A Dialogue on Middle Way Vs. Middle Kingdom
TibetNet[Saturday, August 05, 2006 18:25]
Dharamshala - "Although domination hinges upon (people's) cooperation, the Tibetan people exude a keen sense of identity and an indomitable spirit of (non-violent) resistance, even in the face of most extreme circumstances. However, the Tibetan people must get their acts together," that's how a visiting scholar-couple from Hong Kong observed, in their many trips to Tibet.

Drawing a leaf out of Hong Kong's experience, the experts on the Chinese constitution and non-violent resistance, believed that the freedom of speech is the ultimate shield for the protection of constitutional, or negotiated, rights and freedoms of the people, especially at times when "the Chinese constitution does not mean what it says, or say what it means."

Just as the Hong Kongers did, by hitting the streets. "They usually get what they ask for, but asking here means asking effectively", the visiting scholars observed, during a dialogue on "The Middle-Way Approach vis-´čá-vis the Constitution of the People's Republic of China: Convergence and Divergence", with a thirty-odd senior Tibetan civil servants here this morning.

Negotiated settlements come but only with the leverage of people's power, the scholars noted. Whether the case in point is Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela, the ability to mobilise people power did all the magic in their struggle for freedom. "When people want it bad enough, they defend it, often with painful sacrifices."

However, what's sauce for the goose may not be sauce for the gander. Due to a host of factors, from the non-violent nature of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama's struggle, to the height of Chinese control over life inside Tibet, although the Tibetan struggle may appear less aggressive, at least on the surface, the scholars had no qualms over where the absolute fealty of Tibetan hearts and minds is reposited.

Events in the recent past, like the exodus of Tibetans towards the Ku-bum monastery in Amdo and the mass burning of apparels adorned with animal skins, have demonstrated the level of His Holiness' mandate beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt. "Those were the typical Tibetan ways of expressing their identity, couched in a spiritual wrapping," as one participant put it, "the spiritual expressions of a spiritual people."

The visiting scholars lauded the sagacity of the exile Tibetan administration's China periscope, which sees the Chinese people as a jumbled mix of both hawks and doves, instead of a giant monolith. "However, when it comes to the perceived threat to their sovereignty, the (so-called) hardliners have always prevailed over the (so-called) soft-liners," the scholars noted.

They also pointed out that the Tibetan people need to deepen their outreach into the Chinese mainstream. "The Chinese people must see the Tibet issue through the eyes and ears of a Tibetan."

(www.tibet.net is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.)