Enter the hatchet man

The Hindu returns to mislead, obfuscate and yes, bat for Beijing

As expected, the The Hindu has published an entirely one-sided editorial supporting Beijing and condemning the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans. Why it took so long to come might not even be a mystery, in this age of instantaneous international communications, considering that Beijing decided to go on the media offensive after an initial period of censorship and silence. Now that The Hindu should take a pro-Beijing editorial line is acceptable, even if it is extremely disagreeable.

What is especially flagrant about the newspaper’s recent coverage is an insidious, misleading and grossly flawed attempt to cast China’s repression of Tibet favourably in comparison to various political conflicts in India.

If you go by western media reports, the propaganda of the so-called ‘Tibetan government-in-exile’…Tibet is in the throes of a mass democratic uprising against Han Chinese communist rule…The reality is that the riot that broke out in Lhasa on March 14 and claimed a confirmed toll of 22 lives involved violent, ransacking mobs, including 300 militant monks from the Drepung Monastery, who marched in tandem with a foiled ‘March to Tibet’ by groups of monks across the border in India…There was violence also in Tibetan ethnic areas in the adjacent provinces of Gansu and Sichuan, which, according to official estimates, took an injury toll of more than 700. [The Hindu]

There’s intellectual dishonesty right from the start. The editorial begins by conflating the uprising with non-violent protests and implies that because there was violence, reports of an uprising are mere propaganda. The earliest international media reports, filed by The Economist’s James Miles, who ‘just happened to be in Lhasa‘ reported violence. Acknowledging this, the Dalai Lama himself has gone to the extreme of threatening to step down if violence continued. The fact that the protests turned violent is not disputed. What the The Hindu needs to explain is that if the Tibetan protests were not for freedom then what were they for? Surely, the violent, ransacking mobs were not out on the streets protesting against inflation!

As evidence accumulates, the realisation dawns that it is too much to expect any legitimate government of a major country to turn the other cheek to such savagery and breakdown of public order.

Another deliberate miscasting of the issue: few would disagree with the notion that the governments have a duty to maintain law and order. So the issue is not that China put down the protests, but how it did so. Were ordinary riot police used or the armed police called in? Were batons, water cannons and tear gas used, or were real bullets used? The Hindu does not tell its readers. Neither does Beijing.

So there is a shift in the key demand made on China: it must ‘initiate’ a dialogue with the Dalai Lama to find a sustainable political solution in Tibet.

But this is precisely what China has done for over three decades. The framework of the political solution is there for all to see. There is not a single government in the world that either disputes the status of Tibet; or does not recognise it as a part of the People’s Republic of China; or is willing to accord any kind of legal recognition to the Dalai Lama’s ‘government-in-exile.’ This situation certainly presents a contrast to the lack of an international consensus on the legal status of Kashmir.

Here The Hindu is contradicting itself—if not a single country disputes Tibet’s being a part of China, how does a “shift in the key demand” come about? The demand on China has always been that it should honour the pledge of autonomy it made after it annexed the territory in 1951. The Hindu’s attempt to cast China as a victim of the changing demands of the international community simply does not wash.

It was unnecessary to drag Kashmir into this discussion. As pointed out in a recent post, the analogy is bogus. But it is still pertinent to directly counter the point about why there is international consensus on the legal status of Tibet, but not on that of Kashmir. That is simply because India does not claim Tibet as part of its territory, as Pakistan claims Kashmir. International consensus has got more to do with competing claimant states rather anything else. In any case, perhaps The Hindu could tell its readers the names of countries that recognise the government of “Azad” Kashmir?

The real problem arises from two demands pressed by the Dalai Lama. The first is his concept of ‘high-level’ or ‘maximum’ autonomy in line with the ‘one country, two systems’ principle. The Chinese government points out that this is applicable only to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and that the kind of autonomy that the Dalai Lama demanded in November 2005 cannot possibly be accommodated within the Chinese Constitution.

This is a fantastic argument. Simply put, The Hindu argues that Tibet cannot have autonomy that Hong Kong and Macao have, because the Chinese government says so!

Secondly, the 2.6 million Tibetans in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), which constitutes one-eighth of China’s territory, form only 40 per cent of the total population of Tibetans in China. The Chinese government makes the perfectly reasonable point that acceptance of the demand for ‘Greater Tibet’ or ‘one administrative entity’ for all 6.5 million ethnic Tibetans means breaking up Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces, doing ethnic re-engineering, if not ‘cleansing’, and causing enormous disruption and damage to China’s society and political system. This demand too is ruled out, as any comparable demand to break up States in India would be.

The Hindu doesn’t look back at recent history and tell you is just how Tibetans came to be split among so many Chinese provinces in the first place. And looking ahead, it defies imagination that an argument for an autonomous province should automatically lead to ethnic cleansing. There was no ethnic cleansing in Hong Kong and Macao.

The argument about breaking up Indian States being ruled out is so bizarre that it’s amazing that it should even be made. Looking back, in 1956 at a time when China was ‘civilising’ Tibet, Indian States were reorganised on a linguistic basis for the some of the same reasons as Tibetans are fighting for. And it was only a few years ago that Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand were created—again to fulfill local aspirations. Political pundits predict that there will be more such States in the decades ahead. If anything, the Indian model demonstrates clearly that ethnic and cultural aspirations can be fulfilled under a federal set-up. Why, Jammu & Kashmir not only enjoys special status, but will continue to do so as part of the eventual settlement of the peace process. It is deeply disturbing that the editorial board of a once-respected publication, that calls itself India’s national newspaper, should have such a poor understanding of Indian history and political values.

So what does The Hindu have by way of policy suggestions: “The time has come for India to pressure (the Dalai Lama) to get real about the future of Tibet — and engage in a sincere dialogue with Beijing to find a reasonable, just, and sustainable political solution within the framework of one China”. To use a phrase from the editorial: “but this is precisely what India has done for over three decades.”

Related Post: N Ram’s earlier hatchet job on the Dalai Lama

47 thoughts on “Enter the hatchet man”

  1. Josh Schrei in an article warns “In the days to come, if you are paying attention, you will be hearing — or reading — a lot of words (these among them), so use your judgment. You will hear about the Tibetans who brutally assaulted Chinese shopkeepers without provocation, you will hear, and — if you are at all educated — probably laugh, about the Dalai Lama’s purported instigation of these riots.”

    This is happening already. China manufactured progaganda is already in full swing, showing images of “violent” Tibetans attacking “helpless” Han Chinese etc. The CNN has an article up titled “Tibetan’s arrested for deadly arson”. Now it seems the Chindu has jumped in the fray.

    The truth is that the protests did turn violent. What is now emerging is evidence of “the Chinese regime having staged violence in Lhasa in order to discredit the peaceful protests of Buddhist monks”. (link)

    What the Chinese regime didn’t forsee or expect, was for the riots to spread to other parts of Lhasa and Tibet.

    China should not get away with this. nor should N.Ram.

  2. The fact that China does not have a free and independent media, and that there is no independent corroboration of Beijing’s claims vis-a-vis “savagery” of Tibetan protesters, doesn’t seem to bother Comrade N Ram a wee bit.

    The fact also the it is the Chinese government that has a track record of savagery, the most recent event in that record being Tiananmen Square, also doesn’t seem to bother our good comrade.

    Communism don’t allow one to ask questions. One has to toe the party line, period. The editor proves himself a loyal, unquestioning jingoist — China jingoist, that is.

  3. Acorn,

    In your post “John 8:7 does not apply…”, you say that “India has never used violence against any political movement that is non-violent” and “with the Tibetans (for whom non-violence is the article of faith)”, indirectly claiming that protests are non-violant.

    And now, in today’s post, you say that “protests turned violent is not disputed”.

    I see a contradiction here within your posts. (Correct me, if I am wrong)

    Looks like, China handles the situation like what India does, when there is a violent-protests.

  4. Dear Invalid,

    “Protests turned violent” is different from “Tibetans resorted to violence” (and is different from “the Tibetans are engaged in a violent struggle”).
    It’s hard to assign responsibility when China has imposed a media clampdown and censorship. One might reasonably ask why censorship and clampdowns are necessary if it is the Tibetans that are resorting to violence.

    And as the Dalai Lama’s position suggests, the Tibetan who did resort to violence—and it’s fair to say that there were some—were acting against the article of their faith.

    So there’s no contradiction.

    Looks like, China handles the situation like what India does, when there is a violent-protests.

    Looks like? I’d say if you look properly, you’ll see major differences. Other than on 26th January, you don’t see tanks on Rajpath.

  5. Agreed — The Hindu’s attempt to make excuses for the Chinese Government is bad and as you point out, full of logical loop-holes.

    What the The Hindu needs to explain is that if the Tibetan protests were not for freedom then what were they for? Surely, the violent, ransacking mobs were not out on the streets protesting against inflation!

    But why not? Surely freedom is not the only thing people fight for. And surely as Indians, we are no strangers to these kinds of riots against “outsiders” — what about the recent Raj Thackeray fracas? As much as one found the Raj Thackeray episode in Mumbai idiotic — surely it does draw upon some kind of wellspring of discontent. In Tibet’s case, I don’t deny that aspirations for autonomy and freedom may be bound up in all this but why couldn’t the spark for these protests be what suggests itself from James Miles’ reporting: anger at the Chinese Han immigrants (and outsiders) who seem to own all the small businesses in Tibet.

    Let me not be the one to doubt that the Chinese Government is capable of diabolical cunning — but I am not yet convinced by the insinuations that the violent protesters were actually Chinese policemen in disguise. And James Miles’ reports on Tibet seem plausible – at least for now.

    I know The Acorn is not a big fan of Pankaj Mishra (neither am I) but he makes a point in his latest that in mainland China, public opinion is heavily in favor of a violent crackdown on the protests — something the Chinese Government is reluctant to do, because of the coming Beijing Olympics. (Of course, knowing Mishra, the final culprit is, as always, “consumer capitalism”).

  6. Oops – I forgot to put in the Pankaj Mishra link. Here it is: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/mar/22/tibet.china1

    And Invalid, as a realist, Nitin’s position is consistent – it is in India’s interests if China’s gets a bad rack internationally, especially about Tibet (where we share a border with China) and therefore when it comes to protests, he is entirely justified being more suspicious of the Chinese Government than he would be of the Indian Government, in a similar situation.

  7. >>urely, the violent, ransacking mobs were not out on the streets protesting against inflation!

    >But why not?

    That’s like stripping Gandhi’s Dandi march of all of its context, and arguing that his struggle was all about making salt without getting taxed by the Brits.

    There would be no need for the recent spate of protests in Tibet if Communist China had not invaded it in 1951.

  8. scritic,

    In addition to Oldtimer’s pertinent remarks, I’d say that it is not surprising that the Chinese people should be supportive of strong-arm tactics. Whether and how much this is a result of the media and history diet they have been fed is relevant, but even if we ignore it, it is entirely possible for Chinese people to call for harsh measures. Perhaps that’s why the Tibetans have been seeking autonomy.

  9. And how exactly can one be sure of what the Chinese people actually want? Its not that as if the Communists allow them to speak much. If the Chinese media and Communists are to be believed, the Chinese people welcomed the 1989 crackdown too.

    Of course, may be Pankaj Mishra just knows…

  10. I’m not surprised that Pankaj Mishra wrote supportively of the Chinese majority’s prejudice against Tibetans. That’s why I, Acorn, scritic and a host of others are no big fans of Mishra.

  11. I read some Xinhua garbage about the ‘Dalai Clique’ masterminding the violent protests with some amusement, there was a kind of rhetoric that no one will believe, no matter how they have been brainwashed. The disturbing part is the impunity with which Beijing brazenly lies. The west is putting in its best good cop bad cop act even as the outcome is pretty clear.

  12. Surely, the violent, ransacking mobs were not out on the streets protesting against inflation!

    >But why not?

    That’s like stripping Gandhi’s Dandi march of all of its context, and arguing that his struggle was all about making salt without getting taxed by the Brits.

    No, it’s not! We have simply no way of knowing — given the complete Chinese-imposed clampdown in Tibet — whether the protests in Tibet have more in common with Gandhiji’s Dandi March or the recent shenanigans against “outsiders” in Mumbai. Very probably a mix of both — resentment about outsiders mixed up with demands for autonomy. All claims, till we have better data, can only be reasonable speculations.

    And that wasn’t my point anyway. I was simply pointing out (pace Nitin) that it isn’t only noble ideas about “freedom” and “autonomy” that can give rise to protests. Protests can happen for quotidian reasons too. Not all protests can be like Gandhiji’s Salt Satyagraha movement.

    There would be no need for the recent spate of protests in Tibet if Communist China had not invaded it in 1951.

    Very plausible. But again, there’s no way to know.

  13. scritic,

    I think it is best to avoid the tendency to compare it with political developments in India. The historical and political contexts, the types, roles and powers of the actors and just about everything else is different.

    The objective facts are that there were protests in Tibet AR and other provinces of China with Tibetan minorities. There was political violence, with the Tibetans on one side, and the non-Tibetans on the other, and the people’s armed police on yet another. The Tibetans could be protesting against repression by the Chinese government or against being deluged by non-Tibetans. But they have political demands—a point with The Hindu does not acknowledge. The editorial tries to imply that the violent Tibetans mobs were rampaging in Lhasa for the sake of destroying property and killing people. It is sufficient to acknowledge that they were not, and Beijing’s forces didn’t quite handle the protests with their usual tenderness.

  14. Mr. Nitin, YOU are saying here,

    “I think it is best to avoid the tendency to compare it with political developments in India. The historical and political contexts, the types, roles and powers of the actors and just about everything else is different.”

    Why? Why do u think it is different? This is just ur tendency to shirk away from valid arguments. China openly annexed Tibet by use of force but India did that tacitly and clandestinely with J& K and Sikkim. Do u know the history of Sikkim where refrendum was done under the control of Indian Army and the security force of king of Sikkim fought with Indian Army for hal an hour? It seems that everything is fine when India does something but you try to dismiss if that incident is compared with Tibet?

    What ur moral conscience says about Hyderabad-Nizam was thrown by use of force? R u going to recognise some militants if they emerge to make Hyderabad free country?

    The more significant aspect here is to look it from the perspectives of effects of free tibet in India.

    Our Indian Army need to be more prepared to crush Indian People and make a pond of Blood in various parts of India if Tibet becomes free because that gives moral force to ULFA, Muzahiddin, militants in Kashmir, Nagaland and in whole North East and may be many more emerge by that time. At that time, middle class intellectuals like u just will be typing something in your blog but that can not protect nation’s unity.

    I strongly support N. Ram’s One China Policy and think tibet is entirely internal affair of China as is J& K to India.

  15. Why do Indians have this compulsive need to bring up their own issues when whats at issue clearly, is the violence on the Tibetan nation by the Chinese hunta ?

    Even if India is caste, misogyny, racism and nothing but caste, misogyny and racism, how does that excuse the repression unleashed on the Tibetan nation by the Chinese hunta ?

    Are the Chinese drones like N. Ram, scritic and invalid arguing that ordinary Indians need to fix all problems in India before sympathizing with the native Tibetan populace or pointing out that Chinese behavior is atrocious or pointing out that their defense of China is inconsistent and stupid ?

  16. Dear One China Policy,

    Sudeep’s response should address your comment. Also if you read this post, it is not a criticism of the One China policy but what China is doing to the Tibetan people. Too little space here to get into why India is different from China (and the pitch has been queered by the dime-a-dozen books on “Chindia” that are flooding the market) but John 7:1 and Matt 8:7 do not apply in international relations. And thank God for it.

    I would urge you to read these posts carefully and distinguish between my criticism of government policy and my exposure of intellectual dishonesty in the media.

  17. One China Policy, “middle class intellectuals like you”? Are you a lapdog for communist thugs or are you one of those who when they run out of arguments resort to throwing such labels. And what “class” are you, my friend? Did the king enjoy widespread popular support in Sikkim? Was there resentment among ethnic Nepalis? Most important of all, if India hadn’t annexed Sikkim, China would have, sooner or later. Just as Pakistan tried to usurp Kashmir (and did). And what about Aksai Chin then?

  18. One China policy

    “What ur moral conscience says about Hyderabad-Nizam was thrown by use of force? R u going to recognise some militants if they emerge to make Hyderabad free country?”

    Funny to even think your preposition of the people of Hyderabad rallying behind Nizam.

  19. Nanda Kishore & Praada Verna,

    We could write several books on why the situations are different. But I think the discussion is best avoided on this post, which is about China’s treatment of Tibetan protests in March 2008, and The Hindu’s interpretation of it.

  20. Comparing with political developments in India is OK, as long as it is at least apples to apricots. Scritic seems to be under the impression that bhaiyyas from Bihar marched into Bombay with guns and tanks, and started implementing a one-Bihar policy after forecefully seizing control of Birhanmumbai Municipal Copropration, with The Hindu and Tehelka cheering them on from sidelines.

  21. Oldtimer is spot-on with his responses here, esp. #23.

    But I think comparing to and contrasting with various situations in India that resemble this, at least slightly, is good. Makes us examine our own stand and biases. Anyway Nitin has declared this OT.

    On-topic, I am aghast at the Hindu slant. Been reading quite a few of these now.

    regards,
    Jai

  22. Sudeep, I am not a Chinese drone.

    I was bit worried that China may repeat it to us (for JK & NE) what ever we do in support/allowing Tibetan protests. We don’t get any benefit in supporting Tibetan protests. Even Dalai Lama doesn’t want freedom, he merely wants autonomy.

    Remember, we supported Bangladeshi movement and now, they forgot how we helped them and started troubling us again.

  23. Invalid,

    It is useful to see the sum total of India-China relations, rather than reflexively expect a tit-for-tat response. India is not building a string of pearls in response to China, China is not ready to yield on the border issue in response to India, etc. So it is simplistic to expect that China will begin supporting J&K and NE just because India does not submit to Chinese demands on Tibet. Would China create mischief in J&K/NE at the risk of the escalation of tensions on its southern borders, breakdown in bilateral relations, an overt India-US alignment that would dominate the Indian Ocean region? It’s not a straightaway yes.

    As for Bangladesh, it is extremely naive thinking to believe in “thankfulness” and “gratitude” among nations. The reason they are troubling India today is because India allowed itself to be troubled—perhaps the hope of “gratitude” was responsible in part for this. Similarly, if ever there is an independent Tibet one day, it would be extremely foolish to believe that it will be eternally grateful to India rather than promote its own interests. Such is life.

  24. Good point Jai Choorakkot.

    One interesting fact is that while Marxists are all too eager to make superfluous comparison between political events in India and China so as to beat drums for the latter — invoking ‘morality’ and ‘double standards’, no less, please don’t laugh — they do not want to point out the really important and uncomfortable similarities.

    How about this for starters: 400000 Kashmiris were driven out of their homes in Kashmir. A second generation of them is coming up in shanty towns passing for refugee camps. If you observe, The Hindu, Tehelka, scritic, OneChinaPolicy etc want to suppress this fact.

    Thousands of Tibetans were driven out of Tibet too: some into China and others into India. Two entire generations of them have grown up in India.

    From this example, we note that a similarity exists NOT between the Indian state and the Chinese state, but between Islamic terrorists and the Chinese state — which is not surprising, because Jihadism and Marxism share many common traits, though the former has not yet killed on the scale the latter has.

  25. “In Tibet’s case, I don’t deny that aspirations for autonomy and freedom may be bound up in all this but why couldn’t the spark for these protests be what suggests itself from James Miles’ reporting: anger at the Chinese Han immigrants (and outsiders) who seem to own all the small businesses in Tibet.”

    Scritic, why do you compare the situation in Tibet to the “Raj Thackeray episode in Mumbai”. I won’t deny that there was anger at the Chinese Han immigrants. And there is genuine reason for that agner. The Chinese boast of economic progress in Tibet of which the Tibetans have no share of. It is the Han Chinese who own the business and get all the jobs. Tibetan children are not even taught Tibetan history. There will definitely be anger and rage when you see your culture, traditions, language dwindling away. I boil with rage when Tibetans are referred to as “Ethnic Tibetans”. Why do you think Tibetans in Lhasa and the rest of Tibet risk their lives to send their children to India. So that they can get a better education in the schools run by the Govt. in exile…and so they can learn about Tibetan history and culture.
    If we wish to examine the root cause of discontent, it is the oppression and the repressive regime that China has wrecked over Tibet.

    As a second generation Tibetan who has grown up in exile in India, it is disturbing and depressing to see the events in Tibet. It is even more disappointing when people like Comrade N.Ram tout the “One China” line. I have also seen comments where some commentors have mentioned that Tibetans have overstayed their welcome in India. It is sad and underscores the fact that until Tibet is free (truly and not just autonomy), we will have to contend with being unwanted exiles.

  26. >> boil with rage when Tibetans are referred to as “Ethnic Tibetans”.

    That’s what struck me too when I read James Miles’ much-touted “eye-witness” account. He refers to Tibetans in Tibet as “ethnic”! How about dubbing the limeys in Britain as “ethnic anglos” eh.

  27. Aqua, Oldtimer,

    The reporting may unfortunately be reflecting ground realities. The demography has changed. According to this report in Washington Post, the Lhasa’s ‘Tibetan quarter’ was worst affected by the violence.

    In most cities Quarters are places where minorities are concentrated.

  28. It appears that One China Policy has absorbed Comrade N Renmin’s propaganda hook line and sinker.

    Tibet is not the internal matter of China because China has colonized it. China is the occupying power. Goings on in Tibet are the internal matter for Tibetans, many of whom reside in India, peacefully at that. They have every right to pursue freedom of their country.

    The notion that they or even Bangladeshis should forever be in our gratitude is silly too. Any independent country, and people, with an iota of self-respect are bound to frown at demands of perennial gratitude. By this logic France should toe everything that America does out of gratitude for WWII. Now, how many will realistically expect that to happen? Anyway, you cannot compare Tibetans with Bangladeshis. How many terrorists acts or even violent acts have the Tibetans committed? Apples and oranges you see.

    Indians should support Tibetans and independent Tibet primarily out of our own self-interest. And increasingly for the gross violation of human rights under Han boots. We fought colonization and well know the perils of it. We have seen authoritarianism and know its dangers too. There’s no reason to let history repeat itself.

    As for other frivolous comparisons we can certainly discuss them under a separate thread. Nice diversionary tactic though, but the topic here is Tibet and Chinese apartheid policy against the Tibetans.

  29. “I have also seen comments where some commentors have mentioned that Tibetans have overstayed their welcome in India.”

    I have heard that too, usually from stupid Marxists mostly, and the sanctimonious types who use it to cover up their own impotence. Haven’t heard any normal Indian fretting about Tibetans. I personally appreciate how Tibetans have continued to be lawful residents in India adopting, even mastering, Indian languages.

    I have heard how hapless Tibetans do rounds of Delhi(that’s the only place where they can get it) to get a residence permit while some illegal squatters procure Indian ration cards and even passports for few rupees, in half the time.

    I have read, even in Chinese accounts( read Yafeng Xia’s recent History of Modern Chinese Army), how Tibetans cheerfully nursed, provided food and shelter to Indian soldiers held captives after 1962’s Nehruvian debacle.

    Please try to talk to Tibetans if you can–several have immigrated to US–and witness their gratitude first-hand before clubbing them with Bangladeshi ingrates.

    Also note that the gentle Chinese don’t allow them to learn Tibetan language in schools; Taxi drivers in Lhasa are mostly Chinese; Tibetans have to learn the Terracotta soldiers as a glorious part of their history while the fact remains that Tibetan armies of past conquered the province of Terracotta warriors, Xian. If that isn’t colonialism I don’t know what is. Having endure the British I can hardly see how any decent Indian not sympathize with the Tibetans.

    Bernard Levy has a nice article on this topic:

    “It is sad and underscores the fact that until Tibet is free (truly and not just autonomy), we will have to contend with being unwanted exiles.”

    Yes, that is the sad fact of life. There’s a reason the Jews fight so desperately for that tiny piece of real estate in what virtually is dark territory. There’s nothing like homeland.

  30. IMHO, the guiding principle in analyzing the revolt in Tibet ought to be in terms of individual liberties guaranteed by the Chinese state and/or the constitution, and equality before law. India must, as France, Japan, U.K., US, and other democracies too, support the aspirations of people wherever in the world for more freedom and equality before law. Tibet is no exception, and if tomorrow there were a rebellion led by the Falun Gong in the Guangdong Province of China, democratic states should not hesitate to voice their support on the side of freedom. How precisely they do this is best left to the experts in defense, offense, and diplomacy.

    Consistently following this guiding principle, it is possible to oppose separatist struggles and rebellion in Kashmir, Chattisgarh, Ecuador, and Southern Thailand, while supporting those in East Pakistan (Bangladesh), South Africa, Iran, and Somalia, without being accused of double standards. Arguing for the preservation of arbitrarily drawn boundaries between states or ill-defined cultural and ethnic identities risks, at the very least, in rhetorical blow-back.

    Accordingly, there is not much point in expecting reason from die-hard Marxists like N.Ram. As someone pointed out above, the Marxists and the Islamists share a language that lacks words for freedom and equality.

  31. Aqua,

    I have also seen comments where some commentors have mentioned that Tibetans have overstayed their welcome in India. It is sad and underscores the fact that until Tibet is free (truly and not just autonomy), we will have to contend with being unwanted exiles.

    Firstly, this cannot be the general opinion or even that of the majority. (But it’s fair to expect that there will be opposing voices). Also, I’ve argued before that Tibetan community leaders must not discourage the newer generations from taking up Indian citizenship. I can perfectly understand that people are reluctant because of the dream of going back to Tibet one day; but second and third generation Tibetans have seen no other country or home other than India. They could always decide to migrate to Tibet some day and keep/give up the Indian citizenship according to their preference at that time.

  32. First, where I agree.

    It’s transparent that The Hindu is adhering to the party line on the subject of the Tibet protests.

    I find the discussion quite interesting.

    I find the argument of The Rational Fool quite inconsistent. Let me elaborate.

    He claims that the support to Tibet should be based on protection of individual liberties guaranteed by Chinese state. He further contends
    other democracies too, support the aspirations of people wherever in the world for more freedom and equality before law.

    Ok, let’s apply this principle (as I understand it).

    At this point an obvious question intrudes. Why is the role of internal democracy here? There can be two cases.

    If internal democracy is irrelevant, plainly, it’s ok for China to protest human rights violations in Kashmir, which nobody denies have taken place. Perhaps, it’s even valid for Pakistan to support separatists (it may or may not be wise).

    If internal democracy is relevant, plainly the issue of raising human rights violations in Kashmir or Nandigram is valid, indeed vital. Indeed, to the extent that human rights are violated in India, its advice to China or Pakistan rings hollow.

    Making an analogy (which may or may not be valid – I think it is), it should be the primary task of “freedom-loving” people to take the Indian govt. to task on the human rights violations.

    The principle needs to be applied consistently, otherwise it’s just seen as a stick to beat China or Pakistan or whoever.

    I find Nitin’s position consistent here. He advocates following “India’s national interests”, equating it with the State. This, by definition, means that the support to Tibet is totally cynical and can change tomorrow if the State deems it fit. This also makes the internal situation in India irrelevant.

  33. Socal, I am not asking Bangladeshi to behave like a slave to Indians. I am just asking them to recognize people pushed into Indian side of border from Bangladesh as their citizens. An nation with an iota of self-respect won’t never label their poor citizens as citizens of other country. Such acts bleeds India economically (We have to blame WB govt for welcoming them for creating a huge vote bank). Bangladesh also exports terror to India. France doesn’t do either of them to US of A. You can’t compare Bangladesh to France which is comparing rotten banana with apples.

  34. Here’s an apropos comparison:

    “In a more moral world, however, public opinion would be far more preoccupied with Tibetans than with Palestinians, would be as harsh on China as it is on Israel, and would be as fawning on Israel as it now is on China..

    Consider the facts: Tibet, at least 1,400 years old, is one of the world’s oldest nations, has its own language, its own religion and even its own ethnicity. Over 1 million of its people have been killed by the Chinese, its culture has been systematically obliterated, 6,000 of its 6,200 monasteries have been looted and destroyed, and most of its monks have been tortured, murdered or exiled.

    Palestinians have none of these characteristics. There has never been a Palestinian country, never been a Palestinian language, never been a Palestinian ethnicity, never been a Palestinian religion in any way distinct from Islam elsewhere. Indeed, “Palestinian” had always meant any individual living in the geographic area called Palestine. For most of the first half of the 20th century, “Palestinian” and “Palestine” almost always referred to the Jews of Palestine. The United Jewish Appeal, the worldwide Jewish charity that provided the nascent Jewish state with much of its money, was actually known as the United Palestine Appeal. Compared to Tibetans, few Palestinians have been killed, its culture has not been destroyed nor its mosques looted or plundered, and Palestinians have received billions of dollars from the international community. Unlike the dying Tibetan nation, there are far more Palestinians today than when Israel was created…

    The world is unfair, unjust and morally twisted. And rarely more so than in its support for the Palestinians — no matter how many innocents they target for murder and no matter how much Nazi-like anti-Semitism permeates their media — and its neglect of the cruelly treated, humane Tibetans.”

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=A2DBDBAC-3D26-4348-9E70-37242532C88F

  35. I can perfectly understand that people are reluctant because of the dream of going back to Tibet one day; but second and third generation Tibetans have seen no other country or home other than India. They could always decide to migrate to Tibet some day and keep/give up the Indian citizenship according to their preference at that time.

    Nitin, I couldn’t agree more. While the older Tibetans still continue to hold on steadfastly to their Residence Permits and the Tibetan “green book”, the younger generations should definitely apply for Indian citizenship. And why not? My point is this, if Indians in America and UK can find a place in their society and political environment, why can’t the young Tibetans who have been born and brought up in India. Many young Tibetans still refuse to apply for Indian citizeship for ideological and emotional reasons. The repercussions of holding on to this dream are many. One being the threat of deportation to Tibet(Eg: Tenzin Tsundue being threatened similarly sometime back) and the risk of not getting employment in India. I personally know of two young Tibetans who were denied employment in a top notch IT company (BPO arm) because their citizenship said Tibetan. The reason the company personnel questioned about this gave was that as per their policies, only Indian nationals can be given employment and not “foreign” nationals.

  36. Andy,

    I just read the rediff article. I think Mr. Ambassador (Shumin) has unwittingly blown to smithereens China’s long standing claim that Tibet has historically always been a part of China. Shumin also likened Tibet’s traditional governance to Nazi Germany [Images]. He claimed that prior to China’s takeover, Tibet resembled “medieval Europe” and cited a 1939 trip to the mountainous enclave by a Nazi official who, he said, found much in common with the Tibetan system of governance

    Shukr hai isi bahane the Chinese have finally admitted that they did invade Tibet!

    Regarding the China’s insinuations against the Dalai Lama, one only has to read this article to know the truth. China’s bluff has indeed been called!

  37. Oldtimer:
    Thanks for the FrontPage Magazine link. David Prager’s article captures much of what my thoughts on the China-Tibet conflict have been. I have linked to it in a post at my blog.

  38. I am from Chennai and i am absolutely ashamed that N Ram & Co have turned the Hindu Editorial board into just another bunch of “anti imperialist” apoligists for all things and regimes that are communist. One look at their homepage and you can see their link to “India and China :A Shared vision for the 21st century” – are you even kidding me ? A “shared vision” between a tyrannical and totalitarian system of thought and life and a democracy (with all its imperfections ?)

    Pelosi’s visit and open support for Dalai Lama would have made Ram to pull the remaining three strands of hair that is left in his brainless head – he then promptly jumps into the “Chinese corner” defending these communist thugs for what they have done to Tibet – conquer their lands, pump Han Chinese minority into their regions and make the Han, a majority leaving the Tibetans a foreign people in their own land.

    Three years back i got a taste of how blatantly pro-communist the Hindu is when there was a front page story on how some brain dead morons from India went on a “conference” to Cuba and were “inspired” by the “great” Fidel Castro. I was stunned to see the coverage on a good for nothing conference on communism almost two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union. But then, i realized that i was after all reading the *snip* (Ed) Hindu.

    Watch out for the Hindu’s coverage of Fidel Castro’s death. The glowing tributes that are going to be paid will be so over the top that you’d wonder how these leftist intellectuals can actually work for news media in a democractic society and pine for the thuggery of Castro and his corines. Unfortunately for poor readers of the Hindu, these morons are still stuck in the “anti imperialist” time warp of the last century.

    Fight on, Tibet – dont listen to the Dalai Lama – he is of no consequence today, how ever much he is respected and liked and he will be dead pretty soon – you’d have to think of life under Chinese brutality after he is gone.

  39. To add to Aqua’s comment#2, it seems that the Chinese are deliberately highlighting the fact that Hui muslim businesses and a Hui Mosque has been damaged ? Is it a ploy to spin public opinion in muslim circles or am I just being over imaginative ?

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