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The Tibetan 'Gangsters' in the net of Mr Zhao?
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Claude Arpi | Date:13 Feb , 2018 0 Comments
Claude Arpi
Writes regularly on Tibet, China, India and Indo-French relations. He is the author of 1962 and the McMahon Line Saga, Tibet: The Lost Frontier and Dharamshala and Beijing: the negotiations that never were.

At the end of 2017, it was reported that China had received Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, former Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala and now Special Envoy of the Dalai Lama to ‘negotiate’ an eventual visit of the Tibetan leader to Wutai shan (Mount) in Shanxi province of Northern China.

Mount Wutai is said to be one of the Four Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism. Each of the mountains is viewed as the abode of one of the four great bodhisattvas. Wutai is the home of Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of wisdom. It is believed that Manjusri has been associated with Mount Wutai since ancient times.

For years, if not decades, the Dalai Lama had expressed the wish to visit Wutai shan in this lifetime. During his tour, Samdhong Rinpoche is said to have met senior officials of the United Front Work Department in Kunming, Wutai shan and Beijing to discuss the proposed visit, which would exclude Tibet, as Beijing is not ready to take the risk to have the Dalai Lama is in native land.

A Statement extracted?

Beijing believes that a ‘statement’ could be extracted from the Dalai Lama during the visit. But could the Tibetan leader ‘admit’, while in the Mainland, hat Tibet has always ‘belonged’ to China ?

It seems difficult.

In his Five-Point Peace Plan speech in Washington DC in 1987, the Dalai Lama stated: “The real issue …is China’s illegal occupation of Tibet, which has given it direct access to the Indian sub-continent. The Chinese authorities have attempted to confuse the issue by claiming that Tibet has always been a part of China.  This is untrue. Tibet was a fully independent state when the People’s Liberation Army invaded the country in 1949/50.”

Can this be changed now?

The Dalai Lama also stated: “China’s aggression, condemned by virtually all nations of the free world, was a flagrant violation of international law. As China’s military occupation of Tibet continues, the world should remember that though Tibetans have lost their freedom, under international law Tibet today is still an independent state under illegal occupation.”

A thaw between Dharamsala and Beijing?

The recent secret, tough formal, contacts could between Beijing and Dharamsala could have made the public believed that there was a relaxation of the Chinese position.

It is not the case.

On February 11, The Global Times reported: “The public security bureau in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region has released details on how the public can provide tips on activities of ‘criminal gangs connected to the separatist forces of the Dalai Lama’.”

Does it mean that the Tibetans who worship and simply respect the Dalai Lama will now be classified as ‘criminals’?

The mouthpiece of the Party continued: “[the circular] warns local people to be on the lookout for the ‘evil forces’ of the Dalai Lama that might use local temples and religious control ‘to confuse and incite’ people against the Party and government.”

According to Chinese ‘experts’, the Dalai Lama works in collusion with gangsters.

The circular asked people to report on the activities of ‘foreign hostile forces’ that may seek financial support for the Dalai Lama.

The work of Zhao Kezhi

A few days ago, I mentioned on this blog the nomination of three Han cadres in the Tibet delegation to the National People’s Congress (NPC).

One of the ‘delegates is Zhao Kezhi, the Minister of Public Security who will ‘represent’ Tibet. It is Zhao who is responsible for the dreaded Public Security Bureaus (PSBs).

He did not lose time to act.

The PSB’s circular reads: “Criminal gangs are cancers on the healthy economic and social development, and gangsters are a chronic disease that severely disgusts the public”

It listed 22 illegal activities that the PSB wanted the public to report.

In three of these 22, the ‘Dalai’s clique’ is mentioned: “The Dalai Lama has been in exile for decades but still holds the ambition to split China’s Tibet from the Chinese territory.”

The ‘experts’ speak

Wang Xiaobin, a Chinese scholar at the Beijing-based China Tibetology Research Center, explained that the primary task for Tibet “to maintain national and ethnic unity”.

Dai, a professor at Public Security University of China told The Global Times: “Collusion with criminal gangs is a tactic the Dalai group uses to spreading its message of separatism. These kinds of gangsters were involved in the Lhasa rebellion in the 1950s and the violent incident in 2008 in Tibet.”

According to the same Dai, “due to lack of development and legal knowledge, the spread of separatist gangs in Tibet is rampant. Only a campaign against the ‘gangsters’ would deter secessionist activities by the Dalai.”

Wang Xiaobin said that there are a few groups in China “closely connected with the Dalai group, and help each other at home and abroad. They challenge the Chinese government using ingenious methods and pose a huge threat to national interests.”

‘Indigenous methods’ sounds ominous.

Wang continued: “The Dalai group always interferes in national affairs by controlling temples, including lamas and living Buddhas, and by spreading a kind of “middle way” to the world, which actually advocates separatism and emphasizes the separation of sovereignty and governing rights.”

Xinhua had earlier reported that the campaign would involve fighting corruption, including lower-level corrupt officials, and deal with the ‘protective umbrellas’ of gang crime (the officials who shelter the criminals).

This explains another Han nomination in the Tibet delegation, i.e. Jing Hanchao who is currently Vice-President of the Supreme People’s Court.

Jing will make sure that the ‘criminals’ caught in the nets of Zhao Kezhi are heavily sentenced.

The circular concluded: “The targets are gangsters who threaten political stability and infiltrate politics, or encourage the public to go against the Party and government under the disguise of religion, or prompting ethnic extremism. The public security departments will protect tipsters’ identity and safety.”

Is it a good time for the Dalai Lama?

Presumably being considered by Beijing as the ‘head of the gangsters’ for Beijing, to go on pilgrimage in China does not seem a good idea.

Incidentally, the Five Points of the Dalai Lama’s Peace Plan were:

  • Transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of peace;
  • Abandonment of China’s population transfer policy which threatens the very existence of the Tibetans as a people;
  • Respect for the Tibetan people’s fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms;
  • Restoration and protection of Tibet’s natural environment and the abandonment of China’s use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste;
  • Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.

It seems so far away today.


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