Friday, March 20, 2009

The Tibet Conundrum

The name Tibet never fails to conjure up in one's mind a turbulent region in western China where from time to time violent resistance broke out by loyal belligerent followers of the exiled Dalai Lama against Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama mounted a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet on 10 March 1959 and fled with thousands of his followers to India where they were settled in Daramshala in northern India. Year after year the Dalai Lama sought from his assumed position of strength in refuge in India to negotiate with China for independence of his so-called mother country,Tibet, greatly encouraged by support from the United States and his western allies, in particular the European Union.

The political events in Tibet do not normally capture the interest of the ordinary people very much, and those who have more than a fleeting interest on them do not really have a good grasp of the situation except from what some of the western newspapers tell them.

Historically, Tibet is an undisputed part of China ruled before the 1959 uprising under an
oppressive feudal slavery system headed by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama had amassed an
enormous fortune concisting of 27 farmsteads, 36 plots of grasslands, 160,000 taels of gold, 100,000 taels of silver and caches of jewelleries. In addition he owned 6,700 peasant slaves and 120 house slaves. Not a bad accumulation of astronomical wealth for a Dalai Lama exercising political and divine powers. Does it surprise you? Any wonder why the Dalai Lama wants to have his position restored in an independent Tibet?

Need I have to describe the slavish conditions of the Tibetan peasants under the Dalai Lama's regime? The current Panchen Lama said on 15 March 2009 at the Tibet Democratic Reform of 50 Years Exhibition in Beijing that a million of Tibet peasant slaves will not get respect and freedom without the Chinese Communist Party. The departure of the Dalai Lama signified the end of the Tibet peasant salavery system.

Mr. John Norris, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State reiterated to to a delegation from the Tibet self-governing region led by its deputy head of the standing committee (reported on 19 March 2009) the US government stand of recognising Tibet as an inseparable part of China and absolutely not supporting Tibet independence. The Dalai Lama has apparently reduced his demand to autonomy for Tibet, but with an expansionary implication. Will China relent?

After the Dalai Lama, where is Tibet heading for? The Dalai Lama is getting on i age at 74 and there is no anointed successor in sight. Could one be found in good time, someone with a similar international stature who could command the absolute loyalty and obedience of the Dalai Lama's belligerent adherents in and out of Tibet? It will be interesting to watch development.

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