Monday, August 25, 2014


The forum on the development of Tibet is held
in Lhasa on 12 August 2014. (Xinhua/Liu Kun)
By Tenzin Lekshay

Series of programs and activities are happening these days in Lhasa under the initiative of PRC government to present and promote Tibet as a sanctuary of Peace and Harmony. After the recently concluded "2014 Forum on the Development of Tibet, China," the Lhasa Consensus was adopted. PRC sympathizers like N. Ram and others were invited to speak in favour of PRC's policies inside Tibet, slammed His Holiness the Dalai Lama and espoused the Lhasa Consensus. For them, it was a usual business of patronizing PRC and a red carpet picnicking in Lhasa. China feels that they shove their propaganda to the new height by letting foreigners to judge what is happening inside Tibet. Is propaganda really necessary if China really works in favour of Tibet? Will this helps China to tighten their iron grip over Tibet? Will China open Tibet to all the foreigners and Medias?  And above all, who should really decide the fate of Tibet, PRC; Foreigners; and Tibetans? With such questions, the credibility of Lhasa Consensus needs to check whether they have done justice to Tibet or else merely fulfill the objectivity of Chinese propaganda.

Referendum Is Needed:

PLA patrolling the streets of Lhasa (AFP/Getty Images)
After the partial liberalization of China in the late 1970s, doors to Tibet were narrowly opened to the world. With this effect, culminated along with the go west policies of China, many Chinese moved and settled in Tibet, making it just another city of opportunity for the mainlanders. But, for Tibet, the toils are taken in terms of culture, identity and environment. Despite economic growth, high rise buildings, model villages and high ways, the monumental and historic charms of Tibet vanished with the fast track intrusion of Chinese settlers and the PRC's ill-will policies on Tibet.  However, if Lhasa Consensus is as true to the foreigners judgmental, and to validate it, it is of utmost importance for the PRC government to initiate a referendum amongst the Tibetan people who are living in Tibet. The referendum will factually tell whether the ordinary people in Tibet are satisfied with their well-off lives, good education, sound medical care, housing and various securities.  It will also help understand whether Tibetan cultural and religious freedoms are being guaranteed and the ecology and environments of Tibet are being preserved.

Foreign Views outdo Tibetans:

Late Panchen Rinpoche in during the struggle session
Since the Chinese occupation, Tibetan people have consistently raised Tibet issue and grievances to the Chinese leaders. Late Panchen Rinpoche's 70 thousand Characters petition of 1962 was a classic example, which was not only contempt but also remained secretive.  Panchen Lama was even rusticated from his official position and remained in prison for more than a decade.  Many major uprisings and demonstrations happened in Tibet over the years repeatedly called for freedom. In 2008, we have witnessed a nationwide uprising inside Tibet, which was brutally crushed. Since 2009, series of self immolations in the form of protest happened in Tibet, but China pretends that all is still well in Tibet. The iron curtain inside Tibet must be removed and the wishes of the Tibetans must be fulfilled. In doing so, Chinese leaders must listen to the Tibetan and engage in a more progressive attitude, rather than showing prejudice by implementing discriminative policies towards Tibetan.  If Chinese government seriously takes the view of foreigners on the Tibet issue, as indicated in the Lhasa Consensus, then China must allow all foreigners including International organizations and government bodies to visit, observe and witness Tibet. They must also then allow foreign Medias to report on Tibet without any restrictions.

Propaganda Vs. Reality

A Chinese national flag in front of
Potala Palace in Lhasa (Xinhua/Chogo)
After ascending to power, Xi Jinping is gradually showing his characterless attitude towards Tibet, which somehow stands similar to the decades old policies of discrimination as implemented by the previous leaders. For the Chinese leaders, reality inside Tibet taste bitter and they also know that accepting Tibetan people's grievance can solve the long pending problem. But, the arrogance of Chinese leaders and the lack of political-will procrastinated the whole process of development.  Lately, China is busy sugar-coating Tibet with development theme, presenting Potala Palace as the generic backdrop.

The propaganda machinery of China is once again awakened and has been actively engaged in propagating lies about Tibet. Though one cannot deny the fact that roads and buildings were constructed in Tibet, but the influx of Chinese inside Tibet have virtually marginalize Tibetan culture, traditions, language, religion and way of living. There is a clear and present danger to the Tibetan identity. The repressive policies inside Tibet curtail the overall growth of Tibetans, which aimed to enhance the national integration under the strict regulation of unity and stability.

What do we expect then?
China is resorting to all her resources to show that Tibet at present is different from what His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the exile Tibetan administration says. China is also complaining the western Medias, accusing of being biased and distorting facts. It is shameful that the Chinese leaders are still not ready to accept the fact that Tibetans enjoy no freedom inside Tibet. It may be because of the complexity of understanding identity and nationalities, which play a significant role as Han Majority feels superior to other 55 nationalities. This somehow make Chinese leaders to neglect the views of Tibetans who are considered as subordinates and inferior. This leads to a misunderstanding of the Tibet issue in the mindset of the Chinese leaders.

China relies on selective foreigners to decide the fate of Tibetans inside Tibet. In the recent conference, China applauded Lhasa Consensus, but again it fails to impress the world as China maneuver it for their political leverages. One of the participants, Sir Bob Parker from New Zealand, disassociated himself from the Lhasa Consensus and says that a number of people who attended the Conference were little surprise to hear about that statement.

Over the years, China invited selective foreign Medias and foreign delegations to visit Tibet. The main intention of organizing scripted tours are to influence the mindset of the general public on Tibet. In doing so, China prefers to march forward with historical lies of claiming Tibet as a part of dynastic China for centuries. They believe that such lies, if tell thousand times, would one day become truth.

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