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"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?"

Zhang Boshu: the way to resolve the Tibet issue

August 10, 2009

By Zhang Boshuc
www.tibet-china-conference.org
July 2009

Here is an assessment of the Tibet situation by
Zhang Boshu of the CASS Philosophy Institute in
Beijing, translated for CDT by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous:

Zhang was born in Beijing in 1955. He received an
MA in economics from Zhongguo Renmin Daxue in
1982 and in 1985 passed the entrance examination
for the Institute of Philosophy of the graduate
school of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
His research has been on critical theory in
continental Europe in modern western philosophy.
He obtained MA and PhD degrees in philosophy in
1988 and 1991. He has held a post in the
Philosophy Institute of the Chinese Academy of
Social Sciences from 1991 to the present. In
recent years he has striven to understand the
lessons of success and failure in the history of
the past century of China's democratic transition
and institutional modernization. He has gradually
settled upon criticism of 20th Century Chinese
despotism as his main research topic.

Ever since March, the issue of Tibet and the
Olympics have been stirred up together, drawing
the attention of the entire world. Short sighted
politicians in our own country have been pleased
that their petty schemes to stir up nationalist
sentiment have been so successful. This not only
manipulates domestic opinion but also uses
so-called "mainstream public opinion" to oppose
the criticisms coming from international society.
On the other hand, this serves to push for the
consolidation of the situation in Tibet in the
hope of getting through the Olympics peacefully.
They did not realize that the Tibet issue has
already become a major factor affecting China¡¯s
future. Solving the Tibet issue will take courage
and great wisdom. Petty scheming could ruin Tibet and ruin China.

How did the Tibet issue arise?

The Tibet issue is first of all a human rights issue.

Although the authorities are not willing to admit
it, I want to say it plainly. This problem that
plagues the leadership of the Communist Party, if
we look at its origin, was created by the Chinese
Communist Party itself as the ruler of China.

We don't have to look too far back in history.
Whether in fact the relationship between the
Tibet government and Beijing from the Yuan
Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty was one of relatives
or of equals is a matter of dispute among
academics. For now, we don¡¯t need to pay any
attention to controversy. What is most important
is that from 1912 onwards, Tibet was for a long
period in a de facto "state of independence."
That situation continued until 1951 when the
Tibet local government signed an agreement with
the Beijing central government -- the "Seventeen
Point Agreement on the Peaceful Liberation of
Tibet¡±. The document was moderate and
constructive. The agreement stressed that Tibet
is part of China but also recognized that Tibet's
current system would not change and that the
Dalai Lama's position would not change. We can
call that the earliest version of "One Country,
Two Systems" in contemporary China.

In 1954, the 19 year-old Dalai Lama and 16-year
old Panchen Lama both went to Beijing to take
part in the First National People¡¯s Congress,
attending as honored guests of Mao Zedong. They
were appointed Vice Chair of the NPC and Vice
Chair of the National People's Consultative
Congress, respectively. Tibet's future seemed
bright. Problems began to appear in 1955. Mao
Zedong¡¯s utopian socialist social transformation
began to accelerate that year. Ripples spread
from the Chinese interior to Changdu and the
Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai, and
Gansu Provinces. In these areas, which were not
bound by the 17 Point Agreement, "democratic
reform" broke out on a spectacular scale. Radical
local Communist Party leaders sought to carry out
"democratic reform" and "socialist
transformation" simultaneously so as "to make
spectacular progress in just one step." They
struck hard against the masters of the serfs and
their "representatives," confiscating the lands
and property of monasteries and forcing
collectivization, slandering the religious
beliefs of Tibetan people, and forcing upper
class people, lamas and monks to "reform their thinking."

The result was that they stirred up
dissatisfaction and resistance among the Tibetan
people. During 1956-1958, armed conflicts in the
Tibetan areas grew larger and larger in scale.
When one died out another arose but were soon
were put down by campaigns by the PLA to put down
rebellion and wipe out rebels. Tens of thousands
of Kam and Amdo region Tibetans fled across the
Jinsha River into Tibet. This sowed the seeds for
the 1959 Lhasa "rebellion." These historical
circumstances led to the "rebellion" and indeed
were a necessary condition for that event to occur.

There is no need to go into detail about what
happened after that. The victorious "suppression
of the rebellion" at Lhasa showed that the
central government had achieved absolute control
of all the Tibetan areas including Tibet itself.
It also marked the rapid move of Tibet towards
"socialism." Chinese of my age grew up hearing
songs like "The Red Sun is rising about the snowy
mountains" and seeing movies like "Serfs." In
those days we really believed that under the
leadership of the Communist Party "the serfs have
been liberated" and were living happy lives.
Later, after reading a lot of historical
materials, I learned that there were many untruths in the propaganda.

The dictatorship system of the Communist Party,
the arrogance and ignorance of leaders, and the
extreme leftist policies pursued by them in the
Tibetan areas brought terrible disasters to both
the religious and lay people of Tibet. In 1962,
the Panchen Lama, who was ranked as a "national
leader," wrote a letter to Premier Zhou Enlai
expressing his deep sorrow at what he had seen
and heard of the suffering of the Tibetan people.
Since the Panchen Lama was certainly not opposed
to the leadership of the Communist Party, and was
loyally and faithfully reporting to the Party the
actual situation in the Tibetan areas, this
letter known as the "70,000 Character Document"
can be seen as a document that accurately
reflects the difficult situation of the Tibetan
people during those years. I might as well quote from it here:

-- On "class struggle" in the Tibetan areas:

"In most or in many areas, the cadres didn't
care  if the campaign was planned or carried out
well. They were intent on making a spectacular
display that would strike terror in people. They
didn't care if they attacked the right people.
The objective was to do the campaign on a big
scale and achieve numerical targets."

They attacked many people whom they shouldn't
have attacked. Often "those who were the objects
of struggle meetings had not done anything
particularly bad or committed serious errors. So
they had to make up many false and serious
accusations. They exaggerated at will, turning
truth and falsehood upside down." Many innocent
people were forced to flee abroad against their
will. Those who stayed behind lived in terror.

-- On the lives of the people in the Tibetan
areas: :Because of the rise in the agricultural
areas of the five unhealthy tendencies [Tr. Note:
post Great Leap Forward Party critique of GLF
excesses -- "wu feng"¯ over-egalitarianism, the
common practice of exaggeration, confused orders,
too many compulsory orders, and special
privileges] and excessively tight controls on
grain, and the standards for the amount of grain
the people could retain was set too low, a severe
grain shortage resulted, ... and many households
had no grain. In some areas some people even starved to death.

Formerly Tibet was a dark and barbarous feudal
society but there had never been a shortage of
grain like that, especially since Buddhism
permeated the society, everyone rich and poor,
had the custom of helping the poor and giving
alms. People could easily support themselves as a
beggar, so we never knew of anyone ever having starved to death."

-- Implementation of "dictatorship" resulted in
the improper deaths of many prisoners: After the
"suppression of the rebellion," the proportion of
prisoners in the Tibetan population reached
several percent, something completely
unprecedented. In 1959, Chairman Mao set forth a
policy that since the population of Tibet was
small, people shouldn¡¯t be killed or at most
only a few people should be killed. But in fact,
just the opposite happened. Except for the
somewhat better treatment of imprisoned members
of the upper classes, most people who were locked
up in prison endured very bad conditions. The
prison wardens didn¡¯t care about the lives or
health of the prisoners. They often verbally
abused and savagely beat prisoners. Moreover,
wardens deliberately moved prisoners back and
forth between very warm and cold places so that
the prisoners could not adapt and their clothes
were always unsuitable. Their clothes could not
keep them warm, their mattresses were not
waterproof, and the wind and rain entered their
cells. They never got enough to eat, living in
miserable conditions, yet they still had to get
up early to do work. The hardest work was always
given to these people. They became worn out
physically, often came down with diseases. As a
result of no rest and inadequate medical care,
many prisoners died who should not have. [Tr. Note. Chinese text:n/a]

-- On religion and nationalities issues: "Under
the so-called 'elimination of superstition,' the
first priority was opposing religion. The second
priority was destroying images of the Buddha,
Buddhist scriptures, and stupas." When they
demanded that monks and nuns return to secular
lives, "first in all the temples and monasteries,
under the pretext of 'study' and ¡®mobilization,'
they brought all the monks and nuns together into
a large hall or room, and made them study
nervously day and night, forcing them to
criticize each other in order to create a big
wave of sharp struggles and attacks. People who
openly express their belief in religion were
given labels such as a superstitious element or
someone who doesn't like the revolution. They
were constantly attacked without rhyme or reason.
Even worse, in some places they made the lamas
stand on one side and nuns and lay religious
women stand on the other. They were then forced
to chose each other in marriage. In Tibet, there
were originally over 2500 temples. After
"democratic reform" there were only 70 left.
Originally there were 110,000 monks and nuns. Ten
thousand fled abroad, leaving 100,000 behind.
After "democratic reform" there were only 7,000
monks and nuns left. What especially cannot be
condoned is that in some areas there was
deliberate desecration and insults to religion
such as the Buddhist Canon used for compost. Many
paintings of the Buddha and scriptures were used
to make shoes or other objects. There is
absolutely no reason for this. Because there were
many insane things done that even a lunatic
wouldn't do, people in all classes of Tibetan
society were deeply shaken. Their emotions were
in chaos and they became exceedingly sad and shed
tears. They said, "Our land has been made into a
dark place," quoting a Tibetan proverb that means "a place without religion."

Alas, when I read these characters, my own heart
bleeds and my face burns. Most of these problems
also existed in the Chinese interior as well. But
they were more serious in Tibet. They were more
extreme and more widespread there. No matter how
wellmeaning or noble was the initial motivation
of those in power was to use their social ideals
to transform Tibetan society was, its shocking
results are all crimes. These are crimes that
resulted from ignorance, arrogance, rage and violence.

Under these circumstances, the over 100,000
Tibetans who fled to India and other foreign
countries called upon the entire world to support
the human rights of Tibetans. Therefore the Tibet
issue became a symbolic issue for the entire world.

What can be surprising about that?

Moreover, this was going on during the Cold War
and so in the minds of western people, Tibet
became a focal point in the game of competing
national interests in which China, the Soviet
Union, India, the United States and other countries were engaged.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency did in fact
provide funding, technical and other support to
Tibetans in exile. That was part of the effort of
the United States to contain the "spread of
communism." Chinese can of course curse the damn
Americans for plotting to "split China" without
revealing their real intentions. But on the other
hand, if the Communist Party had not done so many
stupid things in Tibet and forced Tibetans to
flee into exile, what would other people have
been able to say? What pretext could they have to
butt in? I haven't even mentioned the Cultural
Revolution. That "historically unprecedented"
"revolution," because it was even redder and even
further left, was even more extreme and more
cruel. Of course it created even greater
disasters for the Tibetan people. I won't discuss them here.

Enlightened Communist Party Leaders Once
Reflected on the "Leftist" Misfortunes that Brought Disaster to Tibet.

Objectively speaking, there has been no shortage
of enlightened people within the Chinese
Communist Party leadership. At different times
and in different positions they have opposed
leftist work methods in Tibet. However, under
these historical circumstances, they could achieve only limited results.

Xi Zhongxun, from northwestern China, was a Vice
Premier and Secretary General of the State
Council in the 1960s. He was responsible for
contact with the Panchen Lama. He made a very
complete report to the State Council about the
how the "Seventy Thousand Character Document"
came to be written by the Panchen and so was
charged with "accommodating and not interfering
with the Panchen. The Tenth session of the Eighth
Congress of the Communist Party dismissed Xi
Zhongxun and, in addition to the major crime of
"using a novel to attack the Communist Party,"
also charged him with "accommodating and not interfering with the Panchen."

Another dismissed, high-level Communist Party
official was Li Weihan, who was an old communist
who had been head of the United Front Department
since 1947. During April and May 1962, at a
Nationalities Work Conference held in Beijing,
some of the nationalities religious figures
offered some sharp criticisms. Li Weihan remained
calm and honestly said that he welcomed criticism
from everyone. He praised the talk of the Tibetan
Buddhist Lama Xijiashenzhi [romanization of
Chinese name], saying that he was "open and above
board, with "a heart as clear as a mirror" and
stands as a symbol of "patriotism in the area of
national minorities religious affairs". Li
Weiquan's action was later severely criticized by
Mao Zedong who said that "The United Front
Department is neglecting the class struggle and is being capitulationist."[2]

After the end of the Cultural Revolution, many
issues in Tibetan affairs were neglected.
Nationalities policy and the relationship between
the Han nationality and the Tibetan nationality
needed to be adjusted and the lives of Tibetans
needed to be improved. In May 1980, just after Hu
Yaobang had become General Secretary of the
Chinese Communist Party, Hu and Wan Li flew to
Tibet for an inspection visit. On the plane, Hu
said to the accompanying Xinhua News Agency journalists:

"In our policies in the national minority areas,
we must always seek truth from facts, and adjust
measures to suit local conditions so as to fully
respect the autonomy the Tibetans have to govern
their minority area themselves. That is the crux
of all the Tibet issues." On May 29, in the work
report that Hu Yaobang presented at the meeting
with the cadres of the Tibetan Autonomous Region,
he stressed that the development of Tibetan must resolve "six big issues."

The first is, under the unified leadership of the
center, to fully implement the autonomy rightsin
the nationalities areas. "Any document, order or
regulation which is not suitable for the
conditions of Tibet should not be implemented."
"You should according to your own
characteristics, draft specific decrees, laws and
regulations, and rules to protect the special
interests of your own nationality."

The second: "Under the present difficult
conditions in Tibet, you should carry out a
policy of recuperation and rebuilding and
considerably reduce the burden on the people."
"We have decided that within several years
required purchases by Tibetans will be abolished."

Third: "Tibet should implement special flexible
policies to promote the development of production."

Fourth: "Devote the resources that the state is
providing to Tibet to the development of
agriculture and herding and the daily necessities
most needed by Tibetan people."

Fifth: "With the condition that the socialist
road be followed, develop science, technology and
education in Tibet.: Hu Yaobang especially stressed:

"Looking down on Tibetan history, language and
art is totally wrong" Loving the minority people
is not a matter of empty words. Their social
customs and habits must be respected. Respect
their language, respect their history, respect
their culture. If you don't do that you are only
speaking empty words." Finally, Tibetan cadres
should manage Tibet. Within two years, Tibetans
should make up two-thirds or more of the cadres in Tibet.

"We have been here for thirty years. We have
completed our historical mission." "Today there
are 300,000 ethnic Han, including military, in Tibet. How can that ever do?"

The above can be summarized in six characters
"cut taxes, open up, and withdraw personnel."
These were the "emergency measures" energetically
promoted by Hu Yaobang to resolve the Tibet issue. [3]

These views, strong criticisms of social evils,
were enthusiastically welcomed in the Tibetan
areas. Of course because of historical
conditions, the enlightened leaders of the
Chinese Communist Party were unable to discuss
and consider institutional perspectives on the
problems that occurred in Tibet. Hu Yaobang in
his May 29th speech said that we should not look
back on the past but rather "unify ourselves and
look to the future".[4] This reflects Hu
Yaobang¡¯s experience and resourcefulness and the
frustrations of a generation of reformers in the
Chinese Communist Party. After all, the many of
the tragedies in contemporary Tibetan history are
directly linked to the Communist Party system and
the social policies that that Party carried out.
This is all a result of these policies. If we do
not reflect upon the origins of the Tibet issue,
then we will not be able to resolve it.

New Symptoms Arose in the Tibet Issue During the Years of Reform

With opening and reform, especially since the
early 1990s and the turn of the new century, the
Chinese economy has grown very quickly. The
central government has also certainly invested a
lot of capital in Tibet and devised a series of
special preferential policies and measures to
accelerate the development of Tibet. There have
been direct state investment construction
projects, Chinese central government financial
subsidies, and support for projects from partners
around the country for the modernization and
construction of Tibet. The overall economic level
of Tibet has improved considerably as a result.
However the political structure has remained the
same as before with the Party exercising control
over political, economic, cultural, and religious
affairs just as before. An autonomous region in
name, but in actual fact, autonomy was in the
same lamentable state as before. The core of the
Tibet issue has not been truly solved, and under
the new social conditions a variety of new problems have arisen.

The market economy has become an economy
controlled by influential people. It is that way
in the Chinese interior, and it is that way in
Tibet. The blending of the system of Party
dictatorship and the policy of opening up created
a new privileged stratum that includes Han and as
well as Tibetans who have positions in Party and
government institutions and cultural
institutions. Faced with swarms of merchants
coming from the Chinese interior, many ordinary
Tibetans in Lhasa and other areas fell discriminated against and marginalized.

Even worse is the all encompassing control of
religious affairs. On the surface, religious life
in Tibet has already been restored. The state
spent great sums repairing damage and protecting
symbolic Buddhist structures, the temples are
filled with burning incense. The Buddhist Canon
will never again be used for compost. But this is
just the surface of things. There is a deeper
reality that is hidden behind these things as if beneath a mask.

The independent scholar Wang Lixiong has done
much research on, and taken many trips to, Tibet.
His conclusion: In Tibet there is no true
religious freedom. On one hand, the government
strictly controls the registration of religious
activities in the temples, limits religious
personnel to a certain "authorized personnel
complement," and forbids ties between temples.
Religious activities outside the temples are
forbidden. On the other hand, spontaneous
religious activities outside government control
are rigorously suppressed so that they will not have any influence.

In the Kang region of [Tr. note: ethnographic]
Tibet, not far from the county seat of Sela
County, is the mountain valley of Larong with its
Wuming Buddhist Institute [Tr. note: also known
as the Sertar Tibetan Buddhist Institute, Sertar,
Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan,
China]. When founded in 1980, there were only 30
or so people at the Institute. At the end of the
1990s, there were nearly 10,000 Tibetan and Han
monks there. This worried the Chinese government.
The authorities ordered that they reduce the
number of personnel from the authorized number of
4000 nuns to just 400 and 4000 monks to just
1000. All the 1000 Han who had come to study
Buddhism were forced to leave. This requirement
was rejected by the Living Buddha who ran the
Institute because to make a monk return to
secular life involves a serious violation of
vows. The government took action, sending people
to destroy the housing of the monks. On July 10,
2001 during the height of the destruction of
monastic housing, 1700 monastic cells were
destroyed in a single day. "I have heard people
describe that scene, the sounds of houses being
destroyed, the dust rising up everywhere, on one
side one thousand nuns crying, as if the world
itself were shaking. In the area around the
Wuming Buddhist Academy were many nuns in groups
in the countryside hiding out to avoid pursuit by the government. [5]

An even more deadly consequence of the strict
control of religion has been breaks in the
transmission of Tibetan Buddhism. Traditional
Tibetan religion has an internal control
mechanism. For example, although their is a
reincarnation system for the Dalai and the
Panchen, but in the Geluga School, eminent monks
and heads of monasteries have a set term of
office. They are chosen from among the most
learned lamas. The winners in the competition can
become the head of the Ganden Monastery -- that
is a natural teacher for the Dalai Lama and the
Panchen Lama. This system has continued for
several hundred years without a break, thereby
ensuring the authenticity in the transmission of
the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism from generation
to generation and ensuring as well the excellent
character of eminent monks. But since 1959 this
continuous process has been interrupted. From the
1980s to the present, although on the surface
religious activities have been renewed, it has
become hard to find a trace of the very core of
the religion -- the pious beliefs of eminent
monks, deep research into Buddhism and teaching
aimed at enlightening all sentient beings.

The governing authorities operate a "reverse
elimination" selection system among the leaders
of the monks. "Any monk leader who insists on
religious principles, refuses to be a tool of the
authorities, will be subject to pressure and
purging or even sentenced to prison as a warning
to other clergy. Any monk with a relatively high
traditional rank who keeps silent and doesn't
cause trouble is a candidate for recruitment by
the United Front Department. He will be given
rewards but a club will be always be ready to
intimidate him. Any monk willing to put personal
advancement first, who is opportunistic, gives up
religious principles, and willing to be a tool of
the government will be given all sorts of
advantages, membership in the National People's
Congress, the National People's Consultative
Congress or even higher government positions. The
green light will be given for their activities,
resources will be provided so that they will be a
model who can draw in other leaders among the
monks." In sum, therefore, although the Chinese
Communists boast of religious freedom but their
religious policy is aimed at the destruction of
Buddhism, no less than it was in the days of Mao
Zedong. Mao Zedong wanted to completely extirpate
Buddhism. In Tibetan history there were eras when
Buddhism was extirpated yet Buddhism still
continued because the religion lived in the
hearts of believers and so could not be destroyed
by an external force. Today the Communist Party
religious policy aims at the degeneration of the
monk stratum of Tibetan society. This is a mortal danger to Buddhism.[6]

As a consequence of all this, although Tibet has
made considerable economic progress over the past
thirty years and the lives of ordinary Tibetans
have improved, Tibetans are still dissatisfied
and "events" occur over and over again in the
Tibetan regions. The Tibetan issue is still "an
issue" that is the focus of constant
international attention. The events that have
occurred since March are just new developments in
the course of this ongoing transformation.

Demonizing the Dalai Lama is Extremely Stupid

After the "hitting, smashing, stealing and
burning" event of March 14, the Chinese
government immediately announced that this was
instigated by the "Dalai Clique." When in April
there was interference with the transmission of
the torch, the authorities again asserted that
the "Dalai Clique" had instigated "Tibet
independence elements," with the aim of
destroying the Olympic Games, in order to further
the cause of "Tibet independence."

The "human rights issue" was substituted for the
"independence issue" to serve the needs of people
in authority. This is easy to see. But in their
effort to dump this pile of shit on the head of
the Dalai Lama, we can see how preposterous the
traditional political logic of the Chinese
communists is. This also reveals that the rulers
lack a long term strategic vision and political wisdom.

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibetan
Buddhism. He is also one of the most famous
political figures in the world. The year the
Dalai Lama fled Tibet he was 24 years old. In
half a century of exile, this ethnic Tibetan sage
has blended the essence of Buddhism, magnanimity,
liberal democracy and other universal values of
contemporary civilization. Already in 1987, the
Dalai Lama proposed the "Five Point Peace
Proposal" which includes the suggestion that
Tibet become a "peace zone," that "China end its
policy of moving settlers into Tibet¡±, that
there be ¡°respect for the human rights and
democratic rights of the Tibetan people," that
the government "restore and protect Tibet's
natural environment," and that the two sides
"hold sincere talks about the future status of
Tibet and the relationship between the Tibetan people and the Chinese people".

In 1988, the Dalai Lama also made the "Strasbourg
Proposal," which proposed that "Tibet should
become a self-ruled democratic political entity
in union with the People's Republic of China, in
which "the Chinese government would be
responsible for Tibet's external affairs, but
Tibet could establish offices overseas for the
religious and cultural aspects of foreign relations," etc.[7]

During the last seven years, the Dalai Lama has
at many times and in many places stated clearly
that he does not seek Tibet independence, only
real autonomy for Tibet. On the methods and ways
of achieving this he strongly calls for a
peaceful "middle way," which would involve honest
dialog with the central government and negotiations to resolve issues.

Ever since 2002, the Dalai Lama's special envoy
has met with representatives of the United Front
Department in Beijing six times in order to
explain to the ruling Communist Party rulers the
"middle way position" but has not gotten any response to the proposal.

The rigid stance of the Chinese Communist Party
is very easy to understand from their political
tradition. The institutional arrangements for
Tibet have already been decided. So what is there
to talk about? Accepting the so-called "autonomy"
of the Dalai Lama would shake the foundations of
the party-state, so there can be no yielding on
this point. Therefore, "talks" are for the
Communist side just a perfunctory exercise and
only done for show, and so of course there can be
no concrete results from them. Yet these delays
cause more and more difficulties for the Dalai
Lama since he has to explain things to both the
Tibetan exiles and to believers within Tibet.

There are many different organizations and groups
among the Tibetans in exile with different
political positions. There are radical ones like
the "Tibet Youth Congress" which has attracted a
lot of attention lately. It's political position
is very different from the Dalai Lama's "Middle
Way." The Tibet Youth Congress was founded in
1970 mostly by second and third generation Tibet
exiles. Membership is now several tens of
thousands with organizations in 40 countries.

At the outset the Tibet Youth Congress stood for
non-violence, but is has changed its position
over the past several years. At its 2007 annual
meeting, the leader of the Congress said that the
non-violence propounded by the Dalai Lama is
good, but he has been saying this for many years
without result. "Very many people don't believe
in it. They say it doesn't work." If it doesn't
work , then what? The Tibet Youth Congress is
inclined to use violence to solve the problem,
including preparing a "popular uprising movement"
in the Tibetan areas. It is said that over 700
Tibetans have volunteered and that they are
willing to give up their lives to protect what they "stand for."

The Dalai Lama has stated clearly that he opposes
any scheme or action involving the use of
violence. He said that if such an act should
occur, he may have to "resign" to show his true
position. Several days ago, the Dalai during an
interview with Asia Week [Yazhou Zhoukan] said
that he believes that giving up the Middle Way of
setting aside efforts to achieve Tibet
independence in favor of seeking a high degree of
autonomy is still the mainstream view of Tibetans
in exile as well as the mainstream view of people
in the Tibetan areas. As for the Tibet Youth
Congress, the Dalai Lama said that he can only
admonish the Tibet Youth Congress not to take the
radical road. However, he has no way to order the
Tibet Youth Congress to shut up. 9

Beijing may not completely trust the statements
of the Dalai Lama because overcoming political
enmity built up over a long time will take time and face-to-face communication.

However, indiscriminately demonizing the other
side, charging that the Dalai Lama is the
commander in the "Tibet independence camp" and
should certainly be punished by the entire
nation, and reviled by everyone, can only put the
Dalai Lama in a difficult situation (while he is
trying to put pressure on radical forces among
Tibetans) and lead the Chinese communists into a
political dead end (frozen into the rigid face of
the dictator), giving up the freedom of maneuver
needed in political negotiations.

Isn't this an extremely stupid way to behave?

Yet, in the final analysis, this is the obstinate
and stubborn traditional political logic that
haunts the Communist Party. According to this
logic, there can be no equal negotiating
partners. There can only be enemies locked in a
life and death struggle. Even worse is how the
rulers are haunted by their own logic of
interests -- for according to this logic, Tibet
"autonomy" is intolerable. It would be a
fundamental threat to the party-state, and a
threat to a large group that benefits from this
system. Considered in terms of these two logics,
the demonization of the Dalai Lama becomes easy
to understand. But where is justice? What
are  the prospects for the great family of the
peoples of China? Considering the puerile and
shallow "patriotism" and "nationalism" shown in
the recent turbulent tide of meticulously planned
and instigated demonstrations in both China and
abroad by the new "Boxers," as well as the very
deep problems facing the country, one is left
with a bitter and confused taste in one's mouth
and troubled deep into sleepless nights.

The Solution to the Tibet issue Should be Sought
Within a Constitutional Framework. The Tibet
issue is first of all a human rights issue. But
it is not only a human rights issue. Abuses of
human rights are an "effect," not a "cause." An
irrational system of political dictatorship is what caused the "Tibet issue."

Didn't the Communist Party initially seek to help
the Tibetan people and the million "liberated
serfs"? I believe that this is true. Yet the
history of the world is full of examples of evil
deeds done with good intentions. During the late
Qing, the court made great reforms in Tibetan
affairs and promoted reforms in order to prevent
the great powers from continuing to encroach upon
Tibet. In 1907, Zhang Yintang gave to the Qing
Court "Twenty-four proposals for the governance
of Tibet." During 1905 - 1911, in the the
provinces of Sichuan and Kang, a reform to
"change from indirect control through local
chiefs to direct control by the central
government." The purpose in addition to
consolidating Qing rule was to transform social
traditions for the "good of" ordinary Tibetans.
However, these "reforms" were strongly resisted
by Tibetan people. Half a century later the
Communist Party did the same thing in the Tibetan
areas, albeit more systematically and with more
determination. The result was larger scale harm
to the people, religion and culture of the Tibetan areas.

In fact, history has already shown that China's
20th century communist revolution was a mistake.
It was a big wrong turn during a century of
social transformation. It not only brought
misfortune to the Han nationality, it also
brought misfortune to the minority peoples.
Today, people are thinking deeply about that
history. Things that are past cannot be called
back. But we should remember the lessons of
history, and look at the issues of today and
tomorrow with a scientific attitude. This is the
responsibility of the present generation. Respect
for the fundamental rights of citizens, and
respect for the distinctive cultures and
traditions must be implemented in a
constitutional political system. This is the
basic path for solving the Tibet issue.

Recently Taiwan successfully changed the ruling
party for the second time. This shows the
superiority of the democratic system of
government. It also demonstrates the necessity
and urgency of changing the political system on
the Chinese mainland. Clearly, the party
dictatorship system of the Chinese Communist
Party cannot accommodate unification between
Taiwan and the mainland, just as it cannot
accommodate true autonomy for Tibet. Only by
dissolving the present system and creating a
constitutional democratic system in accordance
with the universal values and principles of
modern civilization can the day come when Taiwan
finally returns to the motherland, Tibet achieves
true autonomy, and Han and Tibetans get along with each other in harmony.

 From the beginning of the 1960s, the Tibetan
government-in-exile in Dharamasala, India started
to experiment at building a system of democratic
government. In his Strasbourg Proposal, the Dalai
Lama said that "the Tibetan government should be
composed of an independent administration and
legislature chosen by the vote of all citizens
and a court system." The Dalai Lama even proposed
changing the Tibetan form of government that
combines politics and religion. He didn¡¯t worry
if he might become the "°last Dalai" in Tibetan
history. 10 Tibetans have already made
preparations for a democratic political system.

Shouldn;t the central government in Beijing make similar preparations?

Certainly for the Chinese Communist
decision-makers who now hold power, changing the
present system and creating a new institutional
framework would take a great deal of courage and
wisdom. This would not be just for Tibet or for
Taiwan; it would be for all the 1.3 billion
citizens of the People¡¯s Republic of China. To
be honest, even after China has established a
constitutional form of government, finding the
reasonable sharing of jurisdiction between the
central government and the nationalities areas will not be easy.

I once wrote an article entitled "Two Track
Republican System: A Proposal for the Reform of
the Chinese System of Constitutional Government."
In this article I pointed out that it is an
uncontested fact that the "division of powers"
and "autonomy" strengthen the rights
consciousness of citizens and increases their
participation in public affairs (in the
nationalities areas, autonomy also helps preserve
the cultural traditions of nationalities and
protects their special interests). Yet there is
another aspect to this problem, that is the
tendency of interests to expand and the "logic of
collective interests." The latter will certainly
create some "problems of the commons" which will
have to be solved by the intervention of a public
power at a higher level that is above local
interests, especially intervention by the central government.

Returning to the present, there is still a chance
for the central government to solve the Tibet
issue. That can be done by conducting genuine
negotiations with the Dalai Lama. Recently
Beijing has already said that it is willing to
resume contact. That is good. Even if it is just
a pose, it is positive. Everyone hopes that the
takes can produce genuine results so as to create
a harmonious bridge between the Han and Tibetan
peoples while the Dalai Lama is still alive. If
this issue is not handled well, then
¡°splitting¡± might become a real and present
danger. As a Chinese citizen, I naturally don¡¯t
want to see Tibet split off from the household of
our motherland. We should believe that the trend
of human civilization is towards unifying rather
than towards splitting. Unity is helpful for
solving many of the problems that humanity is
faced with. As a Chinese proverb goes, the melon
that is grabbed roughly cannot be sweet -- unity
needs to be a voluntary unity based upon a
community of interests. Forced compliance cannot
produce good results. This simple truth can also be applied to politics.
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