News and Views on Tibet

Opinion: Old tricks-Same culprit, China’s renaming places in Arunachal

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Illustration/First Post

by Novanita Sharma

This is in response to the reports of the unauthorised renaming of 11 places situated inside Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh by Chinese government recently. According to news released through Global Times, a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) mouthpiece, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs announced standardized Chinese names of 11 places in Zangnan, the Southern part of China’s Xizang), in accordance to regulations on geographical names issued by the State Council, China’s cabinet.

 Zangnan is the Chinese name given to Arunachal Pradesh, the eastern most frontier state of India where India shares its border with Tibet (forcefully occupied by Communist China). This is the third batch of unauthorised Chinese names released by the ministry. The first batch of names had included six places in Arunachal Pradesh, was released in 2017 and the second batch included 15 names was released in 2021.

The Communist Chinese regime have violated the sanctity of the international border between its occupied territory in Tibet and the Indian side at Arunachal Pradesh in various ways, given to their evil motives of regional expansionism and illegal hegemony over the transnational river water of the Yarlung Tsango-Siang-Brahmaputra River systems.

 At the same time, it clearly reflects the growing restlessness of the current communist regime to contain its own internal failings with such distractions. CCP is facing imminent threats from shaky internal security due to rising angst amongst the Chinese nationals towards the corrupt and impotent government which is crumbling under post Covid-19 economic sanctions and growing worldwide criticism for its repressive policies and abject human rights violations in all occupied territories including Tibet.

The communist Chinese leadership fails to comprehend the fact that they make the biggest fools out of themselves by indulging in such foolhardy decisions like unauthorised naming of places belonging to the sovereign democratic state of India. Their age-old policy of psychological subjugation has lost its desired impact in this era of information overdose.

 It is needless to state the historical facts validating the repeated attempts of CCP think tank to psychologically occupy the mindscape of Indians residing in the frontier states like Arunachal Pradesh with such pressure tactics and further incite unrest in India through its covert India-disintegration campaigns which will be carried forward by the China-compatriots of our country.

But, this old game of CCP is outdated now; Indian citizens, Indian leaders as well as the world leaders are aware of history and the current situations to get fooled by these tactics anymore. Lian Xiangmin, an expert with the China Tibetology Research Center in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that it is part of a national effort to standardize the management of place names. The places have existed for hundreds of years.

Well, this China grown expert have failed to consider the truth about the non-existence of the Chinese territory beyond the Great Wall of China in ancient times and the Southwestern boundary of Republic of China (1912-1949) was bound by sovereign Tibet.

The People’s Republic of China arrived at India’s doorsteps in 1959, after the forceful annexation of Tibet by communist China. The wide expanse of Eastern Himalayas known as Arunachal Pradesh existed for 100 of years in an inseparable ecological continuum of Yarlung Tsangpo-Siang-Brahmaputra River basin, there has been no connection geographic and ecological with China whatsoever.

 The false claims of the present communist Chinese government over this territory asserted through such propagandist campaigns simply indicates the long-term plans of ecological and political exploitation of this region by CCP in future. Communist China has built its economic boom depending upon stolen resources of its forcefully occupied / semi-occupied territories.

Tibet is its jackpot in this regard; laden with rich mineral deposits and the source of major glacier fed Himalayan rivers of Asia, the Tibetan plateau has been subjected to rampant destruction and resource exploitation since 1959.

With Chinese rivers devastated due to river-linking and transfer of water to the industrial Northern parts of China, the government is left with no choice but steal the water of transnational rivers like Yarlung Tsango which flows down to enter Arunachal Pradesh as the Siang River and the Brahmaputra River in Assam.

This river is the lifeline of the downstream people of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Bangladesh.

 The false claims of CCP over land, rivers and mountains of Arunachal Pradesh validates its intentions of jeopardising the use of Yarlung Tsangpo river in Tibet through mega damming and future transfer of water of this river to the dry northern China.

The second batch of names which included 15 places was issued in 2021 in Global Times had reported Chinese expert’s comparison with the first batch, the ministry covered more places this time, including residential areas, rivers, and mountain passes. Among the official names of the 15 places, which were given precise coordinates, eight are residential areas, four are mountains, two are rivers and one is a mountain pass. The eight residential places in the second batch are Sêngkêzong and Daglungzong in Cona County of Shannan Prefecture, Mani’gang, Duding and Migpain in Medog County of Nyingchi, Goling, Damba in Zayu County of Nyingchi, and Mêjag in Lhunze County of Shannan Prefecture.

The four mountains are Wamo Ri, Dêu Ri, Lhünzhub Ri and Kunmingxingzê Feng. The two rivers are Xênyogmo He and Dulain He, and the mountain pass is named Sê La, in Cona County.

With undisclosed reports of major Chinese activity in the Medog country where Yarlung Tsangpo enters Arunachal Pradesh at the Great Bend also known as the Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon seems like a striking coincidence with this second batch of unauthorised renaming of places belonging to the Medog country (known as the holy Pemako land to Tibetans) by the Chinese government.

This regional bullying of communist China is not just a political gesture, it has deeper implications of ecological catastrophe in this part of Asia due to the exploitation of Yarlung Tsangpo by communist China at the cost of millions of lives and civilizations dependent on the Yarlung Tsangpo-Siang-Brahmaputra River basin.

The recent news in Global Times issued the official Chinese names of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh includes two land areas, two residential areas, five mountain peaks and two rivers, and listed the category of places names and their subordinate administrative districts.

 While communist China works unhindered on its agenda of regional expansionism, destabilizing of India’s integration and ecological exploitation of our rivers, mountains, and ecosystems we must rise to realise the imminent threats from this regime to the very survival of the Siang-Brahmaputra civilization in future.

India’s most beautiful and natural resources rich Northeast India is always facing this threat from China. Our civilizations will not survive if we cannot save our rivers, our mountains, and our forests from catastrophe in the hands of communist China, and the only resort is to set Tibet free from this exploitative rule of communist China.

Indians must awake to this realization and come out to strengthen the Tibetan freedom movement in a definitive magnitude. China was never our neighbour and the illegal occupation of Tibet by People’s Republic of China does not change this historical reality. India and Tibet existed in a rare confluence of culture and civilization since ancient times.

 The ancient Indian tradition of Buddha Dharma which lit many Asian civilizations to its zenith also enriched the great Chinese civilization since the 2nd century BCE, Buddhism still continues to be the largest institutionalised religion in Mainland China. In a way India ruled the entire Asia with this ancient knowledge of Buddha Dharma, the Chinese civilization owe a lot to India in this regard.

The rise of communism has been the greatest threat to the rich culture and civilization of China till date. The present communist regime of China is a threat to peace and stability in entire world and India has a greater role to play in deciding the future course of our world. This is high time for Indian citizens to extend unequivocal support to the Tibetan freedom movement, independence of Tibet is peace for India.

The future of NE states of India depends on our ability to rescue the Yarlung Tsangpo-Siang-Brahmaputra River systems from the Chinese design of exploitation.Free Tibet-a voice from Assam, a people’s forum based in Assam is raising a civil society movement supporting complete freedom of Tibet from communist Chinese rule.

This includes a river conservation campaign, ‘Save Tsangpo-Siang-Brahmaputra’ river systems which is of national and international significance. This is perhaps the boldest voice of downstream people against the Chinese exploitation of transboundary river system like Yarlung Tsangpo-Siang-Brahmaputra.

This voice needs to grow louder, this movement of NE India should rightfully become a national movement for all Indians. The Tibetan freedom movement is an Indian cause. The megalomaniac communist Chinese leaders must hear our voice, we do not sit as mute spectators of their trespassing. We exert our strength, our resistance to such unauthorised interference in our territory in all forms-be it military, psychological, or diplomatic. Victory to Tibet, Victory to India.

(Views expressed are her own)

The author is an environment activist and writer based in Guwahati. Send your response to

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