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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Shanghai Diary: Why the Chinese are angry -- Part II

May 15, 2008

B Raman
May 14, 2008 | 14:05 IST

B Raman was in Shanghai from May 6 to 9 for a discussion on 'Beijing
Olympics and Security'. This is his second visit to Shanghai. The
first was in May, 2002, to attend an Asia-Pacific conference on
terrorism in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist strikes. This is the
second of a three-part series on his impressions of China.?

Because of what the Tibet [Images]ans did in Lhasa on March 14 when
there was large-scale violence directed at the Han Chinese and their
property and thereafter in other Tibetan-inhabited areas outside the
Tibet autonomous region.

Because of what the Chinese perceive and allege as the role played by
the Dalai Lama [Images], the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Youth Congress
and some members of the Tibetan Diaspora in the West in instigating
this violence.

Because of the alleged role played by Western -- particularly
American -- human rights activists and non-governmental organisations
such as the US-based National Endowment for Democracy, the
Germany-based Neumann Stiftung (foundation) and the France-based
Reporters Without Frontiers in instigating, funding and encouraging
this violence.

Because of what the Chinese indignantly describe as the baseless
allegations disseminated by the Dalai Lama, his advisers and the TYC
regarding large-scale deaths of Tibetans during firing by the Chinese
security forces in Lhasa and cultural genocide in Tibet.

Because of what the Chinese describe as a mischievous, motivated and
one-sided projection of the events by most of the Western media.

They do not hesitate to call the Dalai Lama, the TYC and their
supporters as a pack of dishonest liars who have learnt the
techniques of disinformation from their Western --particularly
American -- supporters and funders.

They point out that while nearly 20 Han Chinese were brutally killed
by Tibetan mobs on March 14 -- with some of them burnt alive -- there
was not a single instance of retaliatory killing. Even according to
the Dalai Lama's version, the Tibetans who were killed died in the
action taken by the security forces to quell violence by the Tibetan
mobs and not at the hands of Han civilians, who, it is said,
conducted themselves with great restraint despite the Tibetan attacks on them.

All sections of the Chinese one met were outraged that while the
Western media played up what the Chinese describe as the baseless
stories of the Dalai Lama's set-up, they blacked out the version of
the Chinese government.

There was surprise over the fact that even large sections of the
Indian media and analysts mainly accepted the Western and the Dalai
Lama's versions, and ignored the Chinese government's version or
played it down.

The Dalai Lama -- who is contemptuously referred to as Dalai or as
the head of the Dalai clique -- is the most distrusted and disliked
figure in China. He is seen as a double-dealer, as a man who says one
thing, but does another, who keeps changing his position frequently
depending on the prevailing circumstances.

According to them, the Dalai Lama openly talks of autonomy, but
secretly asks the TYC to fight for independence, openly preaches
non-violence, but secretly asks the TYC to take to violence, openly
supports the holding of the Olympics in Beijing [Images], but
secretly asks the TYC to co-operate with Western -- particularly
American -- human rights groups in sabotaging it.

How can we seriously deal with a person like him, who does not
inspire confidence and trust, they ask. They are outraged by his
demand for a Greater Tibet by merging Tibet with other
Tibetan-inhabited areas of China and rule out even discussing this with him.

It is apparent that while they might be prepared to talk with the
representatives of the Dalai Lama about his own future as the leader
of the Tibetan Buddhists, they might not be prepared to discuss with
him the future of Tibet. They dismiss firmly any suggestions for a
Hong Kong or Taiwan style status for Tibet under the one country, two
systems formula. They seem to suspect that the Dalai Lama's strategy
is to come back to Tibet under an agreement with the Chinese,
re-assume his political role and create a Taiwan-like situation by
introducing a multi-party liberal democracy on the Indian model.

The TYC is widely seen as a terrorist organisation no different from
Al Qaeda [Images] or the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan or the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. They claim to have captured arms
and ammunition from the possession of TYC supporters in Tibet. The
argument that the Dalai Lama is a good man, a great admirer of
Mahatma Gandhi [Images], a charismatic religious personality and has
had no role in the radicalisation of the TYC falls on deaf ears.

There is appreciation of the stand taken by the government of India
that it would not allow the Dalai Lama's set-up to indulge in
anti-Chinese activities from Indian territory and of the measures
taken by the government to ensure a safe passage for the Olympic
flame through New Delhi.

At the same time, one could discern an air of puzzlement over what is
apparently perceived as the inaction of the government of India
against the TYC -- particularly some American nationals of Tibetan
origin, who now seem to dominate its policy-making and activities.
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