Religion and Community Development in Tibet Series

Pioneering talk renowned Khenpo Tsultrim Lodroe of Larung Gar, at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs

Tibet Governance Project

The Tibet Governance Project is honored to host

Khenpo Tsultrim Lodroe of Larung Gar

Religion and Community Development Series

10887362_1057906287558181_4282125007417787088_o Khenpo Tsultrim Lodroe མཁན་ཆེན་ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་བློ་གྲོས།

The Tibet Governance Project at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs is honored to host Khenpo Tsultrim Lodroe, one of the foremost civic leaders in contemporary Tibet.  A part of the core leadership of Serta Larung Gar, Khenpo Tsultrim Lodroe has led a public conversation inside Tibet about education, language issues, the environment, public health, HIV/AIDs awareness and vegetarianism.  Noted for his scholarship and publications on Buddhist philosophy in both Tibetan and Chinese, Khenpo is a leading figure in faith-based civic engagement in Tibet today.

This is Khenpo’s first visit to North America.  He will be giving his inaugural U.S. public lecture on Thursday, April 2.  Khenpo will also be leading a series of academic seminars on religion and community development in contemporary Tibet from March…

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The Question of Tibet

By Jayshree Bajoria
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Jayshree Bajoria South Asia Researcher, Human Rights Watch.

The March 2008 anti-government clashes in Tibet and other regions in China brought the decades-long dispute once more into the international spotlight demonstrating the depth of historical disagreement over the territory. Tensions between China and Tibet have persisted since People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. China says Tibet has been a part of China for many centuries now, a claim refuted by many Tibetans. Chinese authorities use this claim to support their sovereignty over the territory while proponents of the Tibetan independence point to periods in Tibetan history when it enjoyed self-rule. Meanwhile, Chinese government policies in Tibet have fed the conflict. These inlude restrictions on cultural and religious freedoms of Tibetans, attempts to change the demographics of the region through migration of ethnic Chinese, and an unwillingness to open dialogue with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Experts believe the dispute over Tibet will persist as long as China refuses to speak to the Dalai Lama, who has been in exile in neighboring India since 1959. China, however, has sought to bypass the 73-year-old Dalai Lama and concentrated instead on efforts to control the process that will determine his successor.

Unresolved Political Status

The contemporary dispute over Tibet is rooted in religious and political disputes starting in the thirteenth century. China claims that Tibet has been an inalienable part of China since the thirteenth century under the Yuan dynasty. Tibetan nationalists and their supporters counter that the Chinese Empire at that time was either a Mongol (in Chinese, Yuan) empire or a Manchu (Qing) one, which happened to include China too, and that Tibet was a protectorate, wherein Tibetans offered spiritual guidance to emperors in return for political protection. When British attempts to open relations with Tibet culminated in the 1903-04 invasion and conquest of Lhasa, Qing-ruled China, which considered Tibet politically subordinate, countered with attempts to increase control over Tibet’s administration. But in 1913, a year after the Qing dynasty collapsed, Tibet declared independence and all Chinese officials and residents in Lhasa were expelled by the Tibetan government. Tibet thenceforth functioned as a de facto independent nation until the Chinese army invaded its eastern borders in 1950.

But even during this period, Tibet’s international status remained unsettled. China continued to claim it as sovereign territory. Western countries, including Britain and the United States, did not recognize Tibet as fully independent. After founding the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the new communist government in China sought reunification with Tibet and decided to invade it in 1950. A year later, in 1951, the Dalai Lama’s representatives signed aseventeen-point agreement with Beijing, granting China sovereignty over Tibet for the first time. The agreement stated that the central authorities “will not alter the existing political system in Tibet” or “the established status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama.” While the Chinese government points to this document to prove Tibet is part of Chinese territory, proponents of Tibetan independence say Tibet was coerced into signing this document and surrendering its sovereignty.

“Experts point to the years from 1913 to 1950, a time when Tibet behaved like a de facto independent state, to argue that Tibet was not always part of China.”

Experts also point to the years from 1913 to 1950, a time when Tibet behaved like a de facto independent state, to argue that Tibet was not always part of China. But China blames the British influence at the time for provoking the idea of Tibetan independence and refuses to be bound by any treaties signed between Tibet and Britain during that period. This includes the 1914 Simla convention where the British recognized Tibet as an autonomous area under the suzerainty of China.

The political status question is also complicated by uncertainty about what constitutes Tibet’s borders. The Chinese only accept the term Tibet for the western and central areas, the area which is now called the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). This area was directly ruled by the Lhasa government when the Chinese invaded in 1950. But Tibetan exiles have been demanding a Greater Tibet which includes political Tibet in modern times (TAR) as well as ethnic Tibetan areas east of TAR, most of which Tibet had lost in the eighteenth century.  These areas, earlier known as Amdo and Kham, are now scattered among parts of Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan and Gansu. The March 2008 anti-government protests, which started in Lhasa, soon spread among the ethnic Tibetan areas in these provinces.

Experts say there is no document in which the Tibetan people or their government explicitly recognizes Chinese sovereignty before the invasion of 1950. But Robert Barnett, a Tibet specialist at Columbia University, says the importance of this argument lies not in its role in the legal debate, but in what it indicates in terms of the political realities on the ground. “The fact is that most Tibetans seem to have experienced themselves and their land as distinct from China,” he says.

Conflict with China

Since China’s invasion, Barnett says, “China’s policies towards the Tibetans can perhaps best be described as a mix of brutality and concession.” The first Tibetan uprising of 1959 resulted in the flight of the Dalai Lama and about 80,000 Tibetans. During these years thousands of Tibetans were allegedly executed, imprisoned, or starved to death in prison camps. So far no Chinese official has publicly acknowledged these atrocities. This period also included a policy of induced national famines that resulted from tenets of the so-called Great Leap Forward, when Beijing set up communes in agricultural and pastoral areas. The Cultural Revolution, the next phase of Mao’s revolutionary politics, followed in 1966 and continued in effect until1979 in Tibet. During these years, all religious activities were prohibited and the monastic system in Tibet was dismantled. The campaign included an attempt to eradicate the ethnic minority’s culture and distinctive identity as a people.

“If India is indeed a liberal democracy, it must be willing to speak out about gross Chinese human rights violations.” — Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University

Deng Xiaoping’s rise to power in China in 1978 brought forth a new initiative to resolve the Tibet question. Besides reaching out to the Dalai Lama in exile in India, the Chinese authorities also initiated a more conciliatory ethnic and economic development policy. Tibetans were encouraged to revitalize their culture and religion. Infrastructure was developed to help Tibet grow. But pro-independence protests in Tibet that started in 1987 led to the declaration of martial law in the region in 1989. After martial law was lifted in May 1990, Chinese authorities adopted a more hard-line policy with stricter security measures, curtailing religious and cultural freedoms. At the same time, a program of rapid economic development was adopted which included much resented incentives encouraging an influx of non-Tibetans, mostly Han Chinese, into Tibet. This, Beijing hopes, will result in a new generation of Tibetans who will be less influenced by religion and consider being part of China in their interest, wrote Tibet expert Melvyn C. Goldstein in Foreign Affairs in 1998. “Even if such an orientation does not develop, the new policy will so radically change the demographic composition of Tibet and the nature of the economy that Beijing’s control over Tibet will not be weakened.”

Government-in-exile in India

When the Dalai Lama sought exile in Dharamsala in northern India in 1959, India arguably became a key player in the conflict. India now is home to about 120,000 Tibetans, the world’s largest Tibetan community outside of Tibet. But since 1952, India has always regarded Tibet as an integral part of China and does not encourage overt criticism of China by Tibetans in exile. Sumit Ganguly, a professor of political science at Indiana University, is openly critical of the Indian policy. “If India is indeed a liberal democracy,” he says, “it must be willing to speak out about gross Chinese human rights violations.”

Ganguly believes India’s administration can exert pressure on China by allowing Indian Tibetans to demonstrate peacefully without interference, and by treating the Dalai Lama as a head of state instead of a spiritual leader. But there are many Indian analysts who believe otherwise. “There is interest on both sides, very deep interest, to see that what is happening is not allowed to upset the apple cart—the present momentum of India-China relations,” says Mira Sinha Bhattacharjea, former director of the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi. Relations between India and China, long fraught with resentments including a short border war in 1962, recently have warmed. China became India’s biggest trading partner in 2007. The two countries have also seen a thaw in diplomatic relations.

The United States and the West

Experts say U.S. policy has done little to help resolve the Tibet issue. According to A. Tom Grunfeld, a professor of history at Empire State College,  Washington’s policy is inherently contradictory. “While officially recognizing Tibet as part of China,” he writes, “the U.S. Congress and White House unofficially encourage the campaign for independence.”

“While officially recognizing Tibet as part of China, the U.S. Congress and White House unofficially encourage the campaign for independence.” — A. Tom Grunfeld, Empire State College

Goldstein writes Washington has been opportunistic in its dealings (PDF) with Tibet. During the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) covertly funded and armed Tibetan guerilla forces to fight against communist China. But even during this period of covert support, Washington’s official position on Tibet did not change. It continued to recognize it as a part of China. CIA’s covert funding stopped in 1971 as U.S. interest in Tibet waned due to warmer relations with China. But pressure from the Tibet lobby complicated the policy environment, argues Grunfeld. In the 1980s, Tibetans in exile launched a new strategic initiative with an aim to secure increased political support from the United States and the West to exert pressure on China.

An important element in this new strategy was visits and speeches by the Dalai Lama in the West. In September 1987, the Dalai Lama spoke before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Washington. The following June, he made another important address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. For the first time publicly, he laid out a willingness to accept something less than independence for Tibet. Calling for genuine autonomy for Tibet within the framework of China, the Dalai Lama proposed that Tibet have full control over its domestic affairs but that China could remain responsible for Tibet’s defense and foreign affairs. He reiterated this “middle-way approach” in a 2001 address to the European parliament. The Tibet issue has also won popular sympathy in the west including interest of Hollywood actors like Richard Gere who actively lobby for the Tibetan cause. But the success of the international campaign for Tibet has bolstered hard-liners within the Chinese government, experts say, thereby worsening conditions for the Tibetan people.

A Difficult Solution

Tibet is very important to China’s sense of nationhood, says CFR’s China expert Adam Segal. “There is a fear that if Tibet gets independence, Uighurs and Taiwan will want independence.” Segal notes that Chinese authorities have frequently suggested that they are just waiting for the Dalai Lama to die, expecting Tibetan nationalism to disappear after his death, but says this may be a miscalculation. “I think the more radical Tibetans would direct the movement for independence after Dalai Lama’s death.”

Experts agree that unless there is political reform within China, the resolution of the Tibetan question remains bleak. “The historical question was never unsolvable,” says Barnett. “It would not have been a problem necessarily if China had been able to develop policies for Tibet that were acceptable to most Tibetans.” In November 2008, the Dalai Lama said his efforts to bring autonomy to Tibet had failed so far and called for a meeting of Tibetans from around the world to consider the future of the Tibetan movement. The meeting, which took place Nov. 17-22 in Dharamsala, India, drew more than five hundred Tibetans. Though the meeting closed with what was described as a “strong endorsement” of the Dalai Lama’s “middle-way” approach, participants also “clearly stated” they might seek independence if talks with China do not bring progress “in the near future.”

India and the Tibetan Tragedy

By C. H. Alexandrowicz

An apparently insignificant announcement concerning Indo-Tibetan relations was made to the press on September 16, 1952, by the Indian Ministry of External Relations. It stated that the 16-year-old Indian Mission in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, would be wound up and replaced by a Consulate-General; but that whereas the Mission maintained direct relations between India and Tibet, the new Consulate-General would be accredited to China. In other words, Indian recognition seemed to be entirely withdrawn from Tibet and thus the period of coöperation between the two countries on a basis of equality came to an end. As the initiation of this cooperation was one of the cornerstones of Indian foreign policy under British rule its termination must be the expression of some basic change in policy; and there is no better way of understanding this change than by recalling briefly the history of Indo-Tibetan relations.

Tibet is bordered by Chinese Turkestan and Mongolia in the north; by China in the east; by Burma, India, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal in the South; and by India (Punjab and Kashmir) in the west. Bhutan and Sikkim were formerly part of Tibet but are now separate states under Indian suzerainty. Both Tibet and Nepal were under Chinese suzerainty, but whereas the Nepalese threw off Chinese domination, Tibetan efforts to terminate dependence were never completely successful. However, the term Chinese domination calls for explanation. Chinese suzerainty meant at first the overlord-ship of the Manchu Emperors. With their downfall, Chinese Republican influence in Tibet decreased rapidly and Chinese Communist influence was considered a menace in Lhasa long before the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek.

After the establishment of Buddhism and of the Church of the Lamas, Tibet, once a warring nation, became peace-loving and determined to fend off both Western influence and militarism as a means of avoiding international disputes. There is no other example in history of a nation dominated by a religious creed and priestly organization which was so firm in its policy of avoiding the drawbacks of modern civilization, even if this meant foregoing its benefits. Lacking significant armed forces, Tibet had to safeguard her independence by peaceful means; and this in recent centuries the Lamas succeeded in doing with admirable skill and wisdom. Her neighbors had considerable appetites and tried to find their way to Lhasa. Besides China there was Tsarist Russia, who after having established a hold over Buddhist Mongolia thought of further expanding her influence into Tibet. Russia renounced these intentions in 1907, by a treaty concluded with Great Britain. One of the basic difficulties of all intruders was the complete devotion and allegiance of Tibetans as well as of other Buddhists in that part of the world to the Dalai Lama who combined temporal jurisdiction with spiritual power. None of Tibet’s neighbors who had political ambitions was able to overcome the formidable barrier of seclusion, more impenetrable than iron curtains stretched between the pillars of brutal physical force and hostile isolationism.

India’s attitude towards Tibet was different from that of any other country. Gotama the Buddha was of Indian origin and the famous Bodhi tree near Gaya in Bihar, beneath which he sat in contemplation, is still today the sacred meeting place of all Buddhists of the world, whether from Tibet, Burma, Ceylon or Japan. All these countries adopted the great faith of the Enlightened, whereas India, his home country, finally rejected him for the Brahmanical religion.[i] India is still to a great extent Brahmanical, and has not much sympathy or understanding for the Buddhist way of life. In shaping their own ideas about Tibet, Indian politicians could not find much enthusiasm in their hearts, political considerations apart, for “heretic” Tibet,

for which so many British explorers, traders and travellers developed understanding and even admiration. When British rule established itself in India in the nineteenth century, a number of treaties ensured the settlement of all controversial relations on the northeastern frontier. In a treaty between Great Britain and China, concluded in 1890, the former secured recognition of her protectorate over Sikkim. In 1904, Great Britain concluded a treaty with Tibet securing an open trade route frome Kalimpong in India, to Lhasa. Though direct relations were established between thetwo countries, Great Britain recognized Chinese suzerainty over Tibet in 1906. In1910 a British Protectorate over Bhutan was established. Thus India, under British rule, had produced a system of security by which her northeastern frontier could be considered more or less immune against the turmoil of Chinese politics. As shown above, the main elements of this security system were British India’s suzerainty over Bhutan and Sikkim, the free trade route between Kalimpong and Lhasa opened after Colonel Francis Younghusband’s expedition to Lhasa in 1904, and friendly relations with Nepal which ceased to be a vassal state in relation to China. Security on her northeastern frontier allowed British India to concentrate on the more difficult problem of her northwestern frontier bordering on Afghanistan.

In view of the constant Chinese infiltration into Tibet, British India had to consider how to maintain a balance of power there. Any sharp increase of Chinese penetration in Tibet was obviously a threat to British India’s security; while the elimination of Chinese influence from Tibet would obviously have caused a deterioration of Anglo-Chinese relations, provoked again the danger of Russian infiltration, and increased unnecessarily the responsibility of British India in relation to Tibet. Thus the balance was determined by a policy of keeping Chinese influence in check without eliminating it entirely. It was successful for years in keeping the famous Russian agent, Mr. Dorjeff, at a fair distance from the hearts of the Lamas. The policy was not formally laid down, but it found visible expression in the provisions of the Simla Conference in 1914, where representatives of British India, China and Tibet initialed a Convention of which the chief provisions were the following:

  1. Tibet was to be divided into two parts: Outer Tibet, adjoining India and including Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo; and Inner Tibet, including the provinces near China and part of Eastern Tibet.
  2. The principle of Chinese suzerainty over Tibet was recognized, but China was to observe strictly her limited position as a suzerain. Suzerainty implies that internal sovereignty is vested in the vassal state; in other words China could not, according to the Convention, infringe upon the internal jurisdiction of the Dalai Lama’s Government. On the other hand, suzerainty means no external sovereignty in the vassal state. Thus the Convention implied the right of China to conduct Tibet’s foreign affairs, with the exception of British India’s direct rights in Tibet, essential to the mutual balance in the Indian-Chinese-Tibetan triangle.

  3. Great Britain declared that it had no other aspirations in Tibet, and in particular none for territorial expansion or aggrandizement.

  4. The division of Tibet into Outer Tibet and Inner Tibet implied the predominant interest of British India in the former and of China in the latter. India always enjoyed the natural security afforded by the Himalayas. The passes leading from the Tibetan plateau into Sikkim and India are important trade routes. Noninterference of China in Outer Tibet best secured freedom of movement on these routes. Thousands of Tibetan traders used to arrive in India yearly over these passes to sell wool, hides and medicinal herbs in exchange for other goods. Thus the firm establishment of the Dalai Lama’s jurisdiction in this part of Tibet served the twofold purpose of promoting Indo-Tibetan trade and security of the northeastern frontier of India. British India was allowed to have her trade agents in Outer Tibet and later also established a Mission in Lhasa.

  5. In Inner Tibet the Chinese were to keep certain internal rights, including responsibility for the maintenance of order.

  6. Finally, the Chinese were to maintain a representative, called Amban, in Lhasa. As mentioned above, the Amban was later matched by the presence of the British Indian Mission to the Dalai Lama.

One of the tasks of the Simla Conference was also to define the northeastern frontier of India, particularly between Tibet and Bhutan, the vassal of British India where Chinese penetration remained a continuous threat.

Two days after the Convention was initialed, the Chinese Government refused to sign it. The British then informed China that they considered the Convention as in force between themselves and Tibet. A few weeks later the First World War broke out and Tibetan affairs were duly shelved. But the principles of the Simla Conference remained a reliable guide to British Indian policy in Tibet, based as it was on genuine friendship and on a mutually respected balance of power by which no more would be given to or withdrawn from either China or Tibet than was inherent in the balance itself.

Tibet was obviously to serve as a buffer state without giving up its autonomy in its own internal affairs. It was also obvious that British India’s action was dictated not only by British Commonwealth interests but by the natural requirements of any future Indian policy, whether connected with British rule or not. Problems of security and trade aside, there was also an increased need after the First World War for vigilance against the Bolshevist penetration which Chinese soldiers tended to import into Tibet. Communism was always less popular in Tibet than in India and Nepal, the reason being that the Dalai Lama’s Government was, and still is, primarily spiritual, abhorring physical force as a means of leading people to happiness and salvation.

II

The need for India to play an active part in protecting her security and interests in the northeast is all the greater today because of the strongly imperialist policies adopted by Communist China and the U.S.S.R. The ostensible objective of the Chinese invasion of Tibet is the “liberation” of the Tibetan people. But in fact Mao Tse-tung has assumed the expansionist rôle formerly played by the Manchu Emperors. In other words, Tibet in Chinese eyes is once again a province of China, composed of the present Tibetan territory plus all the areas which originally were Tibetan and later were lost to India or Nepal. Years ago, Tibet owned all of Sikkim down to Siliguri in India, including Darjeeling; it also owned Bhutan, now an Indian vassal state, and had Nepal as a protectorate. Nepal discontinued her quinquennial missions to Peking only about 40 years ago, and shook off Chinese suzerainty.

Thirty years ago, Sir Charles Bell, one of the greatest experts on Tibet, made clear in his work, “Tibet, Past and Present,”[ii] that if the Chinese should disturb the Tibetan balance of power as laid down in the Simla Convention, both Nepal and India would be threatened. He also expressed grave concern about the future of the system of security initiated by the British in the event that India were to become independent. He foresaw that with a transfer of power from the British to an independent India the Simla policy would automatically break down, since, he thought, independent India whether through lack of interest or lack of firmness would not support Tibet against Chinese imperialism (yellow or red). In such circumstances Tibet would have to break away from the Indian environment, and Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim would find it difficult to continue in friendly partnership with India; for when the inhabitants of these countries saw that India had abandoned the effort to maintain a balance of power in Tibet, and had assumed a passive attitude there, they would be tempted to turn to China of their own accord. One of Sir Charles Bell’s practical recommendations for delaying Chinese penetration in Tibet was to prevent Chinese agents from entering that country through India. He also noted that the lines of communication direct from Peking to Lhasa are highly inadequate and emphasized that if ever Chinese troops and officials succeeded in seizing Tibet the export of rice or other food grains and supplies to them through India should be prevented. It is significant that at the present time all Chinese missions enter Tibet via Calcutta and Kalimpong, and that Tibetan missions to China do not travel from Lhasa direct to Peking but take the same roundabout route by way of Kalimpong and Calcutta.

Let us now look at events in the last two years in the light of the above warnings and recommendations.

The Chinese invasion of Tibet started at the end of 1950. It embraced at first only part of what the Simla Convention had designated as Inner Tibet. At the end of December in that year the young Dalai Lama left Lhasa and moved to Yatung in the Chumbi valley, only 15 miles from the border of India, thereby making clear that he was ready to become an exile in India, as his predecessor had done 30 yearsbefore. As soon as this happened the Chinese invasion stopped and Lhasa remained temporarily free. The next development was that a delegation of the Tibetan Government was invited to Peking. On arriving there they were told that Chinese military headquarters would be set up in Lhasa, and when they protested they were informed that Tibet had become a province of China and that they would do well to recognize the fact. Then a treaty was submitted to them for signature. They first said they would take it to Yatung and ask the Dalai Lama for instructions, but under pressure they were forced to sign immediately. One is reminded of the procedure applied by Hitler in 1938 to the unfortunate President of Czechoslovakia, and later to other victims.

After signing the treaty the Tibetan delegation left Peking and travelled back to Lhasa via Calcutta and Yatung. Meanwhile the Chinese had captured the Dalai Lama, with the help of a few bribed lamas, and brought him to Lhasa. For some time the Chinese generals in Tibet worked under the cloak of the Dalai Lama’s authority; but having consolidated their power in the first half of 1952 they forced the Dalai Lama to dismiss all his supporters in the government and remain completely isolated. Furthermore, the Panchen Lama, next in importance to the Dalai Lama, was brought to Lhasa as his rival. When the two became friends theywere again separated. Finally the Chinese Government invited India to withdraw her Mission from Lhasa in order to destroy the last trace of Tibetan independence.

The Indian Government has now complied with Chinese wishes and sent a Consul General to Lhasa who is accredited to China and not to Tibet. Thus with a stroke of the pen India relinquished the old policy of security in the northeast, worked out during years of effort and negotiation. Indian public opinion is as yet unaware of the historical consequences of this move.

The Chinese penetration of all the previous dependencies of the Chinese Emperors is likely to increase. The exact sequence of events cannot be foreseen, but it seems that Nepal is already involved in serious internal troubles (not without Communist participation) and that Communist pressure in Sikkim, Bhutan and Darjeeling is increasing.

India, whatever her motives in abandoning a genuine Indian policy as initiated under British rule, has to wake up to the reality on her northeastern frontiers and to events which are likely to follow. Tibet is now definitely behind the Iron Curtain and news as to what is going on beyond the Himalayan passes is scanty. It is, however, certain that the Chinese are building a strategic road from Lhasa to the frontier of India and Sikkim. This is the same track along which Colonel Francis Younghusband’s army pushed in more primitive conditions in 1904 from India toLhasa, and there is no reason why it could not be used for aggressive purposes in the other direction. Accounts of Younghusband’s expedition mention the significant fort of Phari on the track below the peak of Chomo Lhari. The Chinese are reported to be building near the old fort a modern fort located in Galingk’a. They are also reported to be building, with the help of Soviet experts, several air bases all over Tibet, one at Lhasa and one on the plain between Lake Manasarowar and Lake Rukas, which is only 300 miles from New Delhi. It has been officially admitted by Indian politicians that there are Chinese military detachments stationed all along the Indian frontier. There are also rumors of atomic experts conducting investigations in uranium deposits in southern Tibet. The Chinese have printed a geographical map of China in which Bhutan and Sikkim are shown as part of China or Tibet. The matter has been recently discussed in the Indian Parliament and is, in spite of Chinese denials, a serious cause for anxiety. It is difficult at the moment to separate reliable evidence from hearsay. However, one thing certain is that the previous intercourse between India and Tibet has come to an end and that India has found herself close up against the Iron Curtain.[iii] In case of armed conflict, a southward Communist thrust might take place in the first instance from China and Tibet into Burma. Even so, considerable Indian armed forces would be immobilized on the Himalayan passes and south of them. If these passes and the adjoining strategic areas are not adequately defended, another Communist thrust could, in case of war, follow from the north and east directly into the plains of India.

Whatever the future, the period of balance of power by political manœuvring is over; and if physical force is behind the unbalance it can be opposed only by physical force. A former Congress President emphasized in a speech in the Indian Constituent Assembly that compulsory military service would be one of the bestsafeguards of independence. Its purpose, in the first instance, would be the creation of a strong and efficient army and, moreover, the strengthening of national discipline essential to face hard facts.

[i] “The Religion of Tibet,” by Sir Charles Bell. New York: Oxford, 1931, p. 21.

[ii] New York: Oxford, 1925, p. 241.

[iii] When Tibetan children and students who were studying in Indian schools and colleges went home for their holidays in Tibet, they were unable to return to India.

The Coming Chinese Crack-Up

The endgame of communist rule in China has begun, and Xi Jinping’s ruthless measures are only bringing the country closer to a breaking point

Chinese President Xi Jinping, front center, and other Chinese leaders attend the opening meeting Thursday of the third session of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing.ENLARGE
Chinese President Xi Jinping, front center, and other Chinese leaders attend the opening meeting Thursday of the third session of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. PHOTO: XINHUA/ZUMA PRESS

This past Thursday, the National People’s Congress convened in Beijing in what has become a familiar annual ritual. Some 3,000 “elected” delegates from all over the country—ranging from colorfully clad ethnic minorities to urbane billionaires—will meet for a week to discuss the state of the nation and to engage in the pretense of political participation.

Some see this impressive gathering as a sign of the strength of the Chinese political system—but it masks serious weaknesses. Chinese politics has always had a theatrical veneer, with staged events like the congress intended to project the power and stability of the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP. Officials and citizens alike know that they are supposed to conform to these rituals, participating cheerfully and parroting back official slogans. This behavior is known in Chinese as biaotai, “declaring where one stands,” but it is little more than an act of symbolic compliance.

Despite appearances, China’s political system is badly broken, and nobody knows it better than the Communist Party itself. China’s strongman leader,Xi Jinping , is hoping that a crackdown on dissent and corruption will shore up the party’s rule. He is determined to avoid becoming the Mikhail Gorbachev of China, presiding over the party’s collapse. But instead of being the antithesis of Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Xi may well wind up having the same effect. His despotism is severely stressing China’s system and society—and bringing it closer to a breaking point.

Predicting the demise of authoritarian regimes is a risky business. Few Western experts forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union before it occurred in 1991; the CIA missed it entirely. The downfall of Eastern Europe’s communist states two years earlier was similarly scorned as the wishful thinking of anticommunists—until it happened. The post-Soviet “color revolutions” in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan from 2003 to 2005, as well as the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, all burst forth unanticipated.

China-watchers have been on high alert for telltale signs of regime decay and decline ever since the regime’s near-death experience in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Since then, several seasoned Sinologists have risked their professional reputations by asserting that the collapse of CCP rule was inevitable. Others were more cautious—myself included. But times change in China, and so must our analyses.

The endgame of Chinese communist rule has now begun, I believe, and it has progressed further than many think. We don’t know what the pathway from now until the end will look like, of course. It will probably be highly unstable and unsettled. But until the system begins to unravel in some obvious way, those inside of it will play along—thus contributing to the facade of stability.

A military band conductor during the opening session of the National People’s Congress on Thursday, at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing.ENLARGE
A military band conductor during the opening session of the National People’s Congress on Thursday, at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. PHOTO:ASSOCIATED PRESS

Communist rule in China is unlikely to end quietly. A single event is unlikely to trigger a peaceful implosion of the regime. Its demise is likely to be protracted, messy and violent. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Mr. Xi will be deposed in a power struggle or coup d’état. With his aggressive anticorruption campaign—a focus of this week’s National People’s Congress—he is overplaying a weak hand and deeply aggravating key party, state, military and commercial constituencies.

The Chinese have a proverb, waiying, neiruan—hard on the outside, soft on the inside. Mr. Xi is a genuinely tough ruler. He exudes conviction and personal confidence. But this hard personality belies a party and political system that is extremely fragile on the inside.

Consider five telling indications of the regime’s vulnerability and the party’s systemic weaknesses.

First, China’s economic elites have one foot out the door, and they are ready to flee en masse if the system really begins to crumble. In 2014, Shanghai’s Hurun Research Institute, which studies China’s wealthy, found that 64% of the “high net worth individuals” whom it polled—393 millionaires and billionaires—were either emigrating or planning to do so. Rich Chinese are sending their children to study abroad in record numbers (in itself, an indictment of the quality of the Chinese higher-education system).

Just this week, the Journal reported, federal agents searched several Southern California locations that U.S. authorities allege are linked to “multimillion-dollar birth-tourism businesses that enabled thousands of Chinese women to travel here and return home with infants born as U.S. citizens.” Wealthy Chinese are also buying property abroad at record levels and prices, and they are parking their financial assets overseas, often in well-shielded tax havens and shell companies.

Meanwhile, Beijing is trying to extradite back to China a large number of alleged financial fugitives living abroad. When a country’s elites—many of them party members—flee in such large numbers, it is a telling sign of lack of confidence in the regime and the country’s future.

Second, since taking office in 2012, Mr. Xi has greatly intensified the political repression that has blanketed China since 2009. The targets include the press, social media, film, arts and literature, religious groups, the Internet, intellectuals, Tibetans and Uighurs, dissidents, lawyers, NGOs, university students and textbooks. The Central Committee sent a draconian order known as Document No. 9 down through the party hierarchy in 2013, ordering all units to ferret out any seeming endorsement of the West’s “universal values”—including constitutional democracy, civil society, a free press and neoliberal economics.

A more secure and confident government would not institute such a severe crackdown. It is a symptom of the party leadership’s deep anxiety and insecurity.

Third, even many regime loyalists are just going through the motions. It is hard to miss the theater of false pretense that has permeated the Chinese body politic for the past few years. Last summer, I was one of a handful of foreigners (and the only American) who attended a conference about the “China Dream,” Mr. Xi’s signature concept, at a party-affiliated think tank in Beijing. We sat through two days of mind-numbing, nonstop presentations by two dozen party scholars—but their faces were frozen, their body language was wooden, and their boredom was palpable. They feigned compliance with the party and their leader’s latest mantra. But it was evident that the propaganda had lost its power, and the emperor had no clothes.

In December, I was back in Beijing for a conference at the Central Party School, the party’s highest institution of doctrinal instruction, and once again, the country’s top officials and foreign policy experts recited their stock slogans verbatim. During lunch one day, I went to the campus bookstore—always an important stop so that I can update myself on what China’s leading cadres are being taught. Tomes on the store’s shelves ranged from Lenin’s “Selected Works” to Condoleezza Rice’s memoirs, and a table at the entrance was piled high with copies of a pamphlet by Mr. Xi on his campaign to promote the “mass line”—that is, the party’s connection to the masses. “How is this selling?” I asked the clerk. “Oh, it’s not,” she replied. “We give it away.” The size of the stack suggested it was hardly a hot item.

Mr. Xi at the Schloss Bellevue presidential residency during his visit to fellow export powerhouse Germany, Berlin, March 28, 2014.ENLARGE
Mr. Xi at the Schloss Bellevue presidential residency during his visit to fellow export powerhouse Germany, Berlin, March 28, 2014. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Fourth, the corruption that riddles the party-state and the military also pervades Chinese society as a whole. Mr. Xi’s anticorruption campaign is more sustained and severe than any previous one, but no campaign can eliminate the problem. It is stubbornly rooted in the single-party system, patron-client networks, an economy utterly lacking in transparency, a state-controlled media and the absence of the rule of law.

Moreover, Mr. Xi’s campaign is turning out to be at least as much a selective purge as an antigraft campaign. Many of its targets to date have been political clients and allies of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin . Now 88, Mr. Jiang is still the godfather figure of Chinese politics. Going after Mr. Jiang’s patronage network while he is still alive is highly risky for Mr. Xi, particularly since Mr. Xi doesn’t seem to have brought along his own coterie of loyal clients to promote into positions of power. Another problem: Mr. Xi, a child of China’s first-generation revolutionary elites, is one of the party’s “princelings,” and his political ties largely extend to other princelings. This silver-spoon generation is widely reviled in Chinese society at large.

Finally, China’s economy—for all the Western views of it as an unstoppable juggernaut—is stuck in a series of systemic traps from which there is no easy exit. In November 2013, Mr. Xi presided over the party’s Third Plenum, which unveiled a huge package of proposed economic reforms, but so far, they are sputtering on the launchpad. Yes, consumer spending has been rising, red tape has been reduced, and some fiscal reforms have been introduced, but overall, Mr. Xi’s ambitious goals have been stillborn. The reform package challenges powerful, deeply entrenched interest groups—such as state-owned enterprises and local party cadres—and they are plainly blocking its implementation.

These five increasingly evident cracks in the regime’s control can be fixed only through political reform. Until and unless China relaxes its draconian political controls, it will never become an innovative society and a “knowledge economy”—a main goal of the Third Plenum reforms. The political system has become the primary impediment to China’s needed social and economic reforms. If Mr. Xi and party leaders don’t relax their grip, they may be summoning precisely the fate they hope to avoid.

In the decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the upper reaches of China’s leadership have been obsessed with the fall of its fellow communist giant. Hundreds of Chinese postmortem analyseshave dissected the causes of the Soviet disintegration.

Mr. Xi’s real “China Dream” has been to avoid the Soviet nightmare. Just a few months into his tenure, he gave a telling internal speech ruing the Soviet Union’s demise and bemoaning Mr. Gorbachev’s betrayals, arguing that Moscow had lacked a “real man” to stand up to its reformist last leader. Mr. Xi’s wave of repression today is meant to be the opposite of Mr. Gorbachev’s perestroika and glasnost. Instead of opening up, Mr. Xi is doubling down on controls over dissenters, the economy and even rivals within the party.

But reaction and repression aren’t Mr. Xi’s only option. His predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao , drew very different lessons from the Soviet collapse. From 2000 to 2008, they instituted policies intended to open up the system with carefully limited political reforms.

They strengthened local party committees and experimented with voting for multicandidate party secretaries. They recruited more businesspeople and intellectuals into the party. They expanded party consultation with nonparty groups and made the Politburo’s proceedings more transparent. They improved feedback mechanisms within the party, implemented more meritocratic criteria for evaluation and promotion, and created a system of mandatory midcareer training for all 45 million state and party cadres. They enforced retirement requirements and rotated officials and military officers between job assignments every couple of years.

In effect, for a while Mr. Jiang and Mr. Hu sought to manage change, not to resist it. But Mr. Xi wants none of this. Since 2009 (when even the heretofore open-minded Mr. Hu changed course and started to clamp down), an increasingly anxious regime has rolled back every single one of these political reforms (with the exception of the cadre-training system). These reforms were masterminded by Mr. Jiang’s political acolyte and former vice president, Zeng Qinghong, who retired in 2008 and is now under suspicion in Mr. Xi’s anticorruption campaign—another symbol of Mr. Xi’s hostility to the measures that might ease the ills of a crumbling system.

Some experts think that Mr. Xi’s harsh tactics may actually presage a more open and reformist direction later in his term. I don’t buy it. This leader and regime see politics in zero-sum terms: Relaxing control, in their view, is a sure step toward the demise of the system and their own downfall. They also take the conspiratorial view that the U.S. is actively working to subvert Communist Party rule. None of this suggests that sweeping reforms are just around the corner.

We cannot predict when Chinese communism will collapse, but it is hard not to conclude that we are witnessing its final phase. The CCP is the world’s second-longest ruling regime (behind only North Korea), and no party can rule forever.

Looking ahead, China-watchers should keep their eyes on the regime’s instruments of control and on those assigned to use those instruments. Large numbers of citizens and party members alike are already voting with their feet and leaving the country or displaying their insincerity by pretending to comply with party dictates.

We should watch for the day when the regime’s propaganda agents and its internal security apparatus start becoming lax in enforcing the party’s writ—or when they begin to identify with dissidents, like the East German Stasi agent in the film “The Lives of Others” who came to sympathize with the targets of his spying. When human empathy starts to win out over ossified authority, the endgame of Chinese communism will really have begun.

Dr. Shambaugh is a professor of international affairs and the director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His books include “China’s Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation” and, most recently, “China Goes Global: The Partial Power.”

Tibetans MOTHER dumps HUJINTOA

Fifty one and eleven years propositions
Chinese leaders to Tibetans mother
Still leaves them on depressing
When each them hops one higher stair
Furthering them to more miles away
A pride for martyr Tibetans mother

Crimson cheeked on oily green meadows
Shines its waves crowning herself after all
Leaving breathe unto milky souls
Holding them on blocked ducks
Mighty souls of grandeur world

All are born for lives
Lives are grown for helps
Helps are nurtured for shares
When one blinks in prioritizing
The world to be beamed on sparks of shine
Bequeathing thy voice sparks on assaulting Tibetan mother

I am a Tibetan
My mother is neither a widow,
Neither married nor a bride
A crystallized and compassionate
Nurtures six and more millions
Feeding a continent through single wave
Raising hope and fading filthiness on thy hearts


Lame-duck president of a declining power still inspires the world


By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing

China should look to foreign leaders for examples of how to be appealing
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: US President Barack Obama speaks at the APEC CEO Summit, as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC) on November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. APEC economic leaders' meetings and APEC summit is being held at Beijing's outskirt Yanqi Lake. (Photo by Wang Zhao-Pool/Getty Imgaes)

s US President Barack Obama took the stage at the Apec business leaders summit in Beijing, excitement rippled through the crowd and the packed room transformed into a sea of glowing smartphone screens.
Mr Obama is a rock star in China, no matter what editorials in state-controlled nationalist Chinese media say about the “insipid banality” of the “lame-duck” president or the decline of liberal democracy and “lazy” America.

 The reception was in stark contrast to a speech by Vladimir Putin in the same venue an hour earlier, when nobody in the much smaller audience tried to take selfies with the Russian president.

Even Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke a day earlier, did not get anywhere near the excitement or rapt attention lavished on Mr Obama by the mostly Chinese crowd.

The contrast goes much further than a popularity contest at a business event.
From freedom of speech to labour rights and human rights, from open and transparent political systems to the celebration of diversity, Mr Obama captured the essence of what makes most Chinese parents who can afford it want to send their children to study in the US.
Mr Putin sounded more like the leader of a small, resource-rich declining power as he outlined a new agreement between Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and possibly Armenia and invited the CEOs in the room to come and invest in Russia.

President Xi’s pitch to the region and the world was similarly one-dimensional.
After frightening its neighbours with aggressive territorial claims over the past few years, Beijing is now trying to charm them with billions of dollars in proposed infrastructure investment and the construction of “new silk road” and “maritime silk road” trade routes to Europe.
This largesse is part of Mr Xi’s “China dream”, which he defines broadly as the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.

To other countries, big and small, that slogan’s significance has become clearer in the last two years as Beijing seeks to assert its view of how international relations should work.

Most pictures and video clips of foreign dignitaries have seemed calculated to diminish their stature while elevating Mr Xi

Diplomats from many diverse countries say everything Beijing does these days seems intended to place other nations, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, into the role of tributary, subservient players in a system that resembles the ancient Chinese imperial order.
This week’s Apec meeting is the biggest event China has held since the 2008 Olympics and the first time Mr Xi’s administration has hosted a major international summit since he took power two years ago.
The portrayal by Chinese state media of Mr Xi as the benevolent emperor receiving tribute from foreign leaders is probably the most striking image to come out of the meeting.

Most pictures and video clips of foreign dignitaries have seemed calculated to diminish their stature while elevating Mr Xi.

When Mr Obama arrived in Beijing, the Chinese soldiers forming a corridor off the aircraft were all significantly taller than him, even though he is 6’1” (1.85m).

Other footage showed him walking without an entourage surrounded by Chinese officials and burly Chinese security officers as if to emphasise his vulnerability.

The ritual humiliation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was made to stand in front of the cameras like a penitent schoolboy while waiting to shake Mr Xi’s hand, was another striking example.

Until less than a day before that meeting, Chinese officials had still not even confirmed whether Mr Xi would deign to meet him.

Diplomats say China is one of very few countries that uses access to its leaders as a bargaining tool in international negotiations, just as the emperors once did.

With its infrastructure investment plans, China is offering inducements to countries that are willing to accept its vision of a revived tributary system in which it sits at the centre and is

Fearless: Lhagyari Trichen

Sounds inspiring !

Surge

Humble about his successes and origins, driven by a desire to serve his countrymen and raise awareness about their struggles and identity, and involved in opening dialogues about the issues facing his home country of Tibet, Lhagyari Trichen ’17 fearlessly leads others to a greater understanding of Tibetan history, culture, and politics through film and thoughtful advocacy.

Trichen is not very dissimilar from any other student at Gettysburg College. He has lots of friends, explores the town, has his favorite restaurants on the circle, and has been to the battlefields several times. He’s currently undeclared in terms of his major, though he’s leaning toward Political Science. He’s an international student, involved in a few groups on campus, and lives in Stine Hall.

But Trichen also speaks three languages (four if you count basic Chinese), has made a documentary about his country and family, and has a refugee passport. His accomplishments…

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