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<-Back to WTN Archives Letter to Mr N Ram - Editor, The Hindu newspaper
Tibetan Flag

World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

7. Letter to Mr N Ram - Editor, The Hindu newspaper

Mr N Ram
Editor, The Hindu newspaper

10 July 2007

Dear Sir,

Your report on the current situation in Tibet : The Politics Of Tibet: A
2007 Reality Check, July 5, 2007, contains not only misrepresentations of
fact but is so one-sided as to come across as pure propaganda on behalf of
the Chinese government.

You begin by making the crude comparison of the Dalai Lama's international
popularity as a religious leader to Ayatollah Khomenei, thereby signalling
your intentions to demonise him. You then rail against what you describe as
"his alignment with colonial interests and western powers...". This critique
may be set against the fact that China's vast holding of US Treasury bonds
is literally keeping the imperial economy afloat. We may well ask who is
more aligned with western powers - the Chinese government or the Dalai Lama?

You claim that, "while the Tibetan Buddhist doctrine of reincarnation
belongs to the mystical-religious realm and asks a lot from 21st century
believers, the Dalai Lama's approach even to rebirth is decidedly
ideological-political." However, you also say that the Chinese government
continues to follow "centuries-old custom and tradition that empower it to
recognise and appoint both the Dalai and the Panchen Lama." The historical
accuracy of this statement is debatable but it begs the question, why does
an avowedly atheistic Communist Party find it necessary to involve itself in
the "mystical-religious realm" in the 21st century?

You contend that China's constitution "guarantees religious freedom to all
citizens and regional autonomy to ethnic minorities in extensive parts of a
giant country." Is it really enough for a journalist to cite the existence
of a law to prove that all is as it should be? Surely you are aware of the
ongoing repression of religious freedom in Tibet? Today, it is a crime in
Tibet to be found in possession of the Dalai Lama's picture. Amnesty
International's 2006 China report stated that in Tibet, "freedom of
religion, expression and association continued to be severely restricted and
arbitrary arrests and unfair trials continued." On the fate of groups such
as Falun Gong, even the avowedly left-wing journal, CounterPunch, has made
grave allegations against the Chinese government in an article on October
1-15, 2006.

"You mention "China's unprecedented economic growth" and "inclusive and
nuanced socio-political and cultural policies" as markers of its
"exceptional patience" in dealing with the Tibet issue. This glowing picture
is at odds with the reality of a country where the growing division between
the rich and the poor saw no less than 23,000 incidents of rural and urban
unrest in 2006, many of which were quelled by force.

Even more beguiling is your continued faith in the Communist Party of
China's Marxist credentials - "The law... defines national regional autonomy
as the basic political system of the Communist Party of China to solve the
country's ethnic issues using Marxism-Leninism". That the CPC has now
launched a form of 'leninist capitalism' untrammeled by democratic freedoms
or trade union rights is fairly well-known. The only ideology guiding
China's present rulers is that of absolute power at any cost. Would any
Chinese newspaper publish a defence of India's sovereignty over Arunachal
Pradesh in the manner in which The Hindu sees fit to blindly defend the
Chinese line on Tibet? Or do you have a different measure for basic
democratic freedoms in different countries? At the very least, one expects a
debate on these matters in your columns, rather than blatant partisanship.

By consigning Tibet's fate so unambiguously to the implied benevolence of
its Chinese overlords, you seem to forget that India has a stake in this
matter. You dismiss the Dalai Lama's claim that Tibet had "been a strategic
'buffer state' in the heart of Asia guaranteeing the region's stability" for
centuries. Yet, the truth is that until the People's Liberation Army invaded
Tibet in 1950, India and China had never shared a common border. Last
November, Chinese Ambassador to India, Mr Sun Yuxi, stated that "the whole
of the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory. And Tawang is only
one of the places in it." Had Tibet not been forcibly deprived of its
sovereignty, such imperious statements would not have been heard. It is
truly unfortunate that your esteemed newspaper should choose to deprive its
readership of a balanced perspective or even a democratic debate on the
question of Tibet.

Yours sincerely,
Tenzing Sonam
New Delhi

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Tibetan says hawks close door on China-Dalai talks
  2. Indefinite Hunger Strike Update: Day 9
  3. Dalai Lama to arrive in Derry this morning
  4. The great game of cat and mouse
  5. Dalai Lama speaks at global meeting of Buddhists in Germany
  6. Future Tibet
  7. Letter to Mr N Ram - Editor, The Hindu newspaper
  8. International PEN Calls for Freedom of Speech in Tibet

Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

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