Doublespeak by Marxists
April 27, 2008
By Balbir K. Punj
The Deccan Chronicle
Friday April 25 2008
The better part of the world has condemned China’s violation of human
rights and deprivation of democracy for the Tibetans. In every country
that enjoys freedom of expression, local people have joined Tibetans to
protest against the Beijing Olympics as a way of bringing to
international notice the cause of Tibet. So widespread and deep is the
condemnation of China and sympathy for the Dalai Lama and his supporters
that the Olympic torch had to avoid public exposure in places like San
Francisco, London and Paris. In New Delhi, the torch procession was a sham.
The French President is among those who have decided not to attend the
opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing. Even those who are
attending are not hiding their displeasure at China. But our “China
patriots” would not give up. CPI(M) central committee member Nilotpal
Basu not only defends China’s Tibet policy but even draws a comparison
between Tibet and Kashmir. He claims that the charge that China is
violating human rights in Tibet is from the same quarter that blamed
India for human rights violations in Kashmir and was not prepared to
accept India’s claim over the Valley.
Confronted on the issue of not letting Tibetans choose their government,
the Marxist leader claims that there are different perceptions of
democracy. Mr Basu defends China by arguing that all countries have
accepted Tibet as an integral part of China while they have not given
similar acceptance to the Indian claim over Kashmir. Therefore, he says,
China has a better claim to reject the global protests over Tibet.
Earlier, party boss Prakash Karat had defended China on Tibet; Speaker
Somnath Chatterjee too had dismissed the Tibetan issue as China’s
internal matter, thereby affirming his old Marxist loyalty. Significant
in the Marxists’ doublespeak on the Tibet-China issue is the absence of
even a word of condemnation of China on appropriating a section of
Kashmir extending up to 5,800 sq. km in the Shaksgam valley along the
Karakoram range with the connivance of Pakistan.
At this juncture, one recalls the notorious comment of Jawaharlal
Nehru’s defence minister then and crypto-Communist V.K. Krishna Menon
that this is an area where “not a blade of grass grew.” This reveals the
pattern in the Marxist mind: China is always right because it is a
Communist country and India is wrong. And these are the knights who in
their recent political resolution projected themselves as the defenders
of national sovereignty. The Marxists conveniently forget that the core
issue in Tibet is not the acceptance of the area as part of China but
the denial of basic rights of Tibetans in their own country.
The wave of protests last month within Tibet brought to the world’s
notice the fact that Tibetans resent the “Hannisation” of Tibet.
Eyewitness accounts trickling out of Tibet by independent travellers
from different countries have exposed the Chinese move to crush local
culture and change demography by importing large numbers of ethnic
Chinese natives into that area.
Therefore, the Marxists’ attempt to draw a comparison with Kashmir is
totally misleading. In Jammu and Kashmir, only the local people can
acquire and hold property. Besides people there enjoy special rights
under Article 370 of the Constitution. What the world has accepted
regarding Tibet is that it is, as the Chinese themselves describe it,
“an autonomous region of China.” The world now wants to know: Where is
the autonomy? A bulk of Tibetans, including their acknowledged spiritual
leader, the Dalai Lama, are outside of that plateau in other countries.
The Dalai Lama has publicly expressed his willingness to accept the
position for his country as an autonomous region as per the Nehru-Zhou
Enlai agreement of 1958. But China refuses to respond to the offers that
the Dalai Lama makes. Tibetans do not rule this autonomous region;
Chinese do. Even Chinese President Hu Jintao was once the Chinese
commissar in Tibet. There is no scope for political expression for
Tibetans in their own country. And yet China wants the world to believe
What the Chinese Communists deny the Tibetans in Tibet brings us to the
type of regime Communists everywhere impose on people they govern. This
is not surprising. As the ruling party in West Bengal the CPI(M) has
built a formidable fortress where incursions by any other political
activist is met with instant punishment. The breach in this fortress
occurred first in Singur and then in Nandigram. The violence that was
witnessed at both the places, particularly at the latter, was an index
of the Marxist concern. Similar things are now taking place at Kannur in
Kerala, another Marxist fortress.
While on Tibet, two more things should be noted. One, the way the fellow
travellers in Nehru’s entourage tricked India into signing for
recognition China’s “sovereignty” on Tibet. The agreement between India
and China during the 1950s was actually for recognising China’s
“suzerainty” over Tibet. But the draft of the subsequent treaty that the
foreign office in New Delhi sent to the Indian ambassador in China,
Sardar K.M. Panikkar, changed this word into “sovereignty.”
Panikkar was agitated and wrote to the foreign secretary K.P.S. Menon.
But he was asked to shut up and get the Chinese officials’ signature.
The Indian foreign office at that time was under two influences K.P.S.
Menon and V.K. Krishna Menon. K.P.S. Menon later became a Soviet
lobbyist in India heading the Indo-Soviet friendship setup and was a
frequent visitor to Moscow.
The criticism then that Jawaharlal Nehru failed to bring up the
pending questions on the border between India and China and get a quid
pro quo from Zhou Enlai for accepting China’s claim over Tibet was
dismissed. The second point is that the same Communists who dismiss
Tibetans’ agony as China’s internal matter and want India not to support
the Dalai Lama are all too eager to uphold mass killers like Iraq’s
Saddam Hussein, the Iranian establishment and the former Taliban
government of Afghanistan.
When it comes to Palestine, the Communists urge the government to turn
against Israel, which supplies us a whole range of defence technologies
and weapons, and support the terrorist elements among the Palestinians
whom their own elected President wants to bring under control. The Iraqi
leader who used chemical gas to exterminate thousands of Kurds is their
favourite, not the Dalai Lama. Is there a limit to doublespeak?