Doom Dooma Doomsayer
KARMA IN ACTION – BEIJING WILL TASTE THE FRUITS OF HER OWN ACTIONS
As per my Theory of Karma, the Biblical prophecy of Isaiah will come true. In my analysis, Beijing’s Doom is inevitable. Beijing cannot ward off the ruin, the disaster, the calamity, the catastrophe that shall come upon her as she reaps the fruits of her own evil actions.
The Sydney Morning Herald
Tibet gets a warmer reception as the world wakes to Beijing’s methods
11 December 2018 — 12:05am
The leader of Tibet’s government-in-exile has been telling his story about Bob Carr around the world for years and always gets a laugh. Last week he recounted it during a visit to Parliament House in Canberra.
Ever since the Dalai Lama split his job into two some years ago, remaining spiritual leader of the Tibetans in exile and handing over the political leadership to be elected from among the free Tibetans, Lobsang Sangay has been their President.
Lobsang Sangay, President of the Tibetan government-in-exile, right, smiles as he listens to the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. Credit: AP
In 2013 Sangay visited Canberra and a reporter asked him whether Carr, Australia’s then foreign affairs minister, would be meeting him. It’s always a delicate matter.
A government that meets the Dalai Lama or Sangay risks the wrath of the Chinese Communist Party, which has claimed to be the sole representative of the Tibetan people ever since its army invaded Tibet in 1950.
“I said I’d love to, but I haven’t asked for a meeting”, not wanting to put Carr in a difficult position, he recalled last week. “I’m sure that, given the choice, Bob Carr would like to meet because that’s the Buddhist culture – we like to believe people are good.”
Later in his visit, the Tibetan leader was riding the lift from Parliament’s subterranean carpark into the building when the lift stopped. “The doors open and Bob Carr walks in,” the Harvard-educated legal scholar tells me. The Labor backbencher Michael Danby, Sangay’s escort for the visit, introduced the two men in the lift: “I had to decide at that moment whether to extend my hand or not. The Tibetan way is to not cause inconvenience, so I nodded and smiled. He kind of nodded – a little bit – then walked past.
“I like to say that we didn’t have a formal meeting but we had a karmic meeting. No matter how powerful the Chinese government may be, it can’t prevent the foreign minister of Australia from meeting me.”
Illustration: Dionne Gain Credit:
Perhaps, but the Chinese Communist Party has certainly managed to hold things up successfully. Paul Keating as prime minister met the Dalai Lama in 1992. John Howard as prime minister met him in 1996 and 2007.
The last time that any Australian prime minister or government minister met either leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile was when Peter Garrett, then School’s education minister in the Gillard government, met the Dalai Lama in private in his hotel room in 2011. Karmic meetings with Carr aside.
Carr is now a cheerleader for the Beijing government as head of the Australia-China Relations Institute.
Illustration: Andrew Dyson Credit:
So, for seven years Australian governments, Labor and Liberal, comprehensively shunned the Tibetans, an indicator of the rising power of the Chinese government to intimidate Australia.
Until last week. A minister in the Morrison government, Ken Wyatt, Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, met Sangay in Parliament House. Not in a lift or in secret or hidden away in a hotel room but during a public ceremony in the main committee room.
“Minister Wyatt is not just principled and brave” for meeting the President of the free Tibetans, “but also a genuinely nice human being”, Sangay tells me after the meeting. “Normally people will meet you when they’re not in government and then when they are in government they say, ‘Understand that I’m in a difficult position’.”
Partly this was a personal commitment from Wyatt to the Tibetan cause. Wyatt, the first Indigenous minister in an Australian federal government, spoke at the ceremony last week of the “parallels between indigenous Australians and the Tibetans”.
But it’s also a marker of Australian relations with the Tibetans in exile and a marker in Australian relations with Beijing. Kyinzom Dhongdue is a member of the Tibetan parliament in exile, representing Tibetans in Australasia and East Asia, and she observes: “Even in the last year or so there’s a more balanced view of China not just as a trading partner but China is being seen as a threat, so Tibetan worries and experience are feeling more relevant. This year I’ve found it easier to get meetings – people are more interested in what we have to say.”
And it wasn’t just Wyatt at the ceremony with Sangay in Parliament House. There were 23 MPs and senators in total including Labor’s Michael Danby and Lisa Singh, Liberals Warren Entsch, Kevin Andrews, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Jason Falinski, Greens leader Richard Di Natale, Nationals MP George Christensen, Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick plus Derryn Hinch, as well as former Labor foreign affairs minister Gareth Evans, now chancellor of ANU.
And how is the Tibetan experience more relevant today? The emerging stories of the shocking mass repression of another of China’s ethnic and religious minorities, the Uighur people of China’s Xinjiang Province, “means that it’s more than about one example”, says Sangay.
Uighur residents in Australia holding up photos of relatives who are missing, in internment camps or have passed away. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
“Now we have a million people in detention in Xinjiang” in what Beijing calls re-education camps. Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer calls them “concentration camps” where Uighurs, including young children, are imprisoned without due process and held indefinitely.
And then there’s Beijing’s enormous One Belt, One Road international infrastructure program. “We lost our country because of one road,” says Sangay. “First the road came, then the trucks came, then the guns came, then the tanks came. It’s the exact blueprint” for domination now on offer to scores of countries under Belt and Road, he says.
Finally, there’s the experience of what Sangay calls “elite co-option”. “We have seen this for 60 years and now you see it around the world in one country after another”, and he has a litany of examples. Money, contracts, government access, favors are on offer in return for loyalty to Beijing and its agents.
If Tibet’s long-suffering under Chinese Communist Party repression is more relevant to the wider world, the wider world is also waking up to Beijing’s wide-ranging influence programs. The West’s gathering determination to exclude China’s telecoms gear manufacturer Huawei is an example. And Australia’s laws against foreign interference are another.
Those laws took effect on Monday. Anyone in Australia acting as an agent of a foreign power must register with the federal government. If suspected foreign agents fail to register, they can be issued a notice to show cause why they shouldn’t be considered to be working on behalf of a foreign power.
Do more karmic encounters lie ahead?
Peter Hartcher is the Herald’s international editor.
Peter Hartcher is the political editor and international editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. He is a Gold Walkley award winner, a former foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Washington, and a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy.
This Day in History – What Happened Today – HISTORY.com
SEPTEMBER 22, 1971 – THIS DAY IN HISTORY – I CAN NEVER LIVE AS ‘NORMAL PERSON’
On September 22, 1971, I was Taken On Strength(TOS) of Establishment No. 22, Special Frontier Force, a military organization created in response to ‘The Cold War in Asia.’
On September 22, 2017 I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan to welcome the first day of Fall Season. Today, I claim that I can never live my Life as ‘Normal Person’.
DOOM DOOMA DOOMSAYER
SEPTEMBER 22, THIS DAY IN HISTORY – WHAT HAPPENED TODAY
Clipped from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history
On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which sets a date for the freedom of more than 3 million black slaves in the United States and recasts the Civil War as a fight against slavery.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, shortly after Lincoln’s inauguration as America’s 16th president, he maintained that the war was about restoring the Union and not about slavery. He avoided issuing an anti-slavery proclamation immediately, despite the urgings of abolitionists and radical Republicans, as well as his personal belief that slavery was morally repugnant. Instead, Lincoln chose to move cautiously until he could gain wide support from the public for such a measure.
In July 1862, Lincoln informed his cabinet that he would issue an emancipation proclamation but that it would exempt the so-called border states, which had slaveholders but remained loyal to the Union. His cabinet persuaded him not to make the announcement until after a Union victory. Lincoln’s opportunity came following the Union win at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. On September 22, the president announced that slaves in areas still in rebellion within 100 days would be free.
On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, which declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” The proclamation also called for the recruitment and establishment of black military units among the Union forces. An estimated 180,000 African Americans went on to serve in the army, while another 18,000 served in the navy.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, backing the Confederacy was seen as favoring slavery. It became impossible for anti-slavery nations such as Great Britain and France, who had been friendly to the Confederacy, to get involved on behalf of the South. The proclamation also unified and strengthened Lincoln’s party, the Republicans, helping them stay in power for the next two decades.
The proclamation was a presidential order and not a law passed by Congress, so Lincoln then pushed for an antislavery amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ensure its permanence. With the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865, slavery was eliminated throughout America (although blacks would face another century of struggle before they truly began to gain equal rights).
Lincoln’s handwritten draft of the final Emancipation Proclamation was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Today, the original official version of the document is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Also on this day
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is announced
Motivated by his growing concern for the inhumanity of slavery as well as practical political concerns, President Abraham Lincoln changes the course of the war and American history by issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Announced a week after the nominal Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland,…
President Kennedy signs Peace Corps legislation
In an important victory for his Cold War foreign policy, President John F. Kennedy signs legislation establishing the Peace Corps as a permanent government agency. Kennedy believed that the Peace Corps could provide a new and unique weapon in the war against communism.
President Ford survives second assassination attempt
On this day in 1975, Sarah Jane Moore aims a gun at President Gerald Ford as he leaves the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco, California. The attempt on the president’s life came only 17 days after another woman had tried to assassinate Ford.
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
THE FUTURE OF RED CHINA’S EXPANSIONISM – BEIJING DOOMED
People’s Republic of China in 1949 embraced Communism as State Doctrine and lost no time to announce ambitious plan of Territorial, Maritime, Economic, and Political Expansionism. While others painfully reflect upon ‘The Future of the Tibetan Resistance Movement’, I express optimism by announcing Beijing’s Doom, sudden downfall, as consequence of her own evil actions. This predestined Disaster, Catastrophe, Cataclysm, Calamity, Apocalypse, Doom will bring Regime Change and The Evil Red Empire cannot ward it off by paying ransom.
TIBETAN PROTEST MOVEMENT – THE NEWS LENS INTERNATIONAL EDITION
Friday, May 26, 2017
PODCAST: Tibet, Protest and China; The Future of the Tibetan Protest Movement
Photo Credit: Reuters
These small acts have reverberations and impact way beyond what we can see through the media and numbers. – Tenzin Dorjee.
Earlier this month, Radio Free Asia reported that a Tibetan monk, Jamyang Losal, had died after setting himself on fire in China’s northwestern Qinghai province. Losal was the 150th Tibetan to self-immolate since 2009 when Tibetan monks started taking their own lives in protest of China’s rule. But it seems these desperate protests are having little impact on China as it continues to crack down on any signs of dissent in Tibet.
In this episode of The News Lens Radio, we are bringing you the views of three Tibetan leaders to discuss the efforts to keep the protest movement alive both inside and outside Tibet. They say not only is the Chinese government continuing to rule Tibet with an iron fist, it is also increasingly working beyond its own borders to shut down the movements calling for Tibetan autonomy or independence from China.
About today’s guests
Tenzing Jigme is the president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, an international organization with about 30,000 members advocating for Tibetan independence.
Pema Yoko is the interim executive director of the New York-headquartered Students for a Free Tibet.
Tenzin (Tendor) Dorjee is a U.S.-based author and program director with the Tibet Action Institute. He is also the former executive director of Students for a Free Tibet.
This podcast is available via SoundCloud, Stitcher and iTunes apps.
Editor: Olivia Yang
Cold Shoulder: Why Beijing Snubbed Singapore at the Belt and Road Summit
Angela Han is a Research Associate in the Polling Program. She holds a Masters in European and International Studies from the University of Trento and a Graduate Diploma in Transnational Governance from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. She has also spent six months abroad learning Mandarin at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. Prior to undertaking her Masters, Angela spent two years as a researcher of labor and economic policies in her home country of Singapore.
Beijing did not invite Singapore’s Prime Minister to attend the Belt and Road event in Beijing this week, signifying strain in Sino-Singapore relations.
Among the 29 Heads of State who converged on Beijing for the Belt and Road Summit earlier this week were leaders of seven of the ten ASEAN states. One leader was noticeably missing: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Various observers have noted this absence, including Hugh White, who suggested it was no co-incidence that, like others – Japan, India, Australia and “most western countries” – who had not sent their national leaders to Beijing, Singapore was aligned with the U.S. and uneasy about China’s rise – “or perceived to be so.”
However, it has since emerged that Singapore was never given the choice. China had not invited Singapore’s prime minister in the first place.
This is surprising, especially as Singapore has been one of the biggest advocates of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). While many other states were initially hesitant in signing up to BRI, including some of its ASEAN neighbors, Singapore’s support has been unequivocal from the beginning. Many high-level cooperation talks between China and Singapore on the subject have taken place, with both sides warmly welcoming cooperation on BRI.
In light of this past co-operation, Beijing’s snub is significant. It is fair to conclude that, if China continues to freeze out Singapore, there could be significant implications on at least three levels.
What it might mean for Sino-Singapore relations
First, this marks a low point in Sino-Singapore relations. Since its independence 50 years ago, managing the U.S.-China dichotomy has been a key tenet of Singapore’s foreign policy. Despite close defense partnerships with the U.S., China has referred to Singapore as an “important partner and a special friend of China.” This long-standing relationship has been fostered not only by historical and cultural linkages, but also the deep bond that existed between former leaders, Lee Kuan Yew and Deng Xiaoping. When Lee Kuan Yew died in 2015 there were video tributes on Chinese state media, and he was described as “an old friend of the Chinese people” by President Xi Jinping.
Of late, however, the bilateral relationship has been less than smooth, particularly since remarks made by the Singaporean prime minister at a White House state dinner in August last year. At that event, Lee Hsien Loong praised the U.S. rebalance and endorsed the arbitral tribunal ruling on the South China Sea. In a separate incident, a Chinese tabloid accused Singapore of bringing up the tribunal ruling at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, which led to a very public spat between the Global Times editor and Singapore’s Ambassador to China.
Singapore is not a claimant state but the fear that China might extend its reach in the South China Sea is nevertheless acute for the tiny island-state. Given its trade volumes are 3.5 times its GDP, any instability in the region would affect Singapore’s trade routes, and therefore its economy. When Singapore advocates for a rules-based order, it is not just values that it seeks to defend but its economic lifeblood.
Singapore’s stance on the South China Sea did not please China. In November nine of Singapore’s armored troop carriers were impounded in Hong Kong on their way back from Taiwan. At the time, many saw Beijing’s heavy hand at work behind the scenes and believed the incident reflected China’s displeasure with Singapore’s joint military exercises with Taiwan, even though these dates back decades.
In their usual quiet diplomatic style, Singapore diplomats worked hard behind the scenes to eventually secure the vehicles’ return after two months. This was then quickly followed up by a high-level bilateral cooperation forum, postponed the previous year due to strained ties. Yet, China still raises the South China Sea matter at bilateral forums.
Implications for other middle powers
China’s snub is yet another example of the narrowing diplomatic space that small states like Singapore have in which to maneuver. Relying on its hard-nosed pragmatism has, for half a decade, served Singapore well. But with most of its ASEAN neighbors increasingly willing to set aside the South China Sea disputes in return for a massive influx of Chinese investment, it is increasingly difficult for Singapore to both protect its national interest and maintain an independent foreign policy of not picking sides.
This has implications for other countries like Australia, which occupy a very similar position in the world. Like Singapore, Australia has strong historical, security and defense ties to the United States, while China is now far and away from its biggest trading partner. Perhaps one lesson from this incident is that it is becoming harder to compartmentalize politics and economics.
Implications for China’s role in the world
Finally, what does the incident say about the Belt and Road Initiative and more broadly, China’s role as architect of global initiatives? Although the BRI is as much about geoeconomics as geopolitics, it is undeniable that just on the basis of scale, access to and participation in Chinese initiatives have a tendency to draw lines in the sand; clearly distinguishing between who is a friend of China, and who is not.
The snub demonstrates Beijing now has another diplomatic tool in its arsenal. Such “sanctions with Chinese characteristics” are proving to be increasingly effective at asserting dominance and deterring actions counter to China’s interest. It is clear that China’s already considerable diplomatic and economic clout is increasing and its reach is becoming more pervasive. This too makes it more difficult for states that seek to steer a middle course.
This article originally appeared in the Lowy Interpreter. The News Lens has been authorized to republish this article.
TNL Editor: Edward White
NEWS WORTH KNOWING, VOICES WORTH SHARING
Copyright © 2016 The News Lens
Inserted from <https://international.thenewslens.com/article/69284>
BEIJING DOOMED – MORAL VICTORY FOR TIBET
Tibetans believe in moral principles that govern lives of individuals and of their chosen leaders. I believe in Moral Principles that govern or rule both man and national entities created by man. I predict Red China’s Doom or Downfall for her “EVIL” actions for Evil means Calamity, Catastrophe, Cataclysm, Disaster, and Apocalypse.
U.S. OFFICIALS VISIT DHARAMSHALA, EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR TIBET, DALAI LAMA
Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (left) and Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi stand onstage as they prepare to address exiled Tibetans gathered at the Tsuglakang Temple in McLeod Ganj, May 10, 2017. Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is visiting the northern Indian town of Dharamshala, home to thousands of Tibetans living in exile. (Lobsang Wangyal/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Officials Visit Dharamshala, Express Support for Tibet, Dalai Lama
- KATY DAIGLE and ASHWINI BHATIA, Associated Press
- May 10, 2017
Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (left) and Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi stand onstage as they prepare to address exiled Tibetans gathered at the Tsuglakang Temple in McLeod Ganj, May 10, 2017. Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is visiting the northern Indian town of Dharamshala, home to thousands of Tibetans living in exile. (Lobsang Wangyal/AFP/Getty Images)
DHARAMSHALA — As President Donald Trump appears to be warming to China, a bipartisan group from the U.S. House of Representatives took aim May 10 at one of Beijing’s sore spots: Tibet.
Representative Nancy Pelosi accused China of using economic leverage to crush Tibetan calls for autonomy. During a meeting with Tibetans and the Dalai Lama at his main temple in the Indian hill town of Dharamshala, she urged the community not to give up.
“You will not be silenced,” said Pelosi, a California Democrat. “The brutal tactics of the Chinese government to erase race, culture and language of Tibetan people challenges the conscience of the world. We will meet that challenge.”
The visit by Pelosi and seven other U.S. representatives irritated Beijing, where a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry reiterated China’s stance that the Dalai Lama is a dangerous separatist.
“The visit by U.S. congressmen to Dharamshala and their meeting with the Dalai Lama has sent a very wrong signal to the outside world about supporting Tibetan independence, which violates the U.S. government’s commitment not to support independence for Tibet,” the spokesman, Geng Shuang, told reporters.
He said Beijing had complained to the U.S. government over the matter, and urged the American representatives “to stop any kind of contact with the Dalai Lama, and take immediate measures to eliminate the negative impact.”
But Representative Jim Sensenbrenner assured that the U.S. Congress stood in “solidarity with the cause of the Tibetan people to be free from the repression that has been put upon them for a very, very long time from Beijing.”
“Without justice there is no freedom,” said the Wisconsin Republican, noting that the U.S. Constitution has prohibited government restrictions on the free exercise of religion for more than 220 years. “Today there is no justice in Tibet for Tibetans, for their religion, for their culture, for their language, and for His Holiness The Dalai Lama. … This is a civil rights issue.”
China says the Himalayan region has been part of the country for more than seven centuries. Many Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for most of that time. At least 148 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest China’s rule.
In many cases, China has offered aid packages to foreign governments on the condition that they support China’s position on issues such as Tibet and Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing has pledged to take control of, by force if necessary. Mongolia said in December that it would no longer allow visits by the Dalai Lama after a recent trip by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader led China to suspend talks on a major loan.
“China uses its economic leverage to silence the voices of friends of Tibet,” Pelosi said May 10. “But if we don’t speak out against repression in Tibet and the rest of China because of China’s economic power, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere else in the world.”
Pelosi told the gathering that she would limit her comments on China’s “brutal tactics” because the Dalai Lama had “prayed for me that I would rid myself of my negative attitude about dwelling on the negative too much.”
The Dalai Lama, meanwhile, said Tibetans do not need weapons in their struggle for autonomy, and again prescribed a path of nonviolence and compassion. While he has devolved political power to an elected government, the Dalai Lama is still widely revered by Tibetans as their most influential leader.
Tibetans who remain in the closely guarded region “are living in fear and anxiety. Their life is at risk, but they are still preserving our traditions,” said the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet to India in 1959 during an abortive uprising.
“We all are dedicated to the Tibetan cause, but should not think of harming the Chinese people as such. We need to befriend them,” he said, adding that compassion was needed to resolve the Tibetan issue.
The timing of the U.S. congressional visit may irk Trump, who just weeks ago boasted of enjoying cozy conversations and chocolate cake with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump’s Florida resort. During Xi’s official visit last month, Beijing also provisionally approved several trademark applications for Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.
President Trump’s rhetoric on China has warmed considerably since the U.S. presidential campaign, when he repeatedly called the Asian giant a currency manipulator and an economic adversary of the United States.
Many in the crowd at the May 10 gathering in Dharamshala said they were delighted, and relieved, to see a bipartisan U.S. delegation address the Tibetan issue.
“It perhaps shows that there is huge support for Tibet in the U.S. Congress. With Trump at the helm, things are uncertain,” said internet security analyst Lobsang Gyatso, 34.
Rinchen, a 27-year-old antiques dealer who fled Tibet as a teenager in 2006, said the visit had burnished the Tibetan cause and sent a strong message to China.
“The mere fact that this delegation is visiting Dharamshala gives importance to Tibet and the Dalai Lama,” said Rinchen, who uses only one name, as is common in the region. When people inside Tibet hear of the visit, “they will know that the support is real,” he said.
– Daigle reported from New Delhi. Associated Press writers Louise Watt in Beijing and Ashok Sharma contributed to this report.
- Dalai Lama
933 MacArthur Blvd
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- Inserted from <http://www.indiawest.com/news/india/u-s-officials-visit-dharamshala-express-support-for-tibet-dalai/article_898d0ec2-35c7-11e7-9d60-572f33a6d79a.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share>
SPIRITUALITY SCIENCE – WHAT IS TIBET’S DESTINY?
In India, Nepal, and Tibet, people share cultural belief in the concept of ‘KARMA’ which in general involves actions by individuals and their consequences to individuals in either present or future life. Karma involves events generated by actions performed by individual entity.
The concept of Destiny or Fate involves operation by an external agency or power over which individual entity has no control. Destiny or Fate is manifested by events with its inevitable consequences. The concept of Destiny involves subjugation of man and man’s ‘FREE WILL’ to perform actions. However, Destiny has broader implications for it unfolds events of great magnitude that can affect a large population of people or their collective identity as people.
Tibet is under subjugation by superior military force exercised by Red China. Tibet’s Destiny is decided by people of China who must reconcile to live under subjugation by external Force, Power, or Agency called Destiny.
In my analysis, I predict Beijing’s Doom. People of Red China may experience Catastrophe, Cataclysm, Disaster, Apocalypse, or Doomsday which cannot be revoked by paying ransom. This fateful event will compel China to reconsider Tibet’s Subjugation while their own Destiny is held in balance.
HUNGER FOR TIBET
Clipped from: http://himalmag.com/hunger-for-tibet/#comment-501456
The latest book on Tibet’s environmental degradation shows how any attempt to save the plateau’s ecosystem must come from within China.
Photo image credit:Flickr / reurink jan
(This is an essay from our March 2015 print quarterly ‘Labour and its discontents’. See more from the issue here.)
Nineteen million people – a preliminary estimate – have lost their homes, their land and their property. Their only means of survival is to move into other regions; but there is no other region that can feed so many refugees. Hunger will probably drive them to violence. This is harvest time, already there has been plundering of crops and of course if the victims have nothing to eat themselves they will join the starving and seize crops elsewhere.
The excerpt above comes not from a report on climate change or the displacement of local people following the building of a dam, but from China Tidal Wave, a futuristic novel published in 1991 by the writer and activist Wang Lixiong. In the novel, as a result of the central government’s relentless extracting of natural resources, the Yellow River bursts its banks, causing wide scale displacement and chaos. This event sets off a chain reaction in which several members of the ruling party make bids for power and plunge the country, and then the world, into war. In the nuclear winter that follows, those who have survived in China struggle on with what little natural resources remain, cultivating a vegetable called shugua and living in shelters that dot the ravaged land. At the end of the novel, Big Ox, a thuggish henchman of the Green Guards with a penchant for rape and torture is mauled to death by a Tibetan mastiff – the demise of the villain in the jaws of the dog symbolizing the final and grisly triumph of a ‘pure and unspoilt’ remoteness over the brutal pursuit of power.
In parts of Tibet today, there is serious money to be made in breeding dogs to sell in China, where along with a sports car and a beautiful wife, a Tibetan mastiff is one of the three indispensable status symbols for a young man on the make. Six decades after the ‘liberation’, Tibet is being bottled and photographed, televised and sold to the mainland more than ever before, with the government undoubtedly hoping that the glossy packaging will help cover up the tricky cracks in the historical and political relationship with the motherland. The Open Up the West (Xibu da kaifa) campaign launched in 2000 aims to bring the resources of Tibet and Turkestan into more efficient sync with the industry and factories of the eastern seaboard. The showpiece of this drive, the Qinghai-Lhasa railway, was completed (ahead of schedule) six years later, enabling the more efficient transporting of Tibet’s mineral resources to mainland China, and the arrival of workers from the mainland to supply the service industries which accompany the engineers, miners and surveyors.
Along with highways, shopping malls and the Internet have come diggers, fences and the despoiling of sacred sites; development efforts which Tibetan writer and activist Tsering Woeser calls “pseudo-modernization, essentially a kind of invasion, a sugar-coated, disguised act of violence.” An estimated two million Tibetans have been displaced or forcibly removed in preparation for infrastructure projects and mines between 2006 and 2012. Nomads are being cleared from the grasslands where they play an indispensable role in maintaining the fragile ecosystem of the Tibetan plateau, which is larger than the US states of Alaska and Texas combined, and resettled in purpose-built towns where they are euphemistically referred to as ‘ecological migrants’. Cables released by Wikileaks revealed how by 2010 the Dalai Lama had already reached the conclusion that environmental degradation in Tibet had become so severe that questions regarding political autonomy needed to be sidelined in favor of increased campaigning against the further damaging of Tibet’s natural environment. Nine major rivers are sourced on the plateau (five of these, the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Indus and Brahmaputra, are among the ten longest rivers in Asia), providing irrigation, soil enrichment and support for the ecosystems on which more than a billion people depend in China, South and Southeast Asia.
Meltdown in Tibet is not another futuristic disaster novel, although chapter subheadings like ‘Where Is the Thirsty Dragon Going to Guzzle Next?’ and ‘Why Can’t They Just Leave the Rivers Alone?’ give clues to the book’s hand-wringing and polemical tone, and mark a departure from Michael Buckley’s earlier, more tranquil guidebook writings on the Tibetan world. The book deals with two broad themes: first, how Tibet’s natural resources are increasingly featured in the schemes of a government hungry for electricity, timber, water and minerals; and second, the impact these plans are likely to have on the ecosystems, populations and politics of China’s neighbors. Scattered throughout are smaller sections on poaching and mass tourism, the changing face of Lhasa, and growing desertification in Tibet and Mongolia.
The chapters dealing with dam building and water politics are the most coherent and sobering. Buckley cites research showing that the construction of “around 400 large dams” is being considered by the Indian and Chinese governments across the Himalayan watershed. The records of both New Delhi and Beijing are far from exemplary when it comes to consultation, safety and resettlement; furthermore, the Himalaya lies across an area of high seismic activity, and so would seem an irresponsible place to plan widespread digging, blasting and tunneling.
Inside China, Buckley explains how the government has begun to look west and further upstream for the power it needs for the cities and industry of the east, partly because of a lack of space for new dams in eastern China.
At 200 GW, China, including the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), has the highest installed hydroelectric capacity of any country in the world (Brazil is second, with 84 GW). It also reflects (although Buckley only briefly mentions this) nascent but growing pressure from sections of Chinese society concerned about or affected by proposed dam projects. For example, the near-moratorium on new dam building during the 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010) – despite the fact that the Plan envisioned major hydropower projects – was to some extent a result of civil-society groups and environmentalists putting pressure on the government. The 12th Plan, however, has been termed a ‘Great Leap Forward’ for dam building (one laughs at the idea of a cement lobby, but it almost certainly exists), and Buckley shows how much of the ‘Great Leap’ is poised to take place in Tibet.
Currently, there are only a handful of ‘medium sized’ dams inside the TAR and the majority-Tibetan areas that border it, many of which are not operable year-round due to high-altitude rivers freezing up during winter. The government is planning to build twenty new dams, of which a proposed 38 GW capacity mega dam near Metok, in eastern Tibet, will be far and away the world’s largest if completed (the largest at the moment, the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei province, generates 22.5 GW, and set its own record in displacing 1.2 million people during construction). Although the area around Metok is sparsely populated, it is a site of religious significance for Tibetans and lies in an area prone to earthquakes. The most recent reminder of this was the 7.9 magnitude earthquake which struck Sichuan in May 2008 and killed 87,000 people. The political aftershocks of the dam will also be far-reaching; the Yarlung-Tsangpo river, upon which the dam will be built, becomes the Brahmaputra once it flows into India, and water-claiming on such a huge scale will undoubtedly raise tensions in New Delhi.
Buckley also shows how the tender and contract-awarding processes for new dams are often hobbled by corruption. While laws introduced in 2003 stipulate that Environmental Impact Assessments must be carried out and approved before construction begins, local governments have been too easily swayed by the promise of immediate economic windfalls, and have given the go-ahead to those wanting to dig or build. Buckley also points out how distance from the central authorities means that there are ways around the government’s diktat:
Work on Ahai Dam, in the upper Yangtze region, was carried out in secret by Sinohydro Corporation. Signs declaring the site a “military zone” were erected to discourage visitors. There was no EIA at Ahai Dam: authorities planning to visit the dam to approve the project were presented with a dam that was practically completed.
Huaneng, another state-owned power company has been fined numerous times by the government for building before permission had officially been given, and yet continues to enjoy favor.
The mega dams and water diversion projects planned by the Chinese government will allow China to “turn the water on or off” for countries downstream. Buckley travelled to Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, India and Nepal, and these forays worked extremely well in expanding the scope of the book and providing glimpses of the larger ecological and geopolitical picture. Lake Tonle Sap in Cambodia, for example, floods every year, acting like a ‘back up valve’ for the Mekong river, and provides 60 percent of the annual freshwater fish catch when the floodwaters recede. Local sources attribute the disastrous 2003-04 catch – which was half of its usual volume after the lake flooded for three months instead of the usual five – to the completion of the Dachaoshan dam, upstream in Yunnan, in the same year. In Burma, Buckley reports how construction of the proposed 3200 MW Myitsone dam in the northeast, at the confluence of the Mali and N’Mai (the source of the Irrawaddy, the country’s longest river) was officially suspended in 2011. The dam would have submerged more than 60 villages, while 90 percent of the power generated would have been exported back to China, and its suspension is a “rare victory for anti-dam campaigners in Burma”. However, on a visit to Myitkyina with a “Kachin guide and a motorcycle”, Buckley is informed by locals that workers are still on-site, working by night. What they are doing is unclear, and one wishes he had stayed longer to find out, but he reports that those displaced during the original phases of construction have not been allowed to return home, leading to the conjecture that, “Chinese engineers are just biding their time, waiting for the project to resume.”
The book also reports on the activities of Chinese state-owned enterprises in Pakistan, where dam building serves the dual purpose of power generation and territory-claiming in the disputed Northern Territories. The state-owned Gezhouba Group is helping Pakistan build the 969 MW-capacity Neelum-Jhelum dam, even as India proceeds to dam the river further upstream at Kishanganga. In northeast India, similar practices are being employed by New Delhi in the face of competing claims over the waters of the Yarlung-Tsangpo/Brahmaputra: “New Delhi argues that if it has to go to the International Court of Justice to counter Chinese dam building and diversion on the Yarlung-Tsangpo, then it must show beneficial use of the river in India by building its own dams.”
The displacement of nomads from the grasslands and plains of Tibet is an issue with ecological as well as moral implications, and one dealt with at length in the book. With knowledge of the land, weather patterns, flora and fauna, nomadic families and their herds are part of the fragile ecosystem, the “stewards of Tibet’s grasslands”. The central government has been actively discouraging this way of life, claiming that a sedentary population can be better educated and cared for. Buckley has suspicions as to the real reasons for the resettlement programs: the freedom of movement the nomads enjoy, and the presence of valuable minerals like lithium, copper and gold underneath the land they roam over. A conversation with a nomad family near the town of Litang is interesting. The head of the family tells Buckley through an interpreter:
There has been a lot of pressure to sell their animals and settle… He says that he will stay on the grasslands as long as he can, because he has talked to others that settled and they were very disappointed with their new lives. They were no longer free. Everything suddenly came down to a question of money and having to buy food and clothing. Here, he says, he has his freedom – and he never pays for his food or water.
Sadly, Buckley does not explore what life is like inside one of the resettlement towns, although he highlights how exactly nomads are being forced off the grasslands, and, if not into towns, into smaller fenced-in areas, where overgrazing quickly becomes a problem. This is partly achieved through the creation of what he terms ‘Paper Parks’. These are huge areas of land designated as national parks or protected areas (and so off-limits for nomads), inside which mining companies are often free to prospect for minerals.
The scope of Meltdown in Tibet is impressive. Buckley does a fine job in bringing together current research on Tibet’s environment and the plans Beijing has for harnessing it to maintain the economic growth it sees as a guarantor of political stability. He is clearly at home writing on things Tibetan, and his anxiety and concern for the preservation of Tibetan culture are clear. However, throughout, the polemic follows a too-simplistic ‘environmental Tibetan / materialist Chinese’ agenda, to use the phrase of academic Graham E Clarke. “The tourists and their guides”, Buckley writes of Chinese visiting Tibet, “show little interest in Tibetan culture and religion. Their interest lies in scenery, fresh air, blue skies, photography and shopping.” He backs up this generalization with anecdotal evidence, but seems to forget that European and North American tourists go to Tibet for the same reasons; they too smoke cigarettes where they shouldn’t, and are just as capable of being patronizing and disrespectful of local sensibilities. Anyone who has travelled in Tibet will know this. The arbitrary suspicion of almost everything Chinese firstly betrays Buckley’s politics – common to the rest of the adventure writer/climber/rafter crowd who yearn for Tibet to be free, pristine and unexplored again – but also, more damagingly, does not allow his book to seriously entertain the possibility that ways of combating environmental degradation in Tibet could come from within China itself.
Environmental activism is currently one of the few domains of Chinese politics where protest and dissent are somewhat tolerated. Zed Books’ China and the Environment: The Green Revolution and Joy Zhang and Michael Barr’s Green Politics in China (both published in 2013) explore the growth in environmental NGOs and activism, and tell us that even if green politics in China is not of the confrontational kind we are familiar with elsewhere, it is certainly happening, and sometimes with encouraging results. Following the publishing of data by monitors in the US Embassy in Beijing in 2009-10, which revealed the catastrophically high presence of PM 2.5 molecules in the air, the ‘I Monitor the Air for My Country’ campaign started by the NGO Green Beagle asked citizens to take their own PM 2.5 measurements and upload their findings online. With its catchy, social media-friendly slogan, the ‘citizen science’ campaign showed that it is possible for a group of people outside the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to challenge the party’s position (or lack of one) on an issue that is both political and environmental, even if for a limited period.
Examples of this concern extending to the Tibetan plateau are harder to come by. But they are there. Mining Tibet, published by the Tibet Information Network in 2002 quotes a paper by Chinese academics Hu Angang and Wen Jun published in the government’s China Tibetology journal, in which they argue that the state’s current mining policies are widening the wealth gap between Han migrant workers and local Tibetans, and should be scaled back in favor of sustainable development initiatives which involve local nomads and farmers. In 2011, ‘Globe Trekker: Across the Kekexili’, a publicity campaign by the Snow Beer brand which aimed to send an adventure group to Kekexili reserve in northwest Tibet sparked opposition from a number of environmental campaigners in mainland China mobilized by Weibo and other social media.
There are occasions where it seems Buckley’s book is about to take the ambitious and much-needed step to look at the potential for change from within China. Following a discussion of the successful campaign from 2004 to 2007 to halt the construction of a mega dam at Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan, Buckley writes: “The fate of Tibet’s rivers lies with courageous figures… triggering change from within China.” Earlier, he makes the observation that “Chinese environmental NGOs and activism are tolerated, it seems… But Tibetan action is viewed as subversion.” Neither of these openings are followed up, which is a lost opportunity for the book and its author to take a great leap and enquire into whether the Chinese environmental activism that is currently tolerated also has Tibet on its radar, and if so, whether it could be mobilized to fight the government’s policies on the plateau (or to begin with, in Tibetan areas outside the TAR where restrictions on assembly and dissent do not seem to be as stringent). Hunting for scenarios or instances of ecologically minded Chinese and Tibetans working together would have required much arduous research in Chinese and Tibetan. But if such examples could be unearthed, then surely here was a new topic worth exploring which could have challenged the conventional narrative on Tibet and China.
The renegotiating of Tibet’s status within the ‘motherland’ has been unfolding for a while now. That closer integration with the mainland has so far been characterized by, among other things, the accelerated extraction and exploitation of Tibet’s natural resources should hardly be surprising, depressing as it is. The prices the inhabitants of resource-rich peripheries must pay for their modernity are the same everywhere. The bonds that bind Tibet to China are certainly tightening in many ways, and indeed seem to be shrinking spaces for dissent regarding autonomy and religious rights. But those who are concerned about the fate of Tibet’s environment need to be working out how they can be effective in this changing climate, and what kinds of opportunities it could offer if they learn to negotiate inside it.
Within China, it is not only technocrats and government planners who have visions for what a future Tibet will look like. A small yet growing number of academics, journalists and activists already see a bigger picture in which the preservation of the plateau’s rivers and ecosystems is in everyone’s interest as floods, desertification and soil degradation increasingly affect the lives of those living downstream. Not every tourist from Shanghai drops litter in Lhasa or defaces statues in monasteries, just as every Belgian or Swiss visitor does not possess an inherent capacity to understand the plight of the Tibetans and the exclusive right to speak up for them. We need to begin accepting that growing numbers of Chinese people are also unhappy that Tibet’s mountains are being bulldozed and its rivers blocked up, and that they may in fact be more effective torchbearers than those of us in South Asia or in the West. One would hope that if criticism and opposition to the government’s environmental policies on the plateau could be raised as part of the more mainstream Chinese environmental agenda (and include familiar and tolerated Chinese voices), then the ‘splittist’ label would be less easily applied and voices from Tibet less easily dismissed out of hand. An ‘environmental Tibetan / environmental Chinese’ agenda is surely plausible.
In an episode of the US sitcom Friends from 2004, Phoebe explains indignantly, to audience laughter, why her eccentric, steel-drum playing friend Marjorie is so smelly: “Hey! She will shower when Tibet is free!” Throwaway, pop-culture references like this illustrate how in the West the Tibet issue is effectively dead in terms of questions of political autonomy and religious freedom, even as Tibetans are portrayed as embodiments of compassion and suffering. Meanwhile, as its political and economic clout grows, the CCP continues ignoring the impassioned criticism of its Tibet policies that comes from abroad. Those in the West who have taken up the Tibetans’ cause and chafe at this deafness, often seem to forget that for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, China was bullied, pillaged and shamed by a cohort of rapacious foreign powers and treated with contempt on the world stage. A sign at one of the entrances to the Summer Palace of Qing emperors in Beijing (which was destroyed by British and French soldiers in 1860) now reads ‘Do not forget the national shame, rebuild the Chinese nation.’
Such jingoism does not bode well for the rivers, forests and mountains of the Tibetan plateau. And, when choices need to be made, will those dwelling in the mega cities of mainland China choose a less reliable electricity supply so that a dam need not be built on a river thousands of miles upstream? Possibly not. But – and this is a painfully obvious fact – Tibet’s environment is only going to be saved if people in China desire it to be. For the moment, there may be some breathing space to work out how this is to be done. In Spoiling Tibet: China and Resource Nationalism on the Roof of the World, another excellent book recently published by Zed, Gabriel Lafitte concludes that while Tibet is ‘primed’ for wider scale exploitation, this process has not yet begun in earnest. He also writes: “There is a deep spiritual hunger in China (jingshen weiji), for guidance as to how life can be made more meaningful than the endless consumer pursuit of endless wants.”
The faceless, monolithic and all-consuming behemoth that we are told is China, has its own inefficiencies and failings. It also has ‘courageous figures’ like Wang Lixiong who want change – individuals who are mentioned only in passing in Buckley’s narrative. The excluding of such individuals is unfortunate and demonstrates an unwillingness to come to terms with the realities of Tibet’s political and economic situation today, however distasteful it may be. And when it should be the task of those who have long-standing connections with Tibet and deep sympathy for its people, to tell us where possibilities for saving its environment lie, even if they might be in China, Meltdown‘s refusal to entertain any such possibility can only ensure that the picture it paints of the future is a dark and hopeless one.
~Ross Adkin is a freelance journalist based in Kathmandu.
(This is an essay from our March 2015 print quarterly ‘Labour and its discontents’. See more from the issue here.)
DOOMED PRESIDENCY OF GERALD FORD – AMERICA’S UNFINISHED WAR
Nixon-Kissinger and Gerald Ford initiated era of Doomed US Presidency when they concluded War against Communism through negotiated Surrender. Unchecked Communist Expansionism in Southern Asia poses severe risks to vital US security interests in Asia-Pacific Region.
FORD SAYS THAT WAR IS FINISHED FOR AMERICA
At a speech at Tulane University, President Gerald Ford says the Vietnam War is finished as far as America is concerned. “Today, Americans can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by re-fighting a war.” This was devastating news to the South Vietnamese, who were desperately pleading for U.S. support as the North Vietnamese surrounded Saigon for the final assault on the capital city.
The North Vietnamese had launched a major offensive in March to capture the provincial capital of Ban Me Thuot (Darlac province) in the Central Highlands. The South Vietnamese defenders there fought very poorly and were quickly overwhelmed by the North Vietnamese attackers. Despite previous promises by both Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford to provide support, the United States did nothing. In an attempt to reposition his forces for a better defense, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu ordered his forces in the Highlands to withdraw to more defensible positions to the south. What started out as a reasonably orderly withdrawal soon degenerated into a panic that spread throughout the South Vietnamese armed forces. The South Vietnamese abandoned Pleiku and Kontum in the Highlands with very little fighting and the North Vietnamese pressed the attack from the west and north. In quick succession, Quang Tri, Hue, and Da Nang in the north fell to the communist onslaught. The North Vietnamese continued to attack south along the coast, defeating the South Vietnamese forces at each encounter.
As the North Vietnamese forces closed on the approaches to Saigon, the politburo in Hanoi issued an order to Gen. Van Tien Dung to launch the “Ho Chi Minh Campaign,” the final assault on Saigon itself. Dung ordered his forces into position for the final battle.
The South Vietnamese 18th Division made a valiant final stand at Xuan Loc, 40 miles northeast of Saigon, in which the South Vietnamese soldiers destroyed three of Dung’s divisions. However, the South Vietnamese finally succumbed to the superior North Vietnamese numbers. With the fall of Xuan Loc on April 21 and Ford’s statement at Tulane, it was apparent that the North Vietnamese would be victorious. President Thieu resigned and transferred authority to Vice President Tran Van Huong before fleeing Saigon on April 25.
By April 27, the North Vietnamese had completely encircled Saigon and began to maneuver for their final assault. By the morning of April 30, it was all over. When the North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon, the South Vietnamese surrendered and the Vietnam War was officially over.
TIBETAN RESISTANCE MOVEMENT – A DAY TO REMEMBER – MARCH 10, 1959
Tibetans remember March 10, 1959 as Tibetan National Uprising Day. Tibetans are not asking for “SEPARATION” from Red China. Tibetans claim that Tibet is Never Part of China. The issue of concern is illegal Occupation of Tibet. The purpose of Tibetan Resistance Movement is that of resisting illegal Occupation and to Evict Occupier of Tibet.
Rebellion in Tibet
On this day in 1959, Tibetans band together in revolt, surrounding the summer palace of the Dalai Lama in defiance of Chinese occupation forces.
China’s occupation of Tibet began nearly a decade before, in October 1950, when troops from its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded the country, barely one year after the Communists gained full control of mainland China. The Tibetan government gave into Chinese pressure the following year, signing a treaty that ensured the power of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the country’s spiritual leader, over Tibet’s domestic affairs. Resistance to the Chinese occupation built steadily over the next several years, including a revolt in several areas of eastern Tibet in 1956. By December 1958, rebellion was simmering in Lhasa, the capital, and the PLA command threatened to bomb the city if order was not maintained.
The March 1959 uprising in Lhasa was triggered by fears of a plot to kidnap the Dalai Lama and take him to Beijing. When Chinese military officers invited His Holiness to visit the PLA headquarters for a theatrical performance and official tea, he was told he must come alone, and that no Tibetan military bodyguards or personnel would be allowed past the edges of the military camp. On March 10, 300,000 loyal Tibetans surrounded Norbulingka Palace, preventing the Dalai Lama from accepting the PLA’s invitation. By March 17, Chinese artillery was aimed at the palace, and the Dalai Lama was evacuated to neighboring India. Fighting broke out in Lhasa two days later, with Tibetan rebels hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. Early on March 21, the Chinese began shelling Norbulingka, slaughtering tens of thousands of men, women and children still camped outside. In the aftermath, the PLA cracked down on Tibetan resistance, executing the Dalai Lama’s guards and destroying Lhasa’s major monasteries along with thousands of their inhabitants.
China’s stranglehold on Tibet and its brutal suppression of separatist activity has continued in the decades following the unsuccessful uprising. Tens of thousands of Tibetans followed their leader to India, where the Dalai Lama has long maintained a government-in-exile in the foothills of the Himalayas.