Join our Mailing List

"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China targets Arunachal in war over Dalai trip

September 15, 2009

Times of India - 15 September 2009
by Manas Paul & Nirmalya Banerjee

AGARTALA/KOLKATA: Beijing seems to be mixing muscle and rhetoric to bully
India into not allowing the Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Tawang. On
Monday, it shed the garbs of polite diplomacy to question not just India's
wisdom but the status of "so-called Arunachal Pradesh", a perpetual thorn in
Sino-Indian relations.

Over the last few days, Communist Party-controlled `Global Times', which has
spearheaded China's diplomatic attack so far, quoted foreign ministry
spokesperson Jiang Yus statement opposing the Dalai Lama's visit to the
"so-called Arunachal Pradesh" saying, "China holds a persistent stance on
Arunachal Pradesh, which is a part of Chinese territory but India has made
it clear that it won't stop the exile from making the visit."

It also quoted a TOI story from Sunday, that said India's possible decision
to let the Dalai Lama go ahead was certainly a step forward from 2008, when
it stopped him, wary of angering the Chinese.

Zhao Gancheng, a Chinese expert and director of south Asian studies at the
Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told Global Times, "The
continuous instigation will not only harm bilateral ties, but also do no
good to the settlement of the China-India boundary question. India's
encouragement of the Dalai Lama's visit betrays its promise to China to
oppose any anti-Chinese activities."

He echoed the Beijing view on the MacMahon Line, which marks the Chinese
border in Arunachal Pradesh. "The Chinese government never acknowledged the
legitimacy of the MacMohan Line and, until the 1950s, the Tibetan government
had tax records in Arunachal Pradesh,'' he said.

The people of Tawag, though, especially a handful of Buddhists there, fail
to understand how a diplomatic war can be fought over a man of peace. "We
had started preparing for his visit, but now we're watching," said former
Tawang district Congress committee chief Lobsang Lama. Local residents have
decided to write a memorandum in favour of the Dalai Lama's visit to the
Arunachal Pradesh government, which will be forwarded to the Centre.

Senior politicians in Tawang and West Kameng districts feel India must not
bow to China's bullying tactics. "What is the meaning of sovereignty if
China can stop the Dalai Lama from coming here?" asked MLA T G Rinpoche. The
Dalai Lama had no political programme in Tawang. He said the Tibetan leader
had no political programme in Tawang and would only inaugurate a hospital he
had helped build.

Both Tawang and West Kameng are predominantly Buddhist and local residents
are inspired by the Tibetan form of Buddhism. Tawang's native population is
almost entirely Buddhist. In West Kameng, Buddhists number to around 75%.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank