I am writing this post from Dharamsala (India), the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile. Two days ago I participated in the 57th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against the Chinese occupying forces. The passion with which Tibetans of all ages , many of which have been born in exile, marched peacefully chanting vigorous slogans demanding the United Nations to take action and save their beleaguered nation, impressed me greatly.
On the 20th, close to 160.000 Tibetans living in exile in over 32 countries will vote on a second round to choose their democratically elected Prime Minister and whomever is elected has a crucial role to play in the saving their country from total assimilation by China.
In contrast, the reality for close to six million Tibetans living in Tibet alongside over eight million ethnic Chinese is dramatically different. The Tibetans in Tibet have no freedom of movement to travel even within the country, they have no freedom to practice their religion without the scrutiny of Communist officials, possessing a Tibetan flag or a photograph of the Dalai Lama or the Karmapa Lama is considered a most heinous crime and lands the perpetrator in jail where he or she will be submitted to torture and a lengthy sentence. The brutality of the Chinese invaders has no limits as can be seen by the following video:
The Chinese are not allowing tourism into Tibet as they do not want any witnesses to their savage repression. Just to mention some examples, Tibetans are segregated in schools from the Chinese and children now barely know how to write their own language. A Chinese worker gets paid double the salary than a Tibetan one for the same job though only good jobs are available to ethnic Chinese or Tibetan collaborators. The Tibetans are also discriminated in their access to the health system and according to the Tibetan Government in Exile, women are forcibly sterilized and even forced to have abortions and mixed marriages are encouraged. According to international think tanks, Tibet is the most repressed country in the world behind Syria. It is actually a police state.
It is clear that the long term strategy of the Chinese occupying government is the total assimilation of the Tibetans and the disappearance of their unique culture and way of life. This is clearly Cultural Genocide.
The tragic self-immolations of 144 desperate Tibetans since 2009 has not served any purpose in advancing the terrible plight of Tibetans but has been used as anti Tibetan propaganda by the cruel Chinese regime and regrettably the Western press relegates these incidents to a foot note in their newspapers and magazines, if at all, but the reality is that Tibetans are so desperate about their plight and lack of basic freedoms that they take these sort of desperate actions.
So the question is what is the best way forward. His Holiness The Dalai Lama, though now retired from active politics has marked the path through the Middle Way approach by which Tibet would have genuine autonomy within the Chinese constitution but the reality is that the Chinese government is just playing a waiting game. They believe that as the Dalai Lama is 80 years old they only need to be patient and the circumstances will play in their favour to achieve their long term goal of total assimilation.
Both candidates to Prime Minister, advocate His Holiness’ Middle Way approach and do not seek total independence, though many voices specially from the impatient young Tibetans want a more violent approach and desire total independence. They lack, in my view, any pragmatism though their frustration is totally understandable. That is why, it is my believe that the newly elected Prime Minister must take a more aggressive approach towards finding a solution. I see as a first step that as soon as he takes office, he requests from a friendly government such as India or the United States that they host direct talks with no preconditions between His Holiness The XIV Dalai Lama and the President of China, with the Prime Minister of India or the U.S President as moderators in the talks depending which country is hosting them.
The Dalai Lama is recognized world wide as a statement of impeccable integrity: a man of peace, and though retired from politic because of his stature, what he can achieve no politician whoever seasoned can. Once they sit face to face, there is a very good chance that the Chinese will see that His Holiness is a sensible man whom they deal with and definitely is not the problem they consider he is but in fact is the only the solution to their quagmire. All talks held until now between envoys of both sides have been just another strategy by the Chinese in their game and have been exclusively used by them as a propaganda tool.
A master stroke by His Holiness was the crowning of Laghyari Trichen Wangchuk as the XVIIIth Lhagyari King of Tibet in Dharamsala, thirteen years ago at the age of twelve. His father, King Lhagyari Trichen Namgyal Gyatso, spent two decades in prison after the Chinese invasion and died in Dharamsala after he was released having served in the Tibetan government in exile. The XVIIIth descendant of a lineage of Kings is another proof of Tibetan sovereignty whatever argument the Chinese might use and this is not counting previous dynasties of Tibetan Kings. The young King is currently living in the US and is mentored by the Dalai Lama. He travels the United States and gives talks at different universities about the plight of his people though bears not even an iota of hatred towards the Chinese. I have no doubt that this bright young man will be called when the time is right to play a pivotal role in the future of his country and that is obviously for me, the reason behind His Holiness official recognition.
Tibet is now at a crossroad and its very survival is at stake. There is no time to loose. I trust that the Tibetans in exile will choose whom they consider the best candidate as Prime Minister to act on their behalf and save their countrymen inside Tibet from total assimilation. If a solution is not found, when His Holiness is no longer with us, Tibet will explode and undoubtedly their will be a blood bath. Sadly the severe repression that will follow will mean the annihilation of the Tibetan’s dream for freedom.
China plays with all the cards in their hand and is not prepared to loose, but there is a factor that in their pride and vanity the Chinese communist regime, that sees itself as eternal, has not taken into account and that is that no regime on earth has lasted: not those of antiquity and not those of the modern era, the latest example the collapse of the Soviet union. History is there to proof it and China will be no different. China has changed so much during the last decades and the economical reforms of the regime have created a thriving middle class that will be its Achilles heel. Sooner than later this middle class will demand political reform and when that happens the Chinese regime will have reached its twilight.
In my latest book, The Twilight of the Fourth World, co-written with my sister Charis we foresee just that scenario and Tibet will be once again be free. There is a very valid reason why they say that “Thoughts become Things.”