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Opinion: With One Voice For Tibetan Independence

February 3, 2010

Tibet Truth
February 1, 2010

With efforts of the Dalai Lama to reach a
compromise settlement again formally rejected by
China, the illusory hope of some improved
autonomy for Tibetans is lying face-down in the
water. After years of appeasing Beijing the
strategy of seeking reason and understanding from
the Chinese regime has singularly failed to
realize the objectives of the exiled Tibetan
Administration for a form of improved autonomy
under Chinese rule. Not that Tibetans in Tibet desire that!

This policy has received the cynical support of
western governments and parliamentarians, whose
priority is the maintenance of commercial and
political relations with China. They are
indifferent towards the Tibetan resistance of
Chinese occupation, and unconcerned with
supporting Tibetan national identity. For such
people the issue of Tibet is a political and
diplomatic irritant that complicates and
distracts relations with China. The ideal
solution from their self-serving perspective is
to engineer a ’solution’ which would remove Tibet
as a subject of international attention and
concern. To achieve this end considerable
political influence and ‘advice’ has been exerted
upon the Dalai Lama over the years, often through
supposedly supportive politicians, who have urged
‘realism’ and ‘pragmatism’, and no doubt with
pledges of political and moral support,
encouraged the Tibetan Administration to follow the path of compromise.

At its heart such solidarity is utterly
disingenuous, it cares little for Tibetan
freedom, and is intolerant of any discussion or
advocacy of Tibetan national independence, or
self-determination. Indeed its selfish
motivations, which raise economic and political
interest with China above the aspirations for a
free and independent Tibet, has been covertly
manipulating the Dalai Lama for decades. In this
regard the viperous Chinese propaganda that the
Tibetan leader is a tool of imperialist forces is
tangentially correct, however the orchestration
has not been to wrestle Tibet from Chinese
control, but to effectively bury Tibet as an
international issue, which ironically is a key
objective of the communist Chinese Party.
Diplomatically and politically Tibet gets-in-the
way of relations with the Chinese Regime, how
easier life would be if it no longer obstructed matters!

While such perfidy extends itself across the
Tibetan scene, and as evidenced by the
co-ordinated effort from parliamentarians and
prominent Tibet support organizations, the
message of reasonable accommodation and wise
strategy (in reality the offer to surrender
Tibetan national identity) has attracted many
followers, mostly it must be said due to a deeply
held reverence towards the Dalai Lama.  Take the
forthcoming March 10 commemoration, a date of
critical political and cultural import for
Tibetans, marked with protests and events to
honour the Tibetan resistance to Chinese rule and
remember the countless numbers of Tibetans who
have given their lives in the struggle for
freedom. Instead of a common call for Tibetan
independence, in solidarity with the aspirations
of Tibetans inside Tibet, there will siren-voices
promoting negotiation and political compromise,
even though that has proved a vacuous and
resounding failure. Others will be planning
efforts within political and government
institutions, yet we maybe certain that absent
will be any prominence to the defining heartbeat
of the Tibetan cause, its right to independence,
self-determination and its national identity. The
focus will be upon His Holiness and the poisonous
effort to exchange  nationhood for meaningless autonomy.

Decent people who genuinely care about Tibet will
be moved to support events and actions on March
10, in all good faith, and in the cause of
assisting Tibet they may well add their name to a
petition, take part in a lobby of Congress or
Parliament, or raise a banner or placard outside
a Chinese Embassy. Such generosity of spirit is
rightly applauded and Tibetans are forever
thankful for those who stand with them. Yet as
that manifesto of desperation and capitulation,
otherwise known as the Memorandum on Genuine
Autonomy for the Tibetan People, (the Exiled
Tibetan Government’s proposals scornfully
dismissed by China on February 1) is now
considered for further compromising revision, it
is perhaps important to recognize and understand
the message we may be unwittingly endorsing on
that day and ask ourselves if our actions are in
harmony with the Tibetan people. It is a
troubling dichotomy that we may well be asking
our Senator or MP to support negotiations between
the Dalai Lama and China, which if resolved will
extinguish Tibetan national identity and
formalize the partition of Tibet, while inside
Tibet people are facing bullets, prison and
torture for their nation’s independence. Can we
in conscience sanction petitions or protests
which do not serve and represent the political
aspirations of Tibetans for a free and independent Tibet?

The Tibetan cause has reached another Rubicon
moment, China has demanded the Tibetan
Administration give up the Tibetan regions of
Amdo and Kham, it has also made clear that no
form of improved autonomy will operate inside the
so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, and
categorically dismissed the proposals offered by
the Dalai Lama. Progress (in this context used
advisedly) is possible only by submitting to
these demands, thus the Tibetan Administration,
should it again follow the counsel of its foreign
advisers and press-on with efforts to negotiate
will be signing an execution notice on Tibet as a
distinct nation. So this March 10 the message and
actions of Tibetans and supporters takes on an
even greater urgency and importance, do we
happily unfurl banners calling for talks with
China, agree to a lobby which promotes the failed
and rejected Middle Way Approach, or support
actions which advocate negotiation? Surely the
moment has arrived to stand with those inside
Tibet and support their struggle for
independence, to ensure their demands for an
independent Tibet are displayed outside Chinese
Embassies, presented to Senators and Members of
Parliament and featured at events and upon
literature. The days of mixed message and
division are surely coming to a thankful end, we
owe it to those in Tibet who cannot so freely
speak to raise with one concerted voice that
Tibetans desire freedom for their nation.
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