Tuesday, May 24, 2011


" A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth" - Joseph Goebbels

Sino-Tibetan problem is highly a complex and sensitive issue, which was bonded by the myths of great imperialist (British), and the strength of a post colonized emerging power (China). In the mid 20th Century, Tibet was sandwiched between the great powers, who had gambled Tibet for their own sake. The great games were played with Tibet, and China still plays and holds their position tight with the barrel of a gun. After British left India, China's interest on Tibet was materialized and started positioning their stronghold base in Tibet. During the invasion, Tibetan resistant movement fought many battles and sacrificed their life for their country and Dharma (Buddhism). Unfortunately, ill-equipped small local contingent of Tibetan warriors could not match the size of well equipped merciless intruder. It took nearly a decade for China to fully occupy Tibet.

In the name of Liberation, China seized Tibet. But the Sino-Tibetan problem did not end with the so called 'Liberation'. Rather, it started a new episode of Tibetan freedom struggle, which had transformed Tibet as an unsettled dispute. For the past five decades, this dispute continues to remain without much progress. Few dialogues begun after new leader, Deng Xiaoping took over the leadership in late 1970s. Even later, when Hu Jintao became the President of People's Republic of China (PRC), the talks restarted after a decade long silence and dead lock. But it stands unsatisfactorily parallel to earlier talk, which brings no end result.

Only a handful of Tibetan and Chinese topmost leaders know where the negotiation is proceeding. But majority of the common Tibetans and the billion Chinese did not have any idea about what is really happening behind the scene of Sino-Tibetan dispute. In Tibet and elsewhere, Tibetans are hopeful of resolving the Tibet issues in the near future, within the lifetime of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Chinese government still moves Tibet issues on sideline by wasting more time in bombarding savage accusations on His Holiness' integrity and commitment in resolving the crisis. The consistency in the Tibet's demand is well known and crystal clear, as many world leaders and governments stressed China to pursue serious talks with the Tibetan to resolve the issues. Even some of the Chinese intellectuals and dissidents acknowledged that Middle Way approach of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the right path to resolve the long standing disputes, which is considered mutually beneficial to the Tibetans and Chinese.

Over the years, China continues to rigorously claim that they are merely discussing on the status of the Dalai Lama. Whereas, Tibetans responded that the dialogue should be focus on the wellbeing of 6 million Tibetans, who are suffering under the regime. The wide gap of misunderstanding was purposefully created by the Chinese leaders to delay the process of resolving the unsettled disputes and projecting themselves as the master of deciding the fate of Tibetans. This create a clashes of objectivity, which is construable enough to lead no way of progress. Thereby, it is not grounded on a common ground and became a strain in Sino-Tibet dialogue. In the international forum, many observers and political scientists contemplated that the iron curtain remains tightly ever in Tibet and the future status of Tibet is at bleak.

In order to pursue further dialogue, it is important to analyze the holistic picture of Sino-Tibet dialogue and understand the depth and corners of Chinese negotiation tactics. It is equally important for the Tibetans, Chinese and the International communities to understand the truth about the idiosyncratic Chinese negotiation tricks, which are malign and incongruous at its core.

While looking at the successive Chinese leaders, their cultures and morality had natured them to be shrewd leaders. Whether their policies were by choice or by compulsion, is an another issue for discussion.

Different aspects of Chinese Negotiation tactics:

Politically speaking, for centuries, China learnt how to negotiate with other states, who were constant threats to the emperors, like Tibet, Mongols, Manchus and others. Their aged-old civilization and culture played a dominant role in performing their negotiation tactics. Even in the 21st century, China still walks along with those old tactics, which runs deep in their blood.

Confucianism, Taoism and Sun Tzu’s art of war were the very foundation of Chinese negotiation tactics. In fact, the hierarchy of Chinese social system in connotation with culture and morality were depicted in Confucius ideology. Confucius and Lao Tsu showed morality, which are the exponents of Chinese negotiating techniques, as both project means of finding the way rather than finding the truth. Such morality seeks the way between yin (passive) and yang (active) forces.1 China is adamant in pursuing their goals without taking care much about the means. In the spirit of their traditional doctrines, China follows by promoting lies and deceit to fulfill their purpose, if necessary. Many of such tactics were used for military purpose as was perfectly represented in Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

During Mao’s rule, the so called ‘Great proletarian cultural revolution’ nearly destroyed the very existence of its aged old Confucius doctrine, Taoism and Buddhism, which were considered the basic foundation of Chinese tradition and belief. Cultural Revolution had devastated almost entirety of their cultures, which were of huge loss to the nation. China, since then suffered a major lapse in their cultural predominance. Despite Mao’s strict demurral on old cultures, it is evident that Mao Zedong, in contrary was survived by the old culture. As loyalty to the superior is the basic principle of Confucianism, Red Guards and other hard core Communist elements followed the heavenly mandate of Mao Zedong to eliminate their own ancestral culture.

Over the years, China worked to revive the old traditions and cultures. Even a giant Statue of Confucius was recently erected in the east of Tiananmen Square, Beijing, along with the portrait of Mao Zedong. The survival of Confucius doctrine helps the Chinese communist regime in both domestic and international politics. The Chinese government is rigorously engaged in establishing various Confucius schools and institutions internationally.

Prior to the Cultural Revolution, the colonial era of 19 Century had blemished the Chinese civilization into a darkest age and was recognized as the ‘century of Humiliation’. Interestingly, China was not a nation-state at that time, which was ruled by different chieftains and warlords. Later, during the post colonization era, China wakes up to pursue their acts of colonization, in the name of reunification of motherland and of liberation from the imperialist powers. The sense of nationalism grew stronger in retaining the glorious history of the past. With their shrewd strategy and strong military back up, China succeeded in occupying Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and East Turkestan.

As for Tibet, China introduced various strategic tactics to integrate Tibet. Mao Zedong’s ‘gradualism’ policy in Tibet during the earliest phase of Chinese occupation was soon followed by the use of force against the Tibetan. The Chinese government forced the Tibetan government to sign the ’17 Point Agreement’ in Beijing. Ngabo, the Chief of Tibetan delegation, sold Tibet and took refuged in China with palatial lifestyle. But the whole Tibet sunk deep into trauma, which led His Holiness the Dalai Lama to escape to India in 1959. Later, the evolution of Cultural revolution stood against the ‘Four Olds’ and destroyed the Tibetan culture to a near death tragedy.

1) Tiger in Sheep’s Skin: Means of Expansionism

In 1949, the Chinese Communist Party established People’s Republic of China (PRC) after their victorious battle against Kuomintang. Soon after the inception of PRC, The Foreign Office of independent Tibet Government wrote to Mao Zedong requesting the new government to respect the territorial integrity of Tibet. At the same time, Tibetan Government appealed Britain and United States to help secure United Nations membership to Tibet. But, great powers failed to help Tibet, simply on two possible reasons, which were non interest base; or to contend the Soviet base. China ultimately took advantage of the foreign noninterference in Tibet matter, by using ‘Liberation’ to occupy Tibet oppressively. Radio Peking announced that Tibet will be reintegrated into Mainland China and liberate from Anglo-American Imperialism. The Tibet Government based in Lhasa became alert and make a swift change in their eastern command, sending army chief, Ngabo Ngawang Jigme as the Governor General of Chamdo. 40,000 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) infiltrated into Tibet and captured the eastern guard. Ngabo was imprisoned. A year later, Ngabo led a Tibetan delegation to Peking and were forced to sign the ’17 Point Agreement’ where the Chinese representative gave ultimatum: either the Tibetans accept the Chinese demand or PLA would march into Tibet. When the democratic reform was setup in Tibet, many Chinese PLAs and volunteers were sent to Tibet.2 It was Mao’s idea to infiltrate slowly into the Tibetan system, by introducing strict code of conducts for the PLAs to work in Tibet.

Mao Zedong once said, ‘you’ve got to something or you will fall for anything’. Mao knew that If China was not successful in occupying Tibet, their dream of expanding to the far west would be impossible. China took every steps to hold the political power of Tibet, but with certain degree of cautiousness. The territorial expansionism was the main objective of China at that time. Mao Tsetung even declared Tibet as palm and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and North East Frontier Association (NEFA) as five fingers.3

17 Point Agreement, regarded first of its kind in the history of Communist China became a success story for Chinese negotiation, where they pursued both by forces and diplomacy. Subsequently, Sino-Indian pact of Panchsheel ‘Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence’ was signed, which is also considered a major step forward in the Chinese foreign policy.4

2) Deceiving with thousand lies: Hardcore strategy

In context with both foreign and domestic agendas of China, Mao Zedong and all the successive leaders of Communist China continue to measure the success of their power through nonfactual propagation of distorted history. They are the hardcore followers and the champion of lies, whereby strictly following the mantra of Joseph Goebbels, once famous for his propaganda quotes used by Hitler during Nazi rule. China submitted themselves and remain succumb to his famous quote ‘A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth’.

Currently, China enjoys the virtue of telling lies not only to the people of China but also to all other countries. In fact, they believe that lies told thousand times will become a truth. China’s untold hidden truth and their seriousness in promoting lies to gain their popularity will be tested and challenged in the future, thus becoming an achilles’ heel for the collapse of Communist China. Lies will ultimately become an indisputable force to challenge China to rise higher.

Goebbels once said the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie and the state should use all of its power to repress dissent, whereby truth is the great enemy of the state. China did listen to Goebbels and walks along the path, which he had shown. The Chinese Communist regime is a system, which lies under the totality of deception, which shall break apart, when they run out of their options to crush the truth. As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Truth alone will endure; all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time’.

China had distorted Tibetan history many times by claiming that Tibet was a part of China since 7th Century.5 Then, after exile Tibetan Government challenged them, they stepped down and claimed Tibet as an integral part of China since 13th Century. Sometime, they asserted that Tibet was a part of China since time immemorial. There is no such factual evidence for the Chinese to proof that Tibet was a part of China.

Secondly, after 9/11 incident, with the world attention focussed on anti terrorism, China started labeling Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the largest Tibetan nongovernmental organization as the terrorist organization. Even recently, when Dr. Lobsang Sangay, a harvard law doctorate, and a former executive member of TYC, was elected as the prime minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile, China left no stone unturned by viciously accusing him of a terrorist background. Such Chinese’s derogatory remarks becomes a laughingstock of the world community. TYC’s actions for decades are evident of the fact that they are following nonviolent movement.

Thirdly, Communist China rigorously push their legitimate right of selecting the Dalai Lama. The matter has been in the surface for over a decade, when they realized that the present Dalai Lama is aging. It is quite an irony that China slanderously and incessantly called him in many synonymous names like, a splittist, wolf in a monk’s robe, devil with a human face, and what not. But still wants to hold their legitimacy over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. His Holiness himself, said many times that he will be born elsewhere in the free world, if Tibet issues remain unsolved. Their theory of Golden Urn does not give any credibility to China in selecting the next Dalai Lama. On top of that, the unreligious Communist Party of China, who believes that the Religion is poison, do not have any role to play in the religious matter of Tibet.

Repression in Tibet for the last six decades is traumatic and unbearable, but the Tibetans believe that they have a historical truth and shall prevail over China’s lies in the near future.

3) Carrot and Stick: treacherous act

China is deliberately playing a dubious game of manipulating their stands on Tibet. In 1979, When Deng Xiaoping initiated the Tibet talk, he said that anything other than Independence can be discussed. After that, some fact finding delegations visited Tibet and China in the following years. But when the talk resumes, China insist of talking about the status of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The talk on Tibet’s problem was not at all in the Chinese agenda. In response to the Chinese demands, His Holiness the Dalai Lama raised Five Point Peace Plan for resolving Tibet issues at U.S. Congressional Caucus, followed by the Strasbourg Proposal in 1988.

On 6 July 2000, the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution calling on "the governments of the Member States to give serious consideration to the possibility of recognizing the Tibetan Government in exile as the legitimate representative of the Tibetan people if, within three years, the Beijing authorities and the Tibetan government in exile have not signed an agreement on a new Statute for Tibet, through negotiations organized under the aegis of the Secretary-General of the United Nations". This had created an international pressure on China to act accordingly with the European Parliament Resolution, which would end in July 2003. China was caught in a catch 22 situation, where if they reject the resolution, it would be a colossal damage to the Chinese sides, considering their economic and diplomatic ties. In 2002, China restarted the dialogue process but not with the true intention of solving the crisis, rather believed to be a mere presentation of their dubious political will to the international communities. After the talk started, the EP resolution automatically ceased to validate their possibility of recognizing TGiE as the legitimate representative of the Tibetan people.

Since then, the dialogue process continued between the Special Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government officials. But in 2008, two rounds of talks were held, unlike previous talks, which happened to be held once a year, due to the various factors. The mass movement in Tibet and the Beijing Olympics were the two prime reason to initiate two separate talks in 2008. China feared that the Tibetan movement will sabotage the Beijing Game, which the Chinese Government considered an entry to the world power. The disturbances in the worldwide Olympic torch relay, the massive uprising inside Tibet and the international pressure on China, were some of the fears that makes the Chinese top brass leaders to conclude two meetings. Even some tries to project a similarity between Beijing and Berlin Olympics of 1936, which was an another worrisome for the Chinese image. Eventually, China managed to have a world class show at Beijing Olympics. But the Special Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was doubtful of Chinese sincerity in talks during that time.6 The last talk was held on January 2010 and more than a year had passed without much progress.

4) Barrel of Gun: An Outdated Option

Power politics during Mao Zedong’s time belongs to the barrel of gun, as he witnessed both the world wars, which were the bloodiest of its kind in the recorded human existence. Even though, it sheds blood, and disturbance the existence of peace and tranquility, Mao was fascinated by the barrel of a gun and had no sense of guilty for sacrificing people.7 Thus, became a legacy of being the world’s greatest mass murderer.8

Taoism and Sun Tzu’s tactic of military had immensely influenced Mao to implement his vicious ambition of occupying adjacent nations. Mao’s military command of offensive and defensive tactic was widely successful. As famously quoted, Mao said, ‘The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue’. Mao Zedong pursued the policy of assimilation in Tibet as he believed that extermination of minorities shall bring victorious to Han nationality.

Not only Mao, Deng Xiaoping was also famous for his saying, ‘It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.’ He was a military and political strategist, who helped China opened their doors to the outside world. Deng Xiaoping understood that Tibet problem if remains long, will create not only embarrassment to the Chinese government but also will remain as a serious challenge to the Communist Government, which could also trigger the collapse of Communist Party. So, he initiated some dialogues with the Dalai Lama for several years. But, China realized that it is hard to negotiate with the Tibetan Government in Diaspora, due to certain issues. Those issues are prescribed as the conditions for the negotiation, which is to recognize Tibet as historically a part of China. When the things didn’t go well in accordance with them, China launched various attacks and accusations in defaming His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan freedom struggle. Whenever the protests happened in Tibet, China was quick in cracking down the demonstration by using forces. China believes that bringing physical and psychological torture will ultimately shun the movement. But they are wrong, such torture brings more hatred among the Tibetans toward China. Tibetans become resilient of such extreme tortures, which they had bared for six decades and had become more nationalistic.

For China, Tibet becomes a Pandora's box. Their interference in Tibet issues is getting costlier as it has a huge tendency for China to break into different nationalities. Therefore, China is extremely sensitive about Tibet issues and did not want to open the chapter for negotiation. China at present is playing a very crucial waiting game and is hoping that the demise of the Dalai Lama will pave a way to an end of Tibetan problem. In a contrary, Chinese Intellectual Wang Lixiong warned that Tibet will yet again see the unrest, which is much larger than that of 2008.9 China vows to stand fighting till the end when whole Tibet rose in unison for freedom in 2008. With their violent forces, they managed to crush the demonstration, by virtually putting Tibet under Marshal Law. Mahatma Gandhi, with his own experiences of Indian freedom struggle had experimented that, ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ The prophetic message of Mahatma Gandhi indicates that the end of the Chinese oppression in Tibet will end soon.

Confucius once said, ‘Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself,’ While in the present era of China promoting Confucianism worldwide, must know the values and the teaching of Confucius. China need to implement such moral principles responsibly. Otherwise, it will be considered just an another act of their cultural expansionism throughout the world. The time has reaped for the China to be truthful to themselves and to the world. Thus, will help gain international respect. Last but not the least, the Chinese leaders have to redress their factious and egotistic policies in pursue of real harmonious society.


  1. The Chinese Negotiation by John L. Graham and N. Mark Lam, Harvard Business Review
  2. http://www.freetibet.org/about/china-tibet-chronology-leading-17-point-agreement
  3. Five Fingers of Tibet, by AjoyChatterjee, www.newstribune.com
  4. Speech by Wen Jiabao Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China At Rally Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence
  5. Tibet -- Its Ownership And Human Rights Situation
  6. Dalai Lama Envoy Says Olympics Limit China Talks, 05 July 2008, VOA
  7. The Communists As They Really Are
  8. The legacy of Mao Zedong is Mass Murder, by Dr. Lee Edwards, heritage.org
  9. The Fire next time in Tibet by Wang Lixiong, Newsweek

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