Political analyst Bhaskar Roy presents a picture of what Tibet means to China and what its fate can be in the coming years.
In a Panel Discussion on ’17 Point Agreement: Liberation or Occupation of Tibet’ organised by Core Group for Tibetan Cause at the India International Center on Monday, two of the three speakers untie the China-Tibet knot. The third speaker, a Supreme Court of India lawyer discussed about the legalities of the 17 Point Agreement.
Excerpts from the speech of Bhaskar Roy, Retired Senior Government Official, Political Analyst, and China Expert.
Mr. Roy started his speech by questioning that how strong really is China’s claim on Tibet?
China’s argument about it not accepting McMohan Line with India or any previous treaties in its territorial claims in South China Sea is that they were signed when China was weak. He wondered if the same logic won’t apply to the 17-Point Agreement it signed with Tibet in 1951. There is not doubt that the Tibetans were in a much weaker situation when the treaty was forced upon them. By the same logic that China puts in its territorial disputes against Japan, Korea, Vietnam or India, the 17-Point Agreement becomes unacceptable.
Citing his interaction with Chinese people in his frequent visits to China, Roy said that Han Chinese have started questioning rather loudly the ‘autonomy’ that China has given to the Tibetans.
China claims in the same agreement about it being the mother country of Tibet. There is absolutely no cultural or historical link between China and Tibet to validate this claim. If we compare the languages of Tibet and China, they are two completely different languages.
Mr. Roy cited that the Chines government has denied the studies carried by committees it itself appointed. It went on to the extent of banning an NGO that said in a study carried after visiting Tibet for eight months that the funds being sent by the Chinese government was being gobbled up by the Han Chinese settled in Tibet. China has been prosecuting its own citizens who speak anything that is in slightest disagreement with its policy. It’s torture of of artists like Ai Wei Wei and violent suppression of Chinese activists and human rights campaigners asks for serious reforms in China’s approach towards Tibet.
Roy said that it was difficult to bridge the separation between the Hans and the non-Hans. Saying that he sees no sign of the Chinese relenting on Tibet, he thanked the Tibetans for their resilience despite having any single leader. His Holiness has been away from Tibet for more than 50 years now and the Tibetans have no option but to purchase goods from the Chinese, still they have been resisting.
Roy expressed hope that the coming generation of Chinese leaders will change over time. But there is a greater dilemma for China.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has relinquished his political powers, though, he remains the supreme authority. The Chinese are in a quandary whom to talk to. If they talk to the Tibetan government in exile, it would mean recognising them. If they don’t, they have no clue whom they will discuss political issues with.
Since the PM of the Tibetan government in exile is an elected representative and hold the highest political authority, the Chinese are clueless. Their own people are questioning their policies in Tibet. China needs to reform itself.
Chinese occupation of Tibet completely illegal: Naresh Mathur
We can never live under China: Tsewang Rigzin
Tibetans divided by force not by choice: Lobsang Sangay