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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Public Talk: Will Tibet Survive the Olympics?

June 14, 2008

Prospects for Reconciliation After the Games
The Heritage Foundation
June 12, 2008

Public Talk: Will Tibet Survive the Olympics?
Date: June 20, 2008
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Speaker(s): Warren W. Smith, Jr.
Author of China's Tibet?: Autonomy or Assimilation
Host(s): John Tkacik, Senior Research Fellow for China, Mongolia, and Taiwan,
Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation


Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

The Olympic Torch Relay is scheduled to enter Tibet on June 19,
arriving in Lhasa on June 20.  Judging from China's robust
appropriation of the Olympic Torch as a beacon ­ not of global
sportsmanship but of China's debut as a world power, the Torch
ceremonies in Lhasa are likely to be fraught with political and
nationalistic symbolism.

Tibetan exiles across the world, increasingly desperate to halt the
"Sinification" of their homeland, see the 2008 Olympic Games in
Beijing as the last chance to shine the spotlight of international
attention on their plight.  And Beijing, calculating that they need
do little-to-nothing ­ except perhaps give the appearance of a
"dialogue" with the Dalai Lama ­ to respond to Tibetans' and the
broader global community's calls to preserve Tibet's heritage and
culture, is running out the clock.

Will the Torch spark new unrest on the Roof of the World?  What are
the real prospects for dialogue once the Olympics are over?

Join Dr. Warren Smith, a Washington expert on Tibetan politics and
history, as he discusses his new book (June 2008) China's Tibet?:
Autonomy or Assimilation at The Heritage Foundation.

China's Tibet?: Autonomy or Assimilation (Hardcover)
by Warren W. Smith Jr.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (May 28, 2008)

Review by the Author, June 6, 2008

The PRC accomplished its 1950-51 "Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" by
means of armed invasion but also with promises of cultural, religious
and even political autonomy. Most of those promises were contradicted
by the intention to incorporate Tibet within the PRC's political
system and to transform the Tibetan economy and society. China's
promises ot preserve the Tibetan cultural and political systems were
a temporayr tactic considered necessary in order to reduce Tibetan
resistance to Tibet's incorporation within the Chinese state.

Since 1979 the Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama have engaged in
a sporadic dialogue. On the Tibetan side this dialogue was about the
political issue of Tibet and the nature of Tibetan autonomy. The
Chinese side has denied that there are any unresolved political
issues of Tibet and has tried to confine the dialogue to the personal
future of the Dalai Lama.

This study reveals that the goal of China's policies in Tibet has
always been assimilaiton rather than autonomy. China's current
strategy in regard to Tibet is primarily a propaganda policy, of
which the dialogue appears to be a part. China fears to allow any
real autonomy in Tibet because of the threat of Tibetan separatism
and therefore will not negotiate with the Dalai Lama about Tibet's
future or allow him to play any role in Tibet. China will await the
demise of the current Dalai Lama and appoint its own "patriotic"
Dalai Lama to replace him. China will attempt to resolve the issue of
Tibet, an issue it denies even exists, by means of repression of any
and all aspects of Tibetan separatism and a policy of economic
development that integrates Tibet more closely with China, buys the
loyalyt of those Tibetans who benefit, and promotes and supports
Chinese colonization and exploitation of Tibet's natural resources.

This book employs some of China's most notorious propaganda on Tibet
to demonstrate China's extreme sensitivity and defensiveness in
regard to the legitimacy of its rule over Tibet. This sensitivity
precludes the allowance of any meaningful degree of autonomy due to
the fear that autonomy might permit the resurgance of Tibetan
religion, culture and nationalism. Tibet's separate naitonal identoty
is a threat to China's territorial integrity and national security
and therefore must be eliminated.

The book traces the history of Sino-Tibetan dialogue to show how
China has tried to use that dialogue to defuse Tibetan exile and
internaitonal criticism while making no concessions in regard to
Tibetan autonomy. In the absence of any solution to the Tibet issue,
the author recommends the promoiton of Tibet's right to naitonal
self-determination as most capable of sustaining the international
issue of Tibet and maintianing the most essential elements of Tibetan
national identity.
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