Friday, Mar 21, 2008, 13:47:01

No Tibetan independence......... according to Japan Times

No Tibetan independence

LONDON — The monks who marched through Lhasa on March 10 to mark the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule...................As with the Baltic states, so too with Tibet. If there is ever a change of regime in Beijing, then a window of opportunity will open — and Tibet will have a couple of years to establish its independence before a new government emerges in Beijing that feels compelled to hold onto it in deference to Chinese nationalist sentiment. But that window is not open now.

Gwynne Dyer Japan Times

Comparing Tibet with the Baltic states is an astonishingly new approach.

New..... but completely misguiding and irralevent.

Historically the Baltic states were a part of the kingdoms of Denmark, German Christian Ritterorden, Poland, Sweden, Russia and Prussia.

Declaring independence finally in 1918, which was terminated with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact pact of 1939, and becoming part of USSR the three Baltic nations re-declared their independence in 1990 and 1991, and their independence was recognized by the Soviet Union on September 6, 1991.

To understand Tibetan-Chinese historical relations with the Christian-European mind the closest comparision would be the Frankish- and later the Holy German-Roman Empire, which was formally dissolved on August 6, 1806 when the last Holy Roman Emperor Francis II (from 1804, Emperor Francis I of Austria) abdicated, following a military defeat by the French under Napoleon. 

Holy Germany-Rome2.jpg

Apart from "The Holy" it has now been partly resurrected as the European Union.

Claiming Tibet a part of China is like claiming Rome a part of Germany as the legacy of the Holy German-Roman Empire.

First of all Tibet had and still has immense symbolic, moral and historic/religious legacy in the Buddhist world. Tibetan history preserves a lengthy list of rulers, and Songtsän Gampo (born ca. 604, died 650) is the great emperor who expanded Tibet's power, and is traditionally credited with inviting Buddhism to Tibet. The Chinese records mention that in 634 the Emperor requested marriage to a Chinese princess and was refused. According to modern chinese historians the Tibetan surrender to the Mongols in 1246 marks the incorporation of Tibet into China.

It may be more accurate, however, to characterize this as both China and Tibet being incorporated into the Mongol Empire, which became known as the Yuan Dynasty. During the Yuan Dynasty, the Mongolians conquered China. The Han Chinese were not trusted, so the Mongol Khubilai employed only Tibetans, Uyghurs, and other non-Chinese foreigners to rule over the majority—-the Han Chinese. In a delicate balance aimed at ruling both territories while preserving Mongol identity, Khubilai prohibited Mongols from marrying Chinese, but left both the Chinese and Tibetan legal and administrative systems intact. Tibet never adopted the Chinese system of exams nor Neo-Confucian policies.

In the 1630s, Tibet would become entangled in the power struggles between the rising Manchu and various Mongol, Dzungar rulers. Emperor Kangxi expelled the Dzungars from Tibet in 1720 and the troops were hailed as liberators. They brought Kelzang Gyatso with them from Kumbum to Lhasa and he was installed as the seventh Dalai Lama in 1721. In 1727, as a result of the Chinese having entered Lhasa, the boundary between China and Tibet was laid down as between the head-waters of the Mekong and Yangtse rivers, and marked by a pillar, a little to the south-west of Batang. This historical Sino-Tibetan boundary was used until 1910.

The "king" or governor of Tibet was no longer appointed by the Chinese after 1750, and the Dalai Lama was tacitly recognized as sovereign of Tibet. In addition, the Emperors loaded Lamaism with favours in China and Mongolia where they set up temples and monasteries.

The authorities in British India renewed their interest in Tibet in the late 19th century, and a number of Indians entered the country, first as explorers and then as traders. Treaties regarding Tibet were concluded between Britain and China in 1886, 1890 and 1893, but the Tibetan government refused to recognize their legitimacy and continued to bar British envoys from its territory. During "The Great Game", a period of rivalry between Russia and Britain, the British desired a representative in Lhasa to monitor and offset Russian influence.

In 1904, the British sent an Indian military force, which, after some fighting, occupied Lhasa. In response, the Chinese foreign ministry asserted that China was sovereign over Tibet, the first clear statement of such a claim. When the British mission reached Lhasa, the Dalai Lama had already fled to Urga in Mongolia. Gyangze Battle..jpg Gyangze Battle

A treaty was concluded which required Tibet to open its border with British India, to allow British and Indian traders to travel freely, not to impose customs duties on trade with India, a demand from British that Lhasa had to pay 2.5 million rupees as indemnity and not to enter into relations with any foreign power without British approval. The Anglo-Tibetan treaty was accordingly confirmed by a Sino-British treaty in 1906 by which the "Government of Great Britain engages not to annex Tibetan territory or to interfere in the administration of Tibet. The Government of China also undertakes not to permit any other foreign State to interfere with the territory or internal administration of Tibet. Moreover, Beijing agreed to pay London 2.5 million rupees which Lhasa was forced to agree upon in the Anglo-Tibetan treaty of 1904.
negotiating with the British on March 31, 1904 .jpg

Negotiating with the British

In 1907, Britain and Russia agreed that in "conformity with the admitted principle of the suzerainty of China over Tibet both nations engage not to enter into negotiations with Tibet except through the intermediary of the Chinese Government." Alarmed, the Qing government in Beijing then appointed Zhao Erfang, the Governor of Xining, "Army Commander of Tibet" to reintegrate Tibet into China. He was sent in 1905 on a punitive expedition and began destroying many monasteries in Kham and Amdo and implementing a process of sinification of the region. He abolished the powers of the Tibetan local leaders and appointed Chinese magistrates in their places. He introduced new laws that limited the number of lamas and deprived monasteries of their temporal power and inaugurated schemes for having the land cultivated by Chinese immigrants. Zhao's methods in eastern Tibet uncannily prefigured the Communist policies nearly half a century later. They were aimed at the extermination of the Tibetan clergy, the assimilation of territory and repopulation of the Tibetan plateaus with poor peasants from Sichuan. Like the later Chinese conquerors, Zhao's men looted and destroyed Tibetan monasteries, melted down religious images and tore up sacred texts to use to line the soles of their boots and, as the Communists were also to do later.

In 1910, the Qing government sent a military expedition of its own to establish direct Chinese rule and deposed the Dalai Lama in an imperial edict. The Dalai Lama once again fled, this time to India. After the fall of the Qing dynasty in October 1911, a year later in 1912, Agvan Dorzhiev and two other Tibetan representatives signed a treaty in Urga Mongolia, proclaiming mutual recognition and their independence from China. Though sometimes doubted, this Tibet-Mongolia Treaty certainly existed. It was signed on 29 December 1912 by Dorzhiev and two Tibetans on behalf of the Dalai Lama, and by two Mongolians for the Jebtsundamba Khutukhtu. The Japanese monk and explorer, Ekai Kawaguchi, writing in 1909, described the loss of Chinese control over Tibet following the first Sino-Japanese War with China 1 August 1894–17 April 1895: "The loss of Chinese prestige in Tibet has been truly extraordinary since the Japano-Chinese War. Previous to that disastrous event, China used to treat Tibet in a high-handed way, while the latter, overawed by the display of force of the Suzerain, tamely submitted. All is now changed, and instead of that subservient attitude Tibet treats China with scorn.... The Tibetans listen to Chinese advice when it is acceptable, but any order that is distasteful to them is entirely disregarded...." "Tibet may be said to be menaced by three countries—England, Russia and Nepāl, for China is at present a negligible quantity as a factor in determining its future."

Zongshan Hill Memorial.jpg

Zongshan Hill Memorial

Following a revolution in China, the local Tibetan militia launched a surprise attack on the Chinese garrison stationed in Tibet. Afterwards the Chinese officials in Lhasa were forced to sign the "Three Point Agreement" which provided for the surrender and expulsion of Chinese forces in central Tibet. In early 1913, the Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa and issued a proclamation distributed throughout Tibet which condemned "The Chinese intention of colonizing Tibet under the patron-priest relationship", and stated that, "We are a small, religious, and independent nation."

In 1913-14, conference was held in Simla between Britain, Tibet, and the Republic of China. The British suggested dividing Tibetan-inhabited areas into an Outer and an Inner Tibet (on the model of an earlier agreement between China and Russia over Mongolia). Outer Tibet, approximately the same area as the modern Tibet Autonomous Region, would be autonomous under Chinese suzerainty. In this area, China would refrain from "interference in the administration." In Inner Tibet, consisting of eastern Kham and Amdo, Lhasa would retain control of religious matters only. By 1918, Lhasa had regained control of Chamdo and western Kham. A truce set the Yangtze River the border. At this time, the government of Tibet controlled all of Ü-Tsang as well as Kham west of the Yangtze River, roughly the same borders as the Tibet Autonomous Region has today.

During the 1920s and 1930s, China was divided by civil war and then distracted by the anti-Japanese war, but never renounced its claim to sovereignty over Tibet, and made occasional attempts to assert it. During the reign of the 13th Dalai Lama, Beijing had no representatives in his territories. However, in 1934, following the Dalai Lama's death, China sent a "condolence mission" to Lhasa headed by General Huang Musong. Tibet established a Foreign Office in 1942, and in 1946 it sent congratulatory missions to China and India (related to the end of World War II). The mission to China was given a letter addressed to Chinese President Chiang Kai-sek which states that, "We shall continue to maintain the independence of Tibet as a nation ruled by the successive Dalai Lamas through an authentic religious-political rule." The mission agreed to attend a Chinese constitutional assembly in Nanjing as observers.

In 1947-49, Lhasa sent a "Trade Mission" led by the Tsepon (Finance Minister) W.D. Shakabpa to India, Hong Kong, Nanjing (then the capital of China), the U.S., and Britain. The visited countries were careful not to express support for the claim that Tibet was independent of China and did not discuss political questions with the mission. These Trade Mission officials entered China via Hong Kong with their newly issued Chinese passports that they applied at the Chinese Consulate in India and stayed in China for three months. Other countries did, however, allow the mission to travel using passports issued by the Tibetan government. The U.S. unofficially received the Trade Mission.

Neither the Republic of China nor the People's Republic of China have ever renounced China's claim to sovereignty over Tibet. In 1950, the People's Liberation Army entered the Tibetan area of Chamdo, crushing resistance from the ill-equipped Tibetan army. In 1951, Chinese representatives in Beijing presented Tibetan representatives with a Seventeen Point Agreement which affirms China's sovereignty over Tibet. The agreement was ratified in Lhasa a few months later.

China's current determination to, at all cost, insist on the "Tibet part of China" doctrine, is rooted in the fear of the historic British/Indian and Russian disigns of Tibet's status, and is now fuled by the aggressive American military advance into former USSR satelites and republics especially in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and of course the Iraq-Afganistan US/British lead disaster. An independent Tibet can only become a reality if American-Russian-Indian-Pakistani military/strategic/diplomatic/economic advances are kept at bay. And who could guarantee that??? Certanly NOT the UN. The Dalai Lama is realistic and right in not aspiring for full Tibetan independence but insisting on Tibet's full economical-political-cultural Tibetan controlled autonomy.

Nevertheless blood is again spilled on the ancient Lhasa streets and other Tibetan areas. Young Tibetans are not waiting anymore, desparete for change, tired of the Han-Chinese running all buisinesses, controling hotels, taxis, shops, tourism and all local economy. The current demography of Tibetans reduced to second class citizens in Tibet have obviously reached intolerable levels. The violent demonstrations were of course not planned and took the Chinese authorities and secret police by complete surprise. If any planning would have been done the Chinese intelligence network would have been prepared. It is a spontanues protest bordering a long fermenting uprising; The global reaction and madia show is as awkward and hypocritical as can be. Gordon Brown suddenly invites the Dalai Lama to London, Nancy Pelosi is "as a private citizen" in Dharamsala, Bush shall anyway attend Beijing Olimpics, Sarkozy may consider not to, and everybody nodding "no politics in the olympics". China has already grasped that the world does not want to be deprived of the Beijing Olimpic TV-show, no matter what happens in Tibet.

The lesson for the Tibetans is not to trust any western power or mediocre/transperrent "good-will" proposal or potential "road-map" of peace and freedom. The fate of Tibet is much less important on the US/British governments agenda then Kosovo, not to mention the Middle East where any "light in the end of the bloody tunnel" is as distant as ever. Any sincere mediation/peace-proposal must come from the Buddist countries, such as Japan and Thailand where the compassion for Tibet is genuine.

We suggest that Japan should suspend half of it's annual contribution to the impotent, corrupt UN, and propose to invest that money for the next five years in a completely autonomous self-governing Tibetan Chinese province with only defense controlled by Beijing everything else by Lhasa.

by Gabor Fabricius


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