Friday, February 23, 2018
On the last day of February 1968, some 5,000 people, young and not so young, gathered on a barren plateau of red laterite, some ten kms north of Pondicherry, the former French Establishment.
It would have been a very special moment for those present that day; it was like the birth of a ‘Dream’ which had rarely been attempted; to bring people from different countries, races, religions, backgrounds in one single place to build a city together, ‘a Tower of Babel in Reverse’, in the Founder’s words.
The Dream exists
As the world was churning (it was three months before the May’ 68 students’ revolution in Europe), this utopia began to take shape; instead of destroying ‘an old world’, the idea was to construct a ‘new’ one; it was undoubtedly far more difficult, because it meant building a new men and women. Indeed, this apparently crazy ‘lab’ had all chances to explode apart under the pressure of human egos.
The person who had this ‘strange’ utopian idea was the French-born Mother, Sri Aurobindo’s collaborator, who had set up the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926.
This time, the experiment was to be more ‘universal’ in its approach; to symbolize this, young couples representing 121 countries and 23 Indian states placed a handful of soil from their respective countries or states, in a lotus-shaped foundation urn at the centre of the future City. In the midst of the red desert, the banyan tree nearby would become the geographical center of the City.
As not all countries could send two representatives for the event, those missing physically were replaced by boys and girls from the Ashram (years later, I was told that a Tibetan girl had placed the Afghan earth in the urn, as no one from this country could come; already a powerful symbol of Human Unity).
From her room in Pondicherry, The Mother solemnly announced: “Greetings from Auroville to all men of good will; are invited to Auroville all those who thirst for Progress and aspire to a higher and truer life.” She later read the Charter of Auroville through an All India Radio broadcast, giving, in her frail voice, the first direction to the new project: “Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville, one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.”
The Soviet translators faced immediate problems to find a politically correct equivalent of ‘Divine Consciousness’, but never mind, this was part of the game. The Charter, the ‘Constitution’ of Auroville, had four such articles; the fourth one reads: “Auroville will be a site for material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual human unity".
The Great Adventure
Having spent 43 years of my life in Auroville, I can say that the miracle is that this utopian project, dedicated to human unity and international understanding, still exists.
The fact that it received the unanimous endorsement of the General Assembly of UNESCO did not change much the lives of the pioneers, who had to ‘survive’, often on millet, during the scorchingly hot summer of South India, living in rudimentary huts.
In many ways, life is today easier than during the first years of the City of Dawn. At first, only a couple of hundreds heard the call, to what the founder called a ‘Great Adventure’. However, after the Mother passed away in November 1973, life changed drastically. The Aurovilians were then left to stand on their own feet, materially and spiritually. But they knew that they had to carry on the mission given to them by their mentor, to built the ‘City that Earth Needs’; a smart city before its time.
The task was immense, but the most immediate need was down-to earth, to create shade from the scorching sun. Aurovilians started to rejuvenate the arid land; they planted trees, built bunds and dams to stop the soil being washed away with the monsoon rains and constructed the first primitive houses. It is how the first pioneers became ‘experts’ in environment, giving Auroville the reputed expertise it has today.
The Highest Ideals
But the problems began accumulating and with recurrent shortage of funds, the Mother’s words, came back to everybody’s mind: “Auroville wants to be a self-supporting township…” She had had also said that in Auroville “money would be no longer the Sovereign Lord, individual merit will have a greater importance than the value due to material wealth and social position”; money had nevertheless to be generated for the project to survive and develop.
I remember that in the early eighties, very few in India knew about Auroville; the project had the reputation of a place with strange foreigners roaming around. What were foreigners or even Indians doing in this wilderness, when most dreamt of America?
It is JRD Tata, a great supporter of the concept of Auroville since its early days, who thought that Auroville crafts could become Auroville’s best ambassadors. In 1980, the Tata Group sponsored an exhibition Auroville Today which toured the major cities of India in 1980. The exhibition was a tremendous success.
Nobody could have then guessed that just over three decades later, Auroville would be visited by thousands of people every day. Auroville may not yet have succeeded in all its objectives, but the way of life chosen by the pioneers is today acknowledged by many.
One can only hope that Auroville will continue to strive towards its highest ideals; it would be good for the earth.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Here is the link...
The media has often mentioned the report prepared by Lt. Gen. Henderson-Brooks on the October-November 1962 debacle.
Is India changing? Political pundits will probably have diametrically opposite views on the subject.
It is a fact that India is rapidly emerging as an important economic pole; the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos and the hosting of the 10 Asean Heads of State or government for Republic Day are symbols of this new emergence.
India has reached some maturity in certain fields but not in all. One can cite the poor ranking of Indian universities on the global stage and the lack of serious R&D in the defence sector among areas that are lacking. But the fact that the government continues to confiscate the history of modern India is not only immature, but also shows lack of self-confidence.
The media has often mentioned the report prepared by Lt. Gen. Henderson-Brooks on the October-November 1962 debacle. Fifty-five years after it was presented to the Government of India, the report is still kept in a locked almirah in the defence secretary’s office with only a few having had the privilege to go through the pages written by the Anglo-Indian general. The babus running the largest bureaucracy in the world seem keen to keep history under wraps. Will their mindset ever change?
I personally believe the study of the history of the subcontinent could be one of the keys to disentangle difficult problems such as the Kashmir issue and the border row with China. Unfortunately, it is difficult to access this information.
One has to admit that things have changed in the past few months, and it is certainly a positive sign. Take the National Archives of India (NAI), for example.
I have been visiting its research room for years, and it has been nothing less than an ordeal. First, I had to re-register every two years and “prove” that I was “still” a scholar. Whenever I asked why I could not be a “scholar for life”, I was invariably told: “Sir, it is not like that in India”. This statement itself shows the mindset of those supposed to be assisting the researcher.
Then, while going through the catalogues, it took ages to search for a keyword as the software was extremely slow. That was not all: thousands of spelling mistakes were made at the time of entering the data. I remember a specific instance — the day I was searching for a file on Maj. S.L. Chhiber, who served as the Indian consul general in Lhasa (Tibet) at the end of the 1950s. I could get nothing on “Chhiber”. Fortunately, probably by the grace of the “archive” god, I chanced on a Maj. Children. It was the file!
When I wanted to photocopy some documents for my research, I was told that only 25 per cent of the document could be copied. I once had a document of nine pages, my request to copy three pages was rejected and I was allowed to have two pages only.
On another occasion, I visited the archives six weeks after my previous trip and I was told that the rule was clear; I could not take photocopies again. A delay of several months had to take place between two requests: “In any case, why do you need the photocopies so often?” When I tried to explain that I was trying to write a book based on Indian archival material, it made the person even more suspicious. This has serious implications — and scholars find it easier to write on India using foreign archives.
As the NAI was doing me a favour in letting me consult “their” material, no discussion was possible!
Many things have changed in the past one year or so.
A new web portal Abhilekh Patal was recently launched with advanced (and quick) search facilities (a new version 2.0 is even online since January 12). It has a powerful search engine, real-time filters on search results and even digitisation “on demand”. Scholars need only to login using their registered email ID and a password. This is a great achievement. And if you find a misspelling, you can even suggest changes to the webmaster.
But perhaps more than the technological “smart” aspects of the portal, it is the change in the attitude of the staff posted in the research room — they are now ready to “facilitate” your research. During my recent visit, it was a pleasant surprise to find professional staff willing to help and not just protect “their” archival material. Each scholar has a personal monitor enabling him/ her easy access to all the catalogues.
Similarly, great progress has been made in the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) where the famous JN Collection (also known as the Nehru Papers) has been opened to study for researchers. Though not indexed, it is an extraordinary mine for the study of the history of post-Independence India. At both the places, the number of scholars has increased manifold. An encouraging sign indeed!
Unfortunately, while some progress is taking place at the NAI and NMML, not much is happening on the declassification front; both the ministries of external and home affairs are hard nuts to crack. Bureaucrats make sure that you don’t access the dusty files: India’s security and integrity will be endangered if these precious documents are opened to the public, they say.
Is there really a question of India’s national security interests? In fact, the opening of some archives (after a due professional declassification process is undertaken and documents are “sanitised” if necessary), would greatly enhance India’s position in most cases; but in most cases the babus themselves have not read the files — they have no time.
Two other factors come into play. First, bureaucrats always prefer to “block” everything instead of making an effort of going through the proper process; and second, the MEA and other ministries do not have knowledgeable staff to do the job.
For this, I admire the United States of America: Official documents are scrupulously made available to the public. A couple of years ago, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the US official organ, posted some 320,000 declassified cables online. The most impressive aspect is that the text of declassified diplomatic cables, superbly indexed, is retrievable from the NARA website. Even the secretive CIA has posted lakhs of documents on its electronic reading room.
Some may argue the United States or France is a “developed” nation that can “afford” the cost of sifting through historical documents and the process of declassification, but it is the wrong argument.
While bureaucrats do not see any good reason to open up the “old” files, Indian politicians see their own interests in the continued closure of the archives. Opening them up could make them accountable.
But if India wants to become a great power, why should Indians and all others not be allowed to know about its recent past? Is that not the hallmark of a mature nation?
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Last night, Xinhua reported that "a fire broke out at 6:40 pm in part of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa."
According to the official Tibet Daily, the fire was eventually put off in the evening,
The News Agency said: "Located at the center of old Lhasa, Jokhang Temple is a renowned temple for Tibetan Buddhism. It has a history of more than 1,300 years and houses many cultural treasures, including a life-sized statue of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old."
This inauspiciously occurred on the second day of the Losar, the Tibetan New Year (Earth Dog Year).
The Statue of Jowo Rinpoche
The Jokhang temple, the Central Cathedral in the Tibetan capital, houses Jowo Shakyamuni or Jowo Rinpoche, the most sacred statue in Tibet.
The Jowo Rinpoche statue is said to have been personally blessed by the Buddha.
It came to be owned by the king of Magadha, who gave it to a Tang emperor of China.
One of the emperor's clansman's daughter, Princess Wenchen Kongjo took it to Lhasa in a wooden cart when she married the Great King of Tibet, Songtsen Gampo.
During King Mangsong Mangtsen's reign (649-676), due to a threat that the Tang Chinese might invade, Princess Wencheng is said to have hidden the statue of Jowo Rinpoche in a secret chamber in the Jokhang.
Another Chinese Princess Jincheng, sometime after 710 CE, placed in the central chapel.
The statue was badly damaged by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.
Signs sent by the Gods
The Tibetans believe that the Gods are from time to time sending signs to the humans.
It can be forewarning messages for the bad (and good) times to come.
I post here extracts of my book The Fate of Tibet.
It was August 15, 1950 (coincidentally (?) India's Independence Day).
The signs were strong.
On that day, the Gods spoke.
Three months later, Tibet was invaded by the 'Liberation Army' of China.
The epicentre of the earthquake was also symbolic; it occurred in Rima, north of the McMahon Line (Kibithu/Walong sector), which saw heavy fighting in October/November 1962.
It was one of the most powerful earthquakes of the 20th century (8.6 on the Richter scale).
In India, it became known as the 'Assam Earthquake' due to the extensive damages in the State.
The course of the rivers changed in several places.
Here are the extracts of The Fate of Tibet:
The Dalai Lama who was 15-year old, was in Lhasa, a few hundred kilometers away.
He later wrote about the ominous earthquake which shook Tibet on August 15, 1950
It was like an artillery barrage – which is what we assumed to be the cause of both the tremors and the noise: a test of some sorts being carried out by the Tibetan army…Some people reported seeing a strange red glow in the skies in the direction from which the noise came….For centuries, Tibet had remained isolated. The nation’s energies and time was consecrated to achieve spiritual goals, her defence was neglected and until the beginning of the twentieth century, nobody (except the Thirteenth Dalai Lama) had too much been bothered by the international happenings.
Formal recognition or boundary delimitation [with India] had been in a way forced on the Tibetans by Younghusband’s invasion and later by Sir Henry McMahon at the Simla Convention.
At the end of the forties, Tibet had begun to wake up at the sight of the black clouds gathering around the Land of Snow: the atheist 'east wind' was threatening to blow over the sacred Shangri-La.
The first signs that mythical Tibet was soon to forever disappear were appearing.
The 'Rima' earthquake was the most striking one.
...In the evening of August 15, a terrible earthquake shook Tibet. "This was no ordinary earthquake; it felt like the end of the world,writes Robert Ford, the British Radio operator working in Chamdo (Kham);
For hours afterwards, the sky over the south-eastern Tibet glowed with an infernal red light, diffused with the pungent scent of sulphur.For the Tibetans, it was one more bad omen, following some recent prophecies of the State Oracle and the appearance of a bright horse-tailed comet similar to the one viewed before the Chinese invasion of 1910.
The time has come
Suddenly in Tibet, everyone understood that the time had come.
The Last Testament of the Thirteen Dalai Lama [‘And Long and Dark Shall be the Night’] came back at the mind of all, but it was too late, the dies had been thrown long ago.
Now, Tibet would have to go through the ordeal and the only hope for the Tibetans was it would not be too painful and long.
In the meantime, the Indian Government was torn between two sentiments: on one side Tibet was a small (though large by size) independent nation with very rich and old cultural and religious bonds with India and on the other side Nehru and some of his colleagues had an immense admiration for the new People's Republic who like India, had to struggle against colonial powers to gain her freedom. For many in Delhi, China and India were the symbol of a ‘New Asia’ and the newly-found ‘eternal friendship’ with China was of supreme importance.
This one-way friendship was to be the fountainhead of Nehru’s Tibet policy till the fateful day of October 1962 when the troops of Marshal Lin Biao crossed the McMahon Line over the Tagla Ridge. That day Nehru knew that the so-called friendship was a one way traffic, but he was too late and he never physically and psychologically recovered.
As we will see in the debate in the Lok Sabha in December 1950, a few Indian political leaders understood about the security of the Indian borders and the defence implications of the ‘resurgence’ of the Chinese empire.
Among them, one man stands as a giant: Sardar Patel.
But fate took him away from the political scene at this most crucial time of Indian history.
Friday, February 16, 2018
Here is the link...
It has been a lifetime wish for the Lama to visit Wutaishan. But he must follow his own saying: Look at situations from all angles. It is unwise for him to go on pilgrimage in China right now
At the end of 2017, Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, former Chairman of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala and now, the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy, went to China to ‘negotiate’ an eventual visit of the Tibetan leader to Wutaishan in Shanxi Province of northern China.
Mount Wutai is said to be one of the four sacred mountains in 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.
Since decades, the Dalai Lama has expressed the wish to visit Wutaishan in his lifetime. While in China, Samdhong Rinpoche is said to have met senior officials of the United Front Work Department in Kunming and Wutaishan to discuss the proposed visit, which would exclude Tibet, as Beijing does not want to see the Dalai Lama returning to his native land, where he is immensely popular.
Beijing believes that China could benefit from the visit by extracting a ‘statement’ from the Dalai Lama. But can the Tibetan leader ‘admit’ to Tibet always ‘belonging’ to China?
In his Five-Point Peace Plan speech in Washington DC in 1987, which heralded his Middle Way approach, 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.”
The Dalai Lama knows history can’t (and shouldn’t) be changed. In 1987, the Lama stated: “China’s aggression, condemned by virtually all nations of the free world, was a flagrant violation of international law. …China’s military occupation of Tibet continues.”
The recent secret, though formal, contacts between Beijing and Dharamsala, could make the public believe 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 (PSB) 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.”
Practically, it means that the Tibetans, who worship, or even simply respect, the Dalai Lama could now be termed 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.”
The circular asked people to report on the activities of ‘foreign hostile forces’. Interestingly, a few weeks ago, Beijing announced the nomination of three Han cadres in the 20-member Tibet delegation to the National People’s Congress (NPC).
One of the delegates is Zhao Kezhi, the Minister of Public Security, responsible for the dreaded PSBs; he will ‘represent’ Tibet at the NPC. Probably wanting to show the leadership his efficiency, Zhao acted fast; the PSB’s circular said: “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 to be reported to the PSB; three of them mention the ‘Dalai’s clique’: “The Dalai Lama has been in exile for decades but still holds the ambition to split China’s Tibet from the Chinese territory.”
|Mt Wutai in China|
Dai added “the spread of separatist gangs in Tibet is rampant. Only a campaign against the ‘gangsters’ would deter secessionist activities by the Dalai.”
Wang Xiaobin, a Chinese scholar at the Beijing-based China Tibetology Research Center, explained that the primary task for Tibet is “to maintain national and ethnic unity”. He cited a few groups in China “closely connected with the Dalai group…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.”
Xinhua had earlier reported that the campaign would involve targeting “protective umbrellas of gang crime — the officials who shelter the criminals.”
This explains another Han nomination in the NPC’s Tibet delegation, 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.
All this comes at a time when Beijing has just introduced sophisticated facial recognition softwares on the plateau. The circular promised that the PSB informers’ identity and safety will be protected: “The targets are gangsters who threaten political stability and infiltrate politics, or encourage the public to go against the Party.”
Beijing has also taken the campaign against the Dalai Lama internationally; there too it has been ferocious.
On February 8, The People’s Daily Online titled: ‘Mercedes-Benz: Don’t dare challenge China’s core interest’ while announcing that the German car company had apologised for quoting the Dalai Lama ‘in an extremely wrong message’. What did Mercedes-Benz do so wrong?
Next to one of its luxury cars, the German firm had quoted the Dalai Lama: “Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.”
You may think that it is a nice quote, but Beijing is not amused: “The post not only hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, but also challenged their bottom line on national sovereignty.”
The challenge is clear: If the firm, which sold 600,000 new cars in China in 2017, wants to continue to do business in the Middle Kingdom, it has to follow the paranoid regime’s diktats. The same misadventure had recently happened to the US hotel chain Marriott, who had to profusely apologise for wrongly marking Tibet and Taiwan as independent countries.
President Xi Jinping would have said in 2015 that foreign interference in China’s domestic affairs is intolerable: “Country, enterprise, or individual should not challenge the core interests of China, and [have] any activity to split China.”
Even after due apology by Mercedes-Benz, the Chinese newspaper said that “the apology lacks sincerity and reflects the German carmaker’s lack of understanding of Chinese culture and values. China’s core interests cannot be challenged.”
The paper even compared the Dalai Lama to Hitler: “How will the German people react if a foreign enterprise speaks highly of Adolf Hitler.”
It seems definitely unwise for the Dalai Lama, considered by Beijing as the ‘head of the gangsters’, to go on pilgrimage in China right now. Let us hope that the spiritual leader will not accept the diktats of the bully regime in Beijing.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
|Tibetan butter tea for Xi or just photo opp?|
Accompanied by Gen Zhang Youxia, Vice Chairman of the CMC, he extended festival greetings to all officers and soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the Armed Police Force (PAP), as well as all militia and reserve personnel.
Interestingly, the next day, President Xi prepared Tibetan butter tea in Yingxiu.
Yingxiu is a small town of Wenchuan County of Sichuan province.
It is located on the marches of the Tibetan plateau, in the southern corner of Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture; 47 kilometres south of the county’s main urban centre and just 14 kilometres of the city of Dujiangyan. It was the epicentre (and one of the worst hit areas) of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake; 80% of the town was destroyed. The town has been rebuilt now.
It is not said if Xi taste the Tibetan tea.
|Xi trying his hands at Tibetan khapses?|
The main city is Barkam; it has an area of 83,201 km2 and in 2013, it had a population of 919,987.
It is one of the most restive Tibetan prefecture on the edge of the plateau.
The Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu
The Season’s Greetings is going on full swing in China.
In Beijing, You Quan, the new head of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) met Gyaltsen Norbu, the Chinese-selected Panchen Lama.
According to the Chinese media: “You extended new year greetings to Panchen Lama ahead of the traditional Spring Festival and the Tibetan new year, and Panchen Lama presented You with a traditional silk cloth to express his best wishes.”
You asked Gyaltsen Norbu “to make new contributions to safeguard national unification and ethnic unity and adapt Tibetan Buddhism to socialist society.”
The media said that the young Lama agreed with You.
Before taking over the UFWD, You Quan was Party Secretary of Fujian province.
You Quan joined the Communist Party of China in March 1973.
In June 1995, he started working in China’s State Council; rising through the ranks, in December 2006, he became Chairman of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.
In March 2008, he was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the State Council, a minister-level post, working under Ma Kai, a member of the Politburo.
In December 2012, You Quan was nominated Party Chief of coastal Fujian province, succeeding Sun Chunlan who was transferred to Tianjin municipality.
In 2017, You Quan became UFWD Head.
He is a full member of the 19th Central Committee.
If any talks take place in the future, between Beijing and the Dalai Lama or his envoys, You will be the official responsible.
You is said to have facilitated/arranged the November visit of Prof Samdhong Rinpoche to China.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
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.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Bertil Lintner, author of China’s India War, believes India and China are destined to be rivals because they are simply too different
Click here to read my full views.
I don't believe that there ONE factor only, which triggered the War, there were several.
Lintner argues that “Chinese preparations for the war obviously began long before October 1962... Even if there already were new roads and military camps in the area, tens of thousands of more PLA troops and tons of supplies, including heavy military equipment, had to be moved over some of the most difficult terrain in the world.”
The evidence that he furnishes for this, however, is circumstantial.
One, Deng Xiaoping had said in 1959 when the Dalai Lama fled to India that “When the time comes, we certainly will settle accounts with [the Indians].” Mao also told foreign delegations that he believed India had designs on Tibet.
Two, a known export on Chinese intelligence, Nicholas Eftimiades, has written that Chinese agents began entering what is today Arunachal Pradesh two years before the actual fighting.
Three, Indian POWs, most notably Brigadier John Dalvi, noticed that the Chinese had been building POW camps and truck-bearing roads well before the fighting broke out.
This is a warm but hardly a smoking gun. Fortunately, better evidence has been provided by the Chinese themselves. Research by the Chinese scholar Jianglin Li, in his book When the Iron Bird Flies and on his blogspot site War on Tibet has Mao telling his central committee in 1959, “When the time comes, we will settle accounts with [the Indians].” Chinese General Yin Fatang is cited saying orders to “resolutely fight back” India were given in May 1962.
Lintner is on firmer ground as he describes how India, China and various Himalayan regimes have sparred for influence over the past several decades. Lintner is at his best describing this playing out in the ethnic mosaic of the Northeast and Upper Burma, areas which he knows intimately, but chapters also look at Nepal, Bhutan and, less ably, Kashmir. Post-1962, he argues, China shifted to supporting insurgents like the Nagas and Assamese to trouble India – though even Beijing found the Naxalites too extreme. Parallels are drawn to China’s use of concocted territorial disputes to assert influence elsewhere, whether invading Myanmar in 1968, Vietnam in 1979 and today grabbing most of the South China Sea.
He develops scholar Claude Arpi’s argument that the 1962 war was useful for Mao to restore his authority at home, especially after the disastrous Great Leap Forward. While this sounds nice, it is questionable given at least one Chinese general’s account that Mao was nervous as to whether his army would be able to defeat the Indian military.
A better big picture argument, developed by Allen Whiting’s Chinese Calculus of Deterrence, is that Beijing was becoming increasingly nervous about its deteriorating ties with Moscow, Taiwan’s public threats to launch an attack on its western shore and its continuing difficulties in holding Tibet. The India border dispute was deemed part of a larger global conspiracy – and Nehru the weakest link in the chain. The last word on this will need access to Chinese Politburo archives.
Short work is made of other parts of Maxwell’s thesis. The Chinese, for example, have no historical right to Arunachal Pradesh. Lintner shows the Chinese set up border posts in that area for a brief period in 1911-12 and then, finding it impossible to hold, never returned again. He refutes Maxwell’s claim that the British Raj’s designated Outer Line in the Northeast was treated by London as a de facto border. British authorities specifically defined the Outer Line as a limit of administrative capacity not sovereignty. Maxwell’s claim that the Indian military’s post mortem of 1962, the Henderson Brooks report, blamed the Forward Policy was a simple lie. The report focused almost solely on tactical issues – as became evident when Maxwell posted the report on the internet years later.
Among the interesting insights the book provides is that the Chinese 1962 inroads into Arunachal Pradesh were limited to Arunach Tibetan language areas because they lacked surveillance agents trained in other languages. Lintner has a curious admiration for Krishna Menon and General Brij Mohan Kaul, both universally seen as culpable for India’s military defeat. He rightly reminds Indians of the shameful decision to put Chinese-Indians in a concentration camp in Deoli during the war.
Ultimately, he believes, Asia’s two giants are destined to be rivals because they are simply too different. “It is hard to imagine two cultures that are more different than India and China in terms of history, social structure and political culture” and the relations between them represent a true “clash of civilisations.”