By Tenzin Nyidon
DHARAMSHALA, May 22: A keen China watcher and academician Dr. Jabin Thomas Jacob during a CTA-organised lecture series titled “China’s International and Domestic Affairs” at Lhakpa Tsering Memorial Hall on Monday said that the official stance of the exile Tibetan government, the ‘Middle Way Approach’, is destined to fail given its ask and relevance today against Xi Jinping’s China
While dissecting the policy, he described it as a sharp document and how it is uncompromising in many ways, especially on the matter of history. “It is destined to failure and I say this very bluntly because the Chinese will not accept the document. You can’t put conditions on Communist Party, Communist Party sees accepting conditions from the Tibetans or anybody else as a weakness. Those conditions are acceptable only if the Chinese were to propose them,” he said.
He said that the Middle-Way Approach isn’t treading a middle path or a moderate position rather it is extreme as the conditions laid in the policy are benefiting the Tibetans only and not China. “The party state sees it as a zero-sum and no win which is why China has an uncompromising clamp-ton on anything,” he added.
He also highlighted the stagnation of the proposal since its formulation and how it has not been reviewed with the CTA’s changing leadership over the years and remained constant over a period of time. He also emphasised the need to upgrade the Middle-Way Policy in Xi’s era rather than doing the same thing again and again in an expectation of a different result. He further elucidated the intimate linkage between Chinese domestic politics with its foreign policy, China as a party state and its different objectives from a regular state, and the need to challenge the very notion of China as a ‘civilisational state’.
Dr. Jabin Thomas Jacob is an Associate Professor at the International Relations and Governance Studies and the director of the Centre of Excellence for Himalayan Studies under the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shivnadir University, India and Adjunct Research Fellow at the National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi. He was formerly a Fellow and Assistant Director at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi and Associate Editor of the journal, China Report.
The Middle-Way Policy is a democratically adopted policy by the Tibetan government-in-exile, known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration. A total of nine rounds of Sino-Tibetan dialogue has taken place between 2002 to 2010.