Archives / November 28, 2016

Uprising in Tibet (March-April 2008)

  • Beijing stalls Tibet talks – November 9, 2008 (The Pioneer)
    The Dalai Lama has almost given up hope on securing a breakthrough with China on Tibet’s future status. This may delight the Chinese but their celebrations are bound to be short-lived. By failing to reach an accord, China has prepared the ground for strife.
  • Road to nowhere – September 8, 2008 (Book Review in The Tribune)
    Claude Arpi’s well researched and illuminating account of the failure of India’s diplomacy in its very backyard is a tribute to not only the author’s painstaking efforts at getting to the truth (which few Indian writers can be credited with as regards to writing on Tibet), but also marks a plus for the publishers who thought of bringing out this very instructive account. This study vividly points out that the peace-loving people like the Tibetans can no longer hope to remain in a Shangri-la of their own cut off from the prying eyes and their adventurous designs, and that to exist as an independent nation one must fine-tune not only its diplomacy but also be militarily strong enough to send out the right message.
  • China: What after the Games? – August 25, 2008 (
    The glittering function is over, and the Olympic Games declared closed. But as the last floodlights on the Olympic Stadium are switched off, an interesting question remains. What is the future of China? The leadership in Beijing would certainly have gone through an enriching experience. They would have learned the hard way that many across the world do not appreciate their lack of value for human rights and freedom or the way they treat ‘their nationalities’, in particular the Tibetans.Once the exacerbated nationalist wave within China dies down, the leadership in their paradisiacal enclave of Zhongnanhai will have to draw up a balance sheet and ponder on the future…
  • Father of modern Olympic spirit forgotten – August 5, 2008 (IANS)
    The Beijing Olympics are almost here, but not many remember Pierre de Coubertin, the French baron who restored the Olympic Games in 1896. The spirit with which the ancient Games were revived and Coubertin’s objectives seem to belong to a bygone era, though remembering the first steps of Olympism is inspiring. Coubertin was a man of exceptional talent; he was not only an organiser, a pedagogue, a historian, a sportsman, a writer, an aesthete, but also a visionary, a great humanist and a man of action. Olympism was for him nothing else than the ‘religion of mankind.
  • Force for Good – August 8, 2008 (The Statesman)
    Though the Internet penetration in the US is 71 per cent compared to 19 per cent only in China, the growth is phenomenal in China, a staggering 56 per cent in one year. According to projections, 490 million Chinese will be on-line by 2012. More significantly, 95 per cent of the Chinese internauts have broadband connections. The online economy brought China $5.9 billion in revenue in 2007. But China is a land of contradictions. While the country topped the world in terms of users, it has one of the most abysmal records when it comes to freedom of expression. Further, all the promises given to the Olympic Committee in 2001 have been broken.
  • Bull’s Eye – August 2008 (Quoted by Rajinder Puri, Outlook)
    They stand vindicated. If this was China’s immediate goal, it appears to have succeeded. Noted expert on Tibet, Claude Arpi, who closely followed the current Sino-Tibetan dialogue, wrote in a recent article that the talks were as good as dead. He was in touch with the Dalai Lama’s interlocutors in Beijing.
  • Cussed China, hopeful Tibet – July 26, 2008 (The Pioneer)
    The Tibetans are back to square one.
    After the recent encounter between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and Chinese officials, Mr Dong Yunhu, the new director-general of the Information Office of the State Council, declared, “The Central Government will never discuss the future of Tibet with the Dalai Lama. What we can discuss with him is his future and that of some of his supporters.”
  • We are scared, says Tibet PM-in-exile – July 22, 2008 (
    “The Three Stops were in Shenzhen and the Four Not-Supporting in Beijing. The Chinese officials said they are very liberal, and since His Holiness has himself declared that he is not engaged in any of these activities, they accept his stand. But now he should actively not-support, meaning he should oppose those who carry on such activities. It means a change in their stand. At this moment we are very much worried about what will happen inside Tibet after the Olympics. What will happen there at the ground level?”
  • Why has Tibet been deleted from politicians’ memory? – July 3, 2008 (
    When the Dalai Lama left Tibet for exile in March 1959, the bridges with China were cut. Often one does not realise that soon it will be 30 years since the contacts between the Dalai Lama and the People’s Republic of China’s leadership resumed.
    As the Dalai Lama’s envoys leave for Beijing, it is perhaps time to look at what has been achieved and what has failed during these three decades. Such an analysis is, of course, subjective, but hopefully could generate a healthy debate at a time when the Tibetan issue has again come center stage, a few weeks before the Olympic Games in Beijing.
  • Why the Dalai Lama matters – June 15, 2008 (The Pioneer)
    The Dalai Lama considers the Tibetan cause as his third objective in life; the first two being the fate of humanity as a whole and inter-religious harmony. For many Tibetans who are longing for an independent Tibet, it is difficult to accept that Tibet is only the third priority of their leader.
    Prof Robert Thurman of Columbia University, in his book, Why the Dalai Lama Matters, argues that while the Chinese leaders are “disgracing themselves by pouring vitriol on possibly the most admired person on the planet”, they will soon understand that “the Dalai Lama himself is the solution. The Dalai Lama has a benefit for everyone involved. He is the win-win bodhisattva”.
    Like Iyer and Thurman, many others believe that the Dalai Lama alone can prevent China from going the Soviet way.
  • The Wound of History – June 4, 2008 (
    June 4, 1989 will forever remain a wound in the history of modern China. On that fateful night, hundreds, if not thousands were killed. Nineteen years later, the Chinese government maintains that no one died on the Square itself (only on the adjacent avenues) and it has still not released the list of those killed. A few days after the event, Yuan Mu, the then spokesman of the State Council, declared that only 23 students had died, along with some ‘ruffians.’
    A year later, Beijing tried to make their version more plausible. Time magazine quoted the official report of the upheaval: ‘Chen Xitong, Beijing’s hardline mayor, claimed that 200 civilians were killed and more than 3,000 were wounded.’ But Chen insisted that casualties were mainly soldiers and policemen…
  • Tibet as talking point – May 19, 2008 (The Statesman)
    When Lodi Gyari, the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy returned from Shenzhen after informal talks with some Chinese officials last week, he declared “It was a good first step… We had very candid discussions.”
    While Tibet watchers wondered what he meant with a ‘first step’ (Gyari has been meeting the Chinese officials for 6 years now), The People’s Daily saw the things differently: “The meeting, arranged at the repeated requests made by the Dalai side for resuming talks, was held between central government officials Zhu Weiqun and Sitar and the Dalai Lama’s two private representatives”…
  • Letter to Comrade Wen Jiabao – May 6, 2008 (
    The Dalai Lama is a good man, a sincere leader. Do you think that you will be able to find a better interlocutor to bring about a radical change in the relations between Hans and Tibetans?
    In fact, I would go one step further: The Dalai Lama is today the only leader who can unite China. If you are able to find a satisfactory solution with him, he is the only person who can convince the Tibetans to work for a harmonious society. This in turn, will be an example for all nationalities.
    I do hope, Mr Premier that you will understand my presumptuousness in writing to you. I feel that there is a golden opportunity for China to satisfactorily settle this long-pending issue.
    Please meet with the Dalai Lama, it will bring more good to China’s image than 1000 Olympic Games.
  • What Remains To Be Settled Is The Quantum Of Autonomy – May 5, 2008 (Quoted in the The Statesman)
    Nor is there any ideological or historical impediment to Beijing granting Tibet full autonomy. In an enlightening article Claude Arpi, an expert on China-Tibet relations and author of The Fate of Tibet, recently revealed how Mao Zedong endorsed autonomy for Tibet and Xingjian. Arpi recalled Phuntso Tashi Takla, Da-lai Lama’s brother-in-law, telling him how Mao, during a meeting with the Dalai Lama, said: “Don’t you have a flag of your own? If you have one, you can hoist it here.” At that time the Dalai Lama was staying at the Guest House…
  • What will happen to the endangered Tibetan civilisation? – May 2008 (Housecalls)
    Historically, Tibet had three main provinces. But for political reasons, in 1965 Beijing decided to divide Tibet into smaller parts and amalgamated the regions of Amdo and Kham to neighbouring Chinese provinces. ‘Divide to rule’ is the familiar method of any colonizer. Today different parts of Amdo are administratively attached to the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu & Sichuan, while most of Kham is incorporated into the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai…
  • Beijing ko gussa kyon aata hain? – May 6, 2008 (
    Returning recently from a visit to China, a friend of mine e-mailed me: The Chinese are deeply upset with the French, they are really furious. Why? Because, the Olympic flames journey through the streets of Paris was not as smooth as in some other capitals; the Flame had to be extinguished 3 or 4 times (by the Chinese commandos/Men in Blue)…
  • Flying the Flag of Tibet – April 30, 2008 (The Pioneer)
    More than 20 years ago, I had asked the Dalai Lama how Tibet would regain its independence (or autonomy). He had answered, “It does not depend on us Tibetans. Change will come from within China.” He was clearly not expecting the United States or India to offer him on a platter the most cherished dream of his people. Since then he has repeatedly said that the people of China will bring about changes in their own country which will give a chance to the people of Tibet to fulfil their aspirations…
  • He foresaw the Future – April 20, 2008 (The Pioneer)
    It is difficult to resist starting the review of Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader, edited by Prof Sachidananda Mohanty, from the epilogue, which reveals the contemporary vision of Sri Aurobindo. Mohanty tells us that in 1963, Sudhir Ghose, an emissary of Jawaharlal Nehru, showed US President JF Kennedy the ‘last letter’ written by Sri Aurobindo on November 11, 1950, less than a month before his death. It was about China’s invasion of Tibet in October that year.
  • China barks, world obeys – April 2, 2008 (The Pionner)
    It’s not just India which has preferred to go soft on Tibet. Western countries have adopted a similar policy. The slavish attitude of most Governments has emboldened a brutal China to indulge in what the Dalai Lama calls ’cultural genocide’ in Tibet…
  • Tibet: A road to nowhere – April 1, 2008 (
    Over the last couple of weeks, we have witnessed a large increase in the number of ‘Tibet pundits’ in the media, particularly in India.
    This is a good thing: the public as well as the security agencies, our army brass and our diplomats should get acquainted with the question of Tibet and the larger issue of the so-called ‘Peaceful Rise of China.’
    The Pakistan-centric attitude of the Indian establishment is one of the most dangerous aspects of Indian foreign policy, (if such a thing exists). Any widening of the horizon, particularly towards the north, can only be welcomed. In the years to come, India will have to deal with China and not Pakistan.
  • A Deadly Rehearsal – March 20, 2008 (The New Indian Express)
    After riots erupted last week in Lhasa and spread to different parts of Tibet during the following days, the immediate reaction of the Chinese authorities was the customary Party line: “We must wage a people’s war to expose and condemn the malicious acts of these hostile forces and expose the hideous face of the Dalai Lama group to the light of day”.
    What is this ‘people’s war’? For many China’s watchers, this has been one of the unanswered questions since the Communists came to power in 1949.
  • India can make a difference in Tibet – March 29, 2008 Interview (The Statesman)
    It is high time to review this policy in the present context, without any aggression towards China, but with great firmness. For example, the incursions into Indian territory in Arunachal and Ladakh are unacceptable. India could also help a great deal to find a sustainable solution to the Tibet imbroglio. It would be to the advantage of India, of China and also the Tibetans.
  • Tibetan Exiles Split on Dalai Lama’s Autonomy Call -Interview (Bloomberg)
    “It is obvious the Tibetan youth are getting frustrated,” Claude Arpi, author of two books on Tibet, said in a telephone interview from Puducherry, southern India. The Dalai Lama’s call for autonomy “is not very exciting because the young people like to dream. You cannot dream of a package where you will end up with a Chinese passport.”’
  • Change will come from within China – March 26, 2008 (
    Of course, one can think of different scenarios such as the “fall of the Berlin wall” or the “collapse of the former Soviet Union”. I still remember the Dalai Lama ‘prophesying’ at the end of the eighties (before the Tiananmen events), that China may go through a similar fate as the Soviet Union within five years. When several years later, I asked him about his ‘prophesy’, he just laughed and said that it was a ‘big mistake’. He added that it was not a ‘spiritual’ prophesy, but just logical thinking. It is true that things could have gone differently had the Elders not sent tanks to crush thousand of students on the Square…
  • The Sacrifice of Tibet: Extraordinary delusions and temporary insanity by Rajeev Srinivasan (Rediff)
    One of the profound lessons to be taken away is that it is the lack of respect for the spiritual that has led to this cataclysm. As Ministry of External Affairs observer, Apa Pant, pointed out about Tibet and the Han Chinese colonisation: ’With all its shortcomings and discomforts, its inefficiencies and unconquered physical dangers, here was a civilisation with at least the intention of maintaining a pattern of life in which the individual could achieve liberation The one so apparently inefficient, so human and even timid, yet kind and compassionate and aspiring to something more gloriously satisfying in human life; the other determined and effective, ruthless, power-hungry and finally intolerant… In the corridors of power [in official India], Tibet, Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, were all regarded as ridiculous, too funny for words; useless illusions that would logically cease to exist soon, thanks to the Chinese, and good riddance.’
  • Tibet’s young exiles sick of passive approach – Interview (The Guardian)
    Others however said there was little evidence to suggest that the protests in Tibet could have been “organised”. Claude Arpi, an Indian-based writer who has written extensively on Tibet, said that it was an “act of desperation”.
    Mr Arpi pointed out that the Dalai Lama is growing old and reincarnations of his spiritual are historically tumultuous events. “There is also the Han Chinese influx into Tibet. Four million come every year thanks to the new railway. Even if five or 10% stay, the Tibetans will be swamped in a few years. No this is their last chance.”
  • Tibet keeps alive true Spirit of the Games – March 19, 2008 (
    The French Baron selected the beautiful creed for the Games: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
    It is difficult to predict what is going to happen now. In the best scenario for Beijing, we will have a repetition of the Burma unrest. In a few months from now, one will not hear anymore about the uprising in Tibet. Politicians would have given a few statements condemning the ‘excess of violence’ and asking for restrain and business will continue as usual.
    In another scenario, the Olympics will be ‘disturbed’ by a few Bjorks (the Icelandic singer who sang Free Tibet in Shanghai) or a few courageous athletes who will pull out a Tibetan flag after getting their gold medals.
    Whatever the future offers us, the ten of thousands Tibetans who ‘dared’ to come down in the streets of Lhasa or elsewhere in Tibet, will have shown the world, that the Spirit of the Games is alive on this planet and that the most important in life is not the triumph, but the struggle.
    They may not conquer, but would certainly have fought well.
  • Brute force won’t work – March 18, 2008 (The Pioneer)
    Today, like 24 years ago at the time of Kundeling’s visit (or later during the 1987 and 1989 demonstrations), the problem is that Beijing’s leadership prefers to totally ignore the Tibetan people’s deeper aspirations and a need for a larger say in their own affairs. Were the Dalai Lama to visit Tibet, lakhs would wait to collect Prasad from under his footprints. Unless, Hu and his colleagues understand this, the ‘Tibet issue’ will remain alive.
    And is it in the government’s interest to continuously kow-tow to Beijing? Can any issue with China be solved from a position of weakness?
  • In Tibet, China dishonours Olympic spirit – March 17, 2008 (Rediff)
    What had to happen happened! As in 1959, 1987 or again in 1989, riots have erupted in Lhasa and other provinces of Tibet. The repression (and it is only a beginning) is said to be ferocious. But compared to the previous uprisings, this time the background is different: China is hosting the Summer Olympics, an event dedicated to world peace.
  • Exclusive Interview with the Dalai Lama – January 19, 2008
    On the occasion of a Tibetan Festival for Non-violence jointly organized by eminent dancer Mallika Sarabhai’s Darpana, the Kanoria Center for Arts and the local Alliance Française, the Dalai Lama recently spent two days in Ahmedabad. He had the opportunity to address the faculty and students of the Indian Institute of Management. He told them bluntly that he considered himself as a Marxist monk. For him, though the original theory of Karl Marx has been distorted by greed for power, redistribution of wealth is a necessity if humanity is to survive. During a function at the Gujarat Vidyapeet, speaking to a large audience, he said that India and Tibet have a guru-shishya relationship. For the past 1200 years, an Indian, the Buddha has been Tibet’s guru.
  • From Top of the Party to Top of the World – December 10, 2002 (Rediff)
    Media reported that very little was known about China’s new boss. However, one part of his life is quite well documented: the period before he ascended to the standing committee of the Politburo in 1992. At that time, the core leader of the Forth Generation was secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region in Lhasa.

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