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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

CTA's Response to Chinese Government Allegations: Part Four

July 20, 2008

Saturday, 19 June 2008

Ever since peaceful protests erupted in Tibet, starting from 10 March,
the Chinese government used the full force of its state media to fling a
series of allegations against the "Dalai Clique". These allegations
range from His Holiness the Dalai Lama masterminding the recent Tibet
protest to His Holiness the Dalai Lama making attempts to restore
feudalism in Tibet.

This is the fourth in a series of response by the Central Tibetan
Administration (CTA) to these accusations.

The Chinese translation of this response will be available later at The Tibetan translation is available on the Tibetan
edition of this website

One China, Two Communist Parties

Two Different Chinese Responses

Some senior Chinese officials complain, based on what they term as His
Holiness the Dalai Lama's "contradictory statements," that there seems
to be two Dalai Lamas. The same mystery overwhelms us. There seems to be
two Chinese Communist Parties, as well. This is perhaps in line with
China's own present political arrangement of one country, two systems.
One Chinese Communist Party seems warm, responsive and transparent as
judged by the swift manner President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen
Jiabao handled the earthquake disaster in Sichuan. China's international
image was immeasurably enhanced by China's efficient organisation of its
rescue and relief efforts.

The other Chinese Communist Party is tight-fisted, paranoid and caught
in a Cultural Revolution time warp. For example, to deal with the Tibet
protests, the authorities decided to wage "a people's war." For a
responsible government of a major power in the world to "wage a war"
against its "own people" is out of tune with the tradition of China's
own revolutionary past and certainly out of step with civilized
behaviour. Consider, beyond the glare of the international media
spotlight, the Chinese authorities, without remorse and mercy, cracked
down on peaceful protestors. They beat the protestors, arrested them,
tortured them to obtain confession and imposed long prison terms. While
their colleagues elsewhere in Sichuan were desperately trying to save
lives, the PLA and PAP in the Tibetan areas of the province were more
concerned about arresting Tibetans involved in scattered protests, which
continue to this day, than saving the lives of the quake victims.

The vanguard of the "people's war" is the People's Armed Police (PAP).
Its main mandate is to ensure domestic security. The PAP's total
strength is 800,000. The members of the PAP were the ones, in their blue
track-suit, who accompanied the Olympic torch-relay around the world.
The PAP is the organization that has been charged with cracking down on
the peaceful Tibetan protestors. Against the backdrop of the Tibet
protests, the news Bulletin of the PAP in April issued a call to arms.
The issue said, "The drums of war are sounding, a decisive battle is at
hand. For the sake of the Chinese nation's image and for the honour of
the People's Armed Police, let us not forget our duty."

In contrast, during the earthquake catastrophe, the Chinese people were
shown the face of the good Chinese Communist Party. The official
response to this disaster was immediate, sincere and effective. Despite
a ban by the Propaganda Department on reporters from travelling to the
earthquake zone, no punishment was meted out to the media organisations
which ignored the ban. In fact, Chinese reporters rushed to Chengdu to
report the disaster and the relief efforts. In the face of this, the
order was rescinded. Grassroots organizations and private individuals
swung into action to help in the rescue and relief efforts. Private
donation efforts raised millions of dollars to help the victims. In the
face of public pressure, the authorities held a three-day mourning for
the quake victims, a level of mourning matched only by the one given to
the likes of Mao Zedong. As Nicholas Kristof said in his op-ed for The
New York Times on 22 May 2008, the Chinese Communist Party treated its
people, this time, as "citizens, not subjects."

In Sichuan the media is allowed in. In Tibet the media, even now, is
strictly barred. In Sichuan the government appeals and gratefully
accepts foreign aid. In Tibet, despite the request of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, international medical teams are prohibited from travelling
to the region to treat the injured. "Playing up the response to the
earthquake while restricting coverage of repression in Tibet could prove
a shrewd move, rather than one that cascades into instability," writes
Philip Taubman of the New York Times, reprinted in the Indian Express,
26 May 2008.

Why this discrimination?

This discrimination stems from the fact that in Tibet, the authorities
show the ugly face of the Chinese Communist Party to the people. This
side of the Chinese Communist Party treats the Tibetans as subjects.
There is a long list of what they can or cannot do. The Chinese
Communist Party believes that the Tibetans cannot think for themselves.
Despite bitter Tibetan opposition, the authorities continue with their
patriotic education campaign to force Tibetans to express their loyalty
to the party and China and denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In
fact, the authorities are determined to go on with the hardline
policies, including the Chinese government arrogating to itself the
right to choose the reincarnation of Tibetan lams. All this ignited the
current open Tibetan resistance.

The discrimination also stems from the fact that as far as the issue of
Tibet is concerned the authorities have allowed the hardliners in the
leadership to shape China's Tibet policy. We have made this case
elsewhere in our response. As we have mentioned elsewhere, the
uncompromising and unflinching statements from this set of people is a
cause for alarm and concern. A senior leader of 'Tibet Autonomous
Region' in trying to formulate the authorities' hardline policy to deal
with the crisis in Tibet said,"For years we have looked after our people
(spies and agents) outside. Now it is time to put them to work" (cause
destruction to the exile community).

Class Struggle Over in China, Not in Tibet

Class struggle in Tibet today is alive and kicking. This is based on
what the Chinese Communist Party in a letter dated 27 August 1958 said
to the Qinghai authorities. This letter is a guideline in how to handle
the major uprisings that had erupted amongst the Tibetan tribes. The
letter said, "In a society of classes, the issue of nationalities is in
essence the issue of class. If you cannot recognise the essence of
classes, no effective decision on the issue of nationalities can be taken."

In China class struggle and socialism have become history. According to
a news report filed in the 19 October 2001 issue of South China Morning
Post, the then Chinese foreign minister, Tang Jiaxuan, upbraided a
reporter from Taiwan for calling China 'communist.' The Chinese foreign
minister said, "This is Shanghai, a big city on Chinese soil. How dare
you call us Communist China. Communist China has become history. Such a
term no longer exists." In China the term class struggle also does not
exist. In fact, in an effort to burnish Jiang Zemin's Three Represents
theory, businessmen and entrepreneurs are welcomed to be members of the
Chinese Communist Party.

In Tibet, the authorities' struggle toward the "Dalai clique" is framed
in terms of class struggle, with no compromise, no retreat and no
quarter given or expected. Class struggle is the highest form of
struggle. On this struggle depends the very survival of the Chinese
Communist Party. From the perspective of the CCP, it is a life-and-death
struggle, of you die and I live.

It is in this vein, Zhang Qingli stated, "We are currently in an
intense, bloody and fiery struggle with the Dalai clique, a life and
death struggle with the enemy." He also called His Holiness the Dalai
Lama "A wolf in sheep's clothes and a devil with a human face but with a
heart of a beast."

Behind this life-and-death struggle against the Tibetan people are the
hardliners in the leadership who have advocated Sinicization for China's
"assimilation problem" of minorities, particularly the Tibetan case.
These hardliners have also been responsible for the policy, announced
last year, that henceforth the CCP would recognise all the reincarnate
lamas of Tibet, which strikes at the very heart of the Tibetan people's
beliefs and their value system. These hardliners in the leadership are
supported in their views by Meng Jianzhu, the minister for Public
Security, who was in Tibet during the crisis to supervise the clampdown,
Zhang Qingli, the party secretary in the "Tibet Autonomous Region," and
Jampa Phuntsok, the governor of the region.

There are different views within the leadership regarding how to handle
the issue of Tibet. Mark Maginer, reporting for the Los Angeles Times in
a report that appeared on 5 June, says, "And Beijing is making more use
of good-cop, bad-cop tactics. On the issue of Tibet, for instance, some
arms of the government decried the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan
spiritual leader, even as other parts called for negotiations."

That there are two schools of thought in the Chinese central government
on how to handle the issue of Tibet is admitted by the Chinese state
media. For example, China's official news agency, Xinhua, in its
commentary by Yi Yan, republished on its website, of 1
July 2008 admits this. The commentary is titled The Choice for Dalai
Lama. It says, "If the Dalai Lama wrongly gauges the support the West
gives him, and takes for granted the good intentions of the central
government, or tries to seek a prey that is beyond reason, or even
encourage and instigate his radical followers to engage in violence,
once again, Beijing will surely be enraged. Under that circumstance, it
will force the central government to give up on him, once and all. There
exists such advocacy in the central government now."

This is an extraordinary admission to make. During the student
demonstration on Tiananmen Square in 1989, the prime minister, Zhou
Ziyang, was forced out of office because he suggested that there were
two ways of thinking in the leadership regarding how to deal with the
protesting students.

Policy differences over Tibet at the highest leadership level is
confirmed by leakages to the media. Michael Sheridan of the Sunday Times
on 13 July said that a more hardline approach to deal with the issue of
Tibet was published in the April and May editions of the Xizang Tongxun,
a classified publication restricted to party officials. He said
translations of these were handed over to his paper in Hong Kong. In
these documents, Michael Sheridan says, "Internal Communist Party
documents have revealed that China is planning a programme of harsh
political repression in Tibet despite a public show of moderation to win
over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month.

"A campaign of 're-education' has been outlined in confidential speeches
to meetings of Communist party members by Zhang Qingli, the hardline
party secretary of Tibet...

"Zhang has admitted behind closed doors that the Chinese authorities in
Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, face "a tide of encirclement" and that
anti-Chinese voilence in March "destroyed social stability". He has
warned that "final victory" is far off.

Our question is, why has the hardliners managed to define China's Tibet
policy and not the moderates?

China's two top leaders' view on the issue of Tibet and the role of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama is widely divergent from the views held by the
hardliners. As mentioned elsewhere, during a visit to Laos at the end of
March, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told the international media,
"Provided that the Dalai Lama renounces claims of independence, and in
particular exerts his influence to stop the present violent activities
in Tibet, and acknowledges that Taiwan and Tibet are inseparable parts
of China, we can continue to resume dialogues with him."

In late March, President Hu Jintao in a call to President Bush said, "If
the Dalai Lama truly relinquishes independent Tibet claims, and stops
splitting the motherland, and especially stops inciting and planning the
violent and illegal actions in Tibet and thereby harming the Beijing
Olympics and acknowledges that Tibet and Taiwan are inseparable parts of
China, we agree to continue dialogue with him."

During a visit to Japan later, Chinese President Hu Jintao said his
government's attitude to the dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama was sincere. President Hu Jintao, as reported by Reuters
on 7 May 2008, speaking after a summit with Japanese Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda, said China's recent talks with representatives of Tibet's
exiled Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama had been "conscientious and
serious" and said that the two sides had agreed to continue contacts.

Commenting on the attitude of these two leaders of China to the Tibet
issue, Cao Xin, a political analyst, says, "The response of China's two
topmost leaders reflect the reality that Tibetan Buddhism has powerful
and perpetual influence on the Tibetan people, and it is also a reality
that the Dalai Lama has profound influence on the Tibetan people as the
religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism."

The writer says, "Based on the above-mentioned realities, some pragmatic
policy changes should be considered. First, we need to distinguish
between the majority of Tibetan religious believers and the
government-labeled 'Dalai clique.' Given that the Dalai Lama is the only
religious leader the Tibetan devotees recognise, religious faith and
worship toward him cannot be handled simply as a typical political issue
and should not be labeled as splitting the Motherland. This is in
accordance with the policy of regional autonomy, and we must uphold it
as the bottomline."

Cao Xin wrote this commentary in 2 April issue of Southern Weekend, an
influential newspaper published out of Guangdong, the most dynamic of
the Chinese provinces.

The tragedy is that the accommodating views of China's top leaders and
the thoughtful analysis of these views are virtually shut out from and
certainly drowned by Xinhua's shrill and almost hysterical
denunciations. If name-calling could be a substitute for real policy,
then Zhang Qingli could bag the Olympic Gold hands down in this
category. If Zhang Qingli and his ilk think that shouting down people,
rather than listening to their concerns and addressing them, is the
right way to go about tackling China's Tibet mess he and his like are
doing no service either his country and those under whom they serve.
Replicating policies in Tibet that have spectacularly failed elsewhere
is inviting disaster.

The Question of the "Splittist" Flag

On 31 March, Xinhua published a commentary by its writer, Cao Kai,
entitled Dalai Lama a politician, not a simple monk. Apart from
regurgitating the usual allegations, the writer says, "To make this
government in exile status (sic) more credible, the Dalai Lama and his
supporters produced a 'Tibetan national anthem' and 'Tibetan national
flag', which had never existed before 1959."

These days the Chinese authorities call the Tibetan flag by various
names. It is condemned as a "reactionary," "splittist" or "separatist"
flag. It is sometimes called "the flag of the Tibetan
government-in-exile." The Chinese state media also refer to it as the
"Tibetan independence flag." Sometimes the Chinese authorities refer to
it as the "snow lion flag."

One of the strange complaints of the Chinese authorities against the
Tibetan exiles' use of the Tibetan flag, as implicit in these words of
frustration and outrage, is that the Tibetan refugees had not sought
permission from the Chinese authorities for the use of the motifs of the
flag: the snow mountain and the snow lion. A report that appeared in
China Daily on 11 April and reprinted in the next day says
this about the use of the snow mountain and snow lion. "They also used
the image of our pure snow mountain and the just dauntless lion to make
their so-called 'snow lion flag,' a cunning tactic to deceive
kind-hearted people."

The Origins of the Tibetan National Flag

The Tibetan national flag is not an exile Tibetan invention. It has, in
its various incarnations down the centuries, become a part of the
Tibetan identity. The Tibetan flag with the snow mountain and the two
snow lions existed long before communist China invaded Tibet. The
origins of the Tibetan national flag go back to the time of King
Songtsen Gampo in the 6th century. The various regiments of his army
used different banners. One particular regiment, the Yu-ru To, had a
standard emblazoned with a pair of snow lions facing each other. Another
regiment, the Ya-Ru Ma, had a battle standard with a single snow lion.
The Tsang-Ru Lag regiment had an upright snow lion, leaping toward the
sky. This tradition of having the snow lion in the banners and battle
standards of the Tibetan army continued down the centuries till the
Great 13th Dalai Lama standardized the present flag, which since then
became the standard around which the Tibetan people rallied.

The Tibetan Flag's International Appearance

The September 1934 issue of the National Geographic Magazine devoted a
feature on the flags of the many nations of the world. One flag
mentioned is the Tibetan national flag. We reproduce below both the
cover of that particular issue of the magazine.

"With its towering mountain of snow, before which stand two snow lions
fighting for a flaming gem, the flag of Tibet, is one of the most
distinctive of the East," says the September 1934 issue of the National
Geographic magazine.

The Tibetan flag's first appearance at an international gathering, as
far as we know, was at the Asian Relations Conference held in New Delhi
in 1947. In a letter to Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, independent India's first
prime minister, said, "You know that there is going to be an Inter-Asian
Relations Conference in the last week of March in Delhi. This Conference
has assumed an unusual importance and it is going to be very
representative indeed. Almost every country of Asia from the west to the
east and south, including the Arab countries, Tibet, Mongolia and the
countries of South-East Asia as well as the Asian Republics of the
Soviet Union will be represented by leading men."

Tibet's participation at the Asian Relations Conference is discussed at
length in a new book, Tibet: The Lost Frontier, by Claude Arpi. The
Indian invitation to Tibet for the conference was received. "Sometime in
early March 1947, the delegation departed from Lhasa," writes Claude
Arpi. "They journeyed first to Dromo in the Chumbi Valley, where they
were joined by a messenger of the Kashag bringing a Tibetan flag, which
they were requested to hoist during the Conference."

Tibet: The Lost Frontier says, "The plenary session of the conference
was held in the Purana Qila. The leaders of each of the thirty-two
delegations were sitting on the dais behind a plate with the name of the
country and the flag of the country. Tibet had its won flag with the
snow-covered mountains and the two snow lions representing the dual
powers of the Dalai Lama. There was a huge map of Asia behind the
delegates on which Tibet was shown as a separate country."

The Tibetan delegation composed of eight members, led by Teiji Sampho
Tsewang Rigzin, and assisted by Khenchung Lobsang Wangyal, met with
Mahatma Gandhi and presented him with khatas, greeting scarves.
Gandhi-ji admired the fine silk and on enquiry where the silk was made,
he was told it was made in China. Gandhi-ji gently advised the members
of the Tibetan delegation that Tibet should start making its own silk.

Sampho Tenzin Dhondup, the son of the head of the Tibetan delegation,
writes in his memoir, My Life's Turbulent Waves, "For the actual
session, two seats were reserved on the dais for the two Tibetan
delegates with a complete picture of Tibetan national flag on the front
part of their table. A picture of the Tibetan national flag was also
displayed on the table of the two Tibetan ambassadors. The picture
depicted the snowy mountain with a pair of snow lions facing each other.
And on the table was a wooden tablet inscribed "TIBET" in emboldened

Mao and the Tibetan National Flag

Even Mao Zedong had heard about the existence of the Tibetan national
flag. In his address to the parliamentarians at the 4th World
Parliamentarians' Convention on Tibet held from 18 to 19 November 2005
in Edinburgh, His Holiness said, "Let's now come to the Tibetan national
flag. I think some of the present Chinese officials when they see this
flag (pointing at the Tibetan national flag) they become angry. They
feel it is the sign of a splittist. When I was in China, on one
occasion, Chairman Mao asked me whether we have a national flag or not.
With a little hesitation, I said, 'Yes'. Then, Chairman Mao encouraged
me by saying, You should keep the Tibetan national flag along with the
red flag."

In his biography, A Tibetan Revolutionary: The Political Life and Times
of Bapa Phuntso Wangye, the founder of the Tibetan Communist Party,
touches on this incident. He recounts, "Mao perceived that the Dalai
Lama was concerned by his question and immediately told him, "That is no
problem. You may keep your national flag."
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