How will the new Chinese leadership deal with Tibet and East Turkmenistan?

China’s Communist party just wrapped up its 18th Congress with elaborate declarations of national unity and social harmony, and the announcement of their wholly unsurprising choice of new leader: Xi Jinping: same old dog with a bright new collar. The new leaders have a mountain of problemas to deal with including rampant corruption, demands on democratic reforms, a slow economy but one of the biggest problems they have has not even been mentioned and that is the inflamattory situation in Tibet and to a lesser degree in East Turkmenistan, home to the Muslim Uighurs.

For the Han ethnic group which compose 90% of the population of the People’s Republic of China, ethnic minorities (there are 55 minorities with very different cultural, linguistic and religeous differences that live in ancestral lands that have been occoupied by China). For the dominant Han majority these minorities are just barbarians and the sense of unjustice has been simmering for decades and wont go away unless their grievances are addressed but the new Chinese leadership has no intention of doing so. The policy of crushing any dissent is what they will do with the Western democracies looking another way.

In Tibet , since  it was invaded by the Communits in the 50’s, more than 25% of its entire polulation ( about 1.5 million ) have been killed by the invadors. The repression continues and the fustration has grown to a point that many Tibetans during the last year have taken the desperate decision to set themselves on fire in protest to the iron rule of the Chinese , the latest victim a young boy.

According to Avaaz.org,

Tibet, too, continues to simmer. While Beijing insists Tibet has been part of China for centuries, Tibetans say their culture is under assault. The Dalai Lama, who embodies Tibetan Buddhism for millions of followers, has said China is committing “cultural genocide” in Tibet. The Dalai Lama escaped Tibet in the wake of a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959 and has been in exile in India ever since.

After an outbreak of protests in July 2008 that turned violent and left dozens dead, Chinese officials have brutally stamped out further demonstrations. Beijing has refused to negotiate greater autonomy for the region, claiming any discontent is being caused by “the Dalai clique”.

A number of frustrated Tibetans have turned to the dramatic and horrifying tactic of self-immolation. Dozens have set fire to themselves since 2009, to call attention to the ongoing suppression of their people. The just-ended Chinese Communist Party Congress was marked by eight young Tibetans burning themselves during the week-long meeting. The Dalai Lama has called on Beijing to investigate why this is happening, and to end its harsh treatment of dissent in Tibet. But officials have responded with the standard boilerplate vitriol against the Tibetan leader.

Avvaz also mentions the dramatic situation of the Uighurs. Their territory , known as Xinjiang by the Chinese is an energy-rich region three times the size of France that sits along China’s western border, is home to most of China’s Uighur (pronounced WEE-ger) minority. They’re related to the Kazakhs and similar Muslim ethnic groups in central Asia. Xinjiang exploded into violence in 2009, when news of the deaths of two Uighur factory workers in southern China triggered rioting that left more than 150 dead, as Uighur and Han Chinese mobs battled in the streets of Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi.

Officials in Beijing sent in troops to quell the rioting, and Beijing has since maintained a tight lid on any hint of revolt. But seething resentments among the Uighur population remain. They have seen an influx of Han into the province that has made them a minority in their own land, and Uighurs blame the Han-dominated government for economic discrimination and disrespect for their religion and culture. They point to government attempts to ban fasting during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan as just one example.

Beijing blames the unrest on the World Uighur Congress, an exiled rights group. But Uighurs living in Xinjiang see it very differently: they widely fear that Beijing is trying to eradicate them as a people, by subsuming them into the dominant Han culture.

Beijing has a fresh opportunity to reset both of these conflicts. A good place to start would be trying to understand why millions of people in these vast regions are so desperately dissatisfied but the leadership is so stuck in old communist rethoric that unless the UN and the EU and independant goverments put pressure on the new leaders the situation will continue unchanged and millions of people will continue suffering. The West has a moral obligation and economics should not be what dictates policies that affect the human rights of millions. President Obama should  use persuasive diplomacy to force the new Chinese leader to hold face to face talks in Washington between His Hoiliness The Dalail Lama, Rebiya Kadeer (the exiled Uyghur leader) and Xi Jinping. Direct talks with no pre-conditions is the ONLY way out. China’s leaders MUST be made to understand that the Dalai Lama and Mrs.Kadeer are the solution to their problems in Tibet and Xinjiang. They are not the problem.

Chinese officials have been unwilling to see how “Han chauvinism” blinds them to the value of the Uighur and Tibetan cultures. They seem stuck in the notion that if they eradicate the “agents of instability” with sufficient brutality, eventually these “backwards” people will realise the benefits of happily assimilating into mainstream Chinese culture. One day, and I hope it is not too late , they will realize of this very grave mistake!

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Carlos Mundy

Carlos Mundy, the current Count of Mondaye ( a Norman title that dates back to the XI century!) , was born in Bilbao (Spain) but lived in London until the age of twelve, when he moved to Madrid (Spain) with his parents and brothers. He studied in Spain and went to University to study journalism. During those years he was already working as a freelance journalist for several Spanish magazines. AT the age of 19 he took off on a round the world tour for two years working as a model to make ends meet. On his return he founded a model agency in 1982 which he managed until 1996 and became the top agency in Spain with offices in Madrid and Barcelona. During those years he traveled the world extensively on scouting trips and he also continued working as a freelance journalist doing interviews to top fashion designers, heads of state and celebrities. He also wrote many travel pieces: his passion. In the year 2000 he founded Metaphore Magazine: Creative Culture, a must read in the Spanish publishing scene. The magazine was a monthly that lasted two years. In 2003 he published the Spanish version of The Rainbow Warrior, co- written with his sister Charis and that was published in the US in 2007. His next book, The Toucan Lodge was published simultaneously in the UK and the US in 2009 and its Spanish publication in 2010. The novel was re-released in the UK in 2011 under the title Gestapo Lodge. This was followed by the publication of the successful historical novel, "The Romanov Lost Icon and the Enigma of Anastasia" (Thames River Press) in 2013, co-written with historian Marie Stravlo. 2015 has seen the publication of an epic fantasy co-written again with his sister Charis, "The Twilight of the Fourth World," inspired by the teachings of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and the Hopi Indian prophecies. Before the end of the year his latest historical novel, "The Indian Kings of France: The fascinating story of the Bourbons of Bhopal" is expected to be published. Carlos is currently working on the production of Unforgettable, a tribute to the Legends of Hollywood which is scheduled to start shooting in Jodphur (India) in 2017 with a fabulous cast of legends. Carlos is a show jumper and when time permits, he continues to paint. He had two successful exhibits in the nineties. He is also a member of The Comite de APoyo al Tibet. The Spanish NGO, that has lobbied successfully to have the Spanish courts start criminal proceedings against Chinese Communist leaders for Crimes against Humanity committed in occupied Tibet. He was made a Knight of the Royal Order of the Principality of Hutt River in 2007, became a Knight of the Ecumenic Order of Malta in 2011 and received THE WOMEN TOGETHER AWARD at the United Nations for his philanthropic anonymous work with Tibet. He is currently Chancellor of Foreign Affairs of the Ecumenical Knights of Malta.

7 thoughts on “How will the new Chinese leadership deal with Tibet and East Turkmenistan?”

  1. In more alarming reports coming out of Tibet, another Tibetan passed away in his self-immolation protest yesterday evening in an apparent protest against China’s rule.

    Sangdag Tsering, 24, set himself on fire in front of a local Chinese government office in Dokar Mo town in the Rebkong region of eastern Tibet at around 7 pm (local time). Tsering, father of a three-year-old son, passed away at the site of his protest.

    His self-immolation came just hours after a Tibetan woman, Chagmo Kyi passed away after setting herself on fire outside a Chinese office in Rongwo town.

    Sources tell Phayul that earlier in the day, Chinese authorities summoned a large meeting of local Tibetans and gave out clear orders, barring them from visiting families of self-immolators to pay their respect and condolences.

    Further orders warned that monasteries, which didn’t follow the decree, would be shut down.

    “Martyr Sangdag Tsering set himself on fire later in the evening at the very place where the meeting was called,” Dorjee Wangchuk, an exile Tibetan said citing sources in the region.

    Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene and tried to douse the flames but Sangdag Tsering succumbed to his injuries.

    “Monks from two nearby monasteries and thousands of local Tibetans gathered at the protest site and carried his body to the Gonshul Sangag Mindrol Dhargeyling for his cremation,” Wangchuk said.

    The same source added that Sangdag Tsering had off late repeatedly expressed his frustration over the lack of freedom in Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s absence, and the continuing wave of self-immolations in Tibet.

    About a week back, he had written a short poem espousing loyalty to Tibet and emailed it to a friend.

    The last two lines of the poem written in Tibetan reads: “The brave men of the snow mountains, Don’t forget your loyalty to Tibet.”

    Sangdag Tsering is survived by his parents, his wife Phagmo Tso, 24, and their son.

    The alarming escalation in self-immolation protests has already witnessed 14 Tibetans set themselves on fire in this month alone, with nine of them occurring in the Rebkong region. A total of 76 Tibetans inside Tibet have now self-immolated since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.

    Speaking to a special gathering of Tibet supporters in Dharamshala, the Dalai Lama yesterday said that the situation in Tibet is “serious.”

    “Whether Chinese government agrees or not, there are problems and these problems are neither good for Tibetans or for the people of China. So, therefore we have to find a solution based on mutual understanding and mutual respect,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said.

    He further cautioned: “The use force will never get satisfactory results.”

  2. Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke to members of Tibet Support Groups from all over the world who are gathered in Dharamshala to discuss the ongoing critical situation inside Tibet, Saturday.

    Addressing the delegates as “brothers and sisters,” the Dalai Lama urged them to “please take action.”

    “Please take action wherever you come from,” the Tibetan leader said. “Now already in many countries there are parliamentary support groups and Tibet support groups. So, I think you should be closely in touch and mobilise more voice.”

    Clarifying that he is now speaking as a citizen of Tibet, after retiring from his political duties last year, the Dalai Lama said Tibetans are carrying a difficult struggle.

    “(The Tibetan struggle) is entirely based on non violence and compassion. We are actually passing through a difficult period” His Holiness said. “The main reason why I came here is (to show) my respect to you all. I always consider our supporters are not pro-Tibetans but rather pro-justice and pro-nonviolence.”

    “Your support for Tibet’s cause gives encouragement and moral support. A struggle which is strictly based on non violence, like ours, should succeed.”

    Speaking on the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests inside Tibet, the Dalai Lama said the fiery sacrifices are in principle non violent.

    “I consider these Tibetans burning – certainly these people have courage and determination to sacrifice their own life, so they can easily harm other people – but I think these people although they practiced a little bit of violence but I think in principle they still practice non violence.”

    He added that the younger generation of Tibetans in Tibet these days have stronger determination as
    compared to earlier generations.

    The Nobel peace laureate cautioned that the situation in China is serious.

    “Now, things are serious. Whether Chinese government agrees or not, there are problems and these problems are neither good for Tibetans or for the people of China. So, therefore we have to find a solution based on mutual understanding and mutual respect between Han brothers sisters and Tibetan brothers and sisters,” the Dalai Lama said. “The use force will never get satisfactory results.”

    “The Chinese government is very powerful militarily but just relying on using force will not solve the problems. It creates more problems, more resentment.”

    Around two hundred members of Tibetan Support Groups from 43 countries are attending the Second Special International Tibet Support Groups Meeting aimed at “exploring ways to press the Chinese government to end its repressive policies” in Tibet.

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  4. SHame on China. They has sentenced six Tibetans to heavy jail terms of up to 12 years for their alleged roles in trying to rescue a Tibetan self-immolator from falling into the hands of Chinese officials.

    The Xiahe County People’s Court passed the sentence on January 31, the same day when a Chinese court in Ngaba, eastern Tibet, sentenced Lobsang Kunchok, to death with a two year reprieve for “instigating” self-immolations and Lobsang Tsering to 10 years.

    The court in Sangchu sentenced Pema Dhondup to 12 years, Kalsang Gyatso to 11 years, Lhamo Dhondup to seven years, and a female Pema Tso to eight years on charges of intentional homicide.

    According to China’s state agency Xinhua, two other Tibetans, Dugkar Gyal and a female Yangmo Kyi were convicted of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” and sentenced to four and three years in prison, respectively.

    The Tibetans were sentenced in connection with the self-immolation protest of Dorjee Rinchen, 57, who set himself on fire in Sangchu region of eastern Tibet on October 23, 2012. He carried out his protest near the local PLA recruiting center in Labrang and succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

    However, Xinhua in its report said that Dorjee Rinchen self-immolated “near a shopping center,” while omitting to provide reasons for his fiery protest.

    The Central Tibetan Administration in a statement released today following the court sentences noted that “even mere expression of sorrow on the loss and sharing of news by families can lead to criminal prosecution.”
    “This and other forms of brutal crackdown reflect the draconian measures adopted by Chinese leadership and as feared, criminal prosecution and undue process carried out to target the families and friends framed to be involved in the self-immolations,” the exile administration said.

    Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy today said the court sentencing comes in the backdrop of “relentless crackdown on self-immolation protests including arbitrary arrests, detention, intimidation, monetary inducements, and long prison terms.”

    The group pointed out that China’s criminalisation of the self-immolations as “murder” is a “highly condemnable” misuse of legal provisions for fulfilling political objectives.

    TCHRD further noted that the “politicised nature of Chinese judiciary allows government and Party officials to interfere in politically-sensitive cases.”

    “The Chinese government needs to seriously address the real causes of self-immolation protests; it needs to acknowledge that the burning protests are a direct result of its destructive policies,” the rights group said.

    “Far from acting as a deterrent to self-immolation or damaging the reputation of the “Dalai clique”, such arbitrary and unjust sentencing will only aggravate the already explosive situation in Tibet.”
    The United Nations, the European union and President Obama MUST interfere and STOP these atrocities. The Chinese regime is a murderous regime with over 70 million deaths of its own people in their hands! They make the atrocities of Hitler and other criminals of the 20th Century pale in comparison. China is full of gulags and the Terrifying treatment of Tibetans and Ughyers must be stopped. How can the so called civilzed world look the other way while these criminal acts are perpetrated? It is sad and worrying if relations between nations are based solely on economical interests.

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