International experts, China observers and advocacy groups review China’s colonialism in Tibet, East Turkistan and Southern Mongolia
Guest report by Vijay Kranti
NEW DELHI, DHARAMSHALA, WASHINGTON DC, BERN, SINGAPORE, Feb. 15: While people of Tibet and other colonies of China are struggling for freedom of their countries from Chinese occupation, their struggle is also aimed at ensuring national security of countries surrounding China, especially for India, and peace for the rest of world from a belligerent China. This was a common observation of experts and advocacy groups who shared a common platform to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the ‘Declaration of Independence of Tibet’ by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1913.
The webinar was organized jointly by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) on the evening of Monday 13th February. The experts who presented their perspectives were Mr. Bhuchung Tsering, Interim President of International Campaign for Tibet who participated from Washington DC; Dr. Uwe Meha member of the Board of Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association GSTF who participated from Switzerland; Ms. Youdon Aukatsang, Member of Tibetan Parliament who participated from Singapore; Ms. Tenzyin Zochbauer, Executive Director of Tibet Initiative Deutschland (TID) who participated from Berlin; and Gonpo Dhundup, President TYC who joined in from Dharamshala.
Bhuchung Tsering dwelt upon all the five points emphasized by the 13th Dalai Lama in his Declaration. He said that the Declaration not only reiterated the independent status of Tibet but it also presented a much larger vision of the Dalai Lama about the future of Tibet. “While the point-4 declared that Tibet had regained its independence after a short spell of Manchu army’s invasion of Tibet, points-1 and 2 emphasized over preserving and promotion of Tibetan national identity. Similarly points-3 and 5 explained how the Tibetan officials should govern Tibet and work for social welfare of Tibetan masses”, he said.
He said the historic declaration of 1913 becomes far more significant when considered along with the Shimla Agreement between Tibet and British India and his 1932 prophecy about future of Tibet. During the Shimla convention between Tibet, China and British India the representatives of China refused to sign the treaty because Tibet had raised the issue of those areas of Eastern Tibet which China had occupied and Tibet demanded their return. In his 1932 prophecy the 13th Dalai Lama had warned the people of Tibet about the lurking danger from the Chinese communists and carelessness of Tibetan officials about governance and the national interests.
Dr. Uwe Meya in his presentation underlined the danger of world community borrowing the Chinese narrative on Tibet without examining or challenging it. He said, “In the media, and also in political debates, ‘Tibet’ is mostly referred to, if at all, as ‘TAR’. Even worse, many media use official Chinese language when reporting on Tibet and just call it ‘a region in southwestern China’. They are unaware that with this, they implicitly and unknowingly acknowledge that Tibet has been part of China for all the time. Moving to politics, we notice that most governments now do not challenge China’s “one-China” standpoint and thereby fall into the trap of accepting to treat Tibet as China’s “internal affair” and thereby weakening the Tibetan position in negotiations. Moreover, Beijing uses these statements as ‘evidence’ for its claim and uses the international community’s statements as substitute for legitimacy to rule over Tibet. The other trap that the Western world – politicians, the media and general public – falls into is calling the Tibetans a ‘minority’ and using euphemisms such as ‘the Tibet issue’. We must realize that Tibetans were made a minority only by the Chinese occupation.”
Ms. Youdon Aukatsang reminded the people that when the 13th Dalai Lama declared Tibet’s independence it was after defeating the Manchu army which was not ‘Chinese’. She said that over the history the relations between the Manchu kings and Tibet were of patron and the priest and did not mean that the Manchus were the rulers of Tibet. This simply means that this was a friendly relation. Giving modern example of Bhutan and India relations she said that although Bhutan is a protectorate of India but both countries respect each other as independent countries. She said although China claims that it ‘liberated’ Tibet but the reality is that Tibet is an occupied country.
Ms. Tenzing Zochbauer said that this day would be celebrated in the best way if the Tibetans use it to counter the Chinese propaganda and inform the world that Tibet was never a part of China. She emphasized the need of educating and training the young Tibetan generation about the true history of Tibet. She spoke about the campaign of her organization TID which has been successful in enrolling more than 450 German city councils to hoist Tibetan flag on their office buildings every year on 10th March. She said that Tibetans and Tibet supporters are working towards a day when the flag of free Tibet will be hoisted on Potala palace and the Dalia Lama will return to a free and independent Tibet.
Gonpo Dondup in his presentation and his vote of thanks said, “TYC and all Tibetans are celebrating this historic day which very clearly underlines that Tibet has been always an independent country and that the Chinese occupation of Tibet is illegal. China is using its propaganda machinery to establish a false narrative in the international discourse against the truth of independent status of Tibet. It is therefore the duty of every Tibetan, whether in exile or those living under the colonial occupation of Tibet, to fight back this Chinese propaganda. While people of Tibet are struggling for a Free-Tibet they are actually fighting for the national security of India and other countries surrounding China and also for the restoration of peace for the rest of world.”, he said.
Readers interested in watching full video report of this webinar can connect to CHASE YouTube link : https://www.youtube.com/@chase-himalaya
Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagemetn (CHASE) : +91-98102 45674 email@example.com
Tibetans must not believe that independence is not possible. This narrative has been hammered for the last forty years and now many Tibetan exiles especially those who are politically naive and ignorant of liberation movements and history of the fall of empires and regimes are the most vulnerable to this indoctrination. There is no country on earth which doesn’t face bifurcation and separatists movements. We saw Sri Lanka going through a twenty year civil war with Tamil Elam movement. India still has not yet completely settled the Naga issue. The Khalistanis are still around and of course there is the insurgency in Kashmir.
Even tiny Nepal has faced three Madhes Movements when the then seven party-alliance of the mainstream political parties and the CPN-Maoist jointly announced the interim constitution of Nepal in 2007, they totally ignored the concept of federalism, the most aspired political agenda of the Madhesis, who are the most marginalised people bordering Terai region of India. The mass movement brought ethno-nationalism as a crucial issue in national discourse of restructuring the Nepali State. Their movement was successful in constitutional recognition, equal representation and even political power to a certain degree.
Bhutan had the same trouble with Nepali emigrants unwilling to assimilate with the Bhutanese population and wanting to retain their identity. This let the Bhutanese Government to expel Nepalis of Bhutanese origin who took shelter in neighbouring Nepal and finally settled in America. Pakistan has the Baluchistan Liberation Front which claims it was never part of Pakistan.
Unlike the Nepal and Bhutan episodes, Tibet was a nation which has a long proud history of empire which was so powerful, it conquered parts of China and installed a puppet regime in Xian, the old capital of China. The Chinese emperor had to offer his daughter in matrimony to the Tibetan emperor Songtsen Gampo to buy peace and Nepal did the same!
On the international stage, most of African countries were colonies of European colonisers who achieved independence in the 1960s. India itself in 1947. All empires are not static that remains forever. Every thing finally degenerates and falls apart. As it were the Communist regime is destined to disintegrate sooner or later. George Soros, the Hungarian philanthropist has predicted today and he is not alone saying, if Russia loses the war in Ukraine, Russia will also splinter as the ethnic groups will take advantage of the weak and demoralised Russian army. Communist China will collapse just like the erstwhile Soviet Union. It may look strong with its military build up but it’s internally wrecked by corruption, nepotism, abuse of power which have alienated its compliant population. The white paper movement and now the white hair (pensioners) movement are becoming more brazen than we have ever seen before! The population has CCP fatigue and has no more the respect and fear they once commanded. The white haired pensioners are calling the CCP reactionary and anti-people during their protest!!! These were the red-guards when they were young teenagers during the cultural revolution 1966-1976. They know all the tricks of the CCP! Today they are up in arms because their pensions have been cut and they can’t live with such a pittance! Such internal insurrections are corrosive and this will finally lead to the fall of the CCP. Like Chechens in Russia will use the opportunity to declare independence, Tibetans should be ready for an armed struggle to regain our independence when the Chinese communist Party falls and China disintegrates like the erstwhile Soviet Union!
@ vijay kranti,
When you mention Tibet, do you mean Central Tibet only, in the manner of Western governments? US Reciprocal Access Bill has defined Tibet as Tibet Autonomous Region only.
According to Western governments, Tibet means only Central Tibet, or Utsang, or Tibety Autonomous Region. Kham and Amdo regions beyond the river is considered Chinese territory.
we have to petition the governments to include Kham and Amdo in the defination of Tibet. We have foolishly supported US reciprocal access to Tibet bill, and recent bill, but nobody questioned the meaning of Tibet.
we have to tell US government to stop passing useless bills unless ‘ Tibet’ is redefined as the whole big tibet. Maybe a bill has to be passed in Congress to include east of Tibet.
But it is very strange CTA or any writers or SFT protestors appear to be concerned about this big elephant in the room. We are being fooled both left and right – america from one side and China from the other.
Look at how the Crimea situation ends up in Ukraine.