I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.

I believe in the doctrine called ‘Predestination’. I do not believe in Free-Will, or Will to Choose. I am not running away from God. I cannot choose to disobey God. It may seem that I am making choices and that I may have preplanned my moves. My Life’s Journey began in Mylapore, Madras, Chennai, India. Amongst other places, my Journey took me to Doom Dooma, Tinsukia District, Assam, India during 1972. While I worked in Doom Dooma, I got married during January 1973 as per God’s Plan. Eventually, I arrived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the USA with the thoughts of Fear forcing me to live as a Refugee.

I find myself living and surviving inside the belly of a Big Fish or Great Whale. Prophet Jonah survived his ordeal just for three days and three nights. The Son of Man remained in the heart of the earth just for three days, and three nights.

I am living with the Hope that God has not forsaken me. God has not forgotten my plight or ordeal. God has a Plan for my Salvation. I am a Refugee for it is Predestined. But when will I find my Refuge?

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada


I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.
I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.
I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.
I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.
I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.
I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.
I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.
I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.
I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.

10 Great Lessons from the Book of Jonah

By Wayne Jackson

I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.

The prophet Jonah lived in the Galilean city of Gath-Hepher (about four miles north of Nazareth) during the reign of Jeroboam II (793-753 B.C.), king of Israel (cf. 2 Kgs. 14:25). Jeroboam II was northern Israel’s most powerful king, and during his administration, the borders of the nation were expanded to their greatest extent since the time of David and Solomon.

Assyria, however, five hundred miles to the east, was a constant threat. The fact of the matter is, due to Israel’s progressive rebellion, the prophets Hosea and Amos, contemporaries of Jonah, had declared that Jehovah would use Assyria as an instrument of punishment against his people (cf. Hos. 11:5; Amos 5:27). Any patriotic Israelite would have longed for Assyria’s destruction!

One can scarcely imagine, therefore, the consternation that must have filled Jonah’s heart when he received the Lord’s word instructing him to proceed to Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria, with a divine message.

Jonah’s Resistance

Although the prophet’s brief declaration to Nineveh was one of judgment, nonetheless, Jonah was aware of the fact that Jehovah is a “gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness” (Jon. 4:2). Hence, it was certain that if the inhabitants of that great city were responsive to his message, Heaven would certainly spare them. And Jonah did not want that.

Accordingly, Jonah went to Joppa where he boarded a ship bound for Tarshish, a Phoenician colony on the southwest coast of Spain some two thousand miles to the west. The express design of his trip was to flee from the presence of Jehovah (Jon. 1:3).

But, as every Bible student knows, his plans were soon thwarted. Where men propose, God can dispose!

When a great storm arose, and the inmates of the vessel feared for their very lives, Jonah confessed that he, as a refugee from the Lord, was the cause of the calamity. Though the prophet’s sailing companions did not like the idea, they ultimately were forced to accept Jonah’s suggestion that he be thrown overboard.

Down he went into the dark depths of the Mediterranean, seaweed swirling about his head (cf. Jon. 2:5). Presently, he was devoured by a great creature of the deep. One might almost say that the Lord sent Jonah to school for three days, and the classroom was the belly of a great sea-monster. The prophet matriculated wonderfully well, graduating with a diploma in “mission responsibility”!

Jonah Preaches to Nineveh

Making his way to Nineveh, a journey that would have taken more than a month and thus provided ample time for sober reflection, Jonah entered the great city with his blunt message (consisting of only five words in the Hebrew text):

“Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”

Amazingly, there was mass repentance, from the king (Ashur-dan III, according to Assyrian records) down to the commoner.

Jonah was quite distraught at this turn of events and he despaired, even to the point of wanting to die. Resolutely, he perched himself on a hilltop nearby, eagerly watching the city in hopes that the Lord would yet destroy it. His education was still incomplete!

As he sat in the scorching sun, God caused a shady vine to grow up for his refreshment and the prophet was glad. On the following day, however, Jehovah sent a worm to smite Jonah’s vine, and as the blistering sun beat upon his head, the man of God again lapsed into a state of abject depression.

Then came Heaven’s stinging rebuke. The Lord in effect said: “Jonah, why is it that you are so concerned with this vine—a mere plant which is temporal, and for which you did not labor; and yet, you evidence utterly no concern for the hapless inhabitants of Nineveh?”

The penetrating inquiry threw a divine floodlight upon the pathetic values of the man from Gath-Hepher.

10 Timeless Lessons from the Book of Jonah

The book of Jonah is filled with valuable information and timeless lessons. Perhaps we could reflect upon a few of these matters.

Jonah’s Story Validated by Christ

First, we should note that this marvelous narrative has suffered the brunt of the critics’ barbs for a long while. Because of the incident of Jonah being swallowed by the sea-creature, many modern scholars contend that the document is pure fiction (cf. Goodspeed 1946, 149).

Jesus Christ, however, did not so view it. He appealed to the narrative as genuine history (cf. Mt. 12:39-41), and this settles the issue for all who have any regard for the Savior’s deity.

Aside from the fact that this event doubtless involved a miracle, the circumstances are not beyond the realm of possibility even from a natural viewpoint (as employed in the providential operations of God). In fact, a number of similar cases have been documented in relatively modern times.

In 1891, a seaman was swallowed by a large sperm whale near the Falkland Islands. After three days, he was recovered, unconscious but alive, though there was some damage to his skin (Wilson 1927, 636). Some, however, dispute the credibility of this story.

Moreover, some critics argue that the book of Jonah depicts the prophet as being swallowed by a “great fish” (Jon. 1:17), while the New Testament suggests that the creature was a “whale” (Mt. 12:40). And, as any schoolboy knows, a whale is a mammal, not a fish.

The fallacy of this ill-conceived argument lies in the fact that both the Hebrew word dag and the Greek word, ketos are generic terms that can apply to any aquatic creature (cf. ASV fn). There is no error here.

The Sovereignty of Jehovah

The book of Jonah demonstrates the sovereignty of the Almighty as he employs his creation to accomplish the divine plan. The Lord controlled the elements of weather (Jon. 1:4, 11, 13, 15; 4:8), and he prepared a sea-creature, a vine, and a worm to do his bidding (Jon. 1:17; 4:6, 7).

God’s Interest in All People

This inspired document reveals the international interest of God, even in the Mosaic era.

Though Jehovah was working primarily through the Hebrew nation as an instrument for the sending of the promised Seed (Gen. 22:18), nevertheless, his compassion for all the people of the earth was abundantly manifested. And the sending of the “missionary,” Jonah, to these Gentile Ninevites was a clear demonstration of this.

God Is in Control

This narrative illustrates a truth so frequently suggested in the Old Testament, namely, that the Lord, not man, is in control of the destiny of nations.

Jehovah rules in the kingdoms of men and disposes of them according to his divine standard (cf. Psa. 22:28; Prov. 14:34; Dan. 2:21; 4:17). Those who think that nations stand or fall because of a “strong national defense” are woefully ignorant of biblical principles.

Nineveh was given forty days to repent. As a result, the nation was spared destruction for about a century and a half. Later, however, when Assyria degenerated again, she was destroyed and the prophet, Nahum, addresses this very matter. Nineveh fell to the Babylonians in 612 B.C.

Mankind is Accountable to the Lord

The book of Jonah demonstrates that ancient peoples who were outside of that Mosaic covenant relationship with Jehovah were nonetheless accountable to Heaven’s moral law.

Jehovah looked down upon Nineveh and observed the wickedness of these people (Jon. 1:2). Since sin is the transgression of divine law (1 Jn. 3:4; cf. Rom. 4:15), the Ninevites were obviously subject to such.

This powerful truth is in direct conflict with the modern theory which contends that those who are “outside of the church” are not subject to the marriage law of God (the design of which is to regulate human morality — cf. 1 Cor. 7:1ff; Heb. 13:4). The whole purpose of this novel concept, of course, is to justify adulterous relationships within the family of God!

People Can Change

This record reveals the power inherent within the word of God when such comes into contact with honest and good hearts (cf. Lk. 8:15). Though Jonah’s message was very brief (as indicated above), it produced the desired effect.

Again, some critics have faulted the divine account at this point, claiming that so trifling a sermon could hardly have produced the results described. But the objection, which stems strictly from subjective bias, ignores the biblical evidence, not the least of which is the testimony of Christ that “the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah” (Mt. 12:41).

Besides that, historical records reveal that the notable city had suffered severe plagues in 765 and 759 B.C. The soil had thus been conditioned for Jonah’s “revival.”

Too, somehow or another the citizens of Nineveh had learned of the prophet’s “resurrection” from the belly of the “fish,” for, as Jesus noted, Jonah was a “sign” to that generation even as the raised Lord would be to his (cf. Lk. 11:30).

Repentance Requires Works

This instructive account, together with the inspired New Testament commentary which discusses it, underscores an important dimension to repentance.

Jesus declared that “the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah” (Mt. 12:41), while the book of Jonah itself informs us that God “saw their [the people of Nineveh] works, that they turned from their evil way” (Jon. 3:10).

Thus, repentance is not, as some allege, a mere sorrow for sin. Rather, it requires turning away from evil conduct.

Moreover, this passage reveals that repentance is a work, and since repentance is essential to salvation (Lk. 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30), it conclusively follows that salvation is not exclusive of all types of works!

The Punishment of Hell

An intriguing passage in the book of Jonah illustrates a vital point about the punishment of the wicked after death.

In graphically poetic language, the agonizing prophet described his horrible ordeal in the sea monster’s belly as an experience akin to being in “hell.” He exclaims:

“I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord . . . out of the belly of hell cried I” (Jon. 2:2).

The Hebrew term is Sheol. Here it denotes the abode of the wicked prior to the Judgement.

Since crying out by reason of affliction certainly indicates conscious suffering, one may conclude that the state of the wicked dead is that of conscious torment—a truth affirmed elsewhere in the sacred record (cf. Lk. 16:23; 2 Pet. 2:9, ASV).

J.W. McGarvey has an excellent discussion of this point in his essay, “Destiny of the Wicked” (n.d., 429, 430).

Conditional Prophecy

Jonah’s message to Nineveh reveals that prophecy is sometimes conditional.

The prophet declared that the great city would be destroyed in forty days. But it survived for a century and a half beyond that time.

Clearly, therefore, the prediction of doom was conditioned upon Nineveh’s response to the prophetic message.

Millennialists would do well to learn from this principle of prophecy.

For example, Israel was promised inheritance of the land of Canaan. That promise, however, was conditioned upon their fidelity to God (cf. Josh. 22:4, 5; 23:1ff), and the time eventually came when they lost their deed to Palestine.

Typology in the Book of Jonah

The book of Jonah presents a beautiful type of the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

Though some modernists argue that the concept of a bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead was unknown in Old Testament times, Jesus demonstrated otherwise. He declared:

“[F]or as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the sea-monster; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Mt. 12:40).

Clearly, the Lord viewed Jonah’s three-day entombment as a foreshadowing of his resurrection from the grave, by which, of course, Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power (Rom. 1:4).


In his epistle to the Romans, Paul wrote:

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime [i.e., the Old Testament Scriptures] were written for our learning, that through patience and through the comfort of the scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

Surely the foregoing points of truth, as gleaned from the delightful book of Jonah, are illustrative of the truth of this rich passage.

Why not take some time and refresh yourself with a review of the edifying material in the book of Jonah.

Works Cited

  • Goodspeed, E. J. 1946. How to Read the Bible. Philadelphia, PA: John C. Winston Co.
  • McGarvey, J. W. n.d. The destiny of the Wicked. Lard’s Quarterly. Vol. 2.
  • Wilson, A. J. 1927. Princeton Theological Review, XXV, October.

Scripture References

Hosea 11:5; Amos 5:27; Jonah 4:2; Jonah 1:3; Jonah 2:5; Matthew 12:39-41; Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:40; Jonah 1:4, 11, 13, 15, 4:8; Jonah 1:17, 4:6, 7; Genesis 22:18; Psalm 22:28; Proverbs 14:34; Daniel 2:21, 4:17; Jonah 1:2; 1 John 3:4; Romans 4:15; Hebrews 13:4; Luke 8:15; Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:30; Jonah 3:10; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30; Jonah 2:2; Luke 16:23; 2 Peter 2:9; Joshua 22:4, 5, 23:1; Romans 1:4; Romans 15:4

Cite this article

Jackson, Wayne. “10 Great Lessons from the Book of Jonah.” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: June 15, 2019. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/66-10-great-lessons-from-the-book-of-jonah

I am a Refugee. When will I find my Refuge? Father’s Day Lesson.



Where is Tibet? Who is The Dalai Lama?

In my analysis, the Political Institution called ‘The Dalai Lama’ represents the Government of Tibet while the person called Tenzin Gyatso may have relinquished his power and may identify himself as the Retired Head of State of Tibet. While the exile Tibetan community elected a President of their choice, Tibetans presently living in Occupied Tibet do not participate in the activities of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. Tibetans have not yet exercised their Right to Self-Rule or Self-Determination. As such, the Communist Party of China has no legal right to rule or govern Tibet. Military Occupation and Colonization of Tibet cannot abolish The Institution of The Dalai Lama known as The Ganden Phodrang.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada


Where is Tibet? Who is The Dalai Lama?

Enigma of the Dalai Lama

The writer is former Ambassador of Pakistan and ex-Assistant Secretary General of OIC

Latest news, courtesy AFP, has it that the US Ambassador to China has called on Beijing to open a ‘substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama’. He made these remarks during a visit to northwest China’s Qinghai province.

This bit of news gives rise to several questions. For one thing, it is something of a pity that, despite having won the Nobel Prize for Peace, the Dalai Lama has hardly been an agitator on the side of peace. Instead, he has often appeared as a tool in the hands of political forces that have an axe to grind against the Peoples’ Republic of China.

One has nothing against the Dalai Lama. He is undoubtedly a very revered personality. He may also be a ‘symbol of peace’ in the estimation of the US administration. But then he has also allowed himself to become a highly controversial political personality and one who has no qualms about being manipulated by certain powers to further their own agendas on the chessboard of international intrigue.

The Dalai Lama went into exile in the 1950s when China asserted its sovereignty over Tibet. He has squandered away several valuable opportunities of coming to terms with the reality of Tibet that has been accepted legally as a part of China by most of the world. This is not the occasion to go into the political complexities of this question. What is important is that the Dalai Lama could perhaps have done greater service to his cause, and to that of peace, if he had adopted the path of reconciliation rather than allow his followers to be kept hostage in a game of high stakes on the international chessboard. It should be more in the character of a revered religious personality and Nobel Peace laureate to work for a denouement leading to a grand reconciliation rather than confrontation.

Be that as it may, it came as something of a disappointment to the well-wishers of the Dalai Lama and his followers to find that he had opted to become a pawn in the US campaign aimed at the ‘containment of China’. Years back, president Bush had presented Tibet’s ‘exiled’ spiritual leader with the US Congress’ highest civilian award and taken advantage of the occasion to offer some gratuitous advice to the Chinese leadership, which the latter understandably had taken exception to.

There was widespread feeling that the timing of the US Congress award to the Dalai Lama was somewhat inappropriate. The only context that this award fitted into was the US obsession with ‘containment’ of China. In this campaign, the Dalai Lama appeared to have allowed his image to be used as a (willing) pawn. Knowing and acknowledging his stature as a religious personality, this can be termed as something of a pity.

The one inference that can be drawn from the latest US statement is that the American administration under President Trump may have the intention to up the ante and revisit the erstwhile forward policy of former president Bush aimed at ‘containment of China’.

It must be recognized that due to its pragmatic and realistic policies, China has meanwhile earned for itself a respected place under the sun. Due to its conscious decision to eschew unnecessary confrontational policies in favor of concentration on a constructive drive veered towards economic development, China has become a major economic prime-mover.

It is a matter of some interest that India appears as an inevitable variable in all the regional equations that concern China. India is host to the Dalai Lama and also the co-signatory of the India-US nuclear deal of doubtful credentials. India, of course, is second to none in its ability to manipulate the twists and turns related to the moves on the international chessboard. In aligning itself with the sole superpower in a China-baiting exercise, it surely must have a very good idea which side its bread is buttered on. No one should have any uncalled-for illusions, though. It would hardly be advisable to underestimate China at this point in time.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2019.

Where is Tibet? Who is The Dalai Lama?




Where is Tibet? Not in China. Dagze District of Lhasa.

Where is Tibet? Not in China. I am pleased to share with my readers a few photo images from Dagze District, Lhasa, Tibet.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada


Where is Tibet? Not in China. Dagze District of Lhasa.

A rural tourist destination in Tibet

Where is Tibet? Not in China. Dagze District of Lhasa.

Photo taken on June 9, 2019 shows a butterfly perching on flowers at a garden of an agricultural industrial park in Dagze District of Lhasa. The garden covering an area of 200 mu (13.3 hectares) has become a rural tourist destination and a way of increasing income for local villagers. (Photo: Xinhua)

Where is Tibet? Not in China. Dagze District of Lhasa.

Photo taken on June 9, 2019 shows a garden at an agricultural industrial park in Dagze District of Lhasa. The garden covering an area of 200 mu (13.3 hectares) has become a rural tourist destination and a way of increasing income for local villagers. (Photo: Xinhua)

Where is Tibet? Not in China. Dagze District of Lhasa.

A tourist picks petals from flowers at a garden of an agricultural industrial park in Dagze District of Lhasa. June 9, 2019. The garden covering an area of 200 mu (13.3 hectares) has become a rural tourist destination and a way of increasing income for local villagers. (Photo: Xinhua)

Where is Tibet? Not in China. Dagze District, Lhasa.

Photo taken on June 9, 2019 shows a bird ready to perch on flowers at a rose garden of an agricultural industrial park in Dagze District of Lhasa. The garden covering an area of 200 mu (13.3 hectares) has become a rural tourist destination and a way of increasing income for local villagers. (Photo: Xinhua)

Where is Tibet? Not in China. Dagze District, Lhasa.

Tourists and staff members display petals picked from flowers at a garden of an agricultural industrial park in Dagze District of Lhasa. June 9, 2019. The garden covering an area of 200 mu (13.3 hectares) has become a rural tourist destination and a way of increasing income for local villagers. (Photo: Xinhua)

Where is Tibet? Not in China. Dagze District, Lhasa.
Where is Tibet? Not in China. Dagze District, Lhasa.


Where is Tibet? Where is the Dialogue?


Where is Tibet? Where is the Dialogue?

In my view, if China fails to recognize the existence of Tibet, there can be no dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama which is the Lawful political institution chosen by Tibetans to govern their nation. To make the dialogue happen, China must know that Tibet is not a part of China in spite of China’s occupation of Tibet since the 1950s.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada


Where is Tibet? Where is the Dialogue?

It’s impossible to hold negotiations with Dalai Lama without conditions – Global Times

Where is Tibet? Where is the Dialogue?

It has been reported that US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad paid an official visit to China’s Tibet Autonomous Region in May. Yet it is hard to figure out his true feelings about Tibet. On the one hand, he spoke positively of Tibet’s economic and social development, which disproved the Dalai Lama group’s lie about the destruction of Tibet’s environment by the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. On the other, he repeated the hackneyed remarks of the US government, “I encourage the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to seek a settlement that resolves differences.”

The problem lies not only in Ambassador Branstad’s interference in China’s internal affairs, but also in his understanding of “seeking a settlement that resolves differences without preconditions” and “substantive dialogue.”

The Dalai Lama group takes splitting the country as its goal. However, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has not closed its door of contacts and negotiation with the Dalai Lama. Yet the proposed negotiation comes with preconditions. 

First, it must be made clear that in nature, contact and consultation are not talks between China’s central government and the Tibetan government-in-exile or “Central Tibetan Administration,” nor are “Tibetan-Han Talks” or “Tibetan-China Talks.” The Dalai separatist political group is illegitimate and ineligible to have a “dialogue” with representatives of the CPC Central Committee. 

Second, it needs to be clarified that the Dalai Lama must accept Tibet as an integral part of China, abandon all attempts about so-called Tibet independence, stop all separatist and destructive activities, and recognize Taiwan as an integral part of China. 

The two preconditions mentioned above underline that there is no so-called Tibet issue but just the problem of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai group, whose existence is against the Chinese Constitution, is not at all eligible to discuss Tibetan affairs with the CPC Central Committee.

While suggesting that the Chinese government engage in a “substantive” dialogue with the Dalai Lama, Ambassador Branstad, like his government, has once again avoided explaining what a “substantive” issue is.

The “substantive” issues in the eyes of the Dalai Lama at least include denying that Tibet has been a part of China since ancient times; defining Tibet as a “state” occupied by China; demanding his “rule” be extended to the whole of Tibet, Qinghai, as well as two autonomous prefectures in Sichuan, one in Yunnan and one in Gansu – an area equal to one fourth of China’s territory; requiring the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) withdraw from Tibetan areas and make it a so-called international zone of peace under the control of Western countries; requiring all the Han people who settled down in Tibet return to where they came from – in other words, to implement ethnic cleansing in all Tibetan areas.

If the US government insists that “substantive” dialogue means meeting all the aforementioned requests of the Dalai Lama, then its hopes would be dashed. 

During his visit to Tibet, Branstad met with the leaders of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Lhasa city, visited local communities, educational and cultural institutions and religious sites, which at least improved his understanding of Tibet. I believe that the knowledge he gained from the trip will help him in his career. 

Since the peaceful liberation, especially since the reform and opening-up, Tibet has witnessed rapid economic and social development, with people’s livelihood improving and the environment getting better and better. From my point of view, China could and should create conditions for more foreigners to visit Tibet and encourage them to draw their own conclusions based on what they see. Tibet’s door has always been open to foreigners. Though under special situations when the Dalai clique has created a disturbance, administrative measures are enhanced for a certain period of time, but after that, the further opening-up follows. 

We must start from the needs of stability and development in Tibet. Of course, we hope that more foreign friends will know about Tibet and foreign media will report positive things about the region. But the most important thing is to avoid violating the interests of the country and the people.

The author is former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Where is Tibet? Where is the Dialogue?



I left India on January 10, 1984 in search of my Refuge, in my quest to reach the Final Destination of my Life. I need the Protection. I need the Shelter. I need the Sanctuary. I need the Grace, Mercy, and Compassion of the Power which can grant me Asylum.

Prophet Jonah was caught up in the belly of a giant fish or the Whale just for three days. He prayed to God and God relented to release Jonah at the destination God has chosen.

Just like Jonah, I am caught up in the belly of a giant fish or the Whale with no Freedom and no Free Will. I live but I survive as a Prisoner, a mere Slave, a Servant, and a Serf who lives without any choice of his own.

Just like Jonah, I declare, “In God We Trust,” the National Motto of a Superpower, a Giant among the Free Nations of the World. Salvation comes from the LORD. If I must preach God’s message to my Enemy, I ask God to release me on the shores of my Enemy’s Territory. I am just a Slave in a Free Country and I have no Freedom to move on my own accord.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada


Jonah and the Whale: Larger-Than-Life Lessons

Clipped from: https://www.learnreligions.com/jonah-and-the-whale-700202

VCG Wilson / Getty Images

The story of Jonah and the Whale, one of the oddest accounts in the Bible, opens with God speaking to Jonah, son of Amittai, commanding him to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh.


Jonah found God’s order unbearable. Not only was Nineveh known for its wickedness, but it was also the capital of the Assyrian empire, one of Israel’s fiercest enemies. Jonah, a stubborn fellow, did just the opposite of what he was told. He went down to the seaport of Joppa and booked passage on a ship to Tarshish, heading directly away from Nineveh. The Bible tells us Jonah “ran away from the Lord.”

In response, God sent a violent storm, which threatened to break the ship to pieces. The terrified crew cast lots, determining that Jonah was responsible for the storm. Jonah told them to throw him overboard. First, they tried rowing to shore, but the waves got even higher. Afraid of God, the sailors finally tossed Jonah into the sea, and the water immediately grew calm. The crew made a sacrifice to God, swearing vows to him.

Instead of drowning, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, which God provided. In the belly of the whale, Jonah repented and cried out to God in prayer. He praised God, ending with the eerily prophetic statement, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9, NIV)

Jonah was in the giant fish three days. God commanded the whale, and it vomited the reluctant prophet onto dry land. This time Jonah obeyed God. He walked through Nineveh proclaiming that in forty days the city would be destroyed. Surprisingly, the Ninevites believed Jonah’s message and repented, wearing sackcloth and covering themselves in ashes. God had compassion on them and did not destroy them.

Again Jonah questioned God because Jonah was angry that Israel’s enemies had been spared. When Jonah stopped outside the city to rest, God provided a vine to shelter him from the hot sun. Jonah was happy with the vine, but the next day God provided a worm that ate the vine, making it wither. Growing faint in the sun, Jonah complained again.

God scolded Jonah for being concerned about a vine, but not about Nineveh, which had 120,000 lost people. The story ends with God expressing concern even about the wicked.

Scripture References

2 Kings 14:25, The Book of Jonah, Matthew 12:38-41, 16:4; Luke 11:29-32.

Points of Interest

  • God commands everything in his Creation, from the weather to a whale, to carry out his plan. God is in control.
  • Jonah spent the same amount of time—three days—inside the whale as Jesus Christ did in the tomb. Christ also preached salvation to the lost.
  • It’s not important whether it was a great fish or a whale that swallowed Jonah. The point of the story is that God can provide a supernatural means of rescue when his people are in trouble.
  • Some scholars believe the Ninevites paid attention to Jonah because of his bizarre appearance. They speculate that the whale’s stomach acid bleached Jonah’s hair, skin, and clothing a ghostly white.
  • Jesus did not consider the book of Jonah to be a fable or myth. While modern skeptics may find it impossible that a man could survive inside a great fish for three days, Jesus compared himself to Jonah, showing that this prophet existed and that the story was historically accurate.

Question for Reflection

Jonah thought he knew better than God. But in the end, he learned a valuable lesson about the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness, which extends beyond Jonah and Israel to all people who repent and believe. Is there some area of your life in which you are defying God, and rationalizing it? Remember that God wants you to be open and honest with him. It’s always wise to obey the One who loves you most.



I am a Refugee. My CIA-RAW Connection.

The Problem of Espionage at Chakrata, India has forced me to depart from India and to live as a Refugee without getting any help or assistance from either RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) and its partner CIA (The US Central Intelligence Agency). The Cold War Era secrecy still undermines my quest for Freedom.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada


9 Declassified RAW Operations That Will Fill You with Pride – DefenceLover

Clipped from: https://defencelover.in/10-declassified-raw-operations-will-fill-pride/?

I am a Refugee. My CIA-RAW Connection.

It is a testimony to the secrecy maintained by RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) that there is so less concrete information available on the web about its operations. Sadly, this often portrays a sorry picture of RAW in the public domain.

I am a Refugee. My CIA-RAW Connection.

The above Photo Image depicts the Problem of Espionage at Chakrata, India. The Photo was taken by a Chinese Agent. It portrays a Sorry Picture of RAW’s Intelligence Capabilities and failure to nab the Enemy infiltrators.

9. Operation Smiling Buddha

Operation Smiling Buddha was the name given to India’s nuclear Program. The task to keep it under tight wraps for security was given to RAW. This was the first time that RAW was involved in a project inside India. On 18 May 1974, India detonated a 15-kiloton plutonium device at Pokhran and became a member of the nuclear club. All international intelligence agencies remained in dark about Indian nuclear weapons programs until then.

8. Special Operations

After successfully, separating Bangladesh from Pakistan, RAW tried to destabilize Pakistan and separate Baluchistan from it. In the mid 1980’s, RAW set up two covert groups, Counterintelligence Team-X(CIT-X) and Counterintelligence Team-J(CIT-J), the first directed at Pakistan and the second at Khalistani groups (funded by ISI to separate Punjab from India). Rabinder Singh, the RAW double agent who defected to the United States in 2004, helped run CIT-J in its early years. Both these covert groups used the services of cross-border traffickers to ferry weapons and funds across the border, much as their ISI counterparts were doing.

According to former RAW official and noted security analyst B. Raman, the Indian counter-campaign yielded results. “The role of our cover action capability in putting an end to the ISI’s interference in Punjab”, he wrote in 2002, “by making such interference prohibitively costly is little known and understood.” These covert operations were discontinued during the tenure of IK Gujral and were never restarted. B Raman the former RAW cabinet secretary, such covert operations were successful in keeping a check on ISI and were “responsible for ending the Khalistan insurgency.” He also notes that a lack of such covert capabilities, since they were closed in 1997, has left the country even more vulnerable than before and says that developing covert capabilities is the need of the hour.

7. Snatch operations with IB

In late 2009, investigative journal, The Week ran a cover story on one of India’s major clandestine operations that the RAW ran with Intelligence Bureau to nab terrorists infiltrating India via Nepal and other neighboring countries. In order to bypass the lengthy extradition process, RAW conducts snatch operations to nab suspects from various foreign countries. The suspect is brought to India, interrogated and is usually produced before a court. With emergence of Nepal as a terror transit point, RAW and the IB (Intelligence Bureau) started closely monitoring the movement of suspected terrorists in Nepal. According to The Week in last decade there has been close to 400 successful snatch operations conducted by RAW and/or IB in Nepal, Bangladesh and other countries. Some famous snatch netted Bhupinder Singh Bhuda of the Khalistan Commando Force, Lashkar militant Tariq Mehmood, Sheikh Abdul Khawaja, one of the handlers of the 26/11 attacks, etc. Most of the suspects are kept at Tihar Jail.

6. Intelligence on 2008 Mumbai Attacks:

I am a Refugee. My CIA-RAW Connection.

NSG commandos

About two to six months before 26/11 Mumbai attacks, RAW had intercepted several telephone calls through SIGINT, which pointed at impending attacks on Mumbai Hotels by Pakistan based terrorists, however there was a coordination failure and no follow up action was taken. Few hours before the attacks, RAW technician monitoring satellite transmissions picked up conversations between attackers and handlers, as the attackers were sailing toward Mumbai.

The technician flagged the conversations as being suspicious and passed them on to his superiors. RAW believed that they were worrying and immediately alerted the office of the National Security Advisor. However, the intelligence was ignored. Later, just after the terrorists had attacked Mumbai, RAW technicians started monitoring the six phones used by the terrorists and recorded conversations between the terrorists and their handlers. On January 15, 2010, in a successful snatch operation, RAW agents nabbed Sheikh Abdul Khawaja, one of the handlers of the 26/11 attacks, chief of HuJI India operations and a most wanted terror suspect in India, from Colombo, Sri Lanka and brought them over to Hyderabad, India for formal arrest.

5. Operation Leech

Surrounded by Arakans and dense forest, Myanmar because of its Military Dictatorship had always been a worrisome point for Indian intelligence. As the major player in the area, India has sought to promote democracy and install friendly governments in the region. To these ends, RAW cultivated Burmese rebel groups and pro-democracy coalitions, especially the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). India allowed the KIA to carry a limited trade in jade (ornamental stone) and precious stones using Indian Territory and even supplied them with weapons.

It is further alleged that KIA chief Maran Brang Seng met the RAW chief in Delhi twice. However, when the KIA became the main source of training and weapons for all northeastern Indian rebel groups, RAW initiated an operation, code named Operation Leech, to assassinate the leaders of RAW trained Burmese rebels to set an example to other groups. Six top rebel leaders, including military wing chief of National Unity Party of Arakans (NUPA), Khaing Raza, were shot dead and 34 Arakanese guerrillas were arrested and charged with gunrunning.

4. Operation Chanakya

I am a Refugee. My CIA-RAW Connection.

Operation Chanakya was the RAW operation in the Kashmir to infiltrate various ISI-backed Kashmiri separatist groups and restore peace in the Kashmir valley. R&AW operatives infiltrated the area, collected military intelligence, and provided evidence about ISI’s involvement in training and funding Kashmiri separatist groups. RAW was successful not only in unearthing the links between the ISI and the separatist groups, but also in infiltrating and neutralizing the militancy in the Kashmir valley. RAW is also credited for creating a split in the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Operation Chanakya also marked the creation of pro-Indian groups in Kashmir like the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen, Muslim Mujahideen, etc. These counterinsurgencies consist of ex-militants and relatives of those slain in the conflict. Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen leader Kokka Parrey was himself assassinated by separatists.

3. Sri Lanka

I am a Refugee. My CIA-RAW Connection.

RAW started training LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to keep a check on Sri Lanka, which had helped Pakistan in the Indo-Pak War by allowing Pakistani ships to refuel at Sri Lankan ports. However, the LTTE created a lot of problems and complications and the then Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi was forced to send the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in 1987 to restore normalcy in the region.

The disastrous mission of the IPKF was blamed by many on the lack of coordination between the IPKF and RAW. Its most disastrous manifestation was the Helicopter assault on LTTE HQ in the Jaffna University campus in the opening stages of Operation Pawan. The site was chosen without any prior consultation with the RAW. The dropping paratroopers became easy targets for the LTTE. Several soldiers were killed. The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi is also blamed as fallout of the failed RAW operation in Sri Lanka.

2. Creation of Bangladesh and Aftermath

In the early 1970s, the army of Pakistan prosecuted a bloody military crackdown in response to the Bangladeshi independence movement. Nearly 10 million refugees fled to India. The RAW’s Bangladeshi independence movement began in early 1970 by sowing discord among the disgruntled population of Bangladesh (then called East Pakistan), suffering repression by the Pakistani political establishment. This led to the creation of the Mukti Bahini (Liberation Army of Bengali resistance movement).

RAW was responsible for supplying information and heavy ammunition to this organization that led to Bangladesh War, its independence and later self-governance within months. Even USA hasn’t been successful at achieving this in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, within months of independence of Bangladesh, Mujibur Rahman (First President) was assassinated at his residence. R&AW operatives claim that they had advance information about Mujibur Rahman’s assassination, but he tragically ignored RAW’s inputs.
He was killed along with 40 members of his family. RAW thus failed to prevent the assassination, which led to the loss of a charismatic leader who had a soft corner for India after all they had done for his country’s independence. However, RAW has successfully thwarted plans of assassinating Sheikh Hasina Wazed, daughter of Mujibur Rahman, by Islamist extremists and the ISI.

1. Operation Kahuta

Operation Kahuta is regarded by many as one of the most daring operation ever conducted by RAW. The only reason it failed was due to a grave blunder by an Indian Prime Minister. Kahuta is the site of the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), Pakistan’s main nuclear weapons laboratory as well as an emerging center for long-range missile development. The primary Pakistani fissile-material production facility is located at Kahuta, employing gas centrifuge enrichment technology to produce Highly Enriched Uranium (necessary for nuclear weapons).

RAW first confirmed Pakistan’s nuclear programs by analyzing the hair samples of scientists snatched from the floor of barber shops near KRL; which showed that Pakistan had developed the ability to enrich uranium to weapons-grade quality. RAW agents knew of Kahuta Research Laboratories from at least early 1978, when the then Indian Prime Minister, Morarji Desai stopped RAWs operations on Pakistan’s covert nuclear weapons program (because it was started by Indira Gandhi).

I am a Refugee. My CIA-RAW Connection.

Surrender of Pakistan

In an indiscreet moment in a telephone conversation one day, Morarji Desai informed the then Pakistan President, Zia-ul-Haq, that India was aware of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.  According to later reports, acting on this “tip-off”, Pakistani Intelligence eliminated RAW’s agents on Kahuta, leaving India in the dark about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program from then on. Out of these 10, there have been Reports in Pakistani Media of RAW’s involvement in freedom struggle of Balochistan. India has denied it and no one knows the truth. It is true that ISI is certainly afraid of RAW and reporters of Pakistani media shows the chill that RAW sends them.

I am a Refugee. My CIA-RAW Connection.






I ask my readers to remember the events of June 04, 1989. Beijing Doomed because of her own evil actions.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada




Sun Jun 4, 2017, | 8:49am EDT


A paramilitary policeman keeps watch underneath the portrait of former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, China June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

By J.R. Wu and Katy Wong

Taiwan’s president on Sunday offered to help China to transition to democracy, on the 28th anniversary of China’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, as thousands gathered in Hong Kong for an evening vigil.

Nearly three decades after Beijing sent tanks and troops to quell the 1989 pro-democracy, student-led protests, Chinese authorities ban any public commemoration of the subject on the mainland and have yet to release an official death toll.

Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is the only place on Chinese soil where a large-scale commemoration takes place, symbolizing the financial hub’s relative freedoms compared with the mainland.

This year’s events are especially politically charged, coming just a month before an expected visit of President Xi Jinping to mark 20 years since Hong Kong was handed back to China.

“When Xi Jinping comes, he’ll know the people of Hong Kong have not forgotten,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, a veteran democracy activist and an organizer of the annual candlelight vigil.

“The students who died still haven’t got what they deserve. They fought for their future, in the same way, we’re fighting for our future,” 17-year-old Yanny Chan, a high school student, said.

In Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen said that the biggest gap between Taiwan and China was democracy and freedom, needling Beijing at a time when relations between China and the self-ruled island are at a low point.

“For democracy: some are early, others are late, but we all get there in the end,” Tsai said, writing in Chinese on her Facebook page and tweeting some of her comments in English on Twitter.

“Borrowing on Taiwan’s experience, I believe that China can shorten the pain of democratic reform.”

Beijing distrusts Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party because it traditionally advocates independence for Taiwan. Beijing says the island is part of China and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.

After nearly 40 years of martial law, the island in the late 1980s began its own transition to democracy with presidential elections being held since 1996.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China had long ago reached a conclusion about June 4.

“I hope you can pay more attention to the positive changes happening in all levels of Chinese society,” she said without elaborating.

In Beijing, security was tight as usual at Tiananmen Square, with long lines at bag and identity checks. The square itself was peaceful, thronged with tourists taking photos.
One elderly resident of a nearby neighborhood, out for a stroll at the edge of the square, said he remembered the events of 28 years ago clearly.

“The soldiers were just babies, 18, 19 years old. They didn’t know what they were doing,” he told Reuters, asking to be identified only by his family name, Sun.

While some search terms on China’s popular Twitter-like microblog Weibo appeared to be blocked on Sunday, some users were able to post cryptic messages.

“Never forget,” wrote one, above a picture of mahjong tiles with the numbers 6 and 4 on them, for the month and day of the anniversary.

(Reporting by J.R. Wu; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard and Philip Wen in BEIJING; Venus Wu and James Pomfret in HONG KONG; Editing by Tony Munroe, Kim Coghill, and Jane Merriman)

Reuters is the news and media division of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters is the world’s largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Learn more about Thomson Reuters products:

Inserted from <http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-tiananmen-idUSKBN18V06C>

Never Forget June 04, 1989 – Tiananmen Anniversary
Never Forget June 04, 1989 – Tiananmen Anniversary
Never Forget June 04, 1989 – Tiananmen Anniversary





Prayers for the dawn of freedom at The Grand Seat of the Sun, Nyingchi, Tibet.

The Living Tibetan Spirits promote ‘Tibet Awareness’ of the global community by speaking to the Mountains of Tibet. When asked, the Mountains of Tibet reveal that Tibet is ‘Not Part of China’.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada


Tibet Awareness. Ask the Mountains of Tibet. Not Part of China.

Photo taken on June 1, 2019 shows the snow mountain in Bomi County, Nyingchi of southeast Tibet. Bomi County is known for its snow mountain and glaciers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)

Tibet Awareness. Ask the Mountains of Tibet. Not Part of China.
Tibet Awareness. Ask the Mountains of Tibet. Not Part of China.

Photo taken on June 1, 2019 shows the snow mountain in Bomi County, Nyingchi of southeast Tibet. Bomi County is known for its snow mountain and glaciers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)

Tibet Awareness. Ask the Mountains of Tibet. Not Part of China.

Photo taken on June 1, 2019 shows the snow mountain in Bomi County, Nyingchi of southeast Tibet. Bomi County is known for its snow mountain and glaciers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)

Tibet Awareness. Ask the Mountains of Tibet. Not Part of China.

Photo taken on June 1, 2019 shows the Kuijia Mountain in Bomi County, Nyingchi of southeast Tibet. Bomi County is known for its snow mountain and glaciers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)

Tibet Awareness. Ask the Mountains of Tibet. Not Part of China.

Photo taken on June 1, 2019 shows the Kuijia Mountain in Bomi County, Nyingchi of southeast Tibet. Bomi County is known for its snow mountain and glaciers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)

Tibet Awareness. Ask the Mountains of Tibet. Not Part of China.

Photo taken on June 1, 2019 shows the snow mountain in Bomi County, Nyingchi of southeast Tibet. Bomi County is known for its snow mountain and glaciers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)

Tibet Awareness. Ask the Mountains of Tibet. Not Part of China.
Tibet Awareness. Ask the Mountains of Tibet. Not Part of China.




The Spirits of Special Frontier Force ask the US to talk to the Dalai Lama.

I thank the US Ambassador Terry Branstad for inviting China to talk to the Dalai Lama. The Spirits of Special Frontier Force invite the US President Donald Trump to talk to the Dalai Lama.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada

Special Frontier Force

US Envoy Makes Rare Visit to Tibet

Clipped from: https://www.voanews.com/a/us-envoy-makes-rare-visit-to-tibet/4932845.html

The Spirits of Special Frontier Force ask the US to talk to the Dalai Lama.

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad and his wife, Christine, pose in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa in western China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, May 22, 2019.

In a rare visit to Tibet, U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad urged Beijing to engage in substantive dialogue with exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama, a spokesperson to the U.S. Embassy said Saturday.

Branstad also “expressed concerns regarding the Chinese government’s interference in Tibetan Buddhists’ freedom to organize and practice their religion,” an embassy statement said.

The U.S. envoy also raised long-standing worries about the lack of consistent access to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, or TAR.

The Spirits of Special Frontier Force ask the US to talk to the Dalai Lama.

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad and his wife, Christine, are greeted in Lhasa in western China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, May 21, 2019. Branstad made a rare visit to Tibet to meet local officials and raise concerns about restrictions on Buddhist practices and the preservation of the Himalayan region’s unique culture and language.

China restricts access to Tibet by foreigners, especially journalists and diplomats. But, during the trip hosted by the Tibet Autonomous Region government, Branstad was given access to important religious and cultural sites, including the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Norbulingka and Sera Monastery in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. He also met with senior Tibetan religious and cultural leaders, the embassy said.

In addition to the TAR, Branstad also visited neighboring Qinghai province. Qinghai is a traditionally Tibetan region also known as Amdo and the birthplace of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader.

The Chinese government is accused of committing human rights violations and imposing harsh restrictions on the practice of religion and culture in the region. But Beijing insists that Tibetans enjoy extensive freedoms and economic growth.

Regarding the U.S. envoy’s trip, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China welcomed Branstad to witness the “earthshaking changes in the people’s production and life since Tibet’s peaceful liberation more than 60 years ago.”

Branstad’s trip to Tibet was the first to the region by an American envoy in four years. The rare visit to the TAR and neighboring Qinghai province began May 19 and ended Saturday.

The Spirits of Special Frontier Force ask the US to talk to the Dalai Lama.



Where is Tibet? The US-China Fantasy Relationship.


In my analysis, the US-China relationship is just a ‘Fantasy’ for the adulterous relationship began without taking into consideration the fact of Tibet’s legitimate presence among the global community of nations.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada


Where is Tibet? The US-China Fantasy Relationship

Where Does Tibet Fit Into the US-China Relationship? | The Diplomat

Clipped from: https://thediplomat.com/2019/05/where-does-tibet-fit-into-the-us-china-relationship/

Where is Tibet? The US-China Fantasy Relationship.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Laika ac

With the U.S. ambassador’s visit, Tibet may again be poised to play a larger role in US-China relations.

Through May 25, U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad is on a rare visit to Tibet, the first by a U.S. envoy to the Chinese autonomous region since 2015. His trip includes official meetings and stops at religious and cultural sites in bid to raise concerns about religious freedom restrictions and cultural and linguistic preservation, according to the State Department.

Tibet, geographically on China’s western flank, is a gateway to South Asia, and has been a perennial source of political sensitivity for Beijing. China’s trepidation over foreign influence and the U.S. connection to Tibet is not completely unfounded. Prior to the normalization of China-U.S. relations, the CIA funneled funding to the Dalai Lama — an influential spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism now exiled in India — and the Tibetan community to support covert activities against China. The program was canceled as then-President Richard Nixon set off on his landmark trip to Beijing in 1972. Since then, U.S. ties to Tibet have been kept more at an arm’s length, with periodic calls for the upholding of individual rights broadly and the provision of aid to safeguard Tibetan identity. And over the past year, Beijing’s approach to Tibet has attracted less attention in the United States than the Chinese government’s expansive security policies in neighboring Xinjiang, another nominally autonomous ethnic region in China.

The ethno-religious identity and status of Tibetan Buddhists lies at the heart of tensions between central authorities, the local government, and the local population. While the region is administered by the People’s Republic of China, China’s sovereign claim is contested by some groups. Beijing traces is control back to the rule of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and of course a 1951 agreement that declared Tibet’s “peaceful liberation”; others hold that the People’s Liberation Army invaded and occupied the territory. Under Beijing’s administration, religious and other activities are restricted to quell and thwart dissent and uprisings. Although detention centers have been piloted in Xinjiang, Tibet is also subject to heightened cybersurveillance, a repertoire of surveillance and repression by authorities, and the promotion of Han Chinese migration and mixed marriages to the region to bolster “national unity.”

This week’s high-profile U.S. visit in Tibet may be appealing to both Beijing and Washington, albeit for different reasons. Certainly, both are looking to frame their relationship in terms that extend beyond trade disagreements as the latest round of bilateral negotiations crumbles. A successful trip in Beijing’s eyes will highlight the coexistence of Han Chinese and Tibetans, the modernization of Tibet, and initiatives to support Tibetan culture, language, and Buddhism; a stark contrast from Beijing’s policies toward Muslim communities in neighboring Xinjiang. Conversely, for Washington, this trip can be viewed as a move by the Trump administration to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to protecting human rights, a facet of Trump’s foreign policy that has been criticized, notably in the context of U.S.-China relations.

However, it may be hard to disentangle the actual motivations for the Tibet visit. Instead, the Trump administration, frustrated by the state of trade negotiations, may be taking a more instrumental position toward Tibet and using it to indirectly pressure Beijing over a political charged region. Even if the trip is motivated by a desire to raise rights awareness, one visit to Tibet by Branstad is unlikely to overturn criticisms that the Trump administration is reluctant to center human rights issues as a key component of the U.S.-China relationship. This criticism has been voiced both by international rights watchdogs, like Human Rights Watch, and from bipartisan members of the U.S. Congress, frustrated by the executive branch’s slowed actions. Washington, once a pioneer on these issues, has ceded its international leadership role under the current administration in favor of issuing human rights criticisms more selectively.

With respect to Tibet, some have expressed concern that China’s growing international power may have dampened support and narrowed the political space for the “Free Tibet” movement. Still, the United States passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act in late 2018, which would require the U.S. government to punish officials who restrict access to Tibet for U.S. diplomats, journalists, academics, and other citizens traveling to the region. Although the law may unintentionally lead to a dip in visits by Tibetan delegations to the United States, the ratcheting up of pressure may possibly nudge China to review the ways in which it accords access to Tibetan areas.

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if Tibetans will stand to benefit from the temporary diplomatic spotlight brought by Branstad’s brief tour.

Where is Tibet? The US-China Fantasy Relationship.