Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Dalai Lama crosses the Indian border - rare documents

Today it is 62 years that the Dalai Lama arrived in India.
On the occasion of the 59th anniversary of the arrival of the Dalai Lama in India, I had posted on my website a very large collection of historical documents related to the flight of the Tibetan leader.
Click here to consult them.

Of particular interest, the reports of the Political Officer, Har Mander Singh about his first encounters with the Dalai Lama and his Cabinet ministers.
Some words are unfortunately missing in the file which seems to be attacked by white ants.
The file is from the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

Incidentally, an account based on Chinese Military Intelligence was recently published: The 1959 Tibetan Uprising Documents: The Chinese Army Documents (China Secrets Book 16) Kindle Edition
It gave another view on the escape of the Dalai Lama to India.
Supposing that the assertion in this book is right, it is also very much possible that the Dalai Lama and his entourage did not know that Mao had ordered “Let him go, if he wants to go.”
The fact that the Dalai Lama ‘crossed the Himalaya under permanent danger of being caught or even killed by the Chinese’, can’t be doubted.
The author of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising Documents himself admits that Mao would have changed his mind on March 17, 1959 and asked the PLA to stop the Tibetan leader.
Here are an extract of the 1959 Documents.

Misjudgment on the Escape of the Dalai Lama
Another legend related to the 1959 Tibetan uprising is the ‘escape’ of the Dalai Lama to India. Supposedly he managed to barely get away from advancing Chinese army units and crossed the Himalaya under permanent danger of being caught or even killed by the Chinese.
This rather romantic legend is disproved for many years. At least by the 1990s when new Chinese archive material became available it became clear that it was Mao himself who instructed the Tibet Military District "To let him go (over the border with India) if he wants to go." Mao issued this order on March 12. He seems to have changed his mind somewhat on March 17 and asked the army in Lhasa to stop him, but then it was too late. After receiving this surprising message, the high commanders of the Tibet Military District just decided to do nothing about it. [A good description of those events are in the back published by the Harvard University Press in 2016 and written by Jianglin Li with the title Tibet in Agony, Lhasa 1959, pages 216 to 225.]
Looking at all the original papers available to this author, there is no indication for a search or hunt after the Dalai Lama by any Chinese unit. Units like those stationed in Tsetang and located between Lhasa and the Indian border never received orders to go out and search for the Dalai Lama.
Another option would have been to send those Chinese soldiers stationed in Shigatse and Yadong [Yatung] in the direction of Southern Tibet to cut-off his escape route. Those garrisons just stayed in the same locations during March. The ultimate option would have been the use of paratroopers to block the main mountain passes. In the end, nothing was done, and Mao was not pushing for action.

Accompanied by an Assam Rifles' escort
More interesting is the first report of the Dalai Lama's arrival in India

Report on the entry of His Holiness the Dalai Lama into India.
Phase I- Chuthangmu to Lumla

April 5, 1959

On the 27th March, 1959, Shri TS Murty, Assistant Political Officer (APO) Tawang, received instructions about the possibility of the Dalai Lama seeking entry into India. He reached Chuthangmu to receive the party at 09:00 hours on the 31st March, 1959.
The advance party of the Dalai Lama under a comparatively junior officer had already reached Chuthangmu on the 29th March. They stated that the main party consisting of the Dalai Lama, his family, ministers and tutors were expected to enter our territory at 14:00 hours on the 31st March, that there was no sign of the Chinese pursuit and that the party was bringing a small number of porters and would be needing many more from our area.
At 1400 hours on the 31st March, the Dalai Lama and his party reached Kenze Mane [Khenzimane] which demarcates the frontier in Chuthangmu area. His holiness was riding a yak and was received by the Assistant Political Officer, Tawang. They proceeded to the checkpost without halting at the frontier.
Dronyer Chhempu [Chenpo or Lord Chamberlain], Personal Assistant to the Dalai Lama met the Assistant Political Officer in the evening and it was agreed that all porters brought by the party from Tibet would be sent back and that porterage arrangements thereafter would be made by us. It was also agreed that all pistols and revolvers, except those in possession of the Dalai Lama, his family and ministers (excluding their servants), and all rifles would be handed over to us for safe custody and that these could be collected at the frontier by those members of the body guard who were to return to Tibet after escorting the Dalai Lama to the plains or that alternatively, we would keep that in our custody and obtain disposal orders from the Government. It was further decided that a list of all Tibetan officers and of entering our territory would be prepared and handed over to the Assistant Political Officer.
The same evening, Shri Kumar, ACTO of the SIB [Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau] in Chuthangmu brought to the Assistant Political Officer [TS Murty], the copy of letter dated the 26th March from the Dalai Lama addressed to Prime Minister [of India] and requested that it should be delivered to the addressee. He stated that two messengers from the Dalai Lama carrying the original letter had already passed through Chuthangmu on the 29th and that he had transmitted the English translation over the wireless to Shillong. He had asked the messengers to hand over the letter to him for dispatched but they had insisted on carrying it themselves and had proceeded to the plains via Bhutan.
On the morning of the 1st April, 16 rifles and 9 pistols/revolvers were handed over to us for safe custody.
The Dzongpon [District Commissioner] of Tsona [in Tibet] who arrived in the meantime was refused entry after discussion with senior Tibetan officers.
At 09:00 hours the Assistant Political Officer was summoned by the Dalai Lama. Following points were made by His Holiness during conversation with him:
The policy of the Chinese was becoming increasingly anti-religious; the masses of Tibet were restive and he was no longer able to make them put up with the Chinese rule; the Chinese had attempted to endanger his person; Tibet should be free; his people would fight to win their freedom; he was confident that India’s sympathies are with the Tibetans; the seat of his Government had shifted from Lhasa to Ulgelthinse in Lhuntse Dzong and the Government of India should be informed of this very early.
At about 1800 hours, Lobsang [one word missing, probably, Lobsang Samten, brother of...] of the Dalai Lama, reached Chuthangmu and was [one word missing].
The party moved to Gorsam Chorten.
At 1500 hours, the Dalai Lama called the Assistant Political Officer and wanted to know if he had received any news of international developments in regard to his escape, especially the line adopted by India, the UK and the USA in this regard.
The Assistant Political Officer said that he had no information.
On the following day the party moved to Shakti and on 3.4.59 it reached Lumla.

Sd/-Har Mander Singh
Political Officer
April 5, 1959

Relaxing on the way...
Here is another document related to the first encounter between the PO and the Tibetan leader

Top Secret


APRIL 3, 1959.

Lyou Hsia [Liushar] Thubten, Foreign Minister, Kungo Shase [Shashur Shape], Minister and Chichyap Khempu [Kempo], Secretary to the Dalai Lama came to see me soon after their arrival in Lumla. It was meant to be a social gathering but the Chapes [Shapes] spoke about some important matters while they were with me. Shri [TS] Murty, Assistant Political Officer, Tawang, was also present.

2. After the usual formalities the Foreign Minister briefly recounted the circumstances under which the Dalai Lama was forced to leave Tibet. He said that the relations between China and accepted as a spiritual leader by the Chinese Emperors. There was exchange of visits between the leaders of the two countries which brought them together. The Government of Tibet was, however, in possession of documents refuting Chinese claim of suzerainty over them and in support of theirs being an independent country. In recent past they had endeavoured to regulate their relationship scrupulously on the basis of the 17 point Treaty with China. The attitude of the Chinese after their “peaceful liberation of Tibet” had become increasingly anti-religious. For example, in order to popularize communism they had circulated a story in a periodical issued from Thachido, [Dartsedo or Kanding in Chinese] a town on Sino-Tibetan border, that Prince Sidhartha was forced to leave his kingdom because of the popular feeling against kingship and that he had attained ‘Nirvana’ because he had ultimately realized that peoples’ will was more important than that of the kings.

3. The Dalai Lama himself felt that they should work in and harmony with the Chinese. Indeed during his visit to India was advised by the Indian Prime Minister himself to cooperate with the Chinese in the interest of his country. In spite of [word missing] effort to accommodate the Chinese viewpoint, the Chinese interfere in the religious affairs of the Tibetans had [word missing]. They had desecrated several monasteries in Kham Province and had also killed several incarnate Lamas.

4. On the 10th March, the Dalai Lama was invited to attend cultural show in the Chinese area. The people came to know of this invitation and feared that it may be an attempt to remove the Dalai Lama from the scene or exert undue pressure on him. The news spread in Lhasa City and soon a large crowd gathered around the palace and prevented him from attending the Chinese function.

5. On the 11th, a procession of women went to the office of the Consul General, India and asked him to intervene on their behalf with the Chinese. They made a similar request to the Nepalese Consul General also. Their main demand was that the news about the Chinese interference in the religious affairs of the Tibetans and of their attempt to remove the Dalai Lama from Lhasa should be given publicity in the world press.

6. This kind of unrest continued for seven days. At 4 p.m. Lhasa time, on the 17th, the Chinese fired two mortar shells which fell only eighty yards short of the [word missing]. This convinced the Kashag that the Dalai Lama’s life [was endangered] and, therefore, they persuaded him to escape from [the Norbulinka] at 10 p.m. the same night with the Dalai Lama dress [word missing] clothes.

7. They had been listening [word missing] news ever since and had also been getting information through their sources. According to their information, the Chinese came to know of the Dalai Lama’s escape on the 19th March and shelled the Potala, the summer palace and the Gompa at Chakpori on the 20th March.

8. The Dalai Lama’s party escaped via the Southern route. There was a Chinese garrison of about 600 at Tsethang. They were surrounded by the rebel troops and Tibetan Government forces and could not, therefore, interfere with the movement of the party. On reaching Ulgelthinse in Lhuntse Dzong, they established the seat of the exile Government there temporarily on the 26th March. For the present, the Government would be run by the lay and monk commissioners of Southern Tibet known as Lhojes. They had sent instructions to Lhasa that all Government officers and records should be moved to this place.

9. Except for Tsedang there were no Chinese in Southern Tibet.

10. After leaving Ulgelthinse they spotted an aircraft flying over them near Tsona and feared that their party might be bombed but fortunately they were able to reach the Indian frontier without incident.

11. They reached the frontier at 2 p.m. on the 31st March and were received by Shri [TS] Murty, Assistant Political Officer, who brought them to Chuthangmu. They had felt very relieved after entering Indian territory.

12. They had heard the Chinese announcement that the Dalai Lama was forced to escape on the advice of 18 officers who were accompanying him and that these officers had been declared traitors. It was quite obvious, therefore, that they had no place in Communist Tibet.

13. They were quite prepared to negotiate with the Chinese for their return to Tibet and would welcome India’s good offices in this direction. They intended, however, to insist on complete [word missing] for Tibet and would continue their fight till their country was liberated.

14. I said that while we wanted friendship with all countries including China, we had much closer cultural and religious ties with Tibet and were, therefore, happy to receive them in our territory. I also said that our country’s good offices could be effective only if opposing parties had faith in our impartiality. It was, therefore, essential that no attempt should be made by bands of Khampas or Tibetan Government troops to violate the frontier. I said that I shall be grateful if they could suitably pass this on to the correct quarters. Our Government was, however, always prepared to grant asylum on humanitarian considerations and a case was already on record where we had brought the family of a favour Khmpa rebel to Tawang for medical treatment on these very considerations.

15. We briefly discussed the future programme of the party. The Foreign Minister indicated that they might like to stay upto ten days in Tawang. I explained briefly the disadvantages of their prolonged stay in Tawang and said that we could perhaps make them more comfortable in Bomdi La. I made it clear, however that we were prepared to accede to the Dalai Lama’s wishes in the [word missing]. The Foreign Minister said that it would be possible to cut down [word missing] Tawang to about three days.

16. I also said that we shall provide the facilities for travel beyond Tawang to all persons [word missing] the Dalai Lama but there was danger that stray persons escaping from Tibet may take this opportunity and come in along with the main party. It was, therefore, important that the list of persons authenticated by the party should be as comprehensive and accurate as it was possible to make it. The Foreign Minister agreed to this suggestion.

Sd/- Har Mander Singh
Political Officer
April 3, 1959.

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Return of Red Genes in Tibet

China has found a new love for history.
But it is history with strong Chinese characteristics, in other words, far from facts.
As mentioned in my previous post, March 28, which marked the dissolution of the Tibetan Government in 1959, is now celebrated as Serf’s Emancipation Day.
According to Xinhua, the Communist Party of China (CPC) “led the people in Tibet to launch the democratic reform, abolishing Tibet's feudal serfdom under theocracy.”
The propaganda goes on and on: “The emancipation of one million serfs was a groundbreaking event for Tibet. It was under the CPC leadership that Tibetans started to embrace happy lives.”

A Museum of the 'Emancipation'?
A Museum has now been opened in Lhasa to display “photos and items from the serfdom era, including torture instruments and ritual artifacts made from serfs' bones and skin, and those recording the democratic reform and serfs' new lives.”
The Tibetan society might not been perfect (which society is perfect?), but this interpretation is pure non-sense.
Che Dalha, chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) government declared on the occasion: “Tibet will keep pace with other parts of the country in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarking on a new journey toward socialist modernization.”
But are the people really happy under the Communist Party’s joke is another question.

Taking oath to follow the Party

Learn from History
In the meantime, the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party held public lectures on Party's history in Lhasa and all over-Tibet.
Everyone has to learn the glorious past of the Party, which killed hundreds of thousands Tibetans in the first two decades of its rule; the intention was of course only to 'liberate' them.
On March 27, Wu Degang, the Deputy Director of the Central Party History Research Office and Deputy Dean of the Central Party History and Documentation Research Institute, came to Lhasa to lecture the members of the Standing Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).

Guess who was in attendance with the big shots of the Party?
Pasang, the most infamous Maoist, who ruled Tibet during the dark days of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and who later escaped all purges, was sitting with the TAR's Standing Committee members.
Is it a sign of the ‘New Era’ heralded by Xi Jinping?
It strangely resembles the Darkest Days of the Land of Snows.

Pasang, the 84-year old 'ex-serf'
Who is Pasang?
According to the Communist propaganda, Pasang was born in a ‘slave’ family in Gongka County in 1937; she was named Kalsang by parents. As child she lived in Lhasa and worked as a ‘slave’ in a nobleman's estate.
Her Communist biography quotes her: “They were just treating us as ‘talking’ animals, just ‘talking tools’. We were not treated as a human being. At that time, there were really no human rights at all [in Tibet].”
Her biographer continues: “Because she could not bear this kind of abuse, she went to the Lhasa River several times. She thought of throwing herself into the river, but thinking of her father, sister and two younger brothers who had stayed in Lhoka [Southern Tibet] as slaves and because she had not met them for several years, each time, she decided to return to her master’s house.”
Soon after, Pasang heard that the PLA had arrived in Lhasa: “they were good to the poor, and some slaves had already joined the PLA.”
Her official biography says that Pasang remembered: "In July of the 56th Tibetan calendar, there was festival. When it became dark at night, I was asked to go to the slaughterhouse to pick up some meat, many guests had come for a festival. In the slaughterhouse, there was only beef and no mutton. I told the lady when I came back. Then she took me to a room in a warehouse and beat me up. I fainted on the spot. When I woke up, it was dark,  as the door was still open, I left and I ran away.”
After escaping from the host's house, she decided to change her name to avoid pursuit.
She explained: "How did I change my name? I walked along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway; it was already night. I was walking, and suddenly I saw the stars in the sky. The brightest star in Tibetan speaks Karma Pasang, which is Venus, so I thought my name should Pasang. My name was changed this way. From then on, Kalsang became Pasang [also Friday].”
Then, she came into contact with the PLA, but due to her illiteracy, she encountered many difficulties. Pasang was however sent to Tibetan Cadre School, she remembered later: “I didn’t learn anything at the Cadre School. At that time, the upper-level reactionary group of the Kashag [Cabinet] government led by the Dalai Lama opposed running schools and training ethnic cadres in Tibet, so they sent people there to sabotage it. As these schools failed, the central government [read the Communist Party] decided to set up schools in the Mainland to train Tibetan cadres."
This is obviously a very biased reading to modern Tibetan history. The Tibetan masses were upset by the imposition of the Communist ideology and the denigrating of the Tibetan culture, particularly, Buddhism considered as a ‘poison’ by Mao; they obviously opposed the Communist schools.
From then, Pasang became a good Communist, one of the main collaborators working for the Chinese occupying forces and an active Maoist during the Cultural Revolution.
Her reappearance on the Tibetan political scene is not a good sign.
As an indication, I give here some extracts of Pasang’s 'official' CV.

Pasang’s Personal History
•    1956: Joined a unit of the PLA
•    1957: Sent to study at Tibet Nationalities Institute
•    1959: Joined CCP
•    1965-68: Deputy Magistrate of Nang Dzong County
Pasang’s rise to the top dates from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. She came into prominence in May 1966 when she wrote an article in The People's Daily praising Mao Zedong's Thought.
It is always good to praise the Great Helmsman, yesterday or today.
In September 1969, when the Revolutionary Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) was established to replace regional government, she was elected Vice-Chairperson.
In 1971, she was made a deputy party secretary in the TAR Party Committee, a position she held until her retirement in 2002.
It is the highest position that a Tibetan has ever reached since 1959 till date.
Incidentally, two Tibetan leaders survived the purge of leftist officials and the fall of the Gang of Four in October 1976; it was Ragti and Pasang. They are still around and used by the Party when necessary. 

Very Few Tibetans Trusted by the Party
According to historian Tsering Shakya, the explanation given by CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang at the Second National Work Forum in 1984 for keeping these two Tibetans in their positions despite their Cultural Revolution background: “It was clear that even the most liberal leader was not prepared to carry out a purge of Tibetan leftists, perhaps because...only those Tibetans who had gained most under the Communists could be relied upon to support Beijing.”
This is a serious issue, even today; very few Tibetans can be trusted by the Party.
The return of Pasang on the centre stage is another proof of this.

Let us continue with her CV:
•    1971 August: She is reelected secretary of the new TAR Communist Party Secretariat towards the end of the Cultural Revolution
•    1973 July: Pasang is elected chairman of the Women's Federation of Tibet and member of the CCP Central Committee by the 10th People's Congress
•    1975 January: member of the Standing Committee of the 4th NPC; head of a women's delegation to Japan
•    1978 February: deputy for the TAR to the 5th NPC
•    1979 June: member of the Budget Committee at the 2nd Session of the 5th NPC
•    1979: August: Vice-person of the People's Government of the TAR; held post until 1983
•    1971-85: Secretary of TAR Party Committee
•    1982 November: Member of the Presidium, 5th Session of the 5th NPC
•    1983-1986: President of the Tibet Nationalities Institute (concurrently with Yang Dongsheng)
•    1984 May: Director of the office of the Party Rectification Guidance Group under TAR Party Committee and deputy secretary of TAR Party Committee
•    1984 July - 1987 November: Member of Standing Committee of 4th term of CPPCC Tibet Regional Committee
•    1985 November: secretary of the TAR Party Committee Discipline Inspection Commission
•    1986: Deputy Secretary of TAR Committee and secretary of TAR Party Committee Discipline Inspection Commission 

•    1993: Vice-chairperson of the CPPCC 6th Tibet Regional Committee
•    1975-1978: Member of Standing Committee of 4th and 5th NPCs
•    1973-87: Member of CCP 10th through 12th Central Committees
•    1992: Deputy to CCP 14th National Congress. Member of 14th CCP Central Discipline Inspection Commission
•    From January 1993 to November 1994, he served as Deputy Secretary of the TAR.
•    In April 1994, he was clearly treated as chairman of the Government of the TAR
•    From November 1994 to September 1998, he served as Deputy Secretary of the CPC TAR Committee
•    After September 1998, she was Deputy Secretary of the TAR and Vice Chairperson Chairman of the All-China Women’s Federation
•    She was an alternate member of the 9th Central Committee and a full member of 10th, 11th, and 12th Central Committees, and a member of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection at the 13th and 14th National Congress and also a member of the Standing Committee of the Fourth and Fifth National People's Congress.

The return of Pasang symbolizes the return of the darkest era in the history of Modern Tibet; is it what Xi Jinping calls the “New Era?’
The Chinese propaganda today provides ‘education and guidance’ to all Party members and cadres who need “firm up their ideals and beliefs, inherit the red genes and always maintain their political qualities.”
Even in the PLA: “Every soldier should be loyal to the core, uphold the core, follow the core.” 

The 'core' is the new Helmsman. 

The objective is to make soldiers "appreciate the glorious truth about Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Isn't it frightening?


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Have the Serfs been Emancipated?

Propaganda picture showing the 'serfs' being emancipated
The reality was different
I am reposting a two-year old article about the tragic Serfs' Emancipation Day.
Can Communist China forever continue to tell the world lies about the events of March 28, 1959?

On March 28 [2019], China celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Introduction of the Reforms in Tibet and the Serfs’ Emancipation Day.
Sixty years ago, following an uprising of the entire population, the Tibetan capital witnessed the massacre of thousands of Tibetans …Communist reforms could finally be introduced.
Last week, the Chinese media reported: “Representatives from various ethnic groups and walks of life gathered in the Potala Palace square in Lhasa to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the campaign of democratic reform in Tibet.”
The colonial mindset is immediately apparent: “various ethnic groups”, as if Tibetans belonged to different ethnic groups.
Of course, today the Tibetans are a minority in their native land, but the media should have written that “Tibetans and Hans have gathered” near the Potala.

Who is the Boss?
Another telling detail, the report started thus: “At 10 a.m., Losang Jamcan, director of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress, declared the opening of the celebration meeting in both Tibetan and Mandarin, which was followed by a solemn ceremony of raising the national flag and singing the national anthem.”
Lobsang Gyaltsen (the correct spelling of his name), is the Chairman of the People’s Congress of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and the TAR’s Deputy Secretary; he is also a member of the CCP’s Central Committee
What is strange is that Lobsang Gyaltsen spoke before the Party’s Secretary (Wu Jingjie), though the Communist protocol is always extremely strict.
But after having proclaimed that sixty years ago, the Tibetan people have become their own masters, it would have not looked nice, if the Party Secretary, always from the Han nationality, would have spoken before a Tibetan.
A small adjustment of the protocol was necessary for the grand show.
Incidentally, not a single Tibetan has ever made it as Party Secretary in Tibet.
Why? Simply, because despite the propaganda, Beijing does not trust the Tibetans.
Look at the list of Party Secretary in Tibet (the most famous is President Hu Jintao):
Gen Zhang Guohua, (January 1950 - June 1951)
Gen Fan Ming (June 1951 - December 1951)
Gen Zhang Jingwu (March 1952 - August 1965)
Zhang Guohua (September 1965 - until the beginning of the Cultural Revolution)
Ren Rong (August 1971 - March 1980)
Gen Yin Fatang (March 1980 - June 1985)
Wu Jinghua (June 1985 - December 1988)
Hu Jintao (December 1988 - November 1992)
Chen Kuiyuan (November 1992 - September 2000)
Guo Jinlong (September 2000 - December 2004)
Yang Chuantang (December 2004 - November 2005)
Zhang Qingli (November 2005 - May 2006)
Zhang Qingli (May 2006 - August 2011)
Chen Quanguo (August 2011 -2016)
Wu Jingjie (Aug-16, 2016 till date)

The Function in Lhasa
Let us come back to the report of the function.
Xinhua explained: “In March 1959, the Chinese central government dissolved the aristocratic local government of Tibet and freed more than 1 million serfs, making them the masters of the nation and society.”
In several previous posts, I have shown that the so-called Emancipation of the Serfs is pure history rewriting of the events of 1959.
Wu Yingjie, the Party Chief, followed his deputy on the rostrum.
He solemnly declared: “Tibet has made historic achievements and undergone tremendous changes since the democratic reform that started 60 years ago,” and added: “The democratic reform completely obliterated the feudal serfdom of theocracy, changed the production relations of the old Tibet, smashed the shackles of feudal spirit and culture and freed local people from feudal political oppression.”
Wu asserted: “The democratic reform is a major historic event in Tibet's development and human rights advancement.”
I wonder if Wu really know what happened at the end the 1950s in Tibet?

The Reforms in Tibet
Interestingly, in January 1957, while on a visit to India, Zhou Enlai, the Chinese Premier had long discussions with Prime Minister Nehru on the introduction of the so-called reforms. It was decided to postpone them at least for six or seven years.
In the course of the conversation with the Indian Prime Minister, Zhou pointed a finger at non-existing foreigners in Lhasa: “those bent on trouble are preparing for an incident in Lhasa. These people have some armed forces. Some three temples in Lhasa have also armed forces and they want to create an incident with the People's Liberation Army there. If it happened, then there would be bloodshed.”
Nehru did not react.
Is it not strange than two years later, the Tibetan resistance was centered around three ‘temples’ or religious places (Ramoche, Norbulinka and Chakpori)?
Did Zhou already know what would happen in March 1959?
Although there was no ‘foreigner’ in Lhasa, except for the Indian staff of the Consulate General, the bloodshed indeed took place in March 1959; it helped Mao to firmly consolidate the position of the Communist regime, which continues to control the restive nation with an iron hand.

Forced to swear for the Communist Party

The Communist Party views
According to historian Melvyn Goldstein, the issue of the revolt was discussed in Beijing by the Party leadership as early as 1957: “If Tibetans revolted, Mao asserted clearly that he would use the PLA to destroy the rebels, wipe out the traditional manorial estate system, end the Tibetan ‘local’ government, and quickly implement forced reforms and create a socialist Tibet under direct control by the CCP.”
Goldstein thought that it was for Mao “an alternative path to success since it would enable the CCP to end the traditional system and ‘liberate’ the Tibetan masses much sooner than under the gradualist policy. Mao therefore presented his Tibet policy as a no-lose strategy for China.”
It is a matter of debate if it was an ‘alternative’ or not, but on May 14, 1957, a cable was sent by the CCP’s Central Committee to the Chinese generals in Lhasa.
It says: “In today’s Tibet, the separatists are still quite popular, and can still stir up troubles on the issue of reforms. This is not accidental. Rather it has its historical and social causes. Although Tibet became an inseparable part of China a long time ago, it has maintained an independent or semi-independent status in its relations with the motherland…”
This admission is interesting to note.
The note of the Central Committee continued: “The fact that it had achieved long-term independence and semi-independence historically distinguishes Tibet from other minority nationality areas in China. First, this is reflected in Tibetans’ centrifugal tendencies away from China and their distrust of Han Chinese. Not only does this exist widely among the upper classes, but also has a considerable influence among the masses. When the imperialist forces penetrated into Tibet toward the end of the 19th century, they instigated distrust between Tibet and China, nurtured pro-independence forces and created an impetus for separation, all of which exacerbated the Tibetans’ centrifugal tendencies away from the motherland.”
It mentioned serfdom and feudal rule in Tibet “[which] have remained intact until now. The upper classes still retain the ethnic banner and the religious banner, and they can still use these banners to influence the masses in order to maintain the old system and rule that is harmful for the development of the Tibetans. This is the reality we are facing. Besides the issues with the upper classes, we also have the issues of the masses.”
The cable continued in the same vein. Was force an alternative? the Central Committee thought: “If we use force, it very likely will create a situation in which not only the majority of the elite will oppose us but also the separatists’ conspiracies will succeed, the leftists will be isolated, and a considerable portion of the working class under the elite’s influence and control will follow them to oppose us. If this situation occurs, either it will force us to stop reforms and place us in a passive political situation, or we will need to start a war to mobilize the masses and implement reforms. This is the last resort in nationality areas…”
The conclusion of the Central Committee was: “If imperialists and traitors start an armed rebellion, that is something different; and then we will have to use armed forces to suppress the rebellion. The Central Committee has made repeated instructions about this. …Having considered the historical and current situations in Tibet, the Central Committee has decided that we will not carry out democratic reforms in Tibet for at least six years, or even longer.”
This followed the assurance given to Jawaharlal Nehru by Zhou Enlai in January 1957. It was the condition for the Dalai Lama, then in India, to return to Tibet and not seek asylum in India or America.

Do they really believe on the Party?

The events of 1959
In January 1959, according to Goldstein, Mao and the Central Committee realized that “the Tibetan insurgency had crossed the threshold from local uprisings to a full-scale revolt. The PLA had to be used to control the rebellion.”
On January 22, 1959, Mao wrote: “The next few years in Tibet will be a period when our enemy and we both will try to win over the masses, and both will try to reinforce their military power. After a few years, three or four years, five or six years, even seven or eight years, a big battle will definitely come, so we can solve the problems thoroughly. In the past, the rulers of Tibet only had a weak army. Now they have an armed force of 10,000 with high morale. This is a serious problem for us. However, it does not mean it is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is good, since there is a possibility for us to solve the problem militarily."
The 'great battle' came earlier than expected.
Mao's views were: "We must do the following: 1) we must win over the masses during the next few years, and isolate the reactionaries; 2) train our army to be strong fighters. These two things should be done during our struggle with the armed rebels.” [Quoted by Goldstein]. 

The Decision
Two days later, the Central Committee told the Chinese leadership in Tibet: “the armed uprisings have expanded to the next level. …The uprisings will continue to expand unless we have a one-time decisive battle. Then and only then will the problem be resolved thoroughly.”
It was indeed resolved thoroughly, the ‘reforms’ were imposed in a bloodshed, and the serfs were 'emancipated', the Communist way...

Today, the tragic episode is repacked by Beijing in a White Paper, showing how happy the Tibetans are.
President Xi Jinping should hold a referendum and ask the opinion of the Tibetan masses if they are happy or not.
I will be interested to see the results.

Ploughing over the Red Flag
Celebrating near the Indian Border

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Big One

Recent developments not far from the Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh are worrying.
A notice from the Metok Border Management Brigade announced that from March 1, the Chinese authorities began “to check border pass, ID cards and other documents of people entering and exiting Metok.”
Metok is the last small, but strategic town located near the Great Bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo, north of the McMahon Line. Let us remember that the river becomes the Siang on entering Arunachal and later the Brahmaputra in Assam (and the Meghna in Bangladesh).
The notice says that the entire Metok region now comes under ‘border management’ and the area will thereafter be restricted: “People entering and leaving must comply with the relevant regulations of the border management area and need to show relevant documents at border checkpoints to be allowed to pass.”
Even the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is not exempted from these new restrictions: “officers and soldiers of the PLA and the People’s Armed Police (PAP) who are not stationed in the area must present a certificate issued by the competent department at or above the regimental level to enter and leave the border area.” The notice adds that if an entire military unit wants to enter or exit the border area, the border inspection department should be notified in advance for inspection.
Why suddenly these new restrictions?
An answer maybe be found in an article in The Hindu; Ananth Krishnan says that a draft of China’s new Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) would have given “the green light for the first dams to be built on the lower reaches of Yarlung Tsangpo river.” According to the Chinese version of the new Plan covering the period 2020-2025 as well as “long range objectives through the year 2035” which was submitted to National People’s Congress (NPC) for approval, “the building of hydropower bases on the lower reaches of the river as among the priority energy projects to be undertaken in the next five years.”
The draft later adopted by the Chinese legislature calls for “a hydropower base on the lower reaches of the river, along with clean energy bases in the upper and lower reaches of Jinsha river,” known as the Upper Yangtze in Sichuan Province.
On the occasion of the New Year, President Xi Jinping called the Communist Party “a gigantic vessel that navigates China's stable and long-term development;” he stated: “Upholding the principle of putting people first and remaining true to our founding mission, we can break the waves to reach the destination of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
As a result, Xi Jinping is thinking big.
The Seventh Tibet Work Forum (TWF), a mega meeting which decides the fate of Tibet for the years to come (to which Tibetans are rarely invited), was held in Beijing on August 28 and 29, 2020. It was a crucial event not only as far it concerns the fate of the Roof of the World, but for the Indian border too.
Soon after, some massive projects were announced; first, the Pai-Metok (Pai-Mo) Highway linking Nyingchi to Metok, north of Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh which should open in July 2021.
After the completion of the highway, the length of the road from Nyingchi City to Metok County will be shortened from 346 kilometers to 180 kilometers and the driving time will be shortened from 11 hours to 4.5 hours. Though only 67 kilometers long, in strategic terms the highway will be a game changer and greatly accelerate the developments of new model villages, and therefore relocation of populations on the border. But more importantly, it will pave the way for a mega hydropower plant (HPP).
In December 2020, The Global Times announced Beijing’s plan to build a cascade of mega hydropower plants (HPP) on the Yarlung Tsangpo.
The Metok County government confirmed that the project would be built north of the Indian border, while The Global Time added: “The head of Power Construction Corp of China (POWERCHINA) suggested the planned hydropower station - which is expected to have three times as much generating capacity as the world-leading Three Gorges power station - aims to maintain water resources and domestic security.”
A series of nine hydropower plants in cascade, producing thrice the amount of electricity generated by the Three Gorges Dam, will threaten the life in the entire North-East region.
But it is not all; already in 2016, The China Daily had reported the construction of a 1,629-kilometer Sichuan-Tibet railway. It has now entered a crucial phase. The railway will be connecting Chengdu in Sichuan to Lhasa; it will be divided into three sections from west to east: Lhasa-Nyingchi, Nyingchi-Kangding, and Kangding-Chengdu. It takes today 42 hours by train and three days by road to travel from Chengdu to Lhasa; the new rail line will shorten the travel time to less than 15 hours.
The Lhasa-Nyingchi section is scheduled to be opened in July.
All this will have incalculable strategic implications for India as the train will pass near the Indian border and the hydropower plant is located just north of the McMahon Line.
Last, but not the least, Xi is planning to start a mega lead-zinc mining project in Huoshaoyun area, in the China-occupied Aksai Chin in Ladakh; according to the Shanghai Nonferrous Metals Network: “In September 2016, Xinjiang geological prospecting made a new major breakthrough. Among them, the Huoshaoyun super large lead-zinc mine has a proven resource of 17.08 million tons, ranking seventh in the world, second in Asia, and first in China.”
Though the two first projects (the HPP on the Yarlung Tsangpo and the Sichuan Railway) are directly affecting India, the last one (the mining in the Aksai Chin) is located on Indian territory.
Further, nobody seems to have thought about the pollution generated by the mines; indeed, t is a great tragedy in the making; moreover for India, the development of the ‘dual-use’ (civil and military) infrastructure by China in the Ladakh sector will take place on a much larger scale than today.
How will the Mandarins of South Block react? They will probably try to keep the information under the carpet as long as possible. But if they wait too long, it may be too late. Remember the Aksai Chin road.

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Mistake of the Century

President Xi Jinping is a poor strategist.
Chinese are known followers of the Art of War, an ancient Chinese military treatise written by Sun Tzu, a Chinese general and military authority in the 5th century BC. The treatise teaches all aspects of warfare and particularly how to win a War without fighting it, but today, it is clear that President Xi Jinping has not read the book properly.
Xi got the first basic wrong, “don’t take too many enemies in one go, take them one by one.”
As a result, Xi may win a few battles, but ultimately, the Chairman of the all-powerful Central Military Commission is certain to lose the war; the world will not let the Middle Kingdom dominate the planet.
Xi Jinping and his advisors did not take into account that China’s ‘enemies’ would react so quickly to Beijing’s aggressive expansionism.
Take India, how could the nation (and the government) ignore Chinese intrusions in Ladakh and accept a change of the status quo without taking measures to make Beijing pay a price.
Banning Chinese applications or cancelling State contracts for Chinese mining companies, Delhi has started acting. As China digs in in Ladakh and prepares for the winter, retaliating actions are bound to increase and certain policies taken in the 1950s, will certainly be debated afresh, particularly the ‘One-China’ policy.
It is where President Xi and his advisors have miscalculated.
India and the world can well reopen ‘unfinished’ business.
One is the Tibetan issue at the UN.
On November 7, 1950, a well-drafted appeal sent from Kalimpong (as there were no postal facilities in Lhasa), pointed to the fact that “the Tibetans were racially, culturally and geographically far apart from the Chinese.” It also made a parallel with the situation in the Korean peninsula: “The attention of the world was then riveted on Korea where aggression was being resisted by an international force.
Similar happenings in Tibet were taking place with the world covering its eyes: … [The problem is] largely the outcome of unthwarted Chinese ambitions to bring weaker nations on her periphery within her active domination,” said the Appeal, which continued: “As a people devoted to the tenets of Buddhism, Tibetans had long eschewed the art of warfare, practised peace and tolerance and for the defence of their country, relied on its geographical configuration and on non-involvement in the affairs of other nations.”
It added that the Chinese, in their natural urge for expansion, “have wholly misconstrued the significance of the ties of friendship and interdependence that existed between China and Tibet.”
Some twenty years ago, Claudia Johnston, an independent researcher in International Law at the University of Victoria, Canada, wrote a fascinating paper “Tibet: The International Mistake of the Century”.
The outcome of her research was that the Tibetan Appeal was still a pending matter in the UN …waiting to be reopened: “The UN and individual Member States, have been conducting their decisions based on the false assumption that Tibet is not a ‘State’, but ‘an internal affair’ of China. UN official records show this to be a mistake.” Tibet was then a State.
As a result, “the issue of Tibetan Statehood remains unconsidered by the United Nations. United Nations mechanisms for ‘States’ to employ peaceful solutions to ‘Disputes’ have not been utilised.”
All this was done …at the instance of India.
It is true that from the start, Delhi was pessimistic about the outcome of the UN appeal: “We doubt whether a discussion of Tibetan problem in General Assembly or in Security Council will yield any useful result,” wrote Nehru.
The friendship with China was already too important to be sacrificed for the fate a weak and peaceful neighbour like Tibet.
The Prime Minister frankly admitted that though Beijing had repeatedly expressed itself in favour of Tibetan autonomy “but of course we do NOT know what their idea of autonomy is.”
Delhi thought: “We do NOT think that legal argument will be helpful or that Assembly should attempt more than appeal to two parties to come to a peaceful settlement. Condemnation of China will NOT help Tibet; and neither Security Council nor Assembly is in any position to render physical aid to Tibet.”
As a result China was not condemned and could complete its task of entering Lhasa without hindrance; in Sun Tzu’s jargon, ‘liberating Tibet without waging war’.
In the course of the discussions at the UN in New York, most of the representatives indicated that India was the nation most concerned and that they would follow India’s lead.
In a note, Nehru sadly asserted: “I think it may be taken for granted that China will take possession, in a political sense at least, of the whole of Tibet.”
He further admitted that for the Tibetan people the “autonomy can obviously not be anything like the autonomy, verging on independence, which Tibet has enjoyed during the last forty years or so.”
His final words were: “We cannot save Tibet, as we should have liked to do so, and our very attempts to save it might bring greater trouble to it. It would be unfair to Tibet for us to bring this trouble upon her without having the capacity to help her effectively.”
The strange argument was: if we do anything to help Tibet, it will upset the Chinese and the fate of Tibet would be worse.
The case was eventually ‘put in abeyance’ at India’s demand.
Let us remember that Sardar Patel was by then a dying man; nobody could stand up to Nehru.
But today, if China stubbornly continues to occupy Indian territory in Ladakh or if the Chinese Western Theatre Command generals manage to convince the new Helmsman that India should be taught more lessons, there are plenty of old issues for India to reopen. For sure, Chairman Xi has not played his cards well.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Living in Fear of the Masses

According to a notice from the Metok Border Management Brigade, from March 1, the Chinese authorities will begin “to check border pass, ID cards and other documents of people entering and exiting Metok.”
Metok is the last small, but strategic town near the McMahon Line (north of Upper Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh).
The notice says that the entire Metok region now comes under ‘border management’ and the area will thereafter be restricted: “People entering and leaving must comply with the relevant regulations of the border management area and need to show relevant documents at border checkpoints to be allowed to pass.”
What is strange is that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is not exempted from these new restrictions: “officers and soldiers of the PLA and the People’s Armed Police (PAP) who are not stationed in the area must present a certificate issued by the competent department at or above the regimental level to enter and leave the border area.”
The notice adds that if an entire military unit wants to enter or exit the border area, the border inspection department should be notified in advance for inspection.
Why is China so nervous? Fearing Indian infiltrations? Difficult to believe.
Radio Free Asia gives the beginning of an answer: “Chinese authorities in Tibet are tightening security and carrying out arrests in the regional capital Lhasa and along Tibet’s border with Nepal in the run-up to a month of politically sensitive anniversaries beginning in March.”
March is an ‘important’ month; the Two Sessions will take place in Beijing (the meetings of the National People’s Conference and The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference), but it is also the anniversary of March 10, the Tibetan Uprising Day, when the entire population in Lhasa revolted against the Communist rule in 1959, forcing the Dalai Lama to escape to India.
RFA gives more information: “Among those taken into custody are Tibetans suspected of sharing information on the deaths of Chinese soldiers killed in a border clash with India last June in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh.”
A source told RFA’s Tibetan Service: “the Chinese government has increased these arrests and crackdowns in Lhasa and in border areas and those who are suspected of exchanging information regarding the deaths of the Chinese soldiers on the border are immediately arrested.”
Beijing also still remembers that on March 14, 2008, riots started in Lhasa; it led to attacks on Chinese nationals and the destruction of many Han shops. The unrest later spread all over Tibet and it took two months for Beijing to regain control of the situation.
In the case of Metok, there is more.
On October 13, 2020, an article in China Tibet News (in Chinese) reported that the Pai-Metok Highway from Pai in Nyingchi City to Metok would be opened on July 1, 2021.
From Nyingchi, the travel time to Metok County would be shortened from 11 to 4.5 hours; the Chinese website said: “On October 12, our reporter learned from the Huaneng Linzhi Hydropower Project Preparation Office that in order to effectively improve the current status of the transportation from Nyingchi to Metok and to effectively improve the livelihood of the villages and towns along the route, the Pai-Metok Highway, is planned to be completed on July 1, 2021.”
What is Huaneng, a dam company, doing in the area?
The answer came less than two months later, The Global Times announced China’s plan to build a large hydropower project on the Yarlung Tsangpo River, which becomes first the Siang and later the Brahmaputra in India.
The Metok County government confirmed that the project would be built in the Metok County, north of the McMahon Line; sources told The Global Time that “the project will be designed by the Chengdu Engineering Corp under the Power Construction Corp of China, or POWERCHINA. The Chengdu company is helping Metok to build the second highway entering the remote county.”
According to Xinhua, the hydropower stations will produce thrice the electricity of the Three Gorges Dam.
Despite these new developments, the 1959 Uprising of the Tibetan ‘masses’ still haunts Communist China.
The first-hand report of Maj SL Chibber, the Indian Consul General in Lhasa to the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi, is telling; it was clearly a revolt of the 'masses' against the Chinese occupiers.
The Chinese propaganda would like us to believe that it was the doing of the Dalai Lama and the ‘upper strata’ of the Tibetan society who rejected the Chinese occupation, it is untrue.
Chibber, who witnessed these momentous days, wrote: “In the history of movement for free Tibet the month of March, 1959, will be most historic as during this month Tibetans high and low, in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, openly challenged the Chinese rule in Tibet. They set up an organisation called – ‘Pho Mimang Ranchen Chi Chog’, meaning, ‘Tibetan Peoples Independent Organisation’, renounced the Sino-Tibetan Agreement of 1951, staged demonstrations to give vent to their anti-Chinese feelings and demanded withdrawal of the Chinese from Tibet. But this challenge, before the MIGHT OF CHINESE People’s Liberation Army, who on 20th March, 1959, started an all out offensive against the ill-organised, ill-equipped, untrained-Tibetans with artillery, mortors, machine guns and all types of automatic weapons, was short lived.”
‘Smelling danger’, the Dalai Lama secretly left Lhasa on the night of March, 17; he would reach the Indian border in the Tawang sector on March 31.
Since then, mighty China shivers every month of March.
Chibber concluded: “In brief the booms of Chinese guns and fire from their weapons, which destroyed number of buildings including religious places, large scale killing of Tibetans followed by mass arrests, departure of Dalai Lama and high-ranking Tibetan officials from Lhasa completely shattered the morale of Tibetans in general and they were left with no other alternative but to bow before the Chinese.
The Indian Consul General concluded: "The future of Tibet is dark and only a miracle can save Tibet from the clutches of the Chinese Communist Colonialists."
On March 28, 1959, the State Council (Chinese Government) dissolved the Tibet Government and transferred all its functions and powers to the Preparatory Committee for the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), using a few Tibetan puppets in the process. Today, wanting to save face, Beijing celebrates March 28 as the Serfs Emancipation Day.
It is a yearly holiday in Tibet, the day when the 'reforms' could finally be implemented, says the Chinese propaganda, explaining that the Tibetan ‘serfs’ had been liberated from feudalism and theocracy; it was simply not true.
Today, after more than 60 years, the Communist Party still lives in fear of the Tibetan masses; they are probably right, even though Marx never explained the meaning of ‘Karma’.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Communism in China: A hundred years later

My article Communism in China: A hundred years later appeared in The Daily Guardian

Here is the link...

As China prepares to celebrate the centenary of the Communist Party, the world must remember the massacres which Communist regimes have unleashed throughout history and question why Xi Jinping’s march towards the ‘New Era’ is marked by such aggression directed at neighbouring countries.

The year 2021 is supremely important for the Middle Kingdom and its Emperor: Not only will it bring the occasion to unveil the 14th Five-year Plan and China’s 2035 Vision, but, more importantly, Beijing will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China.
Already, in January, President Xi Jinping declared that “the party and country are on the right track… time and momentum are on our side”, and even though the country faced “unprecedented challenges and opportunities,” he urged his Politburo colleagues to “create favourable social conditions” for the important anniversary.
On 1 March, Xi spoke at the opening ceremony of the training class for young and middle-aged cadres at the Central Party School in Beijing. He told the young cadres that they were the successors of the old comrades, “the glory of the party is in your hands”, and exhorted them to be the “faithful successor of the tradition and fine work-style of the Communist Party, constantly enhancing willpower, perseverance and self-control and making contributions in the new journey of comprehensively building a modern socialist country in the New Era while striving to create a worthy party, worthy of the Chinese people!”
And, of course, “loyalty to the party is the primary political quality of Communists,” he added.
The words of the new Great Helmsman sound great, but there is another side to the coin.
In 1997, French scholar Stéphane Courtois, along with other European academics, published Le Livre noir du communisme. It was later translated in several languages, with the title The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression in English.
The Black Book, which sold millions of copies, is still considered by many as one of the most influential publications written about the history of Communism in the 20th century. The authors documented the history of political repression by Communist states, including genocides, extrajudicial executions, deportations, killing populations in labour camps as well as artificially-created famines.
Though some leftist ‘intellectuals’ objected to the Communist label being put on some of these dark events, the facts are difficult to change.
In the first chapter, The Crimes of Communism, Stéphane Courtois recalls, “Communist regimes turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government …and are responsible for a greater number of deaths than Nazism or any other political system. …Communism predated fascism and Nazism, outlived both, and left its mark on four continents.”
And today, it is still thriving in China and North Korea.
Quoting Plato’s Republic and Thomas More as Communist examples of ‘utopian philosophy’, Courtois explained, “We must make a distinction between the doctrine of communism and its practice. As a political philosophy, communism has existed for centuries, even millennia.”
Courtois gives figures, people killed by Communist governments amount to more than 94 million, including 65 million in the People’s Republic of China, 20 million in the Soviet Union, 2 million in Cambodia, 2 million in North Korea, 1.7 million in Ethiopia, 1.5 million in Afghanistan, 1 million in Vietnam.
In China alone, there is no doubt today that the Great Leap Forward resulted in 40 to 50 million deaths. According to Frank Dikötter in his masterly Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, “45 million people died unnecessarily …6 to 8 percent of the victims were tortured to death or summarily killed—amounting to at least 2.5 million people.” Yang Jisheng in Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958–1962 put the tally between 43 million and 46 million.
We could argue that it was another age, another time. But in this case, why continue to eulogise Communism and the Party?
Of course, Xi Jinping’s Thought is known as Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. A couple of years ago, it was even enshrined in the Chinese Constitution.
But if it is a new era, why arrest all the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong? Recently, pro-China prosecutors argued in court that the defendants were involved in a “massive and well-organised scheme to subvert the Hong Kong government” by organising and participating in an unofficial primary election last July, although CNN commented, “such contests are a normal function in democracies around the world, during which political parties select the strongest candidates for an election.”
Look at the situation in Xinjiang where millions of Uyghur Muslims have been forced to live in ‘reeducation camps’, in Tibet, where the Communist regime wants to impose its own Dalai Lama (over one hundred years, the Party seems to have acquired great knowledge in spiritual matters), in Taiwan, which perpetually lives under Beijing’s invasion threat, or closer to us, India, which during the past nine months was subjected to an uncalled for aggression on its borders. Examples could be multiplied to show that China has not really entered a ‘New Era’.
A few weeks ago, I was watching a Chinese program on Tibet and, to my surprise, spotted an old Maoist figure named Pasang, along with the present Standing Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). The old lady served Mao well during the darkest days of the Cultural Revolution. She managed to survive the purges of other leftist officials and even the fall of the Gang of Four in October 1976 to become a vice chairwoman of the TAR Revolutionary Committee in September 1968. In 1971, she was made a deputy party secretary in the TAR Party Committee, a position she held until her retirement in 2002.
The fact that China is ready to use figure-heads of the darkest days of Communism tends to prove that the New Era has not yet landed in the Middle Kingdom.
In the coming months, Chinese propaganda will try to convince us of the contrary.
Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Communist Party, likes to say, “The original aspiration and the mission of Chinese Communists is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation… This founding aspiration, this mission, is what inspires the Chinese Communists to advance.”
Today, former Premier Zhou Enlai, who joined the CPC in 1921, the year when the Party was founded, has become a ‘lofty character’ who selflessly pursued a just cause for the common good throughout his life, says Chinese propaganda.
We remember him in India as a Machiavellian politician who took the Nehru government for a ride. The recent happenings in Ladakh have their origin in Zhou’s lofty words—the world’s standard for ‘lofty’ are obviously different than the Chinese’s.
Large-scale massacre may not occur today (mainly due to the information revolution), but has the mindset really changed in Beijing?

It does not seem so, even in the New Era.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

An Indian Dalai Lama

Urgyeling, the birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama

My article An Indian Dalai Lama appeared in

Here is the link...

Tawang is very much a part of India, and if the present Dalai Lama decides one day to take rebirth in Tawang, the Indian government will openly welcome him and support him, notes Claude Arpi.

In January 1951, a few months after the invasion of Tibet and sensing a threat from China, the then Assam Governor Jairamdas Daulatram ordered a young Naga officer to march to Tawang and start adminstrating the area.
On February 9, 1951, Maj Ralengnao (Bob) Khathing, accompanied by 200 troops of 5 Assam Rifles and 600 porters, arrived in Tawang in the then Kameng Frontier Division of the North-East Frontier Agency.
A month earlier, Bob had left the foothills on his historic mission. A few days after his arrival, he selected a high-ground near the Tawang Monastery for meeting the Dzongpens, the Commissioners from Tsona in Tibet and the village elders. Bob walked to the place, while 100 riflemen encircled the ground. The Assistant Political officer (this was Khathing’s designation) instructed his second in-command to ‘fix bayonet’: “One hundred click sounds of bayonets coming in unison seemed to say, we are even ready for blood,” wrote his biographer; then Bob spoke to the people about the Indian nation.
Thereafter, everything went smoothly. In fact the Monpas were delighted by Khathing’s arrival.
On February 14, 70 years after the momentous event, several dignitaries celebrated this ‘true hero of independent India’ and Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brig (Retd.) BD Mishra laid the foundation stone of a memorial for him at Tawang. 

The Master of Poetry
Another hero of Monyul, the land of Monpas, located south of the McMahon Line is Tsangyang Gyalsto, the Sixth Dalai Lama who is hardly known in India today.
The cuckoo bird from the land of Mon brings rain,
It descends from the sky
It brings blessings to the earth.
Life grows and blossoms.
When the cuckoo bird comes from Mon
My lover and I join as one
In body, heart and mind.
It may seem incredible, but this song was written by a Dalai Lama. Tsangyang Gyaltso (the Precious Ocean of Pure Melody), the Sixth Dalai Lama born in 1643 in Urgyeling village, South of Tawang.
Near the hamlet’s temple (where Tsangyang took birth), there is a tall and magnificent tree. Many legends revolve around this sandalwood tree: it is said that it was planted by Tsangyang Gyaltso before being taken away to his destiny in Lhasa. The youngster made a prophesy saying that when the 3 main branches would become equal, he would come back to Tawang. The local priest said that the 3 branches reached the same size in 1959, a few months before the Dalai Lama, fleeing Tibet to take refuge in India, passed through Tawang and ‘visited again’ Urgyeling.
When the delegation searching for the reincarnation of the Fifth Dalai Lama reached Urgyeling, the Regent Desi Sangyay Gyaltso, fearing that intrigues would start as soon as the news of his passing away would be known, had still not revealed that the Lama-King was no more. He was also very keen to finish the task assigned to him by the Fifth Dalai Lama: to complete the Potala Palace in Lhasa. A series of divination and special pujas had given the Regent the certitude that the reincarnation of the deceased Dalai Lama was born in Monyul.
Tsewang Lhamo, the mother of the future Dalai Lama once asked her son to get a piece of wood and fix it in the soil to tie a cow. Instead of planting the stick in the soil, the young Tsangyang made a hole with his finger in a big stone and stuck the stick inside it. It is one of the many miracles he is said to have performed. The stone is still on the altar of his maternal house near Tawang.
Tsangyang Gyaltso was in many ways an exceptional Dalai Lama. At a young age, he was taken away to Tsona, the main monastery on the other side of the border, where he was kept for several years under the tight surveillance of the local Governors (his real identity had not been revealed to anybody). He was already an adolescent when he finally left for Nagartse near Lhasa where his Guru, the Second Panchen Lama enthroned him as the Sixth Dalai Lama.
He consistently refused to take the monk vows from his Guru and preferred a pleasure of life, visiting at night the taverns in the village of Shol below his Potala Palace and writing love songs to his beloved girl friend: “In my Palace, the place of Heaven on Earth, they call me Rigzin Tsangyang Gyaltso, But below , in the village of Shol, they call me Dangzang Wangpo, the profligate, for my lovers are many.”
His exquisite poetry is still known to all Tibetans and Monpas and sung during long evenings around a fire after a few cups of chang.
Academicians will fight to decide if he was a great Tantric master or only an ordinary man, whether his poetry contains an esoteric teaching written in a secret language or are only the verses of a libertine. He may have been both at the same time; Tsangyang may have come a couple of centuries too early to be really understood. He loved freedom and could not bear the prison that seems to have been life in the Potala, he was suffocating in the darks rooms housing thousands of gods and wrathful demons. He preferred the company of his friends. How could he have not felt oppressed in the midst of the power struggles and intrigues between aristocrats in Tibetan government in Lhasa, the Mongol chieftains and the Emperor of China? Was he remembering the days when as a kid in Urgyeling he used to escape to roam around the barley fields and the rhododendron bushes?
But his legend continued after his presumed death. The ‘Secret Biography’ of his ‘hidden life’ (written by Michael Aris, husband of Aung San Suu Kyi) tells us that he escaped the Mongols who had deposed him andwanted to kill him, he secretly left for Eastern Tibet and Inner Mongolia where he first became a wandering monk and then settled in Alashan which is today in Inner Mongolia. He passed away in 1746, forty years after his official death. He built a large number of monasteries and had thousands of disciples. Only very few knew who he really was.
His last poem before his presumed death is known by all; it announced his return as the Seventh Dalai Lama: “Oh White Crane! Lend me your wings, I shall not fly far, From Lithang, I shall return.”
Two years later a young boy Kalsang Gyaltso was born in Lithang (Eastern Tibet) who would soon be recognised as the Seventh Dalai Lama.
Earlier this month, China Tibet Online announced that from December 12 to 13, 2020, the Tsangyang Gyatso Cultural Research Association held its second meeting; this Chinese organization is said to be “engaged in cultural research of Tsangyang Gyatso and is approved by the People’s Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region”, according to the Communist website, which adds: “The association is composed of well-known Tibetan scholars in China and of experts and scholars from various ethnic groups as well as from businesses and industries who all love Tsangyang Gyatso culture.” 

Maternal Village of Tsangyang Gyaltso

It is ironical, that the Sixth Dalai Lama is ‘studied’ and eulogized in Communist China, while the present one is demonized. But Tsangyang Gyaltso does not belong to China; he is truly a part of Tibet and Monyul (Tawang) heritage.
However in terms of propaganda, China is indeed always far in advance on India.
Already in 2014, the residence of Tsangyang Gyatso when he stayed in Tsona (Tibet) on his way from Tawang to Lhasa “has been approved to be the Tibet's historical and cultural site under government protection”, observed
To acknowledge Maj Khathing was a great move by the Government of Arunachal and the Indian Army, but why can’t Tsangyang Gyaltso also be acknowledged as an Indian Dalai Lama and a cultural centre or museum opened in Urgyeling or Tawang. The importance of the Dalai Lamas in Himalayan culture needs to be emphasised; a Poetry Festival, on the model of the Jaipur Literary Festival could also be organized on a yearly basis in Tawang and poets from all over of the world invited to visit this charming part of India.
Why leave the initiative always to China, who still dares to claim Tawang as Southern Tibet?
Tawang is very much a part of India, and if the present Dalai Lama decides one day to take rebirth in Tawang, the Indian government will openly welcome him and support him.

He wrote with his finger 'The Lama Knows' ('Lama Geno')

A descendant of the Sixth Dalai Lama

China 'celebrating' Tsangyang Gyaltso in Tsona (Tibet)