Sunday, April 25, 2021

Tibet: the Next Gen has Arrived

A Next Gen of Developers?
During the week between February 19 and 25, a flurry of new appointments took place in China. Interestingly, several young officials of state-owned enterprises were sent to the regional governments to take up senior positions.
In the Central Ministries, The Dazhong Daily, based in Shandong Province mentioned a few:

  • Wang Zhengpu, Party Secretary and Director of the National Rural Revitalization Bureau
  • Ye Min, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and Director of the National Nuclear Safety Administration
  • Zhang Xiaohong appointed Deputy Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development
  • Wang Zhiqing, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Transport
  • Ni Yuewei, Deputy Director of China Earthquake Administration

While in Provinces and Cities/Prefectures:

  • Hu Changsheng was elected governor of Heilongjiang Province
  • Jiao Yanlong and Xing Guohui were elected deputy directors of the Standing Committee of the Hebei Provincial People's Congress
  • Zhang Guohua and Yan Pengcheng, Vice Governors of Hebei Province
  • Han Lihua and Qu Min elected as vice chairmen of the Heilongjiang Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference
  • Duan Ying appointed Director of the Yunnan Provincial Investment Promotion Bureau

Many heads of state-owned enterprises appeared in the regional governments. To give a couple of examples:

  • On February 26, the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal Congress appointed Zhang Wei as the deputy mayor of Shanghai. Prior to this, Zhang Wei had served as the deputy general manager of China COSCO Shipping Group Co., Ltd.
  • On February 20, the Standing Committee of Shanxi Provincial People's Congress appointed Wei Tao as the vice governor of Shanxi Provincial Government.
    Wei Tao (Zhuang nationality), born in April 1970 in Luocheng, Guangxi, previously served as director of the iron-making plant of Liuzhou Iron and Steel Co Ltd and then Party Secretary and Chairman of Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group. Appointed deputy governor of Shanxi Province, Wei Tao. Shanxi has now two ‘post-70s’ Vice Governors, and the other is Lu Dongliang, born in December 1973.

The youngest senior Communist cadre in China
On February 23, the Yunnan Provincial Government issued a ‘Notice on Comrade Duan Ying's Appointment’; the young lady was appointed as the Director of the Provincial Investment Promotion Bureau.
Duan Ying is from Yi nationality; she is born in October 1982, she has a master's degree and of course, a member of the Communist Party of China. She started working in September 2004.

The promotions/transfers continued in March and April.

New Appointments in Tibet
According to, Tibet is the perfect stage for the growth of young cadres. 

The Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) has a record three ‘post 70-born’ cadres serving as TAR Vice Governors.
On April 22, Wang Yong, director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Guizhou Province, was promoted as vice chairman of the TAR Government (equivalent to Vice Governor).
According to The Tibet Daily, on April 22, the TAR Standing Committee of the Eleventh People's Congress passed a resolution to appoint Wang Yong to his new post; he became the third ‘post-70s’ vice chairmen after Ren Wei and Phurbu Thondup.
The youngest is Ren Wei, born in May 1976 and the only high-ranking Tibetan ‘post-70s’ official is Phurbu Thondup, who is concurrently serves as Party Secretary of the Chamdo Municipal Party Committee.
Both Phurbu and Ren Wei have also recently taken over.
While Ren Wei and Wang Yong were ‘parachuted’ in the so-called Autonomous Region, while Phurbu served earlier in Tibet in Shannan/Lhoka Prefecture.
Interesting Ren Wei comes from the power sector and previously served as the deputy general manager of the Datang Group. We shall come back to it.

As an indication of what the Chinese Government is planning for the years ahead, I am giving the resumés of the three new Vice Governors.

Wang Yong
Wang Yong Resumé
Wang Yong was born in March 1971, he graduated from Sichuan University in 1991. 

Soon after, he joined the Southwest Civil Aviation Administration of Civil Aviation; he later became Deputy Director and Director of the Planning Division, Director of the Planning and Statistics Division, and Director of the Policy and Regulation Division.
In 2011, Wang Yong was transferred to the Director of the Guizhou Safety Supervision Bureau of Civil Aviation of China, where he served for 4 years. In 2015, Wang Yong served as the deputy general manager of Guizhou Airport Group Co., Ltd and at the same time served as the vice chairman, general manager and party secretary of Guizhou Airport Construction Investment Co Ltd
In 2016, he was the chairman of Guizhou Airport Group Co Ltd and concurrently served as the chairman, general manager and party secretary of Guizhou Airport Construction Investment Co Ltd.
In 2018, he was chairman and party secretary of Guizhou Airport Group Co., Ltd.
In 2019, Wang Yong became the director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Guizhou Province.
The skills of Wang Yong will undoubtedly used to manage the 14th Five-Year Plan and developmental issues on the plateau. 

Phurbu Thondup
Phurbu Thondup Resumé
Phurbu Thondup, also a TAR Vice Governor, concurrently serves as Secretary of the Chamdo Municipal Committee, where he replaces Abu, from the Hui nationality who has been given another appointment in Lhasa.
Phurbu Thondup, male, Tibetan, born in November 1972 is a native of Gyantse, Tibet.
He joined the Communist Party of China in January 1996 and the work force in July 1996 after a postgraduate degree.

  • 1991.09-1996.07: Tibetan language and literature major in the Department of Tibetan Language and Literature, Tibet University
  • 1996.07-1999.03: a member of the Organization Department of the Organization Department of the Party Committee. (during this period, he was trained in poverty alleviation in Thankya Township, Meldro Gungkar County)
  • 1999.03-2000.11: Deputy Director of the Organization Department of the Organization Department of the TAR
  • 2000.11-2002.08: Director of the Organization Department of the Organization Department of the TAR Party Committee. (during the period, he was appointed as the Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Thankya Township, Meldro Gungkar County)
  • 2002.08-2002.10: candidate for deputy head of Sangri County in Lhoka/Shannan Prefecture
  • 2002.10-2003.07: Deputy County Chief of Sangri County Government.
  • 2003.07-2004.09: Member of the Standing Committee of Sangri County Party Committee and Deputy County Head
  • 2004.09-2005.02: Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Sangri County and Deputy County Mayor
  • 2005.02-2005.04: Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Sangri County, candidate for the county head of the government
  • 2005.04-2010.10: Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Sangri County, (during this period, he studied at the Sichuan Business Administration Institute of Business Administration major).
  • 2010.10-2012.04: Member of the Party Group and Deputy Commissioner of the Administrative Office of Shannan (Lhoka)
  • 2012.04-2012.06: Member and Secretary-General of Shannan Prefecture Committee.
  • 2012.06-2013.08: Member of the Standing Committee of the Lhasa Municipal Party Committee and Secretary of the Chengguan District Party Committee in Lanzhou Province.
  • 2013.08-2014.02: Deputy Secretary of the Nagchu Prefectural Committee
  • 2014.02-2015.06: Deputy Secretary of the Nagchu Prefectural Committee and Director of the Organization Department
  • 2015.06-2016.05: Deputy Secretary of the Shannan (Lhoka) Prefectural Committee, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group and Commissioner of the Shannan Administrative Office
  • 2016.05—2020.06: Deputy Secretary of the Shannan Municipal Party Committee, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group and Mayor of the Municipal Government
  • 2020.06-2020.12: Vice Chairman of the TAR People's Government
  • 2020.12: Concurrently serving as Secretary of the Chamdo Municipal Committee.

Ren Wei
Ren Wei Resuné
The third new Vice Governor and the youngest (he is 45 year-old) is Ren Wei, also like Wang Yong, coming from the industry.
According to The Tibet Daily, on April 8, the TAR Standing Committee of the Eleventh People’s Congress passed a resolution to appoint Ren Wei as the vice chairman of the TAR People’s Government.
Ren Wei, male, Han nationality, was born in May 1976 in Qishan, Shaanxi.
He joined the Communist Party of China in June 1997 and started work in July 2003. He has a doctoral degree.

  • 1993.09-1998.09: Tsinghua University Thermal Energy Engineering major
  • 1998.09-2003.07: Tsinghua University, PhD student majoring in thermal energy and power
  • 2003.07-2007.07 Senior Project Manager, Commissioning Department, China Guodian Corporation Beijing Guodian Longyuan Environmental Engineering Co Ltd
  • 2007.07-2008.10: Senior Business Manager, Planning and Development Department, Guodian Technology and Environmental Protection Group Co Ltd, China Guodian Corporation
  • 2008.10-2009.11: Deputy Manager of the Planning and Development Department of China Guodian Group Guodian Technology and Environmental Protection Group Co Ltd
  • 2009.11-2016.05: Secretary of the Youth League Committee and Deputy Director of the Political Work Department of China Guodian Corporation
  • 2016.05-2017.01: Secretary of the Party Leadership Group, Deputy General Manager, and Leader of the Discipline Inspection Group of China Guodian Corporation Tibet Branch
  • 2017.01-2018.05: Secretary of the Party Committee, Deputy General Manager and Secretary of the Disciplinary Committee of China Guodian Corporation Tibet Branch
  • 2018.05-2018.08: Secretary of the Party Committee and General Manager of China Guodian Corporation Tibet Branch
  • 2018.08-2020.03: Deputy General Manager and Party Leadership Group Member of China Datang Group Co Ltd
  •  2020.04: Vice Chairman of the People's Government of Tibet Autonomous Region

What is the Datang Corporation?
It is interesting to understand the background of Ren Wei.
Datang is one of the five large-scale power generation enterprises in the China, established on the basis of former State Power Corporation of China in 2002.
It is a solely state-owned enterprise directly managed by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) and is the experimental state-authorized investment and state shareholding enterprise ratified by the State Council.
Datang International Power Generation Company Limited or simply Datang International Power or Datang Power, is one of the five largest state-owned power producers in China, especially its position in Northern China. It is engaged in the development and operation of power plants, the sale of electricity and thermal power, and the repair and maintenance of power equipment and power-related technical services.
Datang Power owns four operating power plants and managed 17 power companies, with total installed capacity amounted to 15,410 megawatts (MW) at the end of mid-2006.
Ren Wei’s job is clearly cut: he will be responsible for the mega (giga) hydropower plants in Tibet, particularly the one in the Great Bent of the Yarlung Tsangpo.
What is most worrying is that China’s neighbours seem to be sleeping at a time Beijing is bringing fresh and ‘expert’ blood on the plateau.

Monday, April 19, 2021

A letter from the Dalai Lama to Mao

On May 23,  China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of their so-called liberation of Tibet.
On the occasion, I re-post a few article on the 17-Point Agreement.

The Chinese media claims that a letter written by the Dalai Lama to Mao Zedong in October 1951, accepting the 17-Point Agreement, has been found in the Chinese archives and is now declassified. 

Melvyn C. Goldstein had published this letter some 20 years ago. Considering that the Dalai Lama was 16 year-old at that time, it is doubtful that he was able to master the Communist jargon used in the letter, moreover written in Chinese language.
The letter was most probably 'dictated' to the young Tibetan leader.
I recently questioned the new Tibetan Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) Dr. Lobsang Sangay about the 17-Point Agreement, he had said:
The 17-Point Agreement [through which China pretends to have ‘liberated’ Tibet] was signed in 1951 under duress. The Tibetans had not choice but to sign it. Every year China is still celebrating May 23rd as the ‘Liberation Day’. Their legitimacy is still depends on this document.
But Article 1 says: “Tibet shall return to the Motherland”. If Tibet was always part of China, where does it return from? Tibet was an independent entity, there were no Chinese in Tibet before 1950. Then the Chinese Army entered and said that Tibet ‘joined’ China. In fact, they occupied Tibet. And they still celebrate this as the ‘Liberation’!
Further Article 4 says that “the status of the Dalai Lama and the Kashag will remain the same”. The Dalai Lama and the Kashag are in exile because the Chinese completely violated the Agreement. If China is honest and fair, it should implement that Agreement to begin with, not just celebrate May 23rd as ‘Liberation Day’. They should restore the status and power of the Dalai Lama and the Kashag. They can’t use this document to legitimize their presence in Tibet. They should also remember what Mao said: “wherever they will be aggression, they will be a resistance”. We have seen the resistance in 2008.
That is the point, Communist China has not even respected the Agreement. 

Copy of letter written by 14th Dalai Lama to Chairman Mao declassified
China Tibet Online
Mirenda Wu
A copy of letter written by the 14th Dalai Lama to Chairman Mao in October 1951, the year marks the peaceful liberation of Tibet, has been now declassified to the public by the State Archive Administration, the China Daily reported in Beijing on Wednesday.
About 40 percent of the documents held by the State Archive Administration have been opened up to public scrutiny, Yang Dongquan, head of the administration said.
In the letter, the 14th Dalai Lama said that "the local government of Tibet as well as the Tibetan monks and laymen unanimously support this agreement, and will actively assist the People's Liberation Army in Tibet to consolidate national defense, drive imperialist forces out of Tibet and safeguard the unification of the territory and the sovereignty of the motherland."
According to Yang, the materials are useful in recording real history, safeguarding the unification of the territory and informing younger generations.
"In March, 2008, we put on five videos themed on the truth of Tibet on our official website in order to correct people's false and prejudice toward Tibet. The videos were made based on a series of archives kept in our administration including appointing and dismissing officials in Tibet by generations of Chinese Central Government, conferring the titles of the Dalai Lamas and the slave trade before the democratic reform of Tibet," said Yang.
"The videos were reprinted by around 400 websites at home and abroad in both Chinese and English,” he added.
People wanting to look at documents need to show their identification cards and research achievements in a related field along with letters of introduction from their employers if they want to see the declassified materials.
The State Achieves Administration, which was founded in 1954, is responsible for collecting, arranging, preserving and providing access to documents with long-term values.

From "A History of Modern Tibet, 1913–1951 - The Demise of the Lamaist State by Melvyn C. Goldstein published by UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS
On 24 October, the Dalai Lama sent an official confirmation to Mao Tse-tung. Written in Chinese Communist jargon, this telegram vividly reflects Tibet's new status: "Chairman Mao Tse-tung. At the end of April 1951 there arrived in Peking a special delegate, Kalon Ngabo and four other plenipotentiary representatives sent by the local Tibet government. They held peaceful negotiations with the plenipotentiary delegates appointed by the Central People's Government. The representatives of both sides, on May 23, 1951, signed on a friendly basis an agreement relating to the measures for the peaceful liberation of Tibet. The local government of Tibet, the monks and the entire Tibetan people express their unanimous support for this agreement. Under the leadership of Chairman Mao Tse-tung and of the Central People's Government they are actively helping units of the People's Liberation Army which entered Tibet for the strengthening of the national defences, the driving out of imperialist forces from Tibet and the guaranteeing of the sovereignty of the entire territory of the motherland.

The same source cited Mao's 28 October reply: 
Received your telegram of October 24, 1951. I thank you for the efforts you are making to translate into reality the agreement regarding the peaceful liberation of Tibet, and I send you my most sincere greetings.
Tibet had become a part of the People's Republic of China. 
[Source: Tass dated 27 October,1951 reported that Xinhua published the above letter. It is also available in the British Foreign Office files FO371/92998, as a clipping]

The Dalai Lama on the 17-Point Agreemeent

On May 23, China will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of its 'official' occupation of Tibet. 
On that day, Tibetan delegates were forced to sign 'under duress' a 17-Point Agreement 
Mao immediately proclaimed the Tibet had been 'peacefully liberated'.
India did not say a word.
I publish here extracts of an an old interview with the Dalai Lama on the subject.

In this old interview with the Dalai Lama for, he speaks of the 17-Point Agreement. Ten years later (it was in April 2001), it makes interesting reading.
The entire interview is available on's website.

On the 17-Point Agreement
Your Holiness, fifty years ago, in May 1951, your government was forced by China to sign an agreement known as the '17 Point Agreement'. In this agreement it was stated that Tibet was part of China, but your government could retain a very large internal autonomy. Looking back, do you think that things could have been different?

From the late 1950s, till now, let us say for the past 45 years, whether there was a 17 Point Agreement or not, it made no difference. The agreement has not been relevant. I should put this way, as a result of signing the 17 Point Agreement, for few years, Tibet enjoyed some benefits in the sense that a certain autonomy in our way of life (for example in the fields of culture, religion) was granted. It was guaranteed by the agreement.
Later, in the late fifties, all these guarantees were disregarded and the agreement became worthless.
I want to further clarify that when the Tibetan delegation was negotiating in Beijing they were reluctant to sign, but the Chinese told them clearly: "If you do not sign, it is very easy for us, we just have to give a signal to the army and the army will march into Tibet."
For us it would have been worse. It is clear, there were only two choices: either to accept the agreement or to go through what they called a military 'liberation'.
For some years, we derived some benefit, but later, it became plain military occupation.

Though on paper you were granted a wide autonomy which gave you control over culture, religion, education etc.. the terms of the agreement were not implemented by the Chinese and you lost your autonomy.
Now, let us come to today's situation. You are asking for 'genuine autonomy', is it different from what you got (on paper) from the Chinese government in 1951?

It is the same principle, it is the same spirit. Usually I described what we want as "one country, two systems'. But there is a big difference: In the 17 Point Agreement, there were some clauses about the status of the Dalai Lama's institution. (According to these clauses, the Dalai Lama was able to retain his status and power within an autonomous Tibet).
Today, I am not demanding anything for the Dalai Lama. I do not want any special status.

In the event of an agreement, are you confident that this time the Chinese will keep their word?

Today, I am only asking for the Tibetans -- that they should have full power in the fields where they are capable of managing their own affairs.
In these fields, they should be given full authority. In the case of defence or foreign affairs, the Chinese can manage (our affairs). We are not asking for a separation (from China), therefore logically they could handle matters like defence.
About the guarantees, in 1950 Tibet was very isolated, Tibet was not very well known to the outside world. Today, everybody knows about Tibet. Any agreement will have the world community as a witness, that is a guarantee. There will be an universal awareness about the agreement and I also believe in the international concern for justice and rightfulness; all this added, can give us a guarantee.
I think it will be difficult to have to have a third party (as a guarantor).
What about India as a guarantor? In 1914, after tripartite talks in Simla (between British India, Tibet and China), you had a treaty with India. The objective of this treaty was to guarantee Tibet's independence. Could you again think of India as a guarantor?

Theoretically speaking, yes,  it should be, because Tibet has a long border with India. Traditionally, that has happened in the past. But practically today things are very complicated, so I do not know.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Tibet: Not Liberated Yet (updated)

Are they really happy?
Despite the fact that the Chinese propaganda machinery is working day and night to make the world believe that the people in Tibet are the happiest on the planet, Beijing is nervous, very nervous.
Just a look at the situation in Tibet and Xinjiang shows that Xi Jinping is not fully controlling 'his minorities’ areas (as they are called by Beijing's propaganda).

Lt  Gen Wang Haijiang
The Tibet Military District Commander Transferred
Though it may not directly be linked, on April 6, it was reported that Lt Gen Wang Haijiang, Commander of the Tibet Military District (TMD) had been transferred to Xinjiang (XMD).
The Caixin, which broke the news, said: “The specific position is yet to be announced.”
But it can only be XMD Commander.

On April 4, on the occasion of the Qingming (Tomb Sweeping) Festival at the Martyrs Cemetery in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, while Chen Quanguo (Xinjiang’s Party boss and member of the CPP Politburo), Xuekelaiti Zakeer, Xiaokaiti Yiming, Nuerlan Abdumanjin, Wang Junzheng, Zhang Chunlin, Wang Haijiang, Yang Cheng, Xu Hairong, Elken Tuniyaz, Tian Wen, Li Yifei, Wang Mingshan, all members of the Standing Committee of the so-called Autonomous Region, were in attendance,  Wang Haijiang was not seen.
He must have just reached the capital of the restive province to take over his new job; it will give him over-all command over the Ladakh front against India, which reports to the South Xinjiang MD or SXMD. based in Kashgar.
Wang Haijiang, a native of Anyue, Sichuan,  born July 1963, must have pleased his bosses in Beijing (read Xi Jinping) during his tenure in the TMD.
According to Caixin, he has served in the frontier for a long time: “He was the commander of a division and the deputy commander of the Southern Xinjiang Military District; he was the deputy commander of the Tibet Military Region in 2016 and in the winter of 2019, he succeeded Lt Gen Xu Yong as commander of the Tibet Military Region. He was immediately promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.

Gen Wang, a few days ago in front of the Potala in Lhasa, still commander TMD

The Ladakh Talks
This important change comes at a time when the 11th round of talks between the 14 Corps Commander based in Leh and Maj Gen Liu Lin, the Commander of the SXMD is scheduled to take place on the banks of the Pangong lake.
The successor of Gen Wang in Tibet is not yet known, but there are a few generals who fit the bill and could soon be nominated to replace Wang.
One of them is half Tibetan (from his mother side).

Lt Gen Wang Kai, TMD Commander
The New TMD commander (update)
After writing this post, some Chinese websites named the new Tibet Military District (TMD) commander.
Lt Gen Wang Kai, formerly one of the Deputy Commanders of the Western Theater Command has apparently taken over the TMD from Lt Gen Wang Haijiang.
From his CV, which appeared in Chinese websites, in April 2017, Wang Kai was appointed Deputy Commander of the Army in the Western Theater Command with the rank of Major General and at the end of March 2021, he was transferred to Lhasa and promoted lieutenant general.

Chinese name: Wang Kai
Country of Citizenship: China
Nationality: Han nationality
Date of birth: 1963
Job: Soldier
Place of birth: Sichuan Meishan on the marches of the Tibetan plateau
Belief: Communism
Major achievements: Deputy Commander of the Army of the Western Theater
Military rank: Lieutenant General 

Wang Kai served as brigade commander and commander of the 37th Division of the 13th Army.
During the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, Wang Kai, then commander of the 37th Division, he led his troops to reach Beichuan, the hardest hit area, and commanded the men to advance to the epicenter of Yingxiu Town.
In 2009, he served as Chief of Staff of the Fourteenth Army of the Army.
He won the title of '5-12' National Model for Earthquake Relief.
'5-12' stands for May 12. It refers to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, also known as the Great Sichuan earthquake or Wenchuan earthquake. It occurred at 14:20 hrs on May 12, 2008 and measured 8.0 on the Richter scale. The earthquake's epicenter was located 80 kilometres west-northwest of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. Strong aftershocks, some exceeding 6 Ms, continued to hit the area up to several months after the main shock, causing further casualties and damage. The earthquake also caused the largest number of geohazards ever recorded, including about 200,000 landslides and more than 800 quake lakes distributed over an area of 110,000 km2. Over 69,000 people lost their lives in the quake.
In July 2013, Wang Kai became the commander of the 13th Group Army. His ilustrious predecessors include Gen Zhang Youxia (2000.12-2005.12), now member of the Central Military Commission; Gen Zhao Zongqi (2007.09), former commander of the WTC of Doklam fame and Gen Xu Yong (2008-13), former TMD Commander.
In April 2017, Gen Wang was transferred to Chengdu as deputy commander of the Western Theater Army.
In 2019, he won the commemorative medal of "Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China." 
At the end of March 2021, he moved to Lhasa as the Commander of the Tibet Military District and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.

The Situation in Tibet
It is clear that the situation is not easy in Tibet and one clearly see that Beijing is nervous, fearing a reaction of the Tibetan populations, who are supposed to have been 'liberated' 70 years ago by Mao’s troops.
On April 6, as Gen Wang had just reached Urumqi, The Global Times reported: “Tibet issues border activity bans.”

The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) announced a ban “on 15 border activities, further strengthening controls over illegal crossings.”
According to The Tibet Daily, the TAR Public Security Department and Foreign Affairs Office jointly issued a circular to other government departments, highlighting 15 acts that are prohibited at the border: “the strictly prohibited acts include entering the border management zone without valid documents, evading border inspection, organizing or helping others to be smuggled across the border, and hunting or collecting national protected rare animals and plants, etc.”
The circular added: “The bans also prohibit private small aircraft flight activities, damaging or moving of communications and water facilities, moving of markers that mark the location of the border, and damaging of military facilities. …Anyone who violates these prohibitions will be held accountable according to law, and will be transferred to the judicial authorities if the act constitutes a crime.”

Why suddenly?
The Global Times observed that at the Seventh Tibet Work Forum in August 2020, “the central government called for efforts to ensure national security and enduring peace and stability, steadily improve people's lives, maintain a good environment, solidify border defense and ensure frontier security. …the emphasis on the 15 border prohibitions can further implement this approach.”
It was stressed that carrying or disseminating newspapers, books or electronic products containing content that endangers national security and undermines ethnic unity is strictly prohibited."
It is rather drastic. This will undoubtedly alienate the Tibetans further.

What is causing such fear in the second most powerful nation of the planet?
The relations that the Indian populations in the Himalaya could have had with the Tibetans in Tibet?
It does not make sense, as there is presently hardly any contacts between the two.
The Global Times speaks of “Tibet's long border and its harsh geographical and natural conditions, the border was not fully guarded before and criminal activities.”
What criminal activities?
Some Chinese observers thought that Tibet's stricter border controls may help safeguard the region's COVID-19 prevention work “as India recorded an all-time high of 103,558 single day new coronavirus infections”.
Here too it does not make sense as the Himalayan states are not presently touched by the pandemic. Arunachal Pradesh in particular has hardly any cases.

Infiltrations from India?
It is also said that in recent years, “the region has also been infiltrated by some foreign forces.”
With the monitoring system in place on the plateau, it is not easy for ‘foreign forces’ to infiltrate; it is in fact impossible.
Minnie Chan in The South China Morning Post mentioned the Special Frontier Force, the Tibetan commandos associated with the Indian Army.
An insider, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, told the Hong Kong journalist: "All the bans are updated rules based on previous border regulations, with the key mission being to prevent exiled Tibetans trying to infiltrate Chinese borders." 

Chan added: "according to Chinese officials, more than 10,000 exiled Tibetan were being trained as 'special operation troops' by India."
Here again it is not serious.

More plausible is the fact that the PLA could be planning to open a new front against India to celebrate the 'liberation' of Tibet and the 100th anniversary of the Party. This should be watched seriously by the Indian Government.

The 70th anniversary of May 1951 

The main reason is that “Tibet is about to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its liberation, it is necessary to take appropriate precautions."
This is briefly mentioned by The Global Times' article.
The grandiose celebrations will take place on May 23 and in July, Tibet will ‘celebrate’ again, this time the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China.
Years ago, I wrote a long paper on the treacherous 17-Point Agreement. It can be downloaded from my website.
Each and every Tibetan knows that Tibet was not liberated in 1951.
China fears this.
The truth is that seventy years ago, a Tibetan delegation led by Ngabo Ngawang Jigme, a prisoner of war and former Governor of Kham,  was forced to sign 'under duress' a Seventeen-Point Agreement in Beijing. 

Article One says: "The Tibetan people shall unite and drive out imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet; the Tibetan people shall return to the big family of the Motherland-the People's Republic of China".
Since then, Tibet became a colony of China and the Tibetans slaves in their own country.

The Dalai Lama's Memoirs
In his memoirs Freedom in Exile, the Dalai Lama vividly recalls these dramatic events:

From my rooms in the monastery, I could look down towards the river where farmers came to graze their sheep, yaks and dzomos [mixture of a yak and a cow]. And I could watch, enviously, the groups of picnickers that came almost daily to build a little fire and cook down by the water's edge. I was so enchanted with all that I saw that I felt brave enough to ask Ling Rinpoche [his tutor] for some time off. He must have felt the same way as, to my surprise, he granted me a holiday. I could not remember being happier as I spent several days roaming around the area. On one of my excursions I visited a Bon monastery. My only sadness was that I knew that troubled times lay ahead. It could not be long now before we heard from Ngabo [Ngawang JIgme] in Peking [Beijing]. I half expected bad news, but nothing could have prepared me for the shock when it came.
At the monastery I had an old Bush radio receiver which ran off a six-volt battery. Every evening, I would listen to the Tibetan language broadcasts of Radio Peking. Sometimes I did so with one or other official, but often I listened alone. The majority of the broadcasts were taken up with propaganda about the 'Glorious Motherland', but I must say that I was very impressed with much of what I heard. There was constant talk of industrial progress and of the equality of all China's citizens. This seemed like the perfect combination of material and spiritual progress. However, one evening, as I sat alone, there was a very different sort of programme. A harsh, crackling voice announced that a Seventeen Point 'Agreement' for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet had that day been signed by representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China and what they called the 'Local Government' of Tibet.
I could not believe my ears. I wanted to rush out and call everybody in, but I sat transfixed. The speaker described how 'over the last hundred years or more' aggressive imperialist forces had penetrated into Tibet and 'carried out all kinds of deceptions and provocations'. It added that 'under such conditions, the Tibetan nationality and people were plunged into the depths of enslavement and suffering'. I felt physically ill as I listened to this unbelievable mixture of lies and fanciful clichés.
But there was worse to come.
Clause One of the 'Agreement' stated that 'The Tibetan people shall unite and drive out imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet. The Tibetan people all return to the big family of the Motherland - the People's Republic of China.'
What could it mean? The last foreign army to have been stationed on Tibetan soil was the Manchu army in 1912.
As far as I was aware (and now know), there was no more than a handful of Europeans in Tibet at that time. And the idea of Tibet 'returning to the Motherland' was shameless invention. Tibet had never been part of China. In fact, as I have mentioned already, Tibet has ancient claims to large parts of China. On top of which, our respective peoples are ethnically and racially distinct. We do not speak the same language, nor is our script anything like the Chinese script. As the International Commission of Jurists stated subsequently in their report:
'Tibet' s position on the expulsion of the Chinese in 1912 can fairly be described as one of de facto independence is therefore submitted that the events of 19 II - 12 mark the re-emergence of Tibet as a fully sovereign state, independent in fact and in law of Chinese control.'
What was most alarming, however, was that Ngabo had not been empowered to sign anything on my behalf, only to negotiate. I had kept the seals of state with me at Dromo to ensure that he could not. So he must have been coerced. But it was several more months before I heard the whole story. In the meantime, all we had to go on was the radio broadcast (repeated several times), together with a number of self-congratulatory sermons about the joys of Communism, the glory of Chairman Mao, the wonders of the People's Republic of China and all the good things that the Tibetan people could look forward to now that our destinies were united. It was quite silly.
The details of the Seventeen-Point 'Agreement' were chilling all the same.
Clause Two announced that the 'Local Government' of Tibet would 'actively assist the People's Liberation Army to enter Tibet and consolidate the national defence'. This meant, so far as l could judge, that our farces were expected to surrender at once.
Clause Eight continued the theme by saying that the Tibetan army was to be absorbed into the Chinese army - as if such a thing were possible. Then in Clause Fourteen we learned that, from now on, Tibet was to be deprived of all authority aver the conduct of her external affairs. Interspersed with these more telling clauses were others assuring Tibet of religious freedom and protecting my position and the present political system. But far all these platitudes one thing was clear: from now on, the Land of Snows answered to the People’s Republic of China.
As the unhappy reality of our position began to sink in, several people, notably Taktser Rinpoche [the Dalai Lama's elder brother] in a long letter from Calcutta, urged me to leave far India at once. They argued that the only hope for Tibet lay in finding allies to help us fight the Chinese. When l reminded them that our missions to India, Nepal, Great Britain and the United States had already been turned back, they countered that once these countries realised the gravity of the situation, they would be sure to after their support. They painted out that the United States was implacably opposed to Communist expansionism and was already fighting a war in Korea far that very reason. l could see the logic of their arguments, but somehow felt the fact that America was already engaged in fighting an one front lessened the likelihood of her wanting to open up a second.
A few days later, a long telegram arrived from the delegation in Peking. It did not say very much beyond repeating what we had already heard on the radio. Obviously Ngabo was being prevented from telling the truth. Recently, same members of the delegation have related in their memoirs the full story of how they were forced to sign the 'Agreement' under duress and use counterfeit seals of the Tibetan state. But from Ngabo's telegram I could only guess at what had happened. However, he did say that the new Governor-General of Tibet, General Chiang Chin-wu [Zhang Jingwu], was en route to Dromo [Chumbi Valley] via India. We should expect him shortly.

The truth is that Tibet has never been liberated.
The Tibetan nation still lives under the yoke of the Chinese Communist Party, and Beijing has today a guilty consciousness; this creates a great uneasiness for Xi and his colleagues.
In the meantime, will Gen Wang Haijiang do better than his predecessor? 

Can he understand that India of 2021 is not India of 1962. The future weeks will tell us.  

Monday, April 5, 2021

The Colonizers’ Dilemma

According to the website China Tibet News, many young Tibetans applied for recruitment in the Chinese Army in the first half of 2021.
This was the first post Covid-19 recruitment exercise for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), after the confrontation with the Indian Army in Ladakh. Normally, recruitment happens twice a year all over China; Beijing is apparently trying hard to recruit Tibetans in the PLA; offering many incentives to those willing to join.
The article says: “This year is an important year for Tibet to implement biannual conscription. At present, the conscription work in Tibet has entered the final stage. As a key part of ensuring the quality of troops, the recruitment department of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) attached great importance to the work of conscription medical examinations.”
On March 8, 22 young women from different prefectures in the TAR had passed the preliminary screening; once preselected, they were sent to Medical Examination Center of the General Hospital of the Tibet Military Command for further testing.
The article notes that in order to recruit female soldiers, the TAR’s Recruitment Department has established four groups, responsible respectively for physical examinations, physical fitness tests, ‘political’ assessments and interviews “to ensure that aspiring female youths meet the standards of physical and psychological quality.”
There is no doubt that ‘political’ assessment is the most important in the volatile Land of Snows.
This year, despite the conflict in Ladakh, the number of Tibetan applicants, aged 18 to 22, is said to be more than 3,800 (3,069 young men and 753 women); the exercise targets educated youth, mostly college students, most of them with degrees. Another recruitment session willl take place in June/July this year.
After the fiasco in Ladakh, where the Chinese soldiers did not fare well compared to the Indian jawans (one of the reasons is the enforced military conscription in China), Beijing is seriously thinking to bring reforms and enroll more minorities like the Tibetans in the PLA (for sure, the latter are suffering less of the lack of oxygen unlike Chinese soldiers); of course, ‘ideology’ remains the crucial criteria for the final selection.
Recruitment and conscription are major issues for the PLA leadership, which has probably realized its shortcomings on the Ladakh front.
China Military Online had reported in January that a first plenum of the inter-departmental joint conference on national conscription work was held in Beijing on January 18.
It was addressed by General Wei Fenghe, Defense Minister and member of the all-powerful Central Military Commission (CMC). The Chinese media commented: “The joint conference is responsible for implementing related major decisions and deployments concerning the military conscription.”
Beijing seems to be fully aware of the recruitment deficiencies; one of them being the quasi absence of ‘minorities’ troops in the PLA.
While addressing the PLA delegation during the recently concluded Two Sessions (the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference or CPPCC and the National People’s Congress or NPC), President Xi Jinping noted that the PLA achieved “a good start in strengthening national defense and the armed forces during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period.”
Xi, also CMC chairman praised the armed forces “for reaching the targets and missions for 2020 amid the COVID-19 epidemic and complex domestic and international circumstances.”
Xi urged the PLA to focus on combat readiness and while remembering the ‘instabilities’ and ‘uncertainties’ in China's current security scenario; the PLA “must always be ready to respond to all kinds of complex and difficult situations, resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security.”
To be ready for a war with India may not pass well for the Tibetan recruits, most of whom have relatives living in exile in India.
Undoubtedly, the recruiters must be asking themselves some serious questions: can the Tibetans be loyal to the Communist Party and faithfully serve Chairman Xi and their ‘Chinese motherland’ or will they continue to pay obeisance to their spiritual leader in exile in India?
One detail is telling: the PLA delegation in the NPC (which also includes the People’s Armed Police) has 294 representatives. Most of the top generals are NPC members, including the infamous Gen Zhao Zongqi, who triggered the Doklam incident in 2017 and more recently the Ladakh confrontation.
Tibet is only represented by three ‘model’ soldiers, Sergeant Yangchok Geshe, 30 years old from Ngaba in Sichuan, Captain Jampa Khedrup, 31 from Kangding, also in Sichuan and 2nd Lieutenant Sonam Tashi from Lhoka in Southern Tibet.
These are puppets to show the world that Tibet is represented, though today China needs Tibetan puppets for its propaganda, however, it fools less and less people around the world, even if China continues to call itself a good neighbour and a peace-loving country.
On March 1, China Military Online, quoting a statement from Ministry of National Defense stated: “China’s strategic choice to take the road of peaceful development and independent foreign policy of peace, as well as the traditional Chinese culture advocating ‘harmony’, …China unswervingly pursues a defense policy that is defensive in nature.”
The same article stressed that “China must not lose an inch of the territory that the country's ancestors have left behind. The building and development of China's national defense and armed forces is entirely driven by the need to safeguard China's national sovereignty, security and development interests, not targeting any country or not posing threat to any country.”
One could ask: have these ‘ancestors’ ever set foot in Ladakh, in Arunachal Pradesh or elsewhere on India’s northern border? The answer is no.
During a recent CPPCC session, the PLA deputies discussed a number of issues related to national defense; one of these was how to “incite rural revitalization in ethnic areas through military-civilian cooperation.”
The present recruitment is in line with this policy.
However, the truth is that the PLA leadership today fears the Tibetans.
Recently, 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 (where mega hydropower plants are being planned).
Even the PLA is not exempted from these new restrictions: “officers and soldiers of the PLA and the People’s Armed Police who are not stationed in the area must present a certificate issued by the competent department to enter and leave the border area.”
China clearly has a dilemma; how to show that the Tibetans are on its side, when they are probably not.
This is happening when Beijing is preparing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 17-Agreement Agreement on the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet; an accord signed under duress according to the Dalai Lama (at gun point in fact). A great dilemma indeed for Beijing.

Follow the Core

Follow the Core Leader
During the recent US-China Summit, Yang Jiechi, member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party and senior-most Chinese diplomat, bluntly told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “The Chinese people are wholly rallying around the Communist Party of China. Our values are the same as the common values of humanity. Those are: peace, development, fairness, justice, freedom and democracy.”
He continued for several minutes criticizing the US for its human rights record, “we do not believe in invading through the use of force, or to topple other regimes through various means, or to massacre the people of other countries, because all of those would only cause turmoil and instability in this world.”
India has recently had a different experience of China in Ladakh.
However, there is an abyss between the Chinese leaders’ words and what is happening in the Middle Kingdom.
One typical example is the grand celebrations of the so-called Serf Emancipation Day on March 28; it is the greatest lie ever concerning Tibet.
What is this ‘emancipation’?
March 28, 1959 marks the end of the massacre of the Tibetan population in Lhasa and the placing of a tight control over the Tibetan capital by Beijing; the Dalai Lama was sacked as chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and was replaced by a more pliant Panchen Lama; the Dalai Lama had just fled the Roof of the World to take refuge in India.
The Alzeimerish communist party has forgotten the 40 or 50 million deaths during the Great LeaP Forward, the 10 million or so Chinese who perished during the cruel Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution or closer to our times, the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, still ‘celebrates’ the Emancipation of the Tibetans.
Several non-Tibetan accounts of the events of March 1959, including the popular uprising, the flight of the Dalai Lama, the massacre of the Tibetan population and finally the so-called ‘emancipation’ — all this in less than three weeks — are today in the public domain.
In his ‘Report for the months of March, April and May 1959’ sent to the Ministry of External Affairs, Maj SL Chibber, the Indian Consul General in Lhasa said: “In the history of movement for free Tibet, the month of March, 1959, will be most historic …during this month Tibetans high and low, in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, openly challenged the Chinese rule … the might of [the] PLA, who on March 20, 1959, started an all-out offensive against the ill-organised, ill-equipped and untrained Tibetans with artillery, mortars, machine guns and all types of automatic weapons, was short-lived.”
Chibber continued: “On March 28, 1959, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China dissolved the local Tibet Government and transferred all its functions and powers to the Preparatory Committee for the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).”
RS Kapur, another Indian official posted as Indian Trade Agent in Gyantse, wrote in his Annual Report for the Year 1959: “The year 1959 will go down as the most important year in the history of Tibet. It marked an end to the way of life of the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama, who felt that he could no longer function effectively, left his country in March. …With Opposition out of the country, Chinese got a free hand and they went all out to subjugate the country. People have been deprived of their movable and immovable property.”
He further asserted: “While the heart of Tibet was bleeding, the free world only made speeches. With the end of the debate on Tibet in the United Nations, Tibetans lost all hopes of their survival, stared at the sky with blank eyes and asked: Where is God? Where is Buddha?”
Another publication, ‘The 1959 Tibetan Uprising Documents — The Chinese Army Documents’, released a few years ago, used documents from the PLA’s Military Intelligence, corroborated Chibber’s version of the 1959 bloody events.
But sixty-two years later, the Chinese media is full of the ‘liberation and emancipation’ of the serfs in 1959; numbers of interviews have been published by Xinhua and its affiliates; one mentions a place called Khesum “the name of a manor in Tibet, and also the name of a living hell for 302 serfs there.”
The actual fact is that it was the ordinary people, the ‘masses’ in Communist jargon who revolted against the occupiers in 1959. The Chinese propaganda wants us to believe that “the misery and serfdom that defined the Khesum of old are [today] nothing more than a distant memory.” Everything is fine in Tibet, according to Beijing.
Another article in China Daily notes: “This year marks not only the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, but also the 70th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet. …Seventy years ago, under the guidance of the CPC, Tibetan people started to enter a new era of progress, prosperity and openness.”
Quoting a puppet legislator, it continues in the same vein: “Over the past 70 years, Tibet has stepped out of the primitive society of agriculture and animal husbandry, and transformed into a society of industrialization and information."
Xinhua quotes a former ‘serf’ Pasang, born in 1934 in a village near Shigatse: “In the old times, the family of Basang had to pay various taxes to serf owners, under whom the family led a miserable life. The taxes imposed were more numerous than ripples in the water and stars in the sky.”
Today all over Land of Snows, the Tibetans have to take oath and swear by the Party. Take the case of Nyalam, close to Tibet-Nepal border, there has been “an upsurge of learning and propagating the Communist Party history” says China Tibet Network.
The people in Nyalam are actively promoting the study of the Party history: “Learn Party History, Increase your Confidence [in the Party], Inherit the Red Gene,” is the motto.
Everyone has to learn from the Party’s history, “so that everyone deeply can feel the Chinese Communists' hard work, perseverance, and wholeheartedly seeking happiness for the people.”
Even the PLA is not exempted: “Events marking the Party's centenary will include theoretical seminars and themed forums, as well as a massive exhibition at the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution. All activities will display the military's love of the Party, the nation and the people” notes a PLA communiqué.
Referring to Xi Jinping’s leadership: “Every soldier should be loyal to the core, uphold the core, follow the core;” the objective is to make soldiers "appreciate the glorious truth about Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
The American society (like the Western) might not be perfect, but can a totalitarian regime like the present one in China, lecture others about ‘emancipation’ or ‘liberation’. The fact is Tibetans, like the Uyghurs, have been enslaved by the Communist Party.

The Yarlung Tsangpo HPP: Mega Tragedy in the Making

Dave Petley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Sheffield in the UK has a blog which provides scientific information on landslides or mudslides occurring worldwide.
On March 29, he noted: “Yarlung Tsangpo: another giant, high mountain landslide on March 22, 2021.”
He elaborated: “I received an email from Göran Ekstrom of Columbia University making a small group of us aware that he had detected, using seismic instruments, a probable large-scale landslide in the vicinity of the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet. As always, the seismic data gives an indication of location, but not a precise grid reference, and an idea of the mass (in this case about 100 million tonnes – a very large one indeed).”
Whether it was triggered by an earthquake in this highly seismic area, is still not clear.
As we shall see, it could also be due to torrential rain.

The British scholar continued: “Fastest out of the blocks was Marten Geertsema, who used partially cloudy Planet Labs satellite imagery to identify a possible site. Yesterday [March 28], Planet Labs data with low levels of cloud became available. Dan Shugar from the University of Calgary was able to identify that the location was correct, and that a large landslide had occurred.”
Shugar said: “Planet Labs’ images of the Tsangpo Landslide from Mar 13 and 28 show failure of some small hanging glaciers (similar to Chamoli in Uttrakhand) and likely rock material, which dropped 3900m (!!) from ~6600m to 2700m to Yarlung Tsangpo valley bottom, causing partial blockage (but some water flowing).”

Shugar published an image from Planet Labs image captured on March 28.
The coordinates of the site are given (29.815, 94.932). It is the 'epicenter' of the landslide or mudslide.
Pethley commented: “Dan and I slightly disagree with how this (and Chamoli) should be described (which is fine of course). Dan describes this event as the collapse of hanging glaciers, whereas I consider it to be a rockslide that has taken some ice with it. Researchers love semantics!”
Pethley further explained: “Either way, at Yarlung Tsangpo it is clear that a large amount of rock and ice have detached from the east side of the tributary valley, moving westwards and then to the south. Once again this has formed a catastrophic channelised flow that has travelled down the channel to deposit a large volume in the main channel. This was probably blocked briefly, but as the image above shows water is now flowing freely.”
He mentioned a huge increase in turbidity of the water downstream of the blockage on the Yarlung Tsangpo.
Stuart Dunning of Newcastle University noticed another aspect in his response to Dan Shugar: “This must be one of the most dynamic landslide locations on Earth. I have previously written about another landslide at exactly the same site. That event looks broadly similar to this one.”
I have written on this blog three years ago about another landslide in the same area.

The Location of the Mudslide
The slide is about 50 km downstream of projected giga hydropower plant (HPP) on the Yarlung Tsangpo and it is not presently directly connected with the forthcoming project.
According to The People's Daily, the Tibet Autonomous Region Meteorological Bureau announced on March 7 that during the week between March 8 to March 14, the temperature in most parts of Tibet would be high for the season, and it would be raining: “in the eastern part will receive rain and snow, and high-altitude road sections are prone to snow and ice.”
The meteorological department reminded the public “to pay attention to traffic safety and prevent secondary disasters such as mudslides. Relevant departments need to continue to strengthen fire prevention in grasslands, forests and cities.”
It spoke of possible ‘mudslides’.
The point is that the area around the proposed HPP is environmentally extremely fragile, but Beijing does not seem to care much about that.

The Earthquake of 2017
In November 2017, an earthquake shook the area around Mt Namcha Barwa, also near the Great Bend; as a result, the Siang/Brahmaputra suddenly became black.
An excellent article ('Muddy Siang is sign of danger ahead, wake up call for Indian authorities') described the developments on the Yarlung Tsangpo/Siang/ Brahmaputra. It was published by the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP).
It said: “The current ongoing episode of Muddy Siang River water in Arunachal Pradesh is due to landslides in the upstream Tibet, triggered by the earthquakes starting on Nov 17, 2017 or possibly earlier. This is revealed by the satellite pictures and work of two researchers, first published in Arunachal Times on Dec 21, 2017. These landslides are partly blocking the Siang flow and could lead to massive floods in the downstream Arunachal Pradesh and Assam any day.”
The article raised two important questions.
Why the Chinese officials kept quiet for weeks, if it was ‘only’ a simple earthquake and why India remained ‘unaware’, when it was not too difficult to ‘know’ the facts with remote satellite imagery.
SANDRP questioned the role of the Indian officials in this.
According to the report quoted by SANDRP, a huge amount of debris accumulated and blocked three locations, forming natural dams on the river across a 12-kilometre stretch in Tibet. It was cause by a 6.4 (or 6.9) earthquake in the Great Bend region. It darkened the waters of the Yarlung Tsangpo.

Due to Heavy Rains?
Unlike in 2017, the present mudslides are probably due to heavy rains.
It is however extremely worrying when one think that China is planning a HPP thrice the size (or at least the capacity) of the Three Gorges Dam.
See my previous post about this.
The area is definitively fragile and earthquake-prone.
The areas were the 2017 and 2021 mishaps occurred is of course located upstream the proposed giga project, but in the future mudslides/landslides could trigger heavy sedimentation, as well as the other possible problems.
For example, if mega mudslides happen in the area of the proposed giga HPP, the reservoirs could well quickly fill up with dirt and the turbines and tunnels/pipes would need to be closed and cleaned, forcing China to temporarily divert the waters of the Yarlung Tsangpo/Brahmaputa.
India should be concerned by the happenings upstream the McMahon Line/LAC.

The Giga Project
On November 30, 2020, The Global Times had announced China's plan to build a large hydropower project on the Yarlung Tsangpo; the Communist tabloid admitted that it could raise concerns in India “over potential political and ecological threats as the river passes through Southwest China, India and Bangladesh. [But] Chinese experts refuted the claim that Chinese hydropower project have political aims, and said the project could help alleviate power shortage problem in northern India and boost regional economy."
It is obviously a non-sense.
According to the head of POWERCHINA 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.”
Very vague indeed.
The Global Times continued: “However, the news raised India's concerns, with some experts and media worried that Chinese activities in upstream areas may hurt interests downstream. Some are even concerned that China will use the hydroelectric project as a tool to serve its political strategy in the region, along with the border military conflict in Ladakh, or to curb India's right to explore downstream water resources. … But these energy projects can benefit the entire regional economy, if properly coordinated.”
Coordination will not take place, but even with ‘coordination’ the extreme frailty of the area will remain.

The project during the 14th Five-Year Plan?
During the Two Sessions in Beijing in early March, it was reiterated that “the construction of key projects should be promoted, such as the Sichuan-Tibet Railway and hydropower development on the Yarlung Tsangpo River, according to the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, which was adopted by China's top legislature and published in full.”
So, is it a fait accompli, the giga HPP will be constructed?

During the Two Sessions, the Chinese media reported that Che Dalha, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region and deputy to the 13th National People's Congress: “urged acceleration of the project and comprehensive planning and environmental impact assessments" for the project .
One can doubt that proper assessment will be conducted? Will the Chinese ‘scientists’ take into account the presence of tens of thousands of truck and GCBs moving earth around and changing the shape of the mountains, north of the Indian borders?
It looks more the question of an aging Emperor wanting to show the world that He has constructed a HPP thrice the capacity of the Three Gorges Dam, than love for environment. 

The recent mudslide's location, north of the Yarlung Tsangpo

Sketch published in 2009 by a famous Chinese blogger

Sunday, April 4, 2021

100 years ago: Sri Aurobindo arrives in Pondicherry

Here a eleven years ago article on the arrival of Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry on April 4, 1910.

On April 4, Pondicherry celebrates the 100th anniversary of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival in the former French Establishment. On that day, politicians, eminent personalities and scholars will garland statues of the Master and pronounce great speeches; they will probably recall what Viceroy Lord Minto said about the first proponent of Purna Swaraj: “I can only repeat that he is the most dangerous man we have to reckon with”, and the curtain will fall on the grand function. I presume that it the fate of all functions.
But, let us go back 100 years ago.
In the afternoon of April 4, 1910, the Pondicherry pier witnessed a scene which will remain etched in history: a strict orthodox Tamil Brahmin, Srinivasachari and Suresh Chakravarti, a 18-year old Bengali revolutionary shared a small boat to reach out to Le Dupleix, a steamer which had just arrived from Calcutta carrying the ‘most dangerous’ man on board.

Perhaps due to old habits inherited during his British years, the revolutionary leave would not leave before having a cup of tea in the cabin. By the time they disembarked and boarded the rowboat waiting to take the famous passenger to French India, it was 4 pm.
Sri Aurobindo already ‘knew’ for certain that on a higher plane, India had already got her independence; it was only a question of time before it would ‘materialize’.
It is one of the reasons why as he set foot on the French territory, he could consecrate his energies to help humanity to undertake a new step in its spiritual evolution; a decision that many politicians in India never forgave.
Sri Aurobindo had come to Pondicherry to change the human nature. During the four following decades, his mantra will be “All life is Yoga”; everything, including matter has to be transformed and made divine.
Around 1914, he foresaw: “At present mankind is undergoing an evolutionary crisis in which is concealed a choice of its destiny.... Man has created a system of civilisation which has become too big for his limited mental capacity and understanding and his still more limited spiritual and moral capacity to utilise and manage, a too dangerous servant of his blundering ego and its appetites.”
He believed that “the burden which is being laid on mankind is too great for the present littleness of the human personality and its petty mind and small life-instincts” and therefore “it cannot operate the needed change” without a change in consciousness.
It is doubtful if the garlanders will have this in mind when they pay homage to the ‘great leader’, but no harm thinking positively.
For several months, Sri Aurobindo and his companions stayed on the second floor of a house belonging to one Shankar Chetty; Swami Vivekananda had stayed there when he had visited Pondicherry a few years earlier.
During the first three months, the young men remained inside the house day and night, it was too dangerous to roam the streets of the White Town; British CID agents were watching for a scoop.
Life continued thus during the following years, though rules gradually became less strict for the disciples who were even allowed to play football.
August 15, 1947, the day India obtained her independence coincided with Sri Aurobindo’s 75th birthday. It was a ‘justice of history’ for someone who had tirelessly worked for this momentous event.
The previous day, Sri Aurobindo had been requested by All India Radio to give a message to the nation. He spoke about his Five Dreams.
The first was that India be united again. Will the present division disappear one day and at which cost? Nobody can answer this question.
The second dream was to see the “resurgence and liberation of the peoples of Asia”. It is certainly happening fast.
Sri Aurobindo’s third dream was of a “world-union forming the outer basis of a fairer, brighter and nobler life for all mankind.” Many groupings such the European Union, the ASEAN or more recently the BRIC are slowly taking shape.
The fourth dream was a ‘spiritual gift of India to the world’. One only has to go to a bookshop in the West or look at the number of works on yoga, dharma, etc. to see that something of this has already been achieved.
The final dream was a new “step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness and begin the solution of the problems which have perplexed and vexed him since he first began to think and to dream of individual perfection and a perfect society”.
But life was not always easy. In the evening of August 15, 1947, goons belonging to a local political party turned violent and attacked some of the inmates of the Ashram. Mulshankar, a personal attendant of Sri Aurobindo who had gone home for a shower was attacked and killed. Nirodbaran, a close confident of the Master wrote later: “Sri Aurobindo listened quietly [to the news] and his face bore a grave and serious expression that we had not seen before.” India was free, but the Goonja Raj had begun.
It was probably the first act of terrorism of free India.
A few days later, Sri Aurobindo explained to the Editor of a National Daily: “There are three sections of the people here who are violently opposed to the existence of the Ashram, the advocates of Dravidisthan, extreme Indian Catholics and the Communists.”
For these small sections of the local community, Sri Aurobindo had probably become the ‘most dangerous man’, just because he believed in a future humanity rising above ideologies, castes, creeds or religions. He was indeed the Prophet of a new Humanism. A hundred years after his arrival in Pondicherry, one should not forget his message
Sri Aurobindo has described this quest as ‘the Adventure of Consciousness and Joy’. It seems to be the most urgent task at hand for humanity.
If enough individuals would aspire for this higher consciousness, undoubtedly the process could be hastened and the world around us would begin to change. It is perhaps the only relevant adventure in the world today.
But there is the other side to the coin: terrorism, corruption, discrimination, inequality, selfishness, etc. seem to prevail everywhere.
A hundred years ago, Sri Aurobindo saw that mankind was confronted with this ‘critical choice’, if the human race was to survive. Will humanity make this choice?