Saturday, June 24, 2017

China's 'Tibet recipe' in Xinjiang should put India on alert

Chen Quanguo leaves Tibet to apply his recipe in Xinjiang
My article China's 'Tibet recipe' in Xinjiang should put India on alert appeared in Mail Today.

Here is the link...

The stability of the Muslim region is vital for Beijing and its gigantic BRI project. At the end of August 2016, Wu Yingjie takes over as party secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) from Chen Quanguo who is sent to "pacify" the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party has taken this crucial decision during the annual closed-door meeting in the summer resort of Beidahe. Chen replaces Zhang Chunxian as XUAR party secretary.
It is indeed a promotion for Chen, given the fact that Xinjiang's party secretaries often serve in the politburo. Infrastructure His selection is linked to the "Tibet Recipe", the way Chen managed to "pacify" the TAR.
Once in Urumqi, Chen immediately started applying the formula that he used in Tibet to Xinjiang. But what is this recipe?
First, Chen transformed the Roof of the World into a vast Disneyland. In 2006, the arrival of the train on the plateau changed everything for Beijing and unfortunately for the Tibetans.
Wave after wave of Chinese tourists could be poured into Tibet to experience the "Paradise on Earth" with its blue sky, pristine lakes and rivers, its luxuriant forests and deep canyons (the latter in Southern Tibet).
In 2016, 25 million tourists, mainly from the Mainland, are said to have visited the Land of Snows. For this, infrastructure needed to be developed, airports opened, four-way highways constructed, hotels and entertainment parks built; this was done in Tibet on a war-footing.
Wave after wave of Chinese tourists poured into Tibet. In passing, the Tibetan intangible heritage had to be preserved, often with Chinese characteristics. The same formula has now to be replicated in Xinjiang. Second, in order to "stabilise" the plateau, Chen imposed restrictions on the local population like never before.
Similar policies will be used in Xinjiang. Human Rights Watch (HRW), an organisation based in the US, just released a "glossary" of special slogans or "formulations" (tifa) used by the Chinese officials and the media when referring to party policies on the plateau.
HRW explains: “China’s authorities place extraordinary emphasis on the importance of ‘propaganda’ in sustaining their rule. This phenomenon is particularly evident in Tibet, where there has been a long history of human rights violations, extreme hostility towards political rights, and heavy restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and access to information.”
"Poetic" tifas such as Social Management, Comprehensive Rectification, Preventive Control, Eliminate-Unseen-Threats, Nets-in-the-Sky-Traps-on-the-Ground or Copper-Ramparts-Iron Walls, are recurrently used.
The latter one for example, translates into “an impenetrable public security defense network consisting of citizen patrols, border security posts, police checkposts, surveillance systems, internet controls, identity card monitoring, travel restrictions, informant networks, and other mechanisms.”
The implementation of these tifas, which originated during Chen’s tenure in Tibet, is often dreadful... but efficient for Beijing.

Rights 
Chen has taken these tifas with him to Xinjiang and started making good use of them. The "stability" of the Western province is vital for China, as it is the geographical hub for the Belt and Road Initiative: it will connect the New Silk Road (Central Asia) to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Chen now plans to bring millions of tourists to Xinjiang in order to "dilute" the Uyghur characteristics. In a "White Paper on Xinjiang" recently published by Beijing, the Communist Party hides its failure by saying: “Legitimate rights of religious organisations have been effectively safeguarded. Xinjiang has published translations of the religious classics of Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity in multiple languages,” adding 1.76 million copies of the Quran have been printed and distributed. But on the ground the situation is different.
To take just one example, Beijing has decided to collect DNA samples from all Xinjiang’s residents. This week, Xinhua reported China's decision to dispatch 10,000 teachers to the restive XUAR and TAR “to support local education could help solve the educational problems.” Stability Beijing says that the main problem is the lack of eligible bilingual teachers in the regions, but will the teachers from the mainland teach the Turkish language of the Uyghurs or Mandarin? Not difficult to guess. Language, in Tibet or Xinjiang, is an instrument of assimilation.

Infrastructure
Chen is also working hard to improve the infrastructure. Last week, Xinhua announced the construction of 10 new airports to be built in Xinjiang by 2020; further, six older airports will be renovated and expanded. It has implications for India.
One of these airports will be built in Yutian (also known as Keriya), a county of Hotan Prefecture not far from the disputed Aksai Chin. Located south of the Taklimakan desert and north of the Kunlun range, Keriya has always been a major stopover on the ancient Silk Road. In view of the proximity of the Indian border, it makes sense for China to have a new "civil" airport at Keriya, considering that there is no such thing as a "civil" airport in China, especially so close to the Indian border. Keriya airport is designed to annually handle 1,80,000 passengers and 400 tons of cargo; it will have a 3,200-meter runway, a 3,000-square-meter terminal building and cost 104 million US dollars, says Xinhua. There is no doubt that Chen has been mandated to apply the "Tibet Recipe" in Xinjiang.
Will he succeed is another question.
It is however certain that the stability of the Muslim region is vital for the Middle Kingdom and its gigantic BRI "linking" project; India needs to watch and be prepared.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

China has not won the heart of its minorities

My article China has not won the heart of its minorities has been published by The China Policy Institute of the University of Nottingham

Here is the link...

On June 1, the Information Office of China’s State Council (Cabinet) published a White Paper (WP) entitled “Freedom of religious belief protected in Xinjiang.” These types of publications are part of regular exercises trying to provide a rosy picture to the world in areas where China faces serious issues; in this case, it is the restive province of Xinjiang.
On April 21, 1949, Mao Zedong instructed the PLA to ‘liberate’ the entire country; his orders included the borderlands of Xinjiang and Tibet. After getting the assurance from the Soviets that they would not interfere but would support the annexation of the Western Dominion, as Xinjiang was then called, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) swiftly moved to ‘liberate’ the Middle Kingdom’s Western borders. The annexation of Xinjiang was particularly important as it controlled access to the trade with Central Asia; by occupying it, Mao also blocked any possibility of Soviet return in the region, should they change their mind; in addition, the PLA would be closer to the Indian frontiers, particularly in the Aksai Chin area, still a hot disputed spot today.
In less than two months the vast deserts and oases of Xinjiang became effectively part of the new People’s Republic of China. But while the PLA defeated nature and men, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was unable to win the hearts of the local population. A similar scenario would take place in Tibet, less than a year later. The recent WP is a propaganda exercise aimed at hiding the Communist Party’s failure; it says: “Legitimate rights of religious organisations have been effectively safeguarded …Xinjiang has published translations of the religious classics of Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity in multiple languages,” adding 1.76 million copies of the Quran have been printed and distributed.
In less than two months the vast deserts and oases of Xinjiang became effectively part of the new People’s Republic of China. But while the PLA defeated nature and men, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was unable to win the hearts of the local population. A similar scenario would take place in Tibet, less than a year later. The recent WP is a propaganda exercise aimed at hiding the Communist Party’s failure; it says: “Legitimate rights of religious organisations have been effectively safeguarded… Xinjiang has published translations of the religious classics of Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity in multiple languages,” adding 1.76 million copies of the Quran have been printed and distributed.
The atheist Communist Party by controlling every detail of the religious life of the native Uyghurs, often fuelling more resentment; by the end of 2016, argues the WP: “Xinjiang had two world cultural heritage sites, five national historical and cultural cities, 113 cultural relic sites under state key protection, and 558 cultural relic sites under autonomous regional protection, with more than 616,000 tangible cultural relics being collected and kept in 182 state-owned units.”

There is, however, a deep gap between the official declarations and the situation on the ground. The Economist recently titled: “The bullies of Urumqi, The extraordinary ways in which China humiliates Muslims,” noting that today in Xinjiang there is as a ban on ‘abnormal beards’ and even naming a child ‘Muhammad’.
The London magazine continued: “In recent months they have intensified their efforts to stifle the Islamic identity of Xinjiang’s ethnic Uighurs, fearful that any public display of their religious belief could morph into militancy,” mentioned other ‘heavy­handed curbs’ such as ban on unauthorised pilgrimages to Mecca, orders to students not to fast during Ramadan, tough restrictions on Islamic garb, etc.

Click to continue to read...

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Tibet Recipe, a New Airport in Xinjiang

Xinhua announced yesterday the construction of a new regional airport in Xinjiang.
It will be built in Yutian, a remote County of Hotan/Khotan Prefecture in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Yutian is also known as Keryia.


Already in 1953
On July 15, 1953, a CIA note dealing with “Chinese Communist Troops, West Tibet” and “Road Construction, Sinkiang to Tibet and Ladakh” mentioned that late 1952, the 2 Cavalry Regiment, commanded by one Han Tse-min, had set up his headquarters at Gartok (the main trade centre in Western Tibet).
It announced that the regiment had 800 camels and 150 men garrisoned at Rutok, in the vicinity of the Panggong lake.
At that time, the 2 Cavalry’s commandant spoke of the Chinese intention to built three new roads in the area.
  • A road from Rutok to Keriya, south of the Taklamakan desert (the construction is ‘contemplated’ says the report); on the eastern edge of the Aksai Chin.
  • A motorable road from Khotan to Suget Karaul ending at Vanjilga (at the western end of the Aksai Chin).
    It later became the Aksai Chin road (now National Highway 219), though the alignment may have been slightly different from the present one as it was then probably impracticable for heavy vehicles (only 4 years later, heavy trucks were able to ply on the road).
  • A road from Khotan (or Hotan) to Rutok to be completed in June or July 1953. 
Though the road between Rutok and Keriya was never completed, the Chinese engineers never dropped the project.The main difficulty is to cross the Kunlun range, south of Keriya
In December 2016, I mentioned on this blog the construction of a new road linking Xinjiang and Tibet. National Highway 216 (G216) runs in the XUAR in the southern direction from Altay City to Baluntai in Hejing County, where it joins China National Highway 218. It is 857 kilometres in length.
The starting point of this project is the Jieze Lake near the G 219 highway (north of Rutok). The road will be built “in accordance with the two-lane highway construction,” asserted then a Chinese report.

New airport planned in Keriya
In this context, and in view of the proximity of the Indian border, it makes sense for China to have a new ‘civil’ airport at Keriya (Yutian is the Chinese name), considering that there is no such thing as a 'civil' airport in China, especially so close to the Indian border (Aksai Chin).
Keriya airport is designed to annually handle 180,000 passengers and 400 tonnes of cargo; it will cost 104 million US dollars and witness more than 2100 annual take-offs and landings every year.
The airport will have a 3,200-meter runway, a 3,000-square-meter terminal building, four aprons, and facilities for air traffic control and power, water, heat and fuel supplies, says Xinhua.
The project has been cleared by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China and announced by the regional NDRC.
The Yutian/Keriya County, located south of the Taklimakan Desert, and north of the Kunlun range, covers 39,500 square kilometers and has 277,400 permanent residents.
It is a major stop over on the ancient Silk Road (OBOR), according to the Chinese news agency. The nearest airport, in Khotan/Hotan City, some 200 km away and north of the disputed Aksai Chin.
Interestingly, Yutian airport is one of 10 new airports to be built in Xinjiang by 2020.
Six older airports will also be soon renovated and expanded.

The Tibet recipe

At the end of August 2016, Wu Yingjie took over as Party Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) from Chen Quanguo who was sent to ‘pacify’ Xinjiang. The decision had been taken during the annual closed-door meeting at Beidahe.
An official statement released had then announced that Zhang Chunxian would be replaced by Chen Quanguo as secretary of the XUAR’s Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
This was indeed a promotion for Chen, given the fact that Xinjiang's Party Secretaries often serve in the Politburo (though Chen will have to wait until the 19th Party Congress later this year to find out if he has made it).
His selection was linked to the Tibet recipe, the way Chen managed to ‘pacify’ Central Tibet.
There is no doubt that Chen will apply the same formula in Xinjiang: bring millions of tourists and ‘dilute’ the Uyghur characteristics.
The 10 new airports, particularly the new one in Keriya/Yutian have to be seen in this perspective.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Why was India House destroyed?

India House in Yatung destroyed by China
I am posting again a three-year old article on the visit of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Tibet and Bhutan and the nights he spent in Yatung, in the Chumbi Valley.
During the recent 2017 Tibet Tourism Products Promotion Meet for South Asia held in Lhasa, Qiao Zhifeng, director of Yatung County Tourism Bureau spoke about the development of Yatung as a tourist spot. 
He announced that China will soon build a cableway "in a customs relic site of the Qing Dynasty" and a glass skywalk in Dromo (Chumbi valley) forests.
What is this Qing (Manchu) relics site is not clear.
Regarding the 'skywalk', Qiao explained: "Different from the common cliff glass skywalks, the one in Dromo forests will be built above the green woods, offering visitors a new and all-around viewing angle of the forests.”
While Beijing plans to erect a memorial in the honour of the Manchus, nobody speaks of the beautiful India House, which was the residence-cum-office of the Indian Trade Agent in Yatung till 1962 and where Nehru stayed for two nights (on his way up and on his return from Bhutan) in 1958. 

The Indian Agency building has been destroyed by China to erase all traces of the Indian presence in Tibet.
Questions should be asked to Beijing why such historic building was destroyed, particularly as the Agency was an asset of the Government of India.


(My old post)
As Prime Minister Modi prepares to pay his first foreign visit to Bhutan, I post here some pictures of another visit, Jahawarlal Nehru's in 1958.
Nehru's letter to the Chief Ministers explains his visit.
The interesting feature is that the Prime Minister and his daughter Indira Gandhi had to cross the Chumbi Valley in Tibet. On his way to Bhutan, they spent one night  in Yatung where an Indian Trade Agency was located and on the return journey, they stayed another night in Yatung.
Read this earlier posting about the Indian missions in Tibet.
And about China grabbing Bhutanese territory.
I wish Narendra Modi could take the same route than Nehru.
Unfortunately, the times have changed ... not for the good.

Letter From Jawaharlal Nehru to the Chief Ministers
Gangtok, Sikkim
October 15, 1958
My dear Chief Minister,
Prime Minister Nehru on his way to Bhutan
My last letter to you from Gangtok in Sikkim, on the eve of my journey to Bhutan via Tibet. After I left Gangtok, I was almost entirely cut off from communications till my return to Gangtok two and a half weeks later. I received an occasional message by wireless from Delhi. But this was rarely sent as I had requested that only something that was really important should be forwarded to me. Usually we could listen in to the AIR news broadcasts in the evening, as we had a radio with us. There were no newspapers at all and I had a sensation of being in another world.

2. The little corner of Tibet that I saw upset my idea of that country. I had always thought that on the other side of the Himalayan ranges, there was the high tableland of Tibet, more or less flat and treeless. As a matter of fact, on the other side of the Nathu La, there were the same precipitous mountains covered with thick forests. This was the Chumbi Valley where Yatung is situated and, broadly speaking, it was similar to Himalayan scenery. At the top of the Nathu La ended the road that our engineers had constructed, and on the other side we had to descend by precipitous bridle paths. This road on our side is a remarkable feat for which our engineers deserve great credit. If a road could be built on the other side of the Pass, connecting Yatung, then there would be through road communications between India and Tibet. On the Tibetan side this road will be a much simpler proposition than the one that we have built on our side. Through road traffic would make a great difference to trade as well as to travellers. There is still a considerable inflow of goods from India to Tibet although this has gone down during the last year or two. I was told that upto last year quite a number of automobiles had gone this way after having been taken to pieces and carried by porters.

3. The change from Sikkim to Tibet was noticeable, though not very great. Some little distance before we reached Yatung, we were received by representatives of the Chinese General in Command at Lhasa [General Tan Guansan] and of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama.  Tibetans peered at us from their houses or from the roadside, curious about us, and yet not quite sure whether they should come near us.

4. Yatung was a small spread out town. The main market road was full of Indian shops. There were, I believe, over ninety such shops, many of them having started business in the course of the last three years, when this trade was highly profitable. Conditions were more difficult now and so a number of these Indian shops were closing up. The Chinese authorities had put up a number of new buildings-schools, hospital, community centre and residential houses for themselves. Our own Trade Agent's house had its own little hospital and buildings for the staff. In Gyantse and Lhasa our representatives were very badly housed. In Gyantse, a great flood two years ago had destroyed our house and over ninety of our personnel had been drowned. It struck me how difficult were the living conditions of the members of our staff in various parts of Tibet. There was the harsh climate and the high altitude; the lack of social life or amenities and a sense of seclusion from the outside world. Only physically tough people could stand these conditions for long.

5. On crossing the Tibet-Bhutan border, we were met by the Prime Minister of Bhutan  and a numerous cortege. We journeyed on horseback or mule-back, a long caravan, going ever higher and higher. The Bhutan Government had taken great pains to improve the bridle paths and erect log huts en route for our night rest. The mountain scenery was more attractive and impressive. Some of us had felt a little uncomfortable on the first day of our journey because of the height, but soon we grew accustomed to that altitude and nothing untoward happened. We had a doctor with us, who carried all kinds of drugs and medicines and numerous oxygen cylinders. I am glad to say that those oxygen cylinders were never used and ultimately, on our return journey, we left most of these oxygen cylinders at our hospital at Yatung.

6. The next day's journey brought us to two high passes,  both above 14,500 feet. We left the tree-line and ascended to these heights where only flowers and grass persisted. There were lovely Alpine flowers throughout. It was surprising that in spite of long hours on horseback or sometimes on foot, we felt refreshed after every rest. The air was exhilarating and altogether this visit proved to be quite an exciting event in our lives.

7. When we were approaching within two or three miles of Paro, where the Maharaja was awaiting us, we had to form up into a procession which gradually descended along the mountain side to the valley below. I have seldom seen anything more spectacular than this long procession consisting of people 100 king like medieval knights, dignitaries of the Buddhist church in their special robes, troupes of dancers, etc. Thus we came down the winding road to the valley below where practically the entire population had assembled.

8. We spent five days at Paro. We had met the young Maharaja and his wife  in Delhi some years ago, and the y proved to be charming hosts. In theory, the Maharaja is the all-powerful ruler of his little State. In practice, he is very much one of the people, mixing with them and not very different from them.

Here are some pictures of the Photo Division.

Indian and Chinese flags in Yatung
With Maharaja of Sikkim
With Maharaja of Sikkim and Political Officer (Apa Pant)
With Maharaja of Sikkim and Indira Gandhi
In Yatung with Indian Officers serving in Tibet
Received in Yatung
In Yatung with Tibetan and Chinese offficials
With Indian Trade Agent in Yatung
PM arrives in Bhutan
With Indira Gandhi
In Bhutan
On the way to Bhutan, the Indian Consul General
is behind the Prime Minister
In Yatung
Dinner with Chinese Officials in Yatung
Receiving an Indian Delegation in Yatung
On the way to Bhutan
Addressing an Indian delegation in Yatung
Addressing an Indian delegation in Yatung
Nehru spent 2 nights in the Indian Trade Agency in Yatung
Dinner in Bhutan
Inspecting the Sikkim Guards
In Bhutan
In Bhutan
In Bhutan

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Trespass on Barahoti: We had it coming

My article Trespass on Barahoti: We had it coming appeared in The Asian Age/Deccan Chronicle.

Here is the link...

An improved infrastructure should be provided to the Indian Army and the paramilitary forces to man the area.

According to PTI, on June 3, two helicopters of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) hovered over the Barahoti bowl in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand.
The news agency repotted that the choppers, which returned to the Chinese side after about five minutes, “could have carried out aerial photography of Indian ground troops during what was possibly a reconnaissance mission.”
The choppers were identified as the Zhiba (WZ-9) attack helicopters.
Incidentally, on the same day, Lt Gen He Lei, vice president of the PLA’s Academy of Military Science addressed the plenary session of the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Representing China, Gen He affirmed in front of his colleagues from Asia and the West: “China has always worked to maintain, build and contribute to international and regional peace and has firmly followed the path of peaceful development although it is faced with multiple security challenges.”
Whether it is in the South China Sea (SCS) or Barahoti, the Chinese break the rules that they pretend to uphold; intruding areas, occupying them and later telling the other stakeholders: “let us discuss”. Opponents, placed in front of a fait accompli, are most of the time unable to give a fitting answer (this is even the case of Donald Trump in the SCS).
In the present situation, Chamoli’s Superintendent of Police, Tripti Bhatt told The Hindustan Times that the helicopter(s) entered the Indian airspace from Tibetan side; however, she refused to confirm that it was a Chinese helicopter. This raises several questions.
First, for such sensitive issues, there should be only ONE spokesperson, whether from the Defence Ministry or the Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) who gives factual infor
mation to the press.
Then, photos or videos should be provided to the media, which hopefully can help the Indian public to better understand what China does.
Then an improved infrastructure should be provided for the Indian Army and the paramilitary forces to man the area. This is the result of the neglect of the Himalayan frontier with China for the past 60 years.
Finally, there are no ‘minor’ issues when the Indian borders are concerned. Barahoti, which witnessed the first Chinese intrusions on Indian soil in 1954 is indeed a telling case.
Every summer, the Indian media cries foul: “The Chinese have come again”. “The Chinese Dragon struck again”, scream reports originating from this ‘inaccessible’ part of Uttarakhand.
Last year, The Times of India reported: “It all began on July 22, when an Indian team of 19 civilians led by a Sub Divisional Magistrate first entered into the area in Barahoti. …Three days later for the first time, China sent a helicopter to the area.”
The Government of India, as usual, played down the incident. As a result, this year, two choppers have come …in June and next year more will come.
Last year another serious issue cropped up, as per an agreed protocol signed in 2005 and reiterated in 2013 with China, the ITBP personnel were not carrying firearms, while Chinese were carrying arms and wearing uniforms.
But how did the story start?
In July 1952, in a secret note, the Intelligence Bureau described the topography of the Himalaya in this area: “The Garhwal-Tibet border can only be crossed through the Mana and Niti Valleys where there are open places and habitation, while the rest of the border area consists of snow-covered mountains studded with glaciers. …There are four passes between Niti Valley and Tibet”. One of them was Tunjun-la, north of Barahoti.
A couple of years earlier, some Tibetans officials had entered the tiny bowl of Barahoti. The IB explained the background of the so-called dispute: “About the end of last century the Tibetans had established a Customs Post at Hoti Plain. To stop this practice, the British Government had to send out a detachment of Gurkhas along with the Deputy Collector in 1890. This had a salutary effect and the Tibetans removed their post. It appears that for some time past the Tibetans have again been establishing a Police-cum-Customs post at Hoti during the trading season.”
As in most areas in the Himalaya, the access is far easier from the Tibetan side than from the Indian. Over the years, this greatly facilitated the Chinese intrusions.
The 1952 IB note continued: “It is quite possible that if the Tibetans are not stopped from establishing their post at Hoti Plain, they might eventually claim it to be their own territory.” The IB then recommended: “It is, therefore, essential that the Govt. of India should make it clear to the Govt. of Tibet and its Dzongpon [District Commissioner] that the Hoti Plain is Indian territory and the Tibetans have no right to establish any Customs post there.”
At that time, the Uttar Pradesh Government asserted that no case of “encroachment has so far been reported though at one or two places tax collectors from Tibet did come in but were persuaded to go back.”
The above incident was enough for China to claim the area as ‘hers’. It happened as soon as the negotiations for the Panchsheel Agreement, (which only deals with trade and pilgrimage between Tibet and India) were completed in April 1954. It was soon obvious that the Indian diplomats had goofed up, they had ‘forgotten’ to discuss the Indo-Tibet border.
Though the ‘smart’ Indian negotiators in Beijing had been sent a complete list of the Himalayan passes, they believed that by naming six passes only, they had delineated a border.
As a result of India not insisting on all the passes, China started claiming several areas south of the watershed, in particular the area south of the Tunjun-la pass, where Barahoti is located.
It is only much later that South Block understood the meaning of Premier Zhou En-lai’s opening remarks, at the time of signature: “there are bound to be some problems between two great countries like India and China with a long common border… but we are prepared to settle all such problems as are ripe for settlement now”.
China did not know that Barahoti was south of Tunjun-la in 1958
Less than two months after the signature, India discovered that all problems had not been solved: the first Chinese incursion in the Barahoti area of Uttar Pradesh occurred in June 1954. This was the first of a series of incursions numbering in the hundreds which culminated in the attack of October 1962
Correspondence went on for four years and in 1958 a conference was held to sort out the issue. China refused to admit that the watershed marked the frontier and that Tunjun-la pass had for centuries been the traditional border.
After the failure of the 1958 talks, the Foreign Secretary Subimal Dutt wrote: “Each side has put forward its arguments in favour of its case. The Chinese are contesting our arguments and we are, of course, contesting theirs. The only positive suggestion made by the Chinese is that there should be a joint local enquiry.”
But India refused when it discovered that was just a pretext for China to find out the exact location of the place. They thought that Barahoti (they call it Wuje) was north of Tunjun-la. It seems a joke; unfortunately, the Chinese intrusions still continue today.
More than 60 years later, the case of Barahoti shows that for the Chinese, there is no big or small issue, every inch is a victory, and the second lesson is that there is no short cut to building a proper infrastructure.
And India should not hesitate to send drones to the area if and when required.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Tibet-India Railway

A 'Tibet-South Asia' promotion meeting for travel products was held in Lhasa on June 11.
The theme was ‘crossing Himalaya, rambling paradise in the clouds’.
China Tibet News, a Chinese website says that more than 100 travel agencies from inside or outside Tibet took part in the promotion meeting.
What was the objective of the gathering?
The website said to “show innovative idea of product design on Tibet’s travel, strengthen exchanges and communications with fellow traders, promote developmental directions of individuation, branding, and high-end quality in tourism industry, activate developmental vitality of folk travel organization, as well as expand upgrading of tourism product and profit space.”
This is fine.
A question however remains, why ‘Tibet-South Asia’?
Apart Nepal, Tibet has no ‘tourism’ contact with any ‘South Asian’ country.
Except for the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra opened from Pittoragarh district of Uttarakhand and Nathu-la in Sikkim, there are no ‘tourist tours’ crossing over the Himalaya to Tibet or vice-versa.
During the meeting in Lhasa, some travel agencies made some major recommendations for outbound ('out of Tibet') tourism products for Nepal …and other South Asian countries.
It is there that the route to Chumbi Valley and Yatung (written Yadong by the Chinese) was mentioned.
The article said that the ‘Yatung border tour’ aroused everybody’s interest.
According to Qiao Zhifeng, director general of Yatung Tourism (under Shigatse City’s administration), the Yatung County has rich touristic resources and apparently, the local government has been keen “to exploit Yatung tourism since 2016.”
Quio explained that a three-day tour from Lhasa-Yatung has become “a very mature travel route, it also has attracted a lot of self-driving tourists and group tourists.”
He added: “In the future, we will continue to plan and develop colorful tourism products relying on abundant and superior tourism resources, and the market. At the same time, we will strive to improve the infrastructure construction of software and hardware to attract visitors from all over the world.”
'Improve the infrastructure' means 'bring the railway line to Yatung'?

Chinese tourists in India via Nathu-la?
Can the next step be to send Chinese tourists to India via Yatung and Nathu-la?
In July 2006, at the time of the opening Nathula pass for trade between India and China, Sun Yuxi, the then Chinese Ambassador in India told some journalists that Beijing planned to extend its railway linking Beijing to Tibet, to a newly opened border point in India's northeast and possibly link it to India's east coast.
Sun said "From Yadong, the Indian border area is only a few dozens of kilometers away. Then, anytime we feel the need we will link it. If the train got through all the way to Kolkata, that will be something. Lots of potential, opportunities will develop there.”
Nobody took Sun seriously then.
In July 2015, Ananth Krishnan wrote in The Daily Mail “Local officials in Yadong [Yatung] say a line running to the India border could transform the currently paltry $15million border trade, which relies on a small border market that is open from Monday to Thursday in Yatung.”
Krishnan then reported: “China has already upgraded the roads from Lhasa to Yatung. A 500km journey to the India border took Mail Today only seven hours.
Last year, in an article in the China Daily, Ma Jiali, a well-known Chinese ‘India expert’ and a researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations explained that “a trans-Himalayan railway would be of great economic value as it could later connect China, the largest economy in Asia, with India, the continent's third-largest economy.”
But has India been consulted?
Surely not.
However Beijing seems decided to go ahead with the project of ‘connecting’ India.
Nepal, on its part, is more than willing to have “a convenient link to China because it believes that China's development will offer great opportunities for Nepal,” commented Jia last year (a map was then attached to the article).
It showed the train continuing its journey to Purang (Burang), near the tri-junction Nepal-Tibet-India and Yatung in the Chumbi Valley. The Purang leg will be a further step to connect Tibet and Xinjiang, through a railway line parallel to the Aksai Chin road (via the Indian territory).
The creation of Western Theater Command will make the process easier.
It would make two branches of the OBOR ending up at India’s gate.
The point is: can tourism alone justify the laying of a railway line to Yatung?
Certainly not.
The answer is somewhere else.
The raising of a Mountain Strike Corps on the other side of the pass?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Damming the Indus: 'hordes' of Chinese tourists will pour in to visit the 'last paradise on earth'

My article Damming the Indus: 'hordes' of Chinese tourists will pour in to visit the 'last paradise on earth' appeared in Mail Today/Mail Online

Here is the link...

On the occasion of the opening of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) forum in Beijing, President Xi Jinping urged countries across the globe to join hands with China in pursuit of globalisation: 'We have no intention to form a small group detrimental to stability. What we hope to create is a big family of harmonious co-existence.'
India has some doubts about the 'big family'. Take the example of the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an OBOR's offshoot; it crosses Gilgit- Baltistan (GB), considered by India an integral part of Jammu & Kashmir.
Not only has China pushed Islamabad to make GB a fifth province of Pakistan, but according to CNN-News18.com, 'Information and interviews exclusively accessed by CNN-News18 showed that the land was procured mostly by force by Pakistani generals for the CPEC and those resisting are either killed off or incarcerated without a trial.'
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping, ahead of the Belt and Road Forum, in Beijing on May 13, 2017
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping, ahead of the Belt and Road Forum, in Beijing on May 13, 2017
Wajahat Hasan, chairman of the Gilgit-Baltistan Thinkers Forum, told the same channel: 'Thousands had their land snatched and occupied by the military authorities and their agencies.
'Under this black draconian rule, nobody can raise their voices against the CPEC.'

Issue
Another worrying issue: when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited China to attend the forum, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to fund and build five mega hydroelectric power (HEP) projects.
The Pakistani press spoke of an Indus cascade of dams, two of them costing $27 billion (`17,000 crore), being located in GB.
The Pakistani newspaper, The Express Tribune, had earlier claimed that Pakistan and China would develop the North Indus River Cascade with an investment of $50 billion (`32,000 crore) to generate up to 40,000 MW hydro power.
According to Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), the Indus cascade will start from GB to reach the existing Tarbela dam downstream, not far from Islamabad.
At the MoU-signing ceremony, Nawaz Sharif affirmed: 'Development of the North Indus Cascade is a major focus of my government and the construction of Diamer-Basha Dam is the single most important initiative in this regard.'
He added, 'Water and food security are of paramount importance for Pakistan keeping in view the challenges posed by climate change.'
A 7,100 MW HEP project will be built at Bunji on the way to Skardu, the capital of Baltistan.
Though described by WAPDA as a run-of-the-river (RoR) project, it is clearly not one, as it will have a 22- km-long reservoir which will inundate 12- km of the road between Gilgit and Skardu.
The next dam is the Diamer-Basha HEP with a potential of 4,500 MW. The Diamer-Basha reservoir will submerge some 104 km of the Karakoram Highway and displace about 30,000 people, admits the WAPDA.
It will cost $15 billion(`965 crore). Both projects follow the Karakoram Highway in GB. Joydeep Gupta, a water expert, explained in a news portal: 'The Diamer- Basha dam is being promoted by WAPDA as a sediment trap and therefore good for downstream hydropower projects. But the same sediment — mainly silt — rejuvenates the soil downstream every year and has been the main reason why agriculture has been sustained in the Indus valley for millennia.'
But this does not bother the Pakistan politicians.

Projects
The other projects (the 4,320 MW Dasu HEP, the 2,200 MW Patan HEP, the 4,000 MW Thakot HEP using four headrace tunnels to divert waters and generate electricity) are located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
A 'lost' Saraswati river in the making? It has now been scientifically proved that big dams are not sustainable for several reasons; the first one being the amount of silt retained behind the dam, which stops nourishing downstream areas.
Interestingly, there is a movement in the United States to progressively decommission all large dams, which 'kills' the river, with many species of fishes unable to migrate upstream.
Another important factor is the strong 'dam lobby' in China which smells the billion dollars; it has been active since the time of Premier Li Peng and his mega Three Gorges dam.
Nepal too seems to have fallen prey to this lobby. Nepal's ministry of energy recently signed an MoU with China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) for the development of a 1,200 MW Budhigandaki HEP, which will be the biggest hydro project in Nepal.
The agreement was signed at the prime minister's residence, with the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal in attendance.
The dam will be built under the 'engineering, procurement, construction and finance' model. It means that CGGC will help arrange soft or commercial loans from China.

Warning
Already in August 2010, warning bells have been ringing in the corridors of South Block in Delhi.
The well-informed journalist, Selig Harrison, then wrote in The New York Times that according to 'a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers', two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan were taking place: 'a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People's Liberation Army'.
Tomorrow, tens of thousands of Chinese workers (17,000 for the Daimer-Basha HEP only) will come to GB; a decade or so later, when the work is completed, many will 'buy' land from Pakistan and settle for good in the area.
Further, China is bound to develop GB as a 'special' tourist destination (once the basic infrastructure is in place for the dams) and ultimately hordes of Chinese tourists will pour in to visit the 'last paradise on earth'.
How will India react? The time has perhaps come to think about this. Does Delhi want a China Town in Skardu or Gilgit? One of the solutions is to renegotiate the Indus-Water Treaty, signed in 1960 between India and Pakistan. With the latest developments, it seems completely outdated today.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-4591970/Damming-Indus-hordes-Chinese-tourists-visit.html#ixzz4jkNB4trV
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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tourism: A ‘soft' weapon for Chinese hegemony

My article Tourism: A ‘soft' weapon for Chinese hegemony appeared in the Edit Page of The Pioneer.


Here is the link...

While the world talks of Xi's ‘dream', waves after waves of Chinese visitors can suddenly be seen pouring along the Belt and Road. Is Delhi aware of the time bomb at its gates?

A Tibet Work Forum is a conference attended by several hundreds of officials, including the entire politburo, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), representatives from different Ministries, as well as local satraps; held every five to 10 years, it usually decides the fate of the Roof of the World. The last forum was held in Beijing in 2015, but it is during the previous one in January 2010 that the destiny of Tibet changed, probably forever.
It was then decided to transform Tibet into a paradise for tourists, a Disneyland of Snows, by bringing millions of visitors to the plateau, killing several birds with just one stone.
It would give the People’s Republic of China a good image after the beating it received in the world media following the 2008 unrest on the Roof of the World; Tibetans would be financially better off; they would be ‘occupied’ to entertaining tourists; their heritage would be ‘protected’ and massive infrastructure would be built, keeping an eye on the need of the PLA to ‘defend the borders’ (with India).
The decision once taken, the Chinese propaganda started moving. Chinanews.com, a Government website wrote: “Tibet with its mystery is the spiritual Garden of Eden and is longed by travelers home and abroad. Only by stepping on the snowy plateau, can one be baptised by its splendor, culture, folklore, life, snow mountains, saint mountains, sacred lakes, residences with local characteristics and charming landscape.”
Tibet fast became the largest entertainment park in the world; thousand times larger than Disneyland. The Government in Beijing sold the Land of Snows as the ultimate ‘indigenous’ spot for the Chinese people to spend their holidays, it became Tibet’s Unique Selling Proposition. The leadership in Beijing had found a more sophisticated way to submerge the Tibetan population under waves of Han Chinese.
Tibet’s unique assets were promoted: The beauty of the landscape, the imposing mountain ranges, the purity of the air and the rivers, the dry pure sky (especially when compared to the sky of China’s great metropolis); Tibet is the ideal place to visit and have a break from the fast pace of the polluted Mainland.
The second advantage is the rich historical past of the Roof of the World, the Land of the Lamas. In Tibet, you can find everything, explained the Chinese propaganda: The monasteries and nunneries, seats of a wisdom lost in the mainland; the folkloric yak or snow-lion dances; the beautiful colourful handicrafts; the exotic food, you name it …with a couple of millions of local Tibetans guiding you through the mega-museum.
In 2016, six years after the launch of the scheme, 25 millions Han ‘tourists’ poured in Lhasa and few other places in Central and Southern Tibet.
The Tibet success story gave ideas to the Communist leadership in Beijing; the experiment was worth emulating abroad, even if in a different context; tourism could definitively become the ‘soft’ weapon of the Chinese cultural hegemony in Asia. While the world talks of President Xi Jinping’s ‘dream’, waves, after waves of Chinese visitors can suddenly be seen pouring along the Belt and Road.
Everywhere, the arrival of the Chinese tourists have the same effect, at least in the new Asian Paradises; they help building a much-needed infrastructure for the host country, though in a later stage, they create dependency on the Chinese tourists.
I recently visited Indonesia; the country is not exempt of the new Chinese strategy. By attracting 10 million tourists from China by 2019, the country plans to participate in Xi Jinping'’s ambitious initiative. The latest data from the Indonesian Central Statistics Agency show that 1.43 million Chinese tourists visited Bali in 2016, representing a 25 per cent annual increase over the previous year.
The 10 million-benchmark may be difficult to achieve for the local tourist industry, however, for Indonesia, tourism remains a source of hefty revenue, while for China, it means a presence in South-East Asia. The same scenario can be seen in Nepal, Sri Lanka or the Maldives.
On May 26, Xinhua reported that the Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) and China Chamber of Tourism signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Kathmandu to promote tourism between the two countries. According to a Press statement, the Chinese side pledged to help in making NATTA’s tourism promotional activities, a success. The NATTA now plans to organise a China sales mission in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Beijing from June 7-17 in China in coordination with Nepal Tourism Board and Nepali embassy in Beijing.
Once the train will reach Kyirong, at the border between Nepal and Tibet, these plans will take an exponential growth. India may soon have many China towns in its neighbourhood. Is Delhi aware of the time bomb at its gates?
In September 2016, The South China Morning Post quoted a report released by the China Tourism Academy; some 133 million Mainland tourists were to travel abroad in 2016, a figure up to an 11.5 per cent rise on 2015. Traditionally, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan were the first choices for Chinese tourists, followed by Thailand, South Korea and Japan. But lately Asian nations such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, or even Bhutan have seen a double-digit growth in arrivals. This trend is bound to grow. This brings the other aspect of mass Chinese tourism.
The Agence France Press (AFP) recently called tourism as China’s new weapon in the economic war; it explains: “Slapping import bans on products like mangoes, coal and salmon has long been China’s way of punishing countries that refuse to toe its political line. But Beijing has shown that it can also hurt others by cutting a lucrative Chinese export, tourism.”
The article quotes the example of South Korea over an US anti-missile shield and the ban on Chinese tour groups from visiting Korea. Similarly, tourism to Taiwan has also fallen sharply as relations across the strait worsened.  Countries submitting to China’s demands are rewarded and those who do not ‘behave’ are punished.
Pakistan wants to jump in the bandwagon, earlier this month The Dawn published the ‘hidden’ report on CPEC. One of the chapters speaks about the development of a ‘coastal tourism’ industry; a long belt of coastal enjoyment industry that includes yacht wharfs, cruise homeports, nightlife, city parks, public squares, theaters, golf courses and spas, hot spring hotels and water sports. The report adds: “for the development of coastal vacation products, Islamic culture, historical culture, folk culture and marine culture shall all be integrated.”
This may not happen, but can you imagine if tens of thousands of Chinese tourists start arriving in Gilgit Baltistan, invited by the Islamabad Government. It will mean an International airport in the area, new roads, hotels, entertainment places, etc.
What will Delhi do?
The time has perhaps come to think about this likely eventuality.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

When China did not claim what is today's Arunachal Pradesh

A photo China does not like to see
Sir Henry McMahon surrounded by Ivan Chen and Lonchen Shatra
I am posting extracts of an interesting document, the Proceedings of the 3rd meeting of the Tibet Conference (also known as Simla Conference).
During this particular meeting which was held at Delhi (not Simla) on January 12, 1914, the Tibetans and the Chinese representatives presented their views on their common border.

It was the follow-up of extensive discussions between Sir Charles Bell, the Assistant of Sir Henry McMahon, the Indian Foreign Secretary and the plenipotentiaries of Tibet and China.
Today, Beijing would like to believe that this Conference never took place, but it did (see the picture above).
The three plenipotentiaries sat on the table as equals, China has also forgotten this 'detail'.
I am posting here only the Chinese description of its borders with Tibet and India. it shows that Ivan Chen, the Chinese plenipotentiary has clearly little to offer in terms of proofs of 'ownership', while still claiming large chunks of Tibetan in Eastern Tibet; the Tibetans were far better prepared and could document their claims much better (see my website for the long Tibetan statements and the 90 attached documents).

The main discussion of the Conference was around the Sino-Tibetan border in Kham province of Tibet. In their statement, the Chinese representative nowhere claimed that the entire plateau, till what is today Xinjiang, belonged to China.
There is also no trace of claim of Tawang area or India's entire North-East (later NEFA).
The only area close to the Indian border which is mentioned is Zayul.
The Chinese statement says:
Zayul is divided into two parts, the upper and the lower, both of which are outside the pale of the Tibetan control and are inhabited by independent and barbarous tribes called Miris, Abors, and Mishmis.
On the approach of the Chinese army at the place in 1911, the Chiefs of Zayul tendered their submission to His late Excellency Chao Erh Feng [Zhao Erfeng], and he then took effective occupation of it, as evidence of which he caused seals of office to be issued to the Chiefs and placed it under the administration of Szechuan (Sichuan). It is now called Cha-yu Hien.
The truth is the Zhao Erfeng, known as 'Butcher Zhao' for his cruelty, conducted an expedition along the Lohit river till a place called Menilkrai, near Walong.
He planted a pillar and left.
On November 19, 1913, the Secretary of State sanctioned what the Bristish called a 'promenade' in the area.
TPM O'Callaghan, the Assistant Political Officer (APO) in Sadiya was in charge; he was accompanied by an escort of the 1/8th Gurkha Rifles led by Major C Stansfeld and Lt. HR Haringlon.
The British officers visited Rima in Tibet at the invitation of the Tibetan authorities, and cordial relations were established.
On May 6, 1914, Sir Archdale Earle, the Chief Commissioner of Assam writes:
Mr. O'Callaghan's report confirms the information in the possession of the Chief Commissioner that there are at present no Chinese troops anywhere in the neighbourhood of Rima. It urges nevertheless the importance of carrying the Lohit Valley road to our frontier, and of establishing a post as near the frontier as is practicable at the earliest possible date. This view is shared by the Chief Commissioner, but he realises that, for reasons which will presently be stalled, it will probably be found advisable to move slowly in the coming cold weather. He thinks, however, and he trusts that the Government of India will agree in this view, that the impossibility of recognising a Chinese boundary in the neighbourhood of Menilkrai has been finally established, and he regards Mr O'Callaghan's action in removing the boundary posts as thoroughly justified.
The APO had found Chinese markers at Menilkrai, just below Walong. One set dated from 1910 and new markers had been placed in 1912 by the Chinese troops. O'Callaghan removed the markers, repositioned them upstream, near Kahao, just south of the McMahon Line.
O'Callaghan confirms that a post needed to be established at Walong:
I am more than ever convinced of the necessity of the finishing of the road to our frontier and the opening of a post as near our frontier as soon as possible. From Walong to Rima, there is no difficulty in road making and the Lohit Valley road already constructed and open up to Mankum only required continuation to Manglor flat, a distance of less than 30 miles, to make the opening and rationing of the post a practicable scheme. I trust it will be clearly realised that a small force, operating from Walong, could occupy Rima and hold the Rong Chu and Zayul Valleys in 24-30 hours and, vice versa, a force moving from Rima can unopposed be in position on Menilkrai flat within 36 hours and effectually prevent any advance up the Lohit Valley. Should delay be made, it is not impossible that in the years to come it may take much more than the resources which the Local Administration will have at its immediate command, to assert our legitimate rights and claims, which the ready completion of the already sanctioned but uncompleted scheme for the Lohit Valley will confirm.
The APO studied the “the immense cost rationing the post”, but after he made some enquiries, he was “satisfied that within a few years the majority of the rice and other items required for the supplies can be procured locally, either grown or purchased.”
This was unfortunately not enough to convince Delhi at that time, but the India-Tibet border was clearly defined between Kahao (near Kibuthu) and Rima as marked the following year by McMahon on his map.
Ivan Chen did not make any claim on what is today Tawang district.
It is clearly an afterthought. At the end of 1959, Beijing reacted to the escape to the Dalai Lama in India and started wild claims.
Lonchen Shatra the Tibetan Plenipotentiary resumed nicely the situation in his statement:
Therefore unlawful encroachment, like a large insect swallowing up a small one, or in other words asserting 'might is right' — an uncivilised method — it is hoped, will not be permitted, and that lawful rights will be respected and the lawful owner will be allowed to enjoy peaceful possession.
Unfortunately, a century later, unlawful encroachments are still permitted.
The entire proceedings of this meeting is available on my website.
It is worth reading the Tibetan description of the border with China supported by 90 historical documents.

Map showing the Tibetan and Chinese 'perceptions' at Simla and the different proposals
The border with India is not disputed

Here are extracts of the Proceedings the Third Meeting of the Conference (the Chinese views on their borders with Tibet)


Present :-Sir Henry McMahon, G.C.V.O., K.C.I.E., C.S.I., British Plenipotentiary and staff.
Monsieur Ivan Chen, Chinese Plenipotentiary and staff.
Kusho Lonchen Shatra, Tibetan Plenipotentiary and staff.

The Plenipotentiaries took their seats at 11 A.M.

Sir Henry McMahon said that the meeting had been called in order that the Chinese and Tibetan Plenipotentiaries might have an opportunity of laying on the table statements  of the evidence in regard to the respective frontiers claimed by them.
The Lonchen Shatra said that he regretted he had not been able to complete the translation of all the appendices to his statement as he had only one translator, who was in bad health, but the translation of the remaining appendices was being pushed on as fast as possible.
Monsieur Ivan Chen said that since the last meeting of the Conference at Simla, there had been several informal meetings at the last of which it had been arranged that he and his Tibetan Colleague should submit the cases dealing with their respective territorial claims for Sir Henry McMahon's consideration and decision, after the communication of which they would refer to their respective Governments. He accordingly laid his case on the table for consideration.
The Chinese and Tibetan Plenipotentiaries then exchanged copies of their cases.
Sir Henry McMahon said that he would now proceed to consider the cases and communicate his conclusions to his colleagues as quickly as possible.
The Lonchen Shatra raised the question of the custody of the original Tibetan documents of which translations formed enclosures of the Tibetan case. The originals of these documents were produced and shown to the Conference. Sir Henry McMahon and Monsieur Ivan Chen agreed that in view of the great bulk of these documents they should remain in the custody of the Tibetan Plenipotentiary from whom they could be obtained for reference when required.

The Conference rose at 11.25 A.M.

T. G. B. WAUGH,
Acting Secretary to the Conference.

A. H. McMAHON,
British Plenipotentiary.
Enclosure No. 1.
Chinese Statement on limits of Tibet
At the informal meetings on the question of the limits of Tibet on the 5th, the 11th, the 12th, and the 15th of December last, the Chinese Plenipotentiary stated the claims of the Government of the Republic of China to Giamda and all the places east of it, and also gave reasons with which the Chinese Government put forward such claims.
At the last informal meeting on the 19th of the same month, the Chinese Plenipotentiary, being of the opinion that almost no progress had been made, suggested that he and the Tibetan Plenipotentiary should each submit a statement to the full Conference for the consideration of the British Plenipotentiary, who would in due course of time inform them of the result of his consideration, when they will be given time to consider it and telegraph to their respective Home Authorities on the matter. This mode of procedure was then agreed to unanimously.
Under these circumstances the Chinese Plenipotentiary begs to submit the following statement:

I. What are the claims of the Chinese Government in regard to the question of the limits of Tibet?
The Chinese Government claim to have Giamda and all the places east of it, viz., Jyade, Dam, Zayul, Chiamdo (Chamdo), Enta, Markham, Puyul (Poyul), Pemakoi–chen (Pemakoe), Darge (Derge), Lhojong (Lho Dzong), Shobando, and Tenk'e.

II. What rights are the claims of the Chinese Government based upon?
The Chinese Government derive their rights from the historic connections of all those places with China and from what is called in International Law "effective occupation '', evidences of which are given below.
Giamda, Lhojong and Shobando.
Giamda has returned to its allegiance towards China, since 1909, together with Rivoudze, Lhojong and Shobando. During that year, a punitive expedition was sent from Szechuan to Tibet under the command of His late Excellency Chao Erh Feng for the murder of the Chinese Amban Fung Chuan, and as soon as the Chinese army arrived, the native chiefs of all these places tendered their submission to His Excellency Chao, and in 1910 it was settled between him and the Tibetan Authorities that Giamda should be the boundary line between China and Tibet.
This settlement was reported to the Manchu Emperor Hsuan Tung and sanctioned by Imperial Rescript. On the 25th of May 1913, the President of the Republic of China issued a Mandate ordaining that the territorial limit of Szechuan (Sichuan) shall be the same as it has existed in the last days of the Manchu dynasty but no Chinese garrison shall cross to the west of Giamda.

Jyade, Dam
Jyade lies in the valley of the Kara Ussou and is called the thirty-nine "tutze" of Nak Tchou. It is under the control of the Chinese Deputy Amban of Lhasa, called Yeeching Chang-King. Dam is in the same position. A tax, called Kung Ma Nin or horse tax, is levied and collected every year by the Yeeching Chang-King, and its total amount is only about 391$ odd. Under the Yeeching Chang-King, there are Chinese officials, such as Kushanta, Tsuling, Yilling and Yaokeyao and five hundred soldiers in time of peace. The latter are all recruited locally.
When Colonel Younghusband stopped at Kampajong (Kampa Dzong) with his expedition in 1903-04, the Chinese Amban at Lhasa wished to meet him on the frontier, but he was prevented from carrying out his wishes by the Tibetans refusing to supply him with necessary transport. And when he turned to the authorities of Jyade and Dam for transport, they were quite ready to supply it because they were at liberty to do so.
When Tibetans are travelling about, they have to pay a certain toll, in crossing a river, but the people of Jyade and Dam are exempted from paying such a toll and others, if they can produce certificates from the Yeeching Chang-King certifying that the holders of the certificates are natives of Jyade or Dam.
This shows Jyade and Dam have nothing to do with Tibet at all and are absolutely beyond the jurisdiction of Tibet.
In "Mysterious Tibet" by Sir Thomas Holdich, a well-known authority on Tibet, pages 184-85, he says that "Rockhill's Tibetan escort had returned to Lhasa as he was now under direct Chinese jurisdiction in the province of Jyade. This Chinese province extends from east to west over two hundred miles and more of country, with a probable breadth of sixty or seventy miles, touching, to the north, the Dangla and its branches and, to the south, bordering on Lhasa governed provinces! Its people have in the oldest times preferred the Binbo religion (a form of devil worship or Lhamanism which has at one time or another prevailed over most parts of Asia) a creed not tolerated in the kingdom of Lhasa which tried for a long time to crush it out of these regions."
Furthermore all Tibetans can only receive their official appointments from the Chinese Amban on the recommendation of the Tibetan Kab-lon, but the official appointments in Jyade and Dam are made by the Amban on the recommendation of the Yeeching Chang-king.
It is also well known that Tibetans are not at liberty to settle anywhere they like in Jyade and Dam, and that the people of Jyade and Dam call themselves by the name of Gyashokpa, or, in other words, that they claim that they are of Chinese race and do not belong to the Tangut stock.
By what is stated in the above it is incontestably established that Jyade and Dam have been long administered by China as a Chinese province and Tibet has not the least claim to them.

Chiamdo, Gartok-Markham, Draya.
In Tibet there are four principalities which are directly under the Chinese control. These are Draya and Chiamdo on the east. Tashilumpo and Sakya Kongma to the south-east of Tashilumpo.
The Commander-in-Chief of Yunnan was formerly stationed in Chiamdo, and it was in the beginning of the reign of Yung Cheng that the administration of this place was transferred to the authorities of Szechuan.
There are Chinese civil and military officials in charge of the local revenue and the Chinese garrison. It is the same case with En-ta.

Poyul, Pemakoi-chen.
Poyul has never belonged to Tibet. It is a country inhabited by lawless herdsmen, and in the southern part of it there is a large number of Chinese settling there, with the result that there is now a thriving trade in blankets, baskets, silver and iron works, red pepper, and remarkably fine flour. Poyul is practically independent and Tibet has never been able to exercise any influence over the place. It surrendered its submission to China in 1909, and in the winter of that year Chinese officials were appointed to govern the place by His late Excellency Chao Erh Feng who was at that time stationed in Chiamdo.

Darge (Derge)
This place is situated in the north-east of Chiamdo. It is under a ''tutzi" whose head-quarters are in Kenching which has been instituted as a Chinese district and is now called Teh Hwa Chow.

III. With regard to the Tibetan claims in regard to the question of the limits of Tibet, the Chinese Plenipotentiary further begs to submit the following statement as a reply to them.


Batang, Litang, Nyarong, etc.

These places are all east of the range of Ning Tsin Shan and have been under Chinese administration since the early period of the reign of Yung Cheng. About one hundred miles west from Batang there is a boundary pillar bearing Chinese inscriptions which state that east of this range it is Chinese territory while west of it it is Tibetan. This was however the demarcation of the boundaries between China and Tibet for that time only, for after the death of Emperor Young Cheng, the Emperor Kien Lung, successor of Yung Cheng, formally annexed Tibet in 1720 and since then Tibet has been under Chinese sovereignty and the whole of Tibet cannot be otherwise considered than Chinese territory.
In order to show the effective occupation of these places, a Bill, passed in 1912 by the House of Senators of the National Assembly in Peking to constitute them as the eighth division of the Parliamentary election districts of Szechuan, is herewith appended.

Kokonor or Ching-hai (Qinghai)
The Kokonor regions were taken by Chinese, in the time of Yung Cheng (in about 1700) from Lopotsangdantsin, the great grandson of Gushi Khan, on account of his intrigues with the Sungarians for compassing a conquest of Tibet. The Chinese victorious army was under the command of Nien Ken Yao and Yo Tsung Ki, two well-known generals in the military history of China, and the conquest of Kokonor or Ching-hai is fully recorded in Chinese official records such as Pin-Ding-Ching hai-Fong-Liao, Shen-Wu-Si-Ching-ki( ).
Since this conquest the Kokonor regions have been under Chinese administration, at the head of which is the Chinese Amban whose head-quarters are at Siningfu. In the time of Yung Cheng an Imperial Edict was issued ordaining that "not more than two hundred lama monasteries shall be built in Kokonor, and that each monastery shall contain no more than two hundred lamas”.
The Kokonor regions are divided into twenty-nine banners under the leadership of Khoshoit, ( ) Choros, ( ) Khoit, ( ) Turgut, () Khalkha, ( ) and Tsahannomen, ( ). Under Khoshoit there are twenty-one banners; under Choros and Khoit, one banner each; under Turgut, four banners; under Khalkha, one banner; and under Tsahannomen, one banner.
The leader of each banner is either a prince of the second class or a duke, and they are all under the control of the Chinese Amban at Siningfu who in addition to these banners has the following tribes under his administration :-
(1) The Gyakp ( ) tribe and the Kongpo ( ) tribe in the region between U and Khamo ( ).
(2) The Gyaldo ( ) tribe in the region between Chien Tsang ( ) and Hou Tsang ( ).
(3) The Djak ( ) tribe in the south-west of Tsang.
(4) The Koshot ( ) tribe in the region between Hou Tsang and Lhari. ( ).
(5) The Gyppo tribe, ( ) the Gyldin tribe, ( ) in the north of Lhari.
More details about Chinghai or Kokonor can be given on referring to the Chinese official records called Ta-Ching-Hui-Tsin and Ta-Ching-Yi-Tung-Tze ( ).

IVAN CHEN.
January 12th, 1914.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Relentless development of infrastructure in Tibet

China relentlessly continues to develop the infrastructure on the Roof of the World.
Last week, China Tibet News announced the reconstruction and an extension of Lhasa Kongkar Airport which is scheduled to start in July: “the land expropriation and demolition work of the reconstruction and extension project of Kongkar Airport has been nearly completed and construction is expected to start.”
Su Zhiqiang, member of the Tibet Civil Aviation Administration mentioned the budget of the new project: 3.9 billion yuan.
By 2025, the Kongkar Airport will yearly accommodate 9 million passenger and 80,000 tons of cargo. The Chinese website says that 88,000 square meters will be added to T3 terminal and a 56,000 square meters parking lot will be built. The Tibet Civil Aviation expects the passenger traffic to double by 2020 (compared to 2015).
China Tibet News notes: “The construction of new airport terminal area will further improve the comprehensive security capabilities of Kongkar Airport, meet people's travel demands, and effectively promote Tibet's economic and social development.”
The ‘defense’ is not mentioned.
But that is not all: the Highway between the Airport and Tsetang will be upgraded. The same website reports: “the subgrade earthwork, bridge project, and tunnel project have been basically completed.”
The length of the ‘upgraded’ highway is 90 km: “the running speed is designed to be 100 km/h. It is first-class highway with four lanes. There are 54 bridges, 1 tunnel, and 189 culverts along the highway. Besides, there are 9 separate interchanges and 6 interchanges.”
It is expected to be opened on June 30.

In Southeastern Tibet (Yunnan province), the Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is planning to invest 13 billon yuan to build four 'secondary' roads.
According to Kangba TV, the first road will be the 62 km-long Xiangwei secondary road, starting from Yisong in Shangri-La City to end up in Cangjue Village in Wujing Township. The investment is estimated to be 3 billion yuan.
The second one is the 121 km-long Xiangxiang secondary road, starting from Junmachang also in Shangri-La City, it will end at Mt. Daxue pass; it will connect provincial way S209, Dongwang road and provincial way S416. It is estimated at more than 4 billion yuan.
The third is the 61km-long Weixi-Judian secondary road which will start from Lahezhu in Weixi County will end in Judian’s Xiaohekou in Lijiang City. It will connect provincial way S210 and Dongwang road: estimate is 2 billion yuan.
The fourth is the 148.91km-long Huzhong secondary road, from Hutiaoxia Township in Shangri-La City to Junmachang, connecting national G214 and provincial way S209. It will cost nearly 5 billion yuan.

What will this infrastructure used for?

A study recently published in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy and conducted by the Saïd Business School brings some light on the issue. It found out that “low-quality infrastructure investments pose significant risks to the Chinese and the global economy.” The authors of the study argued that over half of the infrastructure investments in China have destroyed rather than generated economic value.
The study authored by Atif Ansar, Bent Flyvbjerg, Alexander Budzier and Daniel Lunn is based on the large database, which analyzed 95 large Chinese road and rail transport projects, and 806 other transport projects.
Dr Ansar commented: “It is a myth that China grew thanks largely to heavy infrastructure investment. It grew due to bold economic liberalisation and institutional reforms, and this growth is now threatened by over-investment in low-grade infrastructure. The lesson for other markets is that policy makers should place their attention on software and deep institutional reforms, and exercise far greater caution in diverting scarce resources to large-scale physical infrastructure projects.”
The conclusion is that massive infrastructure investment programmes are not a viable development strategy for developing countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria or Brazil, which dream of using China’ model of economic development.
If not viable for Mainland China, can it be sustainable in Tibet?
Though the risks are the same, large scale tourism development in Tibet, i.e. The Disney Land of Snows, justifies heavy infrastructure and though not explicitly mentioned, the ‘defense’ of the borders needs is present in the minds of the planners in Beijing, which knows of the importance of 'dual use' of infrastructure on the plateau. See my previous posting.

New tourist packages
In a recent article, Kangba TV quoted Lhasa Transport Industry Group, Tibet's largest passenger road transport company, about the opening of direct routes/packages to scenic spots in Tibet on May 1.
According to the Group, nine regional and six inter-provincial tourist routes will be launched by the company in the next three years.
The list of the tours gives an indication where the infrastructure development will take place in the coming years.
(Note in Tour No 10, China is planning a Lhasa-Kashgar trip via Western Tibet and the Aksai Chin Road. Should not Delhi object to the flocks of tourists crossing the Indian territory?)
A quick glance at the tours itinerary shows that Western Tibet will be one of the focus of development in the years to come.
Interestingly, a promotion meeting, with the theme of 'Secret Area of Western Tibet, Ngari in Heaven”, was held in Beijing on May 24.
Xinhua reported: "Ngari Prefecture in Tibet Autonomous Region has long attracted myriad tourists coming from afar with its unique tourism resources. In recent years, according to the strategic deployment about building Gangdise international tourism cooperation zone, as well as the rapid development of self-driving travel in Tibet, Ngari has increasingly become a destination selection of self-driving travelers."
More infrastructure in the pipeline.
In fact, Plans 7, 8 10 will take the tourists close to the Indian borders of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
India should watch (and act).

The Fifteen Proposed Packages/Tours
  • The first one is the 500km-long one-day tour of Namtso (Lhasa-Yangbajain geothermal hot springs-Mt. Nyanchen Thanglha-Namtso-Lhasa).
  • The second one is the 220km-long one-day tour of Yamdrok Yumtso.
  • The third one is the 1,414 km-long circular tour of Lhasa, Nyingchi and Lhoka
  • The fourth one is the 336km-long one-day circular tour of Lhoka (Lhasa-Samye Monastery-Yumbulakang-Yarlung Tsangpo-Lhasa Kongkar Airport-Lhasa).
  • The fifth one is the 1,480km-long three-day tour of Mt. Chomolungma or Mt. Everest (lasting for four days and three nights).
  • The sixth one is the 442km-long one-day tour of Karu la Glacier (Lhasa-Yamdrok Yumtso-Nagartse County-Karo la Glacier-Lhasa).
  • The seventh one is the 3,276km-long Lhasa-Ruins of Guge Kingdom line (lasting for nine days and eight nights).
  • The eighth one is the 916km-long Kyirong-Purang line.
  • The ninth one is te 60km-long Dadong scenic spot line.
  • The tenth one is the 6,918km-long Lhasa-Kashgar line (lasting for seven days and six nights).
  • The 11th one is the 4,024km-long Lhasa-Xining line (through Xining-Golmud-Lhasa highway for five days and four nights).
  • The 12th one is the 5,380km-long Lhasa-Chengdu road in Sichuan province (through for 11 days and ten nights).
  • The 13th one is the 4,564km-long Lhasa-Xining line (from Xi’an to Lhasa, passing by Gansu and Qinghai provinces for five days and four nights).
  • The 14th one is the 4,804km-long Lhasa-Chengdu line (through Northern section of Sichuan-Tibet highway for eight days and seven nights).
  • The 15th one is the 3,514km long Lhasa-Lijiang line (through Yunnan-Tibet highway for six days and five nights).
The Lhasa Transport Industry Group concludes: “Direct routes to and in scenic spots around Lhasa will be gradually launched if the pilot operation goes well.”