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China faces a new threat --- A tweeting Dalai Lama

July 27, 2010

by B.Raman
Sri Lanka Guardian
July 25, 2010

  Chennai, Sri Lnaka Guardian) The Chinese are
facing a new threat to their national security
--a tweeting Dalai Lama. His Holiness has started
a direct dialogue with interested Chinese and
Tibetan netizens with the help of Chinese writer
Wang Lixiong, presently living in the US, who is
the husband of the Tibetan dissident writer
Woeser. His Tweets with the Chinese netizens are
hosted on His Holiness' new Chinese blog on Twitter: @dailalamacn.

The questions have to be submitted in advance.
With the help of his advisers, His Holiness
selects 10 questions and replies to them. He has
had two sessions so far---on May 21 and again on
July 19. It is learnt that for the session of
July 19, he received 326 questions. He replied to
10 of them. Radio Free Asia, funded by the US
State Department, has been disseminating the
questions to which HIs Holiness replied with a summary of his answers.

Some of his significant replies are given below:

* "The term ‘autonomy by Tibetans’ should refer
to having Tibetans as the majority and other
ethnic groups as the minority [of the Tibet
Autonomous Region].If the situation were in
reverse, then the word ‘autonomy’ would be meaningless."

* He hopes to "build up a big family that enables
Chinese and Tibetans to coexist in a friendly
fashion over 1,000 years, as before.” He wants to
see all ethnic groups in China "coexist amicably
with each other on the principle of equality."

* He rejected the concept of a so-called "Greater
Tibet," which was Beijing's propaganda. "We never
advocated ‘Greater Tibet.’ That is a label put on
us by the Chinese Communist Party’s Department of
the United Front." "What we have been pursuing is
that all Tibetans who use the same spoken and
written language need equal rights to protect and
develop their religious culture, as well as equal
rights to economic development."

* He is not the sole figure to embody the Tibetan
spirit. He has been operating in semi-retirement
over the last 10 years.All major political
decisions have been made by a leadership group
elected by Tibetan exiles.After his death, all
policy would be managed in the same way.

His advisers have estimated that about 5000
persons have been following his Tweets, but less
than 500 are submitting questions. The Chinese
have not so far tried to block his Tweets. While
the Chinese would not be unduly concerned over
his Twittterlogue with the Han Chinese, they
would be worried over his Twitterlogue with
Tibtans. It remains to be seen how they deal with
this problem. Internet access in Tibet is freer
than it is in Xinjiang. The Chinese imposed
severe restrictions on the use of the Internet in
Xinjiang after they found out that the
Munich-based World Uighur Congress was in touch
with its followers in Xinjiang through the Internet.

Unrelated to this, the Chinese Ministry of Public
Security, which is responsible for internal
security, has continued to keep up pressure on
Nepalese leaders and officials to stop what it
describes as the anti-China activities by the
Tibetan exiles in Nepal, particularly those whom
it suspects to be working for Radio Free Asia.
Chen Zhimin, the Chinese Vice-Minister for Public
Security, is to visit Kathmandu for talks with Nepalese officials on July 26.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd),
Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi,
and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical
Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai
Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

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