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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Opinion: SA Friends of Tibet founder Donovan Robert says the SACP official is spouting propaganda

April 2, 2009

Debunking Jeremy Cronin
The Times
April 1, 2009

JEREMY Cronin’s attempt at "Debunking the Dalai
Lama" (March 30,
makes use of the tools of classic Chinese propaganda.

For one thing, his scant and skewed relation of
the historical facts will not stand up under
scrutiny. Of note is his assertion that the Dalai
Lama fled Tibet before the brutally suppressed uprising of March 10 1959.

In fact, the Dalai Lama left Tibet on the night
of March 17, after thousands of Tibetans had
surrounded his summer residence to protect him
from a Chinese assassination plot. By this time,
Chinese artillery fire was being directed at the residence.

Neither did the Dalai Lama make any decisions
without consultation. Throughout this period the
Kashag (a collective of regional representation) was consulted.

The decision to abandon any attempt at a struggle
for independence was forced on the Kashag by two
overriding conditions: the Tibetans had no
military to speak of, and the Western governments
to which they had appealed for help failed to provide any.

When CIA assistance was finally given, in early
1960, its aim was to irritate China rather than to effect Tibetan independence.

In the interim, the Dalai Lama had announced a
policy of non-violent resistance, to which the
Tibetan government-in-exile has steadfastly
adhered through 60 years of Chinese brutalisation of the Tibetan people.

For this last fact alone, the Dalai Lama has
proved deserving of the Nobel peace prize.

The Chinese-generated propagandistic myth that
the Dalai Lama has striven to return Tibet to its
pre-invasion socio-political system of hieratic
rule, a falsehood that both Cronin and Finance
Minister Trevor Manuel have repeated in the past week, is easily exposed.

Anyone can access the website of the Tibetan
government-in-exile to study its proposals for
democratic governance in an autonomous Tibet within a greater China.

The majority of Tibetans are, moreover, in
agreement with these proposals for genuine
autonomy, recognising the hopelessness of a quest
for outright independence in the face of Chinese
military and economic power — and international apathy.

There are other misrepresentations in Cronin’s article.

The historical facts can be found in such
authoritative documents as those issued by the
International Commission of Jurists, and the
conference of international lawyers on issues
relating to self- determination and independence for Tibet.

Any collection of the Dalai Lama’s speeches,
articles and interviews shows his unbroken record
of adherence to the principles of non-violence,
reconciliation and sincerity in his efforts to
achieve a just and practicable resolution to the
dire situation of the Tibetan people under Chinese domination.

Cronin’s reference to "serious unresolved
cultural and developmental challenges in Tibet"
begs to be read as a conscious downplaying of the
real horrors of the continuing human rights
violations perpetrated against the Tibetan people by their Chinese oppressors.

Cronin is mouthing the Chinese version
exclusively; one might wonder to what end.

 From March 2008 to date, more than 6000 Tibetans
have been arrested for political reasons and more
than 200 have been killed. Access to Tibet is
denied to all human rights organisations and
other impartial parties wanting to ascertain the facts.

What seems to be emerging from the ANC and SACP
is an effort to assist their Chinese friends by
all and any means to maintain a silence in South
Africa about the real situation in Tibet.

Clearly, efforts at "debunking" the Dalai Lama
would help to serve that purpose. In the
tradition of all ideological propaganda, such
debunking has no compunction about incorporating
any and all falsehoods and distortions.

We are sorry to see representatives of our nation
descending to these levels to justify the
government’s outrageous and servile decision to
ban the Dalai Lama from our shores.
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