Where China’s biological attack and US-China trade friction has brought into focus Tibet and the Dalai Lama, these issues have come into prominence in India because of the Chinese aggression in Eastern Ladakh. In December 2018, US President Donald Trump had signed into law the ‘Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018’ which promotes access for diplomats, officials, journalists and others from the United States to China’s Tibetan areas. In May 2020 US lawmaker Scott Perry introduced a bill recognizing Tibet as a separate and independent country. The bill has been sent to the White House for approval by President Trump. Whether Trump will sign it remains to seen because faced with elections he recently said he loves Indian people and he loves Chinese people. If he does sign perhaps other D-10 countries could follow suit though India doing so remains open ended.
Tibet is strategically important to both China and India. Mao Zhedong had famously said, “Tibet is the palm of China and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NEFA (read Arunachal Pradesh) are its fingers”.China annexed it to along with Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia to give depth to original China. Yet India withdrew its Army from Tibet, leaving Tibetans to the marauding PLA hordes.
Tibet is strategically important to both China and India. Mao Zhedong had famously said, “Tibet is the palm of China and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NEFA (read Arunachal Pradesh) are its fingers”. China annexed it to along with Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia to give depth to original China. Yet India withdrew its Army from Tibet, leaving Tibetans to the marauding PLA hordes. In doing so, India sacrificed the strategic buffer it had against China. Today, Tibet constitutes 26% landmass of China. Dubbed ‘Asia’s Water Tower’, Tibet is a crucial water source and store for China, its glaciers feeding Brahmaputra, Mekong, Yangtze, Indus, Sutlej, Yellow and Salween rivers. Mineral water from the plateau has become one of the region’s first commercially tapped resources. China’s biggest copper deposit is at Tibet’s Yulong copper mine. Tibet also has large iron, lead, zinc, and cadmium deposits, minerals China needs to feed its booming economy.
For similar lack of strategic sense, India let Aksai Chin also be occupied by China without a whimper; China began constructing its 2342 km long Western Highway in 1951, part of which was through Aksai Chin, and completed it in 1957 while India feigned ignorance. Tibet marks China’s western edge and is a vital link between China, south and central Asia. It was part of ancient trade routes. In 2006, China opened the first rail route into the isolated region. In 2007, it pledged to invest $13 billion in Tibet up to 2010, and build the world’s highest airport in west Tibet. Thereafter China has increased its communication infrastructure speedily right up to the border with India and is building a railway line to Kathmandu in Nepal.
Post annexation of Tibet, China demographically invaded Tibet with influx of seven million Han-Chinese to overwhelm six million Tibetans. Thereafter China went all out to kill the Tibetan culture.
Post annexation of Tibet, China demographically invaded Tibet with influx of seven million Han-Chinese to overwhelm six million Tibetans. Thereafter China went all out to kill the Tibetan culture. Some 6000 Gompas (Buddhist ecclesiastical fortifications of learning, lineage and sadhna) were destroyed. Many others were converted to prisons or shut down. On February 23, 2020, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile revealed that since February 27, 2009 at least 154 Tibetans including 128 men and 26 women had self-immolated themselves to protest against Chinese genocide that has cost the lives of a million Tibetans. Many of them were abducted and their organs harvested for contributing to the booming illegal organ trade flourishing under the patronage of Communist Party of China (CPC). Business Line of October 16, 2017 quoted a report that revealed China is carrying out systematic annihilation of the cultural heritage of Tibet with destruction of Tibetan Buddhism and religious traditions, education system through social breakdowns, lawlessness, communal disharmony, uncontrolled greed and high growth in sex trade and alcoholism, The latest CPC dictum is that all Tibetan schools must teach in Chinese language.
There is no doubt that Tibet is intimately linked to India’s security but then Claude Arpi in his book ‘Will Tibet Ever Find her Soul Again?’ describes China’s invasion, subterfuge and wily assimilation of Tibet, with India foolishly supplying rice to PLA for survival and closing down its Diplomatic Missions in Kashgar and Lhasa without even informing the Parliament.
There is no doubt that Tibet is intimately linked to India’s security but then Claude Arpi in his book ‘Will Tibet Ever Find her Soul Again?’ describes China’s invasion, subterfuge and wily assimilation of Tibet, with India foolishly supplying rice to PLA for survivaland closing down its Diplomatic Missions in Kashgarand Lhasa without even informing the Parliament. This resulted in India’s meek submission to Chinathen and for which India continues to pay. But what about Tibet getting free from Chinese rule? Is the world bothered though there are plenty of noises? What has the world done about China holding a million Uyghurs in so-called re-education camps knowing these are torture chambers both physical and mental, and horrors of CPC’s organ harvesting trade that capitalizes on Uyighurs, Tibetans and dissidents? For that matter what about supporting the democratic movement of Hong Kong? Tibetans overwhelmed demographically with China strangulating Tibetan culture coupled with moderndevelopment and induction of Tibetans into security forces has led to the feeling that Tibetans are a lost cause – wishful thinking to take on Chinese in Tibet or interfere with their internal dynamics.
Notably, concurrent to ravaging Tibetan culture China has used the message of peace from Buddhism in promoting its Belt and Road Initiative to cover its strategic intentions. But China’s atheist regime knows that the soul never dies, which is also relevant to ‘Free Tibet’. China is also worried about Dalai Lama’s optimism and belief in democracy; that political reforms must happen in China albeit gradually starting with legal reform and an end to internal censorship. On a visit to Washington in 2011, Dalai Lama had said, “They (China) always say, ‘We have no intention to expand’. I tell my Chinese friends, if everything is transparent and policy is open, there is no need to keep saying that. And if everything is a state secret, then you can 1,000 times deny such intentions, and still no one will believe you. Now the free world has a responsibility to bring China into the mainstream of world democracy.”
Students For Free Tibet (SFT) founded in 1994 is a global grassroots network of students and activists working in solidarity with the Tibetan people for human rights and freedom.
Students For Free Tibet (SFT) founded in 1994 is a global grassroots network of students and activists working in solidarity with the Tibetan people for human rights and freedom. The group uses education, advocacy, and nonviolent direct action with the goal of achieving Tibetan independence. They recently said that India and the world have now understood the imperialistic nature of China and the change in the stance of Nepal, and Chinese aggression in Doklamand Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. Yet regime change and Free Tibet may only happen if China implodes followed by global intervention. No doubt this looks impossible but history is a great leveler – Xi Jinpingmay follow Adolf Hitler and PRC split open like the Soviet Union.
Logically, India should have dumped the One China Policy Prank (yes Prank) years back and recognizedboth Tibet and Taiwan as independent countries. Recognizing Taiwan would have helped India become largely Atmanirbhar (self reliant) at least in semi-conductors, if not fully – recall India trying to buy a semi-conductor company of South Korea years back when PRC stepped in offered thrice the cost to keep India out. Hopefully Trump will approve Scott Perry’s introducing a bill recognizing Tibet as a separate and independent country, and India will also follow suit. China has never ever recognized ‘One India’ and has willfully violated India’s sovereignty repeatedly from 1960s. After a never ending trail of demarches issued by India its latest demarches issued to both Pakistan and China protesting against construction of dams on the Indus River in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir by the Pakistani government is akin to breaking the ‘spare’ umbrella of devil neighbours and pray that it rains – these demarches must be being laughed at in Beijing and Islamabad. If after the Chinese aggression India still does not recognize China as its enemy and officially denounce the ‘One China Policy Prank’ it never will.