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World vs China on Tibet

December 7, 2009

The Blind Talking To The Deaf
By Rajinder Puri, The Statesman, India
December 6 & 7, 2009

Recently Chinese troops threatened Indian workers building a road in
Ladakh. They enforced stoppage of work. The Chinese themselves are
building air strips for strategic purposes on the border. China curtly
dismissed Indian protests. ?China has a dispute with India on the border
issue. The two sides should work together to ensure peace and stability
in the border area until the pending dispute is resolved,? China?s
foreign ministry spokesman told the media.

The Minister of State for Defence, MMP Raju, told reporters that China
was merely building infrastructure, there was nothing to worry. Home
Minister Chidambaram advised the media that only after studying the
Chinese response will ?the government take a view?. Can capitulation be
more shameless? The questions are: Why is China acting in this manner?
Why is China succeeding in having its way? Let us address both questions
in that order.

The short answer to the first question is that China acts the way it
does because of Tibet. Until it obtains total success in achieving its
goal in Tibet it will not relent. Its Tibet policy has served it
exceedingly well for six decades. Why should China change it? Tibet is
crucial for totalitarian China. The minorities in China are roughly 8
per cent of the population. The land mass they occupy is almost
one-third of China. Tibet and Xingjian are China?s two largest sparsely
populated provinces. China is especially paranoid about retaining Tibet
because it forcibly annexed it as recently as 1959. Thereby Tibet ceased
to be a buffer between China and India, which is the only Asian state
that can potentially balance China.

The annexation of an independent Tibet is irrefutably outlined in Claude
Arpi?s book, Tibet: The Lost Frontier, which was published last year.
Arpi, a Frenchman based in Auroville, is arguably India?s most effective
communicator of the Tibetan cause. He displays the research of a scholar
and the insight of a strategist. This year he has written a follow-up
book, Dharamsala and Beijing : the Negotiations that Never Were,
published by Lancer Publishers. The book is an eye-opener. It
meticulously describes the entire farcical engagement since inception
between Beijing and the Dalai Lama?s aides. It also exposes the pathetic
conduct of America and India that witnessed this dialogue.

In 1947 there was no India-China border. There was only the India-Tibet
border. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai hoodwinked Pandit Nehru. From then up
till now the Chinese brazenly lied, indulged in doubletalk and blandly
denied self-evident truths. From then up till now India and America
lamely accepted such contemptuous treatment. In 1954 India and China
signed a treaty for eight years by which among other things India
recognised Tibet to be part of China. Beijing violated the assurances
given in that treaty by transgressing the border. A confused Nehru
decided to keep Parliament in the dark. He persisted with secrecy about
Chinese encroachments during the following years. That was when this
reviewer through an article in 1960 demanded Nehru?s resignation. As a
junior he made this reasonable demand when media doyens critical of
Nehru?s China policies such as S Mulgaokar and Frank Moraes could not
bring themselves to state this. No wonder it took a child to blurt that
the Emperor wore no clothes! Zhou told Nehru that he was ignorant about
the McMahon Line until he studied the border problem. And today China
claims Arunachal Pradesh to be part of China!

Beijing and Tibet broke ice. Beijing allowed fact-finding missions from
Dharamsala to visit Tibet and view its progress. The Chinese genuinely
thought that better roads and infrastructure had made Tibetans happy.
The frenzied reception given to the Dalai Lama?s representatives by the
Tibetans stunned them. Four succeeding missions were doomed to fail. I
think the Chinese fail to empathize with Tibet because Tibetans believe
in God. Most Chinese don?t. In 2005 former Defence Minister, Army Chief
and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Chi Haotian, said
in a speech: ?Maybe you have now come to understand why we ? promulgate
atheism? if we let all Chinese people listen to God and follow God, who
will obediently listen to us and follow us??

Meanwhile, many rounds of border talks between India and China were also
held. These talks led nowhere. The door to China was opened in February
1976. Indira Gandhi during the Emergency ignored the parliamentary
resolution forbidding dealing with China until it vacated all illegally
occupied territory. She established ambassadorial relations with
Beijing. Why did she do this with a country that had betrayed her father
and humiliated India ? Was it not simply because by that time through
Kissinger?s exertions America had opened up to China?

The puppeteer could make the puppet somersault. On subsequent contacts
Vajpayee, Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao needlessly kept repeating that
Tibet was part of China.

Claude Arpi?s book exposes the painful repetitiveness of all contacts
between China and Tibet, between China and the rest of the world. Tibet
was like a woodpecker trying to penetrate a block of steel. The Chinese
refused to countenance the slightest change in Tibet. In 1988 Dalai Lama
made the Strasbourg Proposal and adopted the Middle Way, demanding
autonomy instead of independence. Beijing kept calling him a ?splitter?.
China continued to lie and deceive the world to keep talks going. Only
once in 60 years did a senior Chinese official speak the truth. In 1980
CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang admitted: ?Our party has let the
Tibetan people down. We feel very bad!? Very soon he had to eat his
words and fall in line. The world kept hoping for China to change. It
was a futile hope.

Why have the Chinese succeeded in bringing the rest of the world to its
knees? It is because the world is dominated by what I described in 2004
as the Real Axis of Evil comprising corporate America and China.

Arpi?s book recalls the closed door dialogues between the Americans and
Deng Xiaoping when relations were thawing. The contemptuous references
to India was what bonded the two sides. Kissinger was nauseatingly
cloying as he sucked up to the Chinese. President Gerald Ford, not the
brightest President, intervened in the talks with no impact. Ridiculing
him Lyndon Johnson once said: ?Ford needs both hands to find his ass!?

The architect of the evil axis on the American side was Henry Kissinger,
once described widely as a war criminal but ending up as a Nobel Peace
Prize laureate. A little after Sino-American trade blossomed following
Deng?s reforms, Kissinger Associates Inc. took birth. It was a
consultancy that acted as facilitator of deals between China and
corporate America. Kissinger became the central adviser for the Business
Coalition for US-China Trade which has 1000 of the largest American
corporations as its members. Kissinger helped set up China International
Investment Corporation (CITIC), the Chinese government's banking
merchant for doing business with the US. Kissinger Associates roped in
top level former officials including Alexander Haig, former National
Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former Secretary of State Lawrence
Eagleburger, international economist Alan Stoga, and investment banker
T. Jefferson Cunningham III. No wonder fierce public protest blocked
Bush from appointing Kissinger to head the 9/11 Commission. Kissinger
was forced to back out. CNN?s Wolf Blitzer asked Kissinger: ?Kissinger
Associates? has not? detailed the work it does. There is the possibility
of a conflict of interest?"

Kissinger replied: ?No law firm discloses its clients. I will discuss my
clients fully with the counsel of the White House?? Kissinger was
comfortable with the White House regardless of which administration
governed America. For instance, President Obama's trusted Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner worked for three years with Kissinger
Associates before occupying his current post. Over the years Kissinger
Associates has grown exponentially with a reach in all continents. Among
other giants the American International Group (AIG), condemned for
squandering millions as executive bonuses, is a strategic partner with
Kissinger Associates. Kissinger is reputed to be one of the key
benefactors of the stimulus bailout after the recent economic meltdown.
Kissinger Associates is the shadowy centerpiece of corporate America and
business partner of China. Totalitarian China is opaque for foreigners.
But it has free access to democratic nations. It creates strong vested
interest in their biggest business firms. In democracies big business
influences politics. Ergo, China influences policy in democratic
nations. With a five to one adverse balance of trade with China, with
trillions of dollars held as US Treasury bills by China, is America in
any position to confront Beijing? Why, the US dare not confront even
China?s proxy, Pakistan!

Claude Arpi at the conclusion of his book expresses hope that China will
change. He points to individuals in China who speak the truth about
Tibet, such as Phunwang, the Tibetan communist who led Chinese troops
into Tibet. Subsequently he spent years in jail because he tried to
faithfully follow Marxism. He was released and was invited to administer
Tibet. He refused. He knew how that would end. He stayed on in mainland
China. There are Chinese intellectuals like Zhang Boshu and Wang Lixiong
who speak objectively and constructively about Tibet.

One begs to differ with Arpi.

China will not change unless it is compelled.

Given the Axis of Evil little hope might be placed on America. Only if
India summons the will to detach itself from the coattails of Uncle Sam
can China be compelled. After 1962 only once did India assert itself
against China. In 1986 Chinese troops encroached into Sumdorong Chu in
NEFA, now Arunachal Pradesh. Army Chief General Sundarji airlifted an
entire brigade in what was called Operation Falcon to counter the
Chinese. Deng Xiaoping warned that China would ?teach India a lesson?.
War seemed imminent. Sundarji was criticized The General stood firm and
was prepared to quit. The government buttoned its lip. The Chinese
backed down. Today there are effective ways of calling China?s bluff to
enforce its climb down without resort to military action. It is futile
to outline them given a government incapable of independent action.
Until India summons the will to act independently it must live with a
reality that is worse than pathetic. It is tragic.
(The writer is a veteran journalist and cartoonist)
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