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<-Back to WTN Archives What Kind of Role Can Tibet Issue play in the Summit Meeting Between China and India
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Thursday, November 16, 2006

9. What Kind of Role Can Tibet Issue play in the Summit Meeting Between China and India

ICT, Thursday, November 16, 2006

By Namlo Yak

Chinese President Mr. Hu Jintao will pay his first visit for India on 20
November 2006 since he became the President of China. This visit is
believed as a part of the current ongoing process of the summit meeting
between China and India, and two countries will continue to focus on several
controversial issues. According to annalists, Mr. Hu Jintao will likely
borrow the border issue to make more pressure on New Delhi, as Beijing has
been desperate to solve the border issue with New Delhi as soon as possible.
For India, this meeting will be more than to only deal with the border
issue, New Delhi will be able to put more issues on the table to create a
huge pressure on other side in order to make itself more active in the

Tibet issue has been playing a major controversial issue between India and
China since H.H the Dalai Lama fled his homeland for India in 1959, but two
countries seem like to avoid raising this issue during the meeting. For
China, it will make itself more comfortable without dealing Tibet issue
during the meeting, but it has been misleading India into a passive
situation. Therefore, there is a significant importance for New Delhi to
raise Tibet issue as a key issue during the meeting, it will not only help
India to bring more benefit for its people, but also can find a way to solve
Tibet issue. Below, I will explain this significant importance of raising
Tibet issue in detail:

To understand the root of the Tibet issue, one needs knowledge of history
and the ability to judge debates. When the question of Tibet was first
brought up before the United Nations, United States recognized Tibet as 'an
autonomous state under the suzerainty of China', but it also supported the
Dalai Lama submitting the Tibet problem to the United Nations in order to
bring about a resolution to the Tibet question and to realise the Tibetan
people's right to self-determination. The basis for this statement of
'suzerainty' can be found at the proceedings of the Simla Convention in
1913-14, a forum for talks between Britain, Tibet, and the then Republic of

The Chinese delegation refused to sign the Simla Convention, and on the
basis of ambiguous and temporary 'historical borders', refused to accept the
border between 'inner Tibet' and China - and even rejected the border
between Tibet and India. In 1987, India therefore established
Arunachal Pradesh to the south of the McMahon Line in accordance with the
Convention. That this line could include Sikkim, Ladakh and Bhutan is the
real reason why China and India get beyond the impasse of 'border
negotiations'. The 'Tibet issue' therefore obviously does not only directly
touch upon India's interests; it could also impact upon the security of all
south Asia. Even though the chances of a large-scale military confrontation
are extremely small these days, the large and extremely well-resourced
military presence is still a factor. Furthermore, the opening of the Tibet
railway has raised the Tibet issue to an important position in south Asian
and indeed global security considerations. All of
these matters are important indicators that the 'Tibet issue' will remain

Could these factors impact upon a resolution of the 'Tibet issue'? Although
one would not deny the existence of obstacles, looking at the issue from the
point of view of the interests of India, China and the west, a resolution of
the 'Tibet issue' on the premise of a democratic system could create a
'win-win' situation. For instance, it could be as simple and straightforward
as, for example, article 31 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of
China: "The state may establish special administrative regions when
necessary. The systems to be instituted in special administrative regions
shall be prescribedby law enacted by the National People's Congress in the
light of the specific conditions." There is not much difference between this
and the "search for the future of Tibet within the framework of the Chinese
constitution" called for by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Furthermore,
Beijing has already signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR) as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights (ICESCR) - the Standing Committee of the National People's
Congress even ratified the ICESCR in 2001. All of these are undoubtedly
practical and inter-linked plans for resolving the issue. As for the
eventual form it could take, Tibet is most like a "Culturally Special
Administrative Region", an option commonly recognizable outside the Chinese
and Tibetan systems and most easily acceptable by the international
community; and furthermore, it tallies with strategies of global
environmental protection.

So how would Beijing be able to accept such an arrangement? From the point
of view of the study of diplomacy, both sides have not been impeded by a
lack of communication; rather, what we have now is the result of too much
unhelpful communication. Therefore, all Tibet support groups and friends
should urge all countries to acknowledge the Tibetan government in exile,
and after substantive talks have been accepted, that recognition would be

Namlo Yak
(Pen name Dongsai)
Senior researcher/writer in Dharamsala,ICT
Mob: +91- 9816052097

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Harper uncompromising despite China's snub
  2. Canada, China to meet at APEC despite rights row
  3. India should dissolve Dalai Lama's govt: Beijing think-tank
  4. Indian Security Tense Over Protests Against Hu
  5. Tibetan activist seeks appointment with Chinese President
  6. Nation without people
  7. Holy Boudanath Stupa of Kathmandu renovated and consecrated
  8. The Qinghai-Tibet railway propels tourism in Tibet Autonomous Region
  9. What Kind of Role Can Tibet Issue play in the Summit Meeting Between China and India
  10. Aid-Tibet project helps biogas utilization

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