because in any conflict with the tribes the tribal element in these units may not be found to be very loyal, as has been experienced with the Tripura Rifles recently. These regions should continue to remain directly under the Central Government.

Manipur, Lushai and Naga Hills
The existing administration in Manipur and Lushai Hills should be further strengthened and Police Stations should be opened in the Lushai Hills area. The economic needs of these areas should be studied and met from Indian sources. Indian language should be popularized through schools and other welfare measures should be undertaken. The Naga Hills area, which is at present unadministered, must be brought to the same level of administrations as has been proposed for the Sadiya Hill Tracts. These areas should be under the direct control of the Central Government.

It is necessary to strengthen Bhutan’s ties with India by changing the treaty, if possible, and placing more advisers in the Bhutan administration. More outlet for Bhutan’s trade with India may be created at Government’s initiative instead of leaving it to private enterprisers. Education and medical missions may open schools in Bhutan just as Christian Missions may open schools in Bhutan just as Christian Missions may open schools in Bhutan just as Christian Missions have been educating the tribals, aborigines and backward people in India and China for over a century. The new treaty should have a clause to enable India to post troops in Bhutan for protecting her from external dangers if such a provision does not already exist.

India’s control in this territory may be further tightened and the Sikkim Congress group, which owes allegiance to the Indian National Congress, may be encouraged. Here also, under Indian Government’s efforts educational and medical missions may be established to forge more closely Sikkim’s ties with India. Administration may be brought to the level of an Indian district. A strong contingent of troops should be posted in Sikkim as the highway from Tibet to India traverses Sikkim before entering Darjeeling district.

India’s present treaty with Nepal allows for consultations in case of external danger. The present Nepal Government certainly does not welcome communism in its territory but is hardly in a position to resit Communist aggression. Therefore the Nepal Government will probably be only too willing to accept India’s assistance in warding off this external danger. For improving internal resistance, a more democratic set-up is necessary. The consultations may give India facility to ask Nepal to allow her army to be trained by Indian officers in the same way as the Russians are training the Czech and the Polish armies. India should provide equipment to the Nepalese army.

Kumaon Hills Garhwal Hills and Himachal Pradesh

The administration in these areas should be tightened by posting executive officers where there are none and opening up more Police Stations. The economic needs of these areas should also be studied and properly met and educational and medical facilities should be extended/

The administration here should also be brought to the same level as in rest of India and police stations should be opened in this Valley. Economic, educational and medical measures may be taken as in the other areas.

8. Defence

The Defence Department must be considering problems from its own angle but what needs to be emphasized is that the communist world understands force and nothing else. They will be willing to negotiate but will follow Bismark’s policy of always keeping a million bayonets behind to support their discussions and agreements can be reached only on their own terms. The defence needs of Assam, Bhutan and Sikkim, as sell as Nepal, have to be closely studied. The presence of strong units ready to strike back will not only discourage any aggressive acts from across the border but will also keep the hostile elements within our own frontiers under subjugation.

9. Intelligence

For both defence and internal security purposes, India should be in a position to collect reliable intelligence of Communist activities in China, Tibet, Burma, Nepal and all the frontier regions and their possible repercussions in India proper. For this purpose the following measures are suggested:

(i)    Inside Tibet

It is presumed that China will allow an Indian Consulate to work either at Lhasa or at Gyantse. There should be posted to this Consulate an Intelligence Officer of the experience of an Assistant Director of the Bureau. As Tibet cannot be immediately drawn behind an impenetrable iron curtain, the possibilities of collecting intelligence in that country will be great. This post should be linked with the Intelligence post at Kalimpong. Details of developing this intelligence and communication will be worked out in detail and are beyond the scope of this note.

(ii)    Inside China
There should be an Intelligence Officer of the rank and experience of assistant Director in our Embassy in Peking with assistants in Shanghai, Hongkong and other places where we have Consulates or other offices. It will be impossible for the Embassy officials without an Intelligence Officer to get full intelligence of intentions or contemplated actions which may be contrary to India’s interest. In the present case of the invasion of Tibet the shortcomings of system of collecting intelligence by the Indian Embassy in Peking has been only too evident. In China also the possibilities of setting up a good intelligence system are good.

(iii)    Inside Burma
In the Indian Embassy in Rangoon should be posted an Intelligence Officer of the rank and experience of an Assistant Director, with the large Indian population practically all over Burma, a good intelligence system can easily be established. A branch will have to be opened in Kachin area. Links will be with the S.I.Bs. at Calcutta and Shillong. Details will be worked out separately. (The British have their intelligence organisation both in China and Burma).

(iv)    Inside Bhutan
An Intelligence Officer of the rank of a D.C.I.O. should be posted here and may be attached to any mission which India may establish at Punakha. This post will be linked with the post at Kalimpong. Border watch posts will have to be established in the north to prevent infiltration.

(v)    Inside Nepal

An Assistant Director from the Bureau has already been posted at Khatmandu. In the consultations which Nepal Government will have with India, it may be decided that this officer should have full assistance of the Nepal authorities and would liaise fully with them. As the danger from Communists is same both to India and Nepal, therefore co-operation on this aspect should not at all be difficult. Our Embassy at Khatmandu is already in radio-telephonic communication with Patna and this post will be linked with our post at Patna. Nepal will have to be persuaded to open border watch posts in the northern frontier.

(vi)    Within Indian Frontier
A scheme for establishing frontier watch posts was prepared in the Bureau and approved by both the M.H.A. and M.E.A. The implementation of this scheme was however kept in abeyance due to financial reasons and also because it was believed that China would not take any immediate aggressive action against Tibet. As however the situation has radically changed, this scheme should be sanctioned immediately. It visualizes the opening of watch posts all along the Indo-Tibetan border to guard all the passes.

(vii)    Within India.
The intelligence set-up inside India is good and is well posted with the activities of the Indian communists. Improvements are constantly being made. No special step is therefore necessary. All Branches will be alerted to be more vigilant about Communist activities. All attempts to establish Telangans must be frustrated by resolute and timely action. Gun-running must be stopped because without arms liberation armies cannot be set up. Every action should be taken to prevent contacts between the Indian and the Chinese Communists. (Dange has been found to be in contact with the Chinese Ambassador in Delhi). China’s invasion of Tibet should be exploited to prove the aggressive intentions of Communist China.

(viii)    Registration of Tibetans & Chinese.
The Chinese are already being registered and the registration of Tibetans, who will become Chinese nationals after China occupies Tibet, should also be under-taken immediately. Restrictions should be placed on their movements in and out of India and it will be necessary to exercise strict vigilance over the large Chinese population in India and make them conform to all the restrictions which the Act imposes. This may look to be too drastic but proper discretion can be utilized in making the movements of innocuous Chinese as easy as possible whilst exercising real surveillance over the suspects.

9.A. Communications

In the frontier regions, except near Kalimpong and Gangtok (Sikkim) road communication is extremely difficult and consists mostly of foot or mule tracks and there is no telephone or telegraphic communication. For developing proper security measures it is necessary to open up roads in all these areas and also have a net-work of telephone and telegraph lines and wireless stations. The utility of well-developed communications in subordinating hostile tribes was well demonstracted by the policy which the British Army followed in the N.W.F.P. Acutually on many occasions in the past the need for improving communications in these inaccessible areas was recognized by the Government but as there was no immediate danger to India’s security from across these frontiers any expenditure incurred on this work was probably considered to be uneconomic. However, these communications are very necessary for security purposes in the changed circumstances and therefore the development of both road and tele-communication should be undertaken without delay.

10. Other Measures

With the Chinese army in Tibet, which is used to fighting in mountainous territories, probably certain regrouping of India’s Armed Forces will be necessary. As these are however limited, unless new units are raised, which will mean incurring large expenditure, withdrawals have to take place from Commands where no external danger of aggression is present; but these areas, like Telengana, may be important from internal security point of view. But for internal security work and even for operations against armed Communists and operations on the frontier tribal areas, regular army is not necessary, nor is it advisable to dissipate the Army’s strength in this way. Military Police Units of the type, which have been raised in Bihar, U.P., N.Bengal, Madras and Delhi and also the C.R.P. and which are already operating in Hyderabad, should be sufficient to deal with these internal disorders and for maintaining vital communications. It is therefore necessary to examine urgently the question of increasing the Armed Police strength in U.P., Bihar, Bengal and Assam, increasing the strength of the Assam Rifles, Tripura rifles and raising new Units as Manipur Rifles and increasing the strength of the C.R.P. The expenditure incurred on maintaining such Military Police will be much less compared to that of maintaining the same number of troops and for the purpose for which they are intended they will be equally effective. This will leave the Army to concentrate itself on its training and fighting external aggression, if that contingency arises, and for which preparations have to be kept ready. Details of these internal security forces can be separately worked out.

11. This note is not meant to be alarmist but only for the purpose of suggesting precautionary measures for meeting the dangers which are inherent in Communist China’s occupation of Tibet. As has been stressed at the beginning, international Communists can never give up their idea of drawing India within their fold and can never feel secure till they have succeeded in achieving this object and therefore they will follow every method possible, legal or illegal, conforming or not conforming to international conventions to further their aims and experience has shown in Korea and Indo-China that Chinese Communists are quite prepared to give material aid to the local Communist Parties in the latter’s attempt to seize power by force. The measures suggested are meant to resist the implementation of any such aggressive intentions. Some of the measures, suggested above, such as setting up better administration in frontier areas and efficient intelligence organizations in the frontier regions and outside our frontiers will take a long time for full implementation and therefore decision about the measures necessary may be taken immediately so that no further time may be lost in making a start with those of the suggested security measures which are approved.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Landslide in Tibet: Both India and China have reasons to worry about

My article Landslide in Tibet: Both India and China have reasons to worry about appeared in Mail Today and DailyO

Here is the link...
Construction of the proposed railway between Sichuan and Tibet could lead to similar disasters. Arunachal Pradesh and Assam would have to bear the brunt.

Some recent happenings on the Tibetan plateau have serious implications for India; in particular the devastating landslide on the Yarlung Tsangpo, a river which becomes the Siang in Arunachal Pradesh and the Brahmaputra in Assam.

    A barrier lake has formed after a landslide hit the Yarlung Tsangpo River in SW China's Tibet on Wednesday morning. The safe evacuation of local residents is being carried out
    — China Xinhua News (@XHNews) October 17, 2018

Landslide in Tibet
On October 11, Xinhua reported that a ‘barrier lake’ had formed on a section of another river, the Upper Yangtze (Jinsha River in Chinese); the mishap was due a landslide which had taken place in Jomda county of Chamdo prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Though no casualties were reported, the amount of water in the new lake reached about 100 million cubic metres in a short time.
The Chinese media affirmed: “the scale of the landslide is vast, clogging the main waterway of the Jinsha River, with several bridges, fields and villages affected."
Was it a coincidence — but the same day, President Xi Jinping chaired an ‘important’ meeting called to improve disaster prevention, which could be triggered by the mega Sichuan-Tibet railway project, planned to cross the same ecologicallyfragile area? If the project is realised, it could undoubtedly result in unthinkable environmental damages.
During the meeting, Xi “called for efforts to improve the country’s ability to safeguard against natural disasters, and fully launch the planning and construction of the Sichuan-Tibet railway".
The Party’s general secretary promised “to protect people’s lives and property and national security.”
Six days later, Xinhua reported the formation of a new lake on the Yarlung Tsangpo, not far from the Great Bend of the river, north of Arunachal Pradesh.
“A barrier lake has formed after a landslide struck a section of the Brahmaputra Valley near Pe Village of Mainling County,” said The Telegraph.
China’s water resources ministry immediately informed Delhi of the seriousness of the situation; emergency bells rang downstream, particularly in the Upper Siang district.
All this raises serious issues for India …and for China.

    The evacuation of more than 10,000 people in SW China's Tibet Autonomous Region is underway following a landslide that blocked a major river in the region, local authorities said on Thursday.
    — People's Daily,China (@PDChina) October 18, 2018

During the meeting chaired by the Chinese president to discuss the SichuanTibet railway, Xi spoke of “profound significance for the country's long-term stability and the development of Tibet.”
Three members of the all-powerful Politburo’s Standing Committee were in attendance: Premier Li Keqiang, Wang Huning and Vice-Premier Han Zheng.
Xinhua commented that China was one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. “…But its overall capability to respond to such extreme conditions is still relatively weak, and more should be done.”
It had earlier been rumoured that there was a rift between the Chinese President and his Premier, who in July, had visited Tibet in rather strange circumstances, probably to inspect a section of the projected mega railway line. While Xi seems in favour of going full steam on mega projects, his Premier believes in a more human (and less energy consuming) approach.

    Siang river is a very big river & when there are some natural calamities like earthquakes or landslides, it possess danger to people who live downstream: Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Brahmaputra river blockage caused due to a landslide in Tibet
    — ANI (@ANI) October 20, 2018

Cost of mega projects

An article in The Wall Street Journal indicates that a serious debate is raging in the Middle Kingdom and Beijing was trying “to kick its habit of using big-ticket infrastructure spending to fuel the economy, a turning point from a growth model...”.
One of the problems is of course the environmental consequences, especially in ecologically-fragile areas, but the other issue is: who will pay the cost of these pharaonic schemes?
Further, an improvement in the protection of the environment will come at a price; the cost of certain projects like the railway between Sichuan and Tibet may increase many folds.
One of the questions never mentioned in the Chinese press is: can Beijing today afford these mega projects?
What would be the usefulness of a railway line between Sichuan and Lhasa, when excellent highways exist?
The meeting chaired by the Chinese President just said that “it will promote ethnic solidarity, safeguard national unity and consolidate the stability of the frontier, as well as bolster Tibet's economic and social development.” There is no doubt that in the mind of Xi Jinping, the chairman of the Central Military Commission, the ‘consolidation of the frontiers’, (i.e. the Indian border), is crucial.

Ecological approach

A few months ago, The China Daily provided some details of the project: “A preliminary study on the Kangding-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway shows the section will include at least 10 rail tunnels each longer than 10 kilometres.”
The China Daily commented: “Since the new line will have to go through intricate and difficult geological conditions, and its construction will have to overcome frozen earth, landslides and rock slides, experts have dubbed the Sichuan-Tibet Railway China’s most challenging rail project.”
The recent landslides are an example of what could (will) happen to the railway line; the construction in such difficult terrain is bound to create havoc for the Tibetan plateau’s environment.
A more ‘ecological’ approach is bound to drastically increase the cost of the project; it is where Li may not fully agree with the Emperor.
As for India downstream, though the waters have started receding, the happenings on the Yarlung Tsangpo are truly worrisome.
Several years ago, a map of the prospective largest hydropower plant in the world, more than twice the capacity of the Three Gorges Dam, had circulated.
The departure point was where the landslide has just taken place last week, while the hydropower station was located in Metok, a few kilometres north of Arunachal.
Is this project still on the cards? It would certainly spell disasters in the making for India. Let us hope that wisdom will prevail.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Back to the future in China?

Chinese Defense Minister Lin Biao crashed on his way to Soviet Union (September 1971)
My article Back to the future in China? appeared in the Edit page of The Pioneer
Here is the link...

The large number of ‘Lin Biao incidents’ taking place all over China smell of political vendetta and render the current regime weaker than it has ever been. Does Xi realise this?

On September 13, 1971, a Chinese Trident 1E airliner crashed in Inner Mongolia; everyone on board was killed. The special flight carried Marshal Lin Biao, China’s Defence Minister and Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Lin, a great soldier and Mao Zedong’s heir apparent, was also one of the architects of the dreaded Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The official narrative says that Lin was fleeing to the Soviet Union after a failed coup against Mao when his airplane ran out of fuel. Observers, however, believe Lin was fleeing an impending purge in the military; some leaders had gained too much power for Mao’s liking. Was the crash an accident? A year later, when US President Richard Nixon asked Zhou Enlai, the Chinese Premier, about what happened to Lin, Zhou smiled and cryptically said: “Lin left on a trip to Moscow and disappeared en route.”
This story came back to mind, when on October 21, the news that the head of the Chinese Government’s liaison office in Macau died by falling from the building at his residence. According to the well-informed South China Morning Post: “Hong Kong officials and politicians expressed shock over the sudden passing of Zheng Xiaosong.” He had been ‘suffering from depression’, said the official statement issued by the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO).
It was last year only that the 59-year-old cadre had taken up the post in Macau. A Press release from Beijing affirmed that “leaders of the Central Government have entrusted comrades from the HKMAO to travel to Macau and send condolences to Zheng’s family”. Zheng’s death came just a few days before the opening of the 55km-long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, to be inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Interestingly, Zheng belonged to the Fujian gang of officials, who worked in Xi’s favourite Province: “I spent my beautiful youth in Fujian Province. It lasted for 17 and a half years since I started to work there in 1985…I experienced the process of Fujian’s reform and opening up, moving forward with great momentum and changing with each passing day,” once wrote Xi.
Soon after Xi Jinping came to power, Zheng was promoted secretary of Fujian Party’s provincial committee. In the meantime, officials in Macau were unanimous, “it is unfortunate, one should not speculate”. Let us not speculate, but strange things seem to be happening again and again in China. In November 2017, The New York Times reported: “A senior Chinese general who was under investigation for bribery has killed himself, a development that cast a shadow over President Xi Jinping’s expanding crackdown on corruption and dissent.”
General Zhang Yang, formerly in-charge of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) General Political Department, was found dead in his home in Beijing. He hanged himself. Xinhua said General Zhang was living at home “while being questioned in connection with corruption charges”. The US newspaper added: “Suicides by top officials are almost unheard-of in China, and the ruling Communist Party appeared uncertain how to handle the death. State-run media gave no explanation for the five-day delay in disclosing the news.” General Zhang was called “a traitor and coward for taking his own life.”
The PLA Daily just said: “In committing suicide to avoid punishment from the party and the country’s laws, Zhang Yang’s action was abominable.” General Zhang was called ‘a two-faced’ general. But that was not the end of Zhang’s ordeal.  Last week, it was announced that he had been posthumously stripped of his Communist Party membership and military rank for corruption. His colleague Fang Fenghui, a former chief of joint staff, still alive, received the same punishment for seriously violating political discipline and Central Government rules banning extravagance and taking bribes.
In October 2017, The PLA Daily had reported that Xi Jinping had launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign: “At least 13,000 military officers found to be involved in corruption have been punished over the past five years.” Apparently, Fang and Zhang were linked to former disgraced Central Military Commission vice-chairmen, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou. But were not all the Chinese generals linked to the CMC? There is indeed something strange going on. War on the Rocks, a US publication noted: “Fang and Zhang join a growing list of senior PLA officers that have been arrested, expelled from the Party, and imprisoned on corruption charges…All told, since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, over 100 PLA general officers have reportedly been forcibly retired or placed under investigation.”
The article added: “This large-scale uprooting, however, is also likely to be driven in part by Chinese internal politics. Many of the senior officers that have been summarily fired and imprisoned are linked to Xi Jinping’s predecessors…As with Xi’s anti-corruption efforts against various civilian leaders, those targeted appear to be political rivals, although this is not to say they may not also be corrupt.” All these incidents (or accidents) create, to say the least, a strange atmosphere in the Middle Kingdom. The oddest has been the arrest of Meng Hongwei, the Interpol chief, when he recently disembarked in Beijing. Let us remember that it was a first time that China held such prestigious post in an international organisation (headquartered in Lyon, France). At the time of Mengs’ arrest, Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi, presently in India to sign a bilateral agreement, convened a midnight meeting in Beijing to express ‘unanimous support’ for the probe against Meng and pledged, as usual, ‘absolute political loyalty’ to President Xi Jinping.
Meng’s insistence “on doing things in his own way means he has only himself to blame for being placed under investigation,” said a communiqué, which forgot that as the head of an international organisation, he is not supposed to take orders from the Communist Party. Meng was suspected of corruption and violation of laws which ‘gravely jeopardised’ the Party and the police; the same night, Interpol received Meng’s ‘resignation’ as president. Is it not strange that before vetting his name for the prestigious job in France, the leadership in China would have not checked Meng’s antecedents? Nobody can take the sudden accusation of corruption seriously, as it is not while posted in Lyon that Meng could have become rich. All this smells of political vendetta more than anything else. The large number of ‘Lin Biao incidents’ taking place all-over China, render the regime weaker that it has ever been.
Does Xi realise this?

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Zhao Kezhi, the 'Tibetan' arrives in India

Zhao Khezi (left) with Zhao Leji (center), member of the Politburo's Standing Committee
meeting the Tibetan delegates at the NPC, Wu Jingjie, Tibet's Party Secretary (right)
Zhao Kezhi, China's Minister of Public Security will be in India tomorrow.
He will meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discuss security cooperation between India and China. During his stay in Delhi, Zhao will also sign a bilateral internal security cooperation agreement.
According to PTI: “The proposed pact is expected to cover areas of intelligence sharing, exchange programme, sharing of best practices, cooperation in disaster mitigation besides others.”
A Chinese delegation has already met some Indian officials on August 28 to discuss Zhao’s visit and the proposed pact.
An Indian official told the news agency: “This will be the first such agreement between the authorities of India and China which look after the internal security of the respective countries.”
PTI added: “While Singh is the head of eight central armed police forces with a combined strength of about 10 lakh personnel, Zhao is responsible for day-to-day law enforcement in China and commands about 19 lakh personnel.”
More interesting Zhao is personally responsible for Tibet in the Communist set-up, being one of the 20 ‘Tibetan’ delegates at the National People’s Congress.
A few months ago, I wrote about his personnel interest in the Tibet affairs.

My March post
In March 2013, I wrote about the Chinese Hans from 'Tibet' on this blog.
I mentioned the nomination of three Han cadres in the Tibet delegation to the National People’s Congress (NPC).
The three members were then
Chang Xiaobing, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd (he was later investigated and sacked), Prof Ding Zhongli, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Wang Huning, who since then, has reached the Communist paradise; he is now a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo.

A new list
Now three new 'Han Tibetans' have been nominated
for the 13th NPC.
This time there is no member of the politburo, however Zhao Kezhi (赵克志) the Minister of Public Security will 'represent' Tibet. 

Other members are Guo Qingping (郭庆平) Deputy Governor of the People's Bank of China and Jing Hanchao (景汉朝)Deputy Secretary of the National Political & Legal Committee and member of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Zhao Kezhi (赵克志)
Zhao is born in December 1953. He is presently Minister and Party Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security.
He earlier served as Party Secretary in Hebei and Guizhou provinces and has been Governor of Guizhou province and vice governor of Shandong and Jiangsu provinces.
According to his biography, Zhao was born in Laixi, Shandong province. 

Zhao Kezhi entered the work force in March 1973 as a middle school teacher in his native Laixi, Shandong province; he joined the Communist Party of China in January 1975.
In April 1984, he became the mayor and deputy Communist Party Chief of Laixi County;
in March 1987, he was transferred and served as mayor and deputy party chief of nearby Jimo and later became party chief of Jimo in 1989.
In December 1997, he was promoted to be the party chief of Dezhou, a prefecture-level city in Shandong.

From February 2001 to March 2006 he was a vice governor of Shandong province.
In 2006, Zhao Kezhi was transferred to neighbouring Jiangsu province, where he was the executive vice governor until August 2010, when he was sent again to southwestern Guizhou province as deputy party chief and acting governor.
A month later, he was elected
governor by the Guizhou Provincial Congress.
In July 2012, Zhao was promoted to concurrently serve as the Communist Party Secretary of Guizhou; in December he relinquished his governor post, and Chen Min'er (now politburo member) was selected as his successor.
In July 2015, following the dismissal of Zhou Benshun, Zhao was named party chief of Hebei province.
In October 2017, shortly after the 19th Party Congress, Zhao, then 63, was appointed as the Party Committee Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security.
He took over as Minister of Public Security on November 4, 2017.
He is a member of the 19th Central Committees of the Communist Party of China.

Guo Qingping
Guo Qingping (郭庆平)
The second nominated member of the Tibet delegation for the NPC is Guo Qingping. 

Since March 2015, Guo, a senior economist, is Vice Governor of the People's Bank of China (PBC).
He was born in August 1956.
Here are some details about his career.

  • 1982-1991 Vice President, Fuxin City Branch of the PBC
  • 1992-October 1998 Vice President, Liaoning Provincial Branch of the PBC; President, Shenyang City Branch of the PBC
  • November 1998-November 1999, Vice President, Shenyang Branch of the PBC
  • December 1999-January 2003, Director-General, Internal Auditing Department of the PBC as well as Director-General, Asset Disposal Office of the PBC
  • February 2003-November 2008, President, Tianjin Branch of the PBC
  • December 2008, Assistant Governor, PBC
Is he going to put some order in the accounts of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) or help the region to secure more funds for its development?
In December 2016, The China Daily reported that Guo had announced that Beijing would strengthen its anti-money laundering cooperation with countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Guo affirmed that China would “enhance domestic enforcement of international sanctions at home. …Combating the financing of terrorism regimes and spread of massive weapons of destruction have become the new battle field for anti-money laundering."
He was speaking at the Sixth China Anti-Money Laundering Summit at Fudan University in Shanghai. He also said that China had “established an inter-ministerial mechanism led by the bank with 22 other government agencies, including the Ministry of Public Security and the Supreme People's Court, to combat illegal money transfers.”
What does it mean for Tibet is not clear?
There is a high probability that he will push for an integration of TAR with the BRI in particular with Nepal.

Jing Hanchao
Jing Hanchao (景汉朝)
The third nominated Han in the Tibet delegation is Jing Hanchao.
He is currently Vice-President of the Supreme People's Court.
He is born in 1960 in Shen County of Hebei Province.
In 2009, he became Vice-President, Supreme People's Court.
He started his career in 1984 as a clerk in the Higher People's Court of Hebei Province (at provincial level)
Later he became Assistant Judge in the same Court; he was later promoted Vice-President and then President.
Between 1994 and 1996, he did a Master of Laws at Beijing University while serving Judge in the Economic Tribunal of the Supreme People's Court.
From 1996 to 2006, he was Deputy Secretary Party Committee of the Higher People's Court.
Between 2000 and 2003, he followed a course to become Doctor of Laws from the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing.
From 2006 to 2009, he served a member of the Leading Party Group of the Supreme People's Court.
Later he became a Member of the Judicial Committee and the Director of the General Office of the Supreme People's Court.

In February 2017, Jing Hanchao addressed the opening ceremony of a 'public open day' in East China's Zhejiang province, detailing the progress of dealing with individuals and companies who ignore civil court rulings. 
What will be his role in the Tibet delegation to the NPC is not clear, but he will probably make sure that the corruption is tackled and that the Tibetan flies and tigers are caught.

I will come back on the 17 other members on the TAR delegation in a few days.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Chairman Xi’s new mega project and China's internal politics

Landslide on the Yarlung Tsangpo
More on the environmental havoc in Tibet
Three days after posting the story below on the landslide on the Upper Yangtze, reported a "Barrier lake forms following landslide in Nyingchi."
This time it is on the Yarlung Tsangpo/Brahmaputra
The article says: "A barrier lake has formed after a landslide struck a section of the Brahmaputra Valley near Pe Village of Mainling County of Tibet Autonomous Region. As of 3 p.m., the amount of water in the barrier lake had reached about 150 million cubic meters."
Some photos show the landslide-hit road in Mainling County, north of Arunachal Pradesh.
According to The Telegraph, China’s water resources ministry has informed the Centre of a landslide in Mainling "which might have an adverse impact downstream, particularly in the East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh."
The official order issued by the district administration said, “As per information received from the central water commission, Government of India, ...landslides blocked the Mainling section of the mainstream of Brahmaputra/Yarlung Tsangpo ...on October 16,which will have an impact on the water situation of the lower reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo river.”
Development has a cost.

The Landslide on the Upper Yangtze
On October 11, Xinhua reported a ‘barrier lake’ which had formed due a landslide in a section of the Upper Yangtze (Jinsha River in Chinese) at the border between Sichuan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region.
The landslide struck in Bolo Township, in Jomda County of Chamdo prefecture.
Though no casualties were reported, the amount of water in the barrier lake had in a short time reached about 100 million cubic meters.
Some reports said 24,000 residents had been evacuated: “The Ministry of Emergency Management has initiated an emergency response.”
The PLA and PAP had been called to rescue the affected populations.
According to the same Ministry, some 7,000 tents, 30,000 cotton-padded coats, 50,000 quilts and 5,000 folding beds were sent to the landslide-affected area to help residents.
The local authorities in Chamdo stated that “the scale of the landslide is vast, clogging the main waterway of the Jinsha River, with several bridges, fields and villages affected.”
Bolo is located in the south of Jomda county; the Upper Yangtze separates this Tibetan area from the Sichuan province at an altitude of 2,860 meters. The county counts 8,325 residents in eight villages.
This 'natural' disaster raises seriously questions, not only environmental, but political too.

A coincidence?
Was it a coincidence that around the same time, Xi Jinping spoke at an ‘important’ meeting about the improvement of the disaster prevention while building the mega Sichuan-Tibet railway?
There is no doubt the project is so big, that it will resulted in serious ecological damage.
On October 10, Xi Jinping “called for efforts to improve the country's ability to safeguard against natural disasters, and fully launch the planning and construction of the Sichuan-Tibet railway.”
The Party's General Secretary made these remarks during the third meeting of the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs: “As a stronger capability of safeguarding against natural disasters concerns the economy and people's livelihood, China will set up an efficient and scientific system and improve the capability of the whole society in a bid to protect people's lives and property and national security," said Xi.

The Sichuan-Tibet Railway
The meeting was called to discuss the Sichuan-Tibet railway, which will have “profound significance for the country's long-term stability and the development of Tibet.”
It had been rumoured earlier that there was a rift between the Chinese President and his Premier, Li Keqiang, who had visited Tibet in rather strange circumstances, probably to inspect a section of the projected mega railway line.
At the recent meeting, two more members of the all-powerful Politburo’s Standing Committee were in attendance: Wang Huning and Vice Premier Han Zheng.
Xinhua commented: “As one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, China has attached great importance to the matter and made remarkable progress. But its overall capability to respond to such extreme conditions is still relatively weak, and more should be done.”
It was said that China would work to build a coordinated disaster-responding system, adopt a people-centered approach, give priority to the environment, try its best to minimize the aftermath, propel reforms and innovation to modernize its capability, and continue international cooperation: “A raft of major projects will be advanced, including ecological restoration of forest, grassland and rivers, coastal protection such as building ecological seawalls, housing reinforcement projects in earthquake-prone areas, flood control and drought relief, relocation of residents in disaster-hit places, construction of emergency centers, natural disaster monitoring and early warning, and the modernization of rescue technology and equipment.”

Who will pay?
All this will cost money and may increase the cost of the project many folds.
One of the questions never mentioned in the Chinese press is: can Beijing afford this mega project?
What would be the main objectives of the railway line between Sichuan and Lhasa?
Is it really necessary at this point in time?
The meeting just said that “it will promote ethnic solidarity, safeguard national unity and consolidate the stability of the frontier, as well as bolster Tibet's economic and social development.”
There is no doubt that in Xi’s mind, the ‘consolidation of the frontiers’ is crucial; let us not forget that he occupies the seat of Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Observers have asked, why was this meeting called by Xi; after all such project should come under the State Council, in other words Premier Li, who himself held a similar meeting in August.

Another 'important' meeting
Just after the Summer holidays at Beidaihe, Li had chaired a meeting of the Leading Group on the Development of Western Regions on August 21.
It was held in Beijing; Vice Premier Han Zheng, deputy head of Leading Group was also present.
Li Keqiang stated that the Western areas should continue with reform and opening-up and vigorously innovate to achieve high-quality development.
While acknowledging the economic and social achievements in the regions, Li described the development in Western Regions (i.e. Tibet and Xinjiang) as 'a crucial and difficult point' for China to become a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve modernization.
Western areas should channel more energy into industrial upgrades, and make more contributions to a stable national economy, Li said.
The railway was mentioned; but a more holistic approach was stressed: “Entrepreneurship and innovation should be promoted in a practical manner, Li said, urging measures to raise industrial competitiveness in western regions and greater steps to cultivate new growth drivers and restructure traditional sectors,” said Li who adding that “The central government will pump more capital into the areas and encourage local governments to attract private investment.”
Li cited projects such as the Sichuan-Tibet railway, power grids, oil and natural gas pipelines, internet infrastructure, and water diversion projects (hopefully not the Brahmaputra!!).
Li highlighted the people-centered development, which not might be the case of the Sichuan-Tibet railway: “China will take solid, precise actions to win the tough battle against poverty and work for equality in public services. Internet technologies will be used to let remote poor regions enjoy better education and medical services, and the employment and old-age care in western regions will also be enhanced.”
It is here that there is a difference of approach between the two leaders; Li being softer.

The Pharaonic project with the longest tunnels
A month earlier, The China Daily had given some details about the project: “A preliminary study on the Kangding-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway shows the section will include at least 10 rail tunnels each longer than 10 kilometers."
He Huawu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the newspaper that the total length of the rail tunnels in the Kangding-Nyingchi section would be 843 kilometers - which is longer than the Beijing-Zhengzhou high-speed railway: “The longest rail tunnel, extending 42.5 km, would be the longest in China, eclipsing one 32-km-long on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.”
There will be six rail tunnels in the Kangding-Nyingchi section longer than 30 km.
He Huawu spoke during an academic seminar on key technologies for building high-speed railways in complicated mountainous areas held in Chengdu.
China Railway had announced that design of the line was ‘not final’, but just part of preliminary research on the construction of the Kangding-Nyingchi section, and it has not been approved by the authorities.
The Sichuan-Tibet line will be the second railway line connecting the Tibet Autonomous Region with the mainland; the first one was the 1,956-km Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which opened in 2006.
The China Daily commented: “Since the new line will have to go through intricate and difficult geological conditions, and its construction will have to overcome frozen earth, landslides and rock slides, experts have dubbed the Sichuan-Tibet Railway China's most challenging rail project.”
Then recent landslide is an example of what could (will) happen to the railway line.
In fact, the construction in such difficult terrain is bound to create havoc for the environment on the marches of the Tibetan plateau. It probably explains the warning of Xi Jinping.
But a more cautious approach will also drastically increase the cost of the project; it is where Li may not fully agree with the Emperor.

Landslide on the Upper Yangtze
Can China afford it?
At the end the question is: can Beijing afford this in the midst of a trade war with the US?
It is one of the many dilemmas that the Chinese leadership will be facing in the years to come.
It could easily create a schism between the different factions in the Communist Party; between the ones promoting a more human approach and the ones vouching for gigantic schemes.
The discreet visit of the Chinese Premier to Tibet should be seen in this perspective.
The article of The China Daily concluded: “Some easier parts of the line have been built in the past few years, but construction of the Kangding-Nyingchi section has yet to start due to the difficulties involved.”
It refers to the Nyingchi-Lhasa railway line which will soon be open to traffic.
The Chinese paper added: “Previous reports have said trains on the Sichuan-Tibet line will travel at between 160 and 200 kilometers per hour. When the line is completed, the travel time by rail between Chengdu and Lhasa will be cut from 48 hours to about 13 hours.”

It is if the line is completed…
In the meantime, development projects in this ecologically fragile area are creating havoc.

To restore the traffic, a new road is being built. All this has a cost.

Jiala Village is close to the Great Band of the Yarlung Tsangpo
Landslide on the Yarlung Tsangpo near Jiala village

Landslide on the Yarlung Tsangpo near Jiala village

Landslide on the Yarlung Tsangpo near Jiala village

Landslide on the Yarlung Tsangpo near Jiala village