The financial crisis is going to do more than increase unemployment, bankruptcy and homelessness. It is also likely to reshape international alignments, sometimes in ways that we would not expect.
As Western powers struggle with the huge scale of the measures needed to revive their economies, they have turned increasingly to China. Last month, for example, Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, asked China to give money to the International Monetary Fund, in return for which Beijing would expect an increase in its voting share.
Now there is speculation that a trade-off for this arrangement involved a major shift in the British position on Tibet, whose leading representatives in exile this weekend called on their leader, the Dalai Lama, to stop sending envoys to Beijing — bringing the faltering talks between China and the exiles to a standstill.… Seguir leyendo »
In a video blog from Dharamsala in northern India, where last week 500 Tibetans gathered to discuss the future of the struggle, two members of the radical Students for a Free Tibet explained their position. It was perfectly possible, they said, to hold the Dalai Lama in deep respect while disagreeing with his policy. The spiritual leader’s «middle way», they argued, had failed. History showed there was nothing to be gained by moderation in the face of Chinese intransigence.
The meeting closed with a strong condemnation of Chinese policies and a reaffirmation of the exiles’ faith in the Dalai Lama. But the frustration of younger Tibetans, most of whom have never set foot in the land their parents and grandparents fled nearly 50 years ago, is increasingly evident.… Seguir leyendo »
When I meet with the Dalai Lama today, I fully expect him to reaffirm his strong commitment to engaging Chinese officials in dialogue. President Bush has repeatedly expressed his own steadfast support for dialogue between the Dalai Lama and China’s leadership. Meaningful dialogue presents the only viable way forward.
In March, demonstrations in Lhasa that began peacefully escalated into violence and quickly spread to other Tibetan areas of China. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has expressed deep concern regarding these events, has called on all sides to refrain from violence, and has strongly urged China to exercise restraint in dealing with the protesters and to respect the fundamental right of all people to peacefully express their religious and political views.… Seguir leyendo »
El Tíbet saltó a las primeras páginas de la prensa mundial el mes pasado, cuando algunos tibetanos atacaron a personas de etnias han y hui y sus bienes. No cabe duda de que los primeros en emplear la fuerza eran tibetanos. Los incidentes han puesto de relieve que China tiene un problema en la Región Autónoma del Tíbet. Las varias tandas de negociación entre Pekín y representantes del dalái lama no han dado hasta ahora fruto positivo.
Aunque existen versiones distintas de la historia, es indudable que desde el siglo XIII, en que tanto China como Tíbet fueron conquistados por los kanes mongoles, han existido lazos entre ambos, más o menos fuertes en diversos momentos históricos.… Seguir leyendo »
¿Están condenados los tibetanos a sufrir la misma suerte que los indios estadounidenses? ¿Acabarán siendo poco más que una atracción turística, vendiendo recuerdos baratos de una cultura que alguna vez fue grande? Ese triste destino parece cada vez más probable y el año olímpico ya se ha visto opacado por los esfuerzos del Gobierno chino para reprimir la oposición a que llegue.
El destino de Tíbet no es simplemente cuestión de la opresión semicolonial. A menudo se olvida que muchos tibetanos, especialmente las personas educadas de las ciudades grandes, estaban tan ansiosos de modernizar su sociedad a mediados del siglo XX que vieron a los chinos comunistas como sus aliados en la lucha contra el gobierno de los monjes y los terratenientes.… Seguir leyendo »
For many Tibetans, the case for the historical independence of their land is unequivocal. They assert that Tibet has always been and by rights now ought to be an independent country. China’s assertions are equally unequivocal: Tibet became a part of China during Mongol rule and its status as a part of China has never changed. Both of these assertions are at odds with Tibet’s history.
The Tibetan view holds that Tibet was never subject to foreign rule after it emerged in the mid-seventh century as a dynamic power holding sway over an Inner Asian empire. These Tibetans say the appearance of subjugation to the Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th and 14th centuries, and to the Manchu rulers of China’s Qing Dynasty from the 18th century until the 20th century, is due to a modern, largely Western misunderstanding of the personal relations among the Yuan and Qing emperors and the pre-eminent lamas of Tibet.… Seguir leyendo »
Many sympathetic Westerners view Chinese society along the lines of what they saw in the waning days of the Soviet Union: a repressive government backed by old hard-liners losing its grip to a new generation of well-educated, liberal-leaning sophisticates. As pleasant as this outlook may be, it’s naïve. Educated young Chinese, far from being embarrassed or upset by their government’s human-rights record, rank among the most patriotic, establishment-supporting people you’ll meet.
As is clear to anyone who lives here, most young ethnic Chinese strongly support their government’s suppression of the recent Tibetan uprising. One Chinese friend who has a degree from a European university described the conflict to me as “a clash between the commercial world and an old aboriginal society.”… Seguir leyendo »
There is never any shortage of public relations advisers willing to take on unpromising clients, especially those with deep pockets. Reports that the Chinese government has called for bids from foreign PR companies indicate that Beijing, at some level, understands that its own attempts to mould world opinion have tanked. But if the exercise is to have any success, the client does, occasionally, need to take the advice. It would not be an easy account to manage.
On the day that the Olympic torch – or, as Beijing calls it, «the sacred flame» – went into hiding in a San Francisco warehouse, Beijing’s second in command in Tibet, Qiangba Puncog, held a press conference.… Seguir leyendo »
The Dalai Lama has been called many things in his time. Rupert Murdoch once described him as «a very political old monk shuffling around in Gucci shoes», while CNN’s Larry King mistakenly identified the political and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people as a prominent Muslim activist. However, until last week, nobody had ever called him a terrorist.
It was the Chinese government, inevitably, which levelled the accusation. According to Beijing, the recent violence in Tibet was orchestrated by the Dalai Lama in collusion with Uighur militants from Xinjiang, who were themselves plotting a terrorist atrocity at the Olympics. This was the second time in a fortnight that China had accused separatists from Xinjiang of posing a threat to the Games.… Seguir leyendo »
The world has watched in horror recently as Tibetan monks, nuns and laypeople engaged in peaceful demonstrations have been met with brutality by the Chinese People’s Armed Police. Tibet’s descent into chaos and violence is heartbreaking. As has been made clear by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has dedicated his life to peacefully promoting the Tibetan people’s legitimate aspirations for cultural autonomy and survival, lasting peace and meaningful change must be achieved through nonviolent means.
In watching recent coverage of the demonstrations in Tibet and their bloody aftermath, I have been reminded of a turning point in my own life, the moment I decided I had no choice but to speak out against the Chinese government’s policy of cultural destruction and its human rights abuses.… Seguir leyendo »
Es difícil encontrar un occidental que intuitivamente no apoye la idea de un Tíbet libre. Ahora bien, ¿acaso los norteamericanos dejarían que se les separaran Texas o California? En el caso de China, el juego de altos vuelos que se trajeron ingleses y rusos por el control del Asia central no concluyó ayuno de consecuencias ni de resultados, cosa que no puede decirse de Rusia o Gran Bretaña. De hecho, la gran ganadora de ese juego fue China.
Los acuerdos sobre fronteras de 1895 y 1907 dejaron en manos de Rusia el macizo de Pamir y establecieron el Pasillo de Vaján, la estrecha franja oriental de Afganistán fronteriza con China, para que hiciera de parachoques con Gran Bretaña.… Seguir leyendo »
It is difficult to find a westerner who does not intuitively support the idea of a free Tibet. But would Americans ever let go of Texas or California? For China, the Anglo-Russian great game for control of central Asia was neither inconclusive nor fruitless, something that cannot be said for Russia or Britain. Indeed, China was the big winner.
Boundary agreements in 1895 and 1907 gave Russia the Pamir mountains and established the Wakhan Corridor – the slender eastern tongue of Afghanistan that borders China – as a buffer to Britain. But rather than cede East Turkestan (Uighurstan) to the Russians, the British financed China’s recapture of the territory, which it organised into Xinjiang (which means «New Dominions»).… Seguir leyendo »
Por Mateos Madridejos, periodista e historiador (EL PERIÓDICO, 22/03/08):
La trágica convulsión del Tíbet era previsible, y probablemente inevitable, como protesta anticipada por los Juegos Olímpicos de Pekín, un acontecimiento que desde hace mucho tiempo se configura como arma política y propagandística por los anfitriones y por los que protestan y/o se escandalizan por su celebración en un país poco respetuoso con el espíritu olímpico y los valores de la democracia. Tan pronto como China decidió que la antorcha, símbolo universal de los JJOO, visitara Taiwán y el Tíbet, las fuerzas secesionistas de ambos territorios pusieron el grito en el cielo.… Seguir leyendo »
By Patrick French, he author of Tibet, Tibet: A Personal History of a Lost Land (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 22/03/08):
Nearly a decade ago, while staying with a nomad family in the remote grasslands of northeastern Tibet, I asked Namdrub, a man who fought in the anti-Communist resistance in the 1950s, what he thought about the exiled Tibetans who campaigned for his freedom. “It may make them feel good, but for us, it makes life worse,” he replied. “It makes the Chinese create more controls over us. Tibet is too important to the Communists for them even to discuss independence.”… Seguir leyendo »
By Pankaj Mishra, the author of Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond (THE GUARDIAN, 22/03/08):
Last week many western commentators scrambling to interpret the protests in Lhasa found that they did not need to work especially hard. Surely the Tibetans are the latest of many brave peoples to rebel against communist totalitarianism? The rhetorical templates of the cold war are still close at hand, shaping western discussions of Islam or Asia. Dusting off the hoary oppositions between the free and unfree worlds, the Wall Street Journal declared that religious freedom was the main issue.… Seguir leyendo »
By Sir Malcolm Rifkind, MP and Foreign Secretary from 1995 to 1997 (THE TIMES, 21/03/08):
It is easy to get depressed about the trauma of Tibet and the suppression of Tibetan cultural and political aspirations. It is, after all, almost half a century since the Dalai Lama fled his country. He has never been able to return and recent events make it highly unlikely that he will in the foreseeable future.
Over that half century the Soviet Union has collapsed into 15 independent states, apartheid has been defeated in South Africa, colonial empires have disappeared, and the United States could be about to elect its first black president.… Seguir leyendo »
By Timothy Garton Ash (THE GUARDIAN, 20/03/08):
Gordon Brown yesterday promised to meet the Dalai Lama when he comes to Britain in May. So should all other leaders of free countries, whenever the opportunity arises. Anything less would shame us all. And it wouldn’t help China either.
We face at least three difficulties in reacting to the unfolding tragedy of the Tibetans. We don’t know enough about what’s really going on, because the Chinese authorities are determined to prevent us finding out by expelling journalists, ratcheting up their customary censorship of the internet (including guardian.co.uk), and telling lies. We feel impotent to prevent the horror unfolding.… Seguir leyendo »
By Wei Jingsheng, a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. He lives in exile in Washington. He was first arrested in China in 1979 for his activities with the «Democracy Wall» movement and was released in 1993 nine days before the International Olympic Committee voted on Beijing’s bid for the 2000 Games. He was arrested in March 1994 for «plotting against the state» and released in 1997 (THE WASHINGTON POST, 19/03/08):
As what the Dalai Lama has called «cultural genocide» goes on in Tibet, it is wholly unacceptable that Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee, refuses to take a stand against the Beijing government’s current crackdown on Tibetan protesters.… Seguir leyendo »
By Anne Applebaum (THE WASHINGTON POST, 18/03/08):
Cellphone photographs and videos from Tibet, blurry and amateurish, are circulating on the Internet. Some show clouds of tear gas; others, burning buildings and shops; still others, monks in purple robes, riot police and confusion. Watching them, it is impossible not to remember the cellphone videos and photographs sent out from burning Rangoon only six months ago. Last year Burma, this year Tibet. Next year, will YouTube feature shops burning in Xinjiang, home of China’s Uighur minority? Or riot police rounding up refugees along the Chinese-North Korean border?
That covert cellphones have become the most important means of transmitting news from certain parts of East Asia is no accident.… Seguir leyendo »
By Rosemary Righter, associate editor of The Times (THE TIMES, 18/03/08):
The rails carrying China’s showcase high-altitude train to Tibet began sinking into melting permafrost within months of its triumphant opening two years ago. This was no mere technical setback for a pioneering engineering feat; for Beijing, it was essential for the Qinghai-Lhasa railway to function perfectly because it was above all things a political project. Conceived a century ago by Sun Yat-sen, the father of the revolution, the point of finally realising his near-impossible and hugely expensive dream was to set the final seal on China’s benevolent “embrace” of Tibet.… Seguir leyendo »