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China, Tibet, and Marxist Propaganda

Author: Claude Arpi
Publication: Niticentral.com
Date: August 18, 2014
URL: http://www.niticentral.com/2014/08/18/china-tibet-and-marxist-propaganda-236081.html

Xinhua recently released a text called the ‘Lhasa Consensus’. It is said to be the resolutions reached at the end of the ‘2014 Forum on the Development of Tibet, China’, organised by Beijing with a few foreign supporters of the Communist Party of China in attendance.

The ‘2014 Forum’ was jointly organised by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China (The Cabinet) and the so-called People’s Government of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). It was an official affair and the ‘invitees’ had no choice but to agree to the terms dictated by the Party in Beijing. They probably knew this before: there is no free meal in Communist China.

The ‘Forum’ was held from August 12 to 13 in Lhasa.

The official propaganda says that it was attended by 100 ‘distinguished’ participants (read Communist China apologists) from more than 30 countries, (this is doubtful seeing at the photos released by the Chinese Government with a large percentage of Chinese-looking participants amongst the ‘100’).

It was the first time that this type of propaganda exercise was held in Tibet; the ‘publisher’ of an Indian ‘national newspaper’, a regular supporter of China’s occupation of Tibet, was the Indian face.

The opening ceremony was addressed by Lobsang Gyaltsen, the chairman of the TAR Government, who gave his usual speech on ‘leap-frog development’, “the basis for and key to solve all problems Tibet is facing and the region’s sustainable development is at the core.” Gyaltsen added: “Tibet will never develop at the expense of its environment… To protect Tibet’s environment is the biggest contribution we can make to the nation and even humankind.” It apparently impressed the delegates. Gyaltsen also ‘vowed’ to maintain social stability and harmony …a pre-condition for Tibet’s leap-frog development, he said.

In China, ‘stability’ often does not rhyme with ‘individual freedom’.

Just before the Forum, The People’s Daily had reported that Beijing had released new nationwide regulations for instant messaging services (SMS). The regulations brought some ‘limitations’; all users must register with real names; names must be validated by the service provider upon registration. Public accounts opened by organisations that provide information services must go through additional reviews and must register with corresponding government administrative offices while service providers are also required to preserve records and proof of violations.

This is for the Mainland. You can imagine the situation in ‘minority’ restive areas like Tibet and Xinjiang! But it was not the main concern of the ‘invitees’.

Cui Yuying, a Tibetan with a Han name who has made it in the Communist hierarchy (she is designated as vice director of the Information Office of China’s State Council), inaugurated the ‘Forum’.

She used the old argument that Beijing only wants modernity for Tibet. The same argument was used in the 1950s, when Mao and his colleagues pretended that the Dalai Lama did not want ‘reforms’ and therefore Tibet needed to be ‘liberated’. More than one million people died in the process. Again this did not bother the attendees.

Cui insisted that for some (read the Dalai Lama?), “Tibet should remain primitive and any development of the region equals the annihilation of Tibetan culture and the region’s environment.” She added, “To their understanding, Tibetans should always ride yaks and live in tents.”

According to Xinhua, over the two days, scholars, journalists, politicians and entrepreneurs “voiced their understanding of Tibet’s development”. The Chinese news agency quoted the ‘publisher’ of India’s largest English newspaper’ (it is wrong, this daily published newspaper from Chennai is not the largest newspaper in India): “Tibet has been visibly transformed by double-digit GDP growth over two decades without a break and has entered a new stage of development”. He further affirmed: “As a result of this development, Tibet’s interaction and integration with the rest of China has deepened and its isolation from the rest of the world has decisively been ended.”

The ‘publisher’ probably never reads the Chinese press, which readily admits that most of the infrastructure in Tibet is built for the ‘defence of the national borders’ (read, to forestall an Indian attack).

The theme of the Forum was ‘The Development of Tibet: Opportunities and Alternatives’.

Lord Neil Davison of the British Labor Party, ‘represented’ the United Kingdom. He was quoted by the Chinese as saying: “Many Western reports are written by enthusiasts of the Dalai Lama. …It is uncomfortable and expensive to have their prejudice challenged.”

Lord Davidson’s argument is that the high cost of travel to Tibet is one reason why the ‘profit-making’ Western media chooses not to ‘properly’ report from Lhasa. He is obviously unaware that Beijing has banned foreign journalists from visiting Tibet, “let alone carrying out any kind of independent journalism there,” adds the BBC. It reports: “His comments have been met by astonishment by Free Tibet, a UK-based group that campaigns for an end to what it calls China’s occupation of Tibet.” The BBC says that it has been unable – either through the Labour Party or through Lord Davidson’s personal secretariat.

As for the Indian ‘publisher’, he stated that the 14th Dalai Lama “had no intention of coming back, because he has spent his whole life [in India] from [the age of] 24 years old when he was immature, and now [he is] considered a wise man over [the] art of happiness and meditation. It is not doubt that he is more a political leader than a monk. He knows how to play on the emotions, which fools the world. Even Hollywood stars think he is charismatic.”

A statement obviously dictated by Beijing.

At the end of their ‘deliberations’, the delegates passed ‘resolutions’, termed by Beijing ‘The Lhasa Consensus’; amongst other things it is said:

• Participants notice that Tibet enjoys sound economic growth, social harmony, deep-rooted Tibetan culture and beautiful natural scenery, and the people enjoy a happy life. Participants notice that ordinary people in Tibet are satisfied with their well-off lives, good education, sound medical care, housing and various social securities.

• Participants unanimously agree that what they have actually seen in Tibet differs radically from what the 14th Dalai and the Dalai clique have said. The Dalai clique’s statements on Tibet are distorted and incorrect.

In the meantime, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) in Dharamsala reported that “despite strict restriction on communication, information is coming out of Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP) in Sichuan Province, the Chinese paramilitary forces opened fire on unarmed Tibetan protesters on August 12, 2014. At least 10 Tibetans were injured. The injured Tibetans suffered gunshot wounds to their heads and torsos.”

Beijing does not realise that development, new roads or grand infrastructure (mainly used by the Chinese Army or the Chinese tourists), cannot replace freedom of expression for the local population.

If Beijing is serious about solving the Tibetan issue, it is on the wrong track.

 

 
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