"Seven Reasons Why Dalai Lama Should Not Visit China" By Vijay Kranti

At a time when Dharamsala and Tibet appear to be at a very vulnerable position vis-a-vis Beijing, it will be imperative for Dalai Lama as well as his advisers, to seriously measure the pros and cons of his proposed visit to China.
Observers of Beijing-Dharamsala relations are these days keenly focused on the chances of Dalai Lama visiting China for a Buddhist pilgrimage to Wutai Shan. The issue might look casual or insignificant to the uninitiated who will see nothing special about a religious leader visiting a pilgrimage site. But knowing Tibet's place in China's geo-political aspirations and the significance of present Dalai Lama in their future game, this probable event holds the potential of changing the geo-political discourse of Asia far more than any eventful development of this region in recent decades.

Signals emanating from Dharamsala over recent years have led to speculations among many Tibet watchers that despite the eight-year long dialogue (2002-2010) having failed and stalled abruptly by Beijing, the talks are still on, though at some different levels. Many among Tibet-China watchers feel that an influential section among Tibetan exile leadership is keen to pull a deal between Dalai Lama's 'Central Tibetan Administration' (CTA) in Dharamsala and the Chinese rulers of Tibet. Or, at least, to send him on a visit to China before it is too late for the ageing Tibetan leader.

Though senior functionaries in Dharamsala have been maintaining strict secrecy, yet recent developments, including an unpublicised meeting of a minister ranking Chinese official with Dalai Lama in Dharamsala few months ago, have not gone unnoticed from the prying eyes. And now a chain of signals from Beijing and other quarters confirm that Chinese leaders are desperate to receive the former exiled ruler and supreme religious leader of their colony -- even if this visit is short and just for a 'pilgrimage'.

Hu Shisheng, an important Chinese brain on Tibet related issues and a Director at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), run by the State Council of China, said on 24th February this year in Beijing that Dalai Lama's pilgrimage to Mount Wutai (Wutai Shan) would be a 'historic event' and... 'really a breakthrough'. In another commentary, published a day before President Xi Jinping visited India, China's Sina.com quoted 'informed sources familiar with the situation' as saying that Dalai Lama's return to China would be a 'win-win' situation. Chinese media has widely quoted Wu Yingjie, the Deputy Secretary of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) as saying that the talks with Dalai Lama's personal envoy about Dalai Lama's return were 'proceeding smoothly'. On 2nd Oct 2014 the French news agency AFP even quoted Dalai Lama from Dharamsala as telling its reporter that he was in informal talks with Beijing over his 'long held wish to make a pilgrimage trip to China'.

It was exactly nine years ago on 10th March 2006 when Dalai Lama used his annual address on the national 'Uprising Day' of Tibet at Dharamsala to publicly express his desire to visit China for a pilgrimage. His statement came in the middle of ongoing talks between his envoys and Beijing. Observers initially thought that this statement was yet another salvo in the ongoing war of wits between him and Beijing. People around Dalai Lama believed that his visit to Tibet or China would attract a Tsunami of Chinese and Tibetan believers which would increase his bargaining power with Beijing.

But his statement was greeted with the usual sarcastic contempt that Beijing rulers have always kept reserved for the Dalai Lama since China occupied his country in 1951 and his subsequent escape to exile in 1959. On 13th April, 2006 Qi Xiaofei, Vice-Director of the Chinese state administration for religious affairs said, "The Dalai Lama is not only a religious figure, but is also a long-time stubborn secessionist who has tried to split his Chinese motherland and break the unity among different ethnic groups."

Interestingly in July same year rumours of Dalai Lama visiting Kumbum, the most revered monastery near Dalai Lama's birth place in Qinghai, spread like a wild fire. Soon the town was flooded with thousands of Tibetan and Chinese devotees to have a view of him. But as soon as the crowds started reaching a critical level the Chinese government media announced that it was a hoax and security forces pushed out the crowd. Observers believe that it was a well planned Chinese move to have a fair idea of and to prepare in advance for the public reaction if Dalai Lama actually comes on a visit.

After a gap of nine years this sudden 180 degree turn in Beijing's response to the idea of Dalai Lama's visit to China clearly reflects a new kind of self confidence which is replacing the characteristic irritability, scepticism and even fear psychosis demonstrated by the Chinese leaders on anything related to Dalai Lama or Tibet over past six decades. It is this very change in the Chinese gestures and public articulation which deserves serious attention of the Dalai Lama, his advisors and his supporters when they sit to weigh the advantages and risks of the Tibetan leader's proposed pilgrimage to China or fresh negotiations with Beijing.

Looking back at how deftly Beijing and Dharamsala have been playing their cards in past two decades, one cannot escape the stark contrast. While Beijing has been making impressive strides on almost every front to improve its grip on Tibet and check-mate the international opposition to its Tibet policy, Dharamsala has been consistently frittering away all the advantages and virtues that Dalai Lama and his fellow Tibetans had earned with great efforts since 1950s in their struggle against Chinese occupation of Tibet.

It is difficult for anyone to predict how much religious virtues or political mileage Dharamsala can hope, if at all, from Dalai Lama's visit to China. But we have a long history of Tibet-China relations to believe that Tibet or Dalai Lama have never been a match to Beijing's skills in interpreting or showcasing any positive step from Dalai Lama as an endorsement or confirmation of the communist leaders' actions and claims on Tibet. Most glaring example was the Dalai Lama's visit to China in 1954 which Beijing leaders presented to the world as an endorsement of Chinese rule over Tibet. It therefore leads one to believe that the proposed visit of Dalai Lama to China in present situation is bound to fill all that moral, legal, political and strategic void which China has been miserably missing about her colonial control over Tibet, especially since 1959 flight of Dalai Lama into exile.

As a diehard team of optimists and well meaning people, Dharamsala might be hopeful of driving a lot of world focus on Tibet through such a visit. It may also have many reasons to believe that a visit of Dalai Lama to China can open new doors for negotiations. Or, it will help Dalai Lama to understand the real intentions of Chinese leaders on Tibet. Dharamsala must also be quite genuine about its own intentions and expectations. But with centuries long unhappy experience of Tibetan leadership in dealing with China, it will be too naive to believe that they can beat China in extracting advantages out of any given situation.

Therefore sending Dalai Lama on a China visit in a situation when odds are heavily stacked against Tibet vis-a-vis China, there is a serious risk of confusing, demoralizing and finally losing all the three constituencies on whose support Dalai Lama has attained his popularity and Tibet has survived as an issue all these years in the world conscience. These constituencies are:

- Tibetan masses, living under the Chinese rule or in exile, who have successfully braved and maintained their resolve against Chinese colonialism while enduring all difficulties and dangers;

- Tibet support groups across the world who relentlessly and successfully gave an international dimension to the cause of Tibet and;

- the international community which includes parliaments, political leaders, civic society and action groups whose deep faith in democratic values and human rights of Tibetans gave Dalai Lama and Tibet the support and strength on which they stand today.

At a time when Dharamsala and Tibet appear to be in a highly vulnerable position vis-a-vis Beijing, it will be imperative for Dalai Lama as well as his advisors, to seriously measure the pros and cons of his proposed visit to China. To put these risks in specific terms:

One, the travel of a 'refugee' Dalai Lama to the same country from where he escaped 56 years ago on the ground that the conditions created by the colonial occupants of his country were too difficult and inhuman to live there, will amount to no less that issuing a 'no objection certificate' to whatever China has been doing in Tibet all these years. As an obvious corollary to this he is bound to lose his political, legal and moral identity and rights as a 'refugee' on his return to exile from such a visit.

Two, his visit will send this message to those millions of brave Tibetans who have endured all the atrocities and injustice at the hands of their colonial masters, that since their supreme leader has no problem with China, they too must stop bickering against Chinese occupation. Self immolation by more than 130 Tibetans in recent years (136 on record so far) to express their frustration against the Chinese colonial rule over Tibet only proves that unlike the dominant group of Tibetans in Dharamsala who appear to be pushing Dalai Lama to give up or patch up, the Tibetan people inside Tibet have not given up their national resolve or courage to face the Chinese regime. But the Dalai Lama visiting China and hugging Beijing leaders, is bound to deflate all the moral steam, patriotic zeal and national resolve out of Tibetan masses.

Three, Tibet support movement across the world has already lost most of its energy and enthusiasm because of Dharamsala's near-fanatic diktats against anti-China postures in recent years. It will be near impossible for these support groups to hold on to their cadres and support base when the world watches their hero hugging and shaking hands with the same 'villains' whom these groups have been opposing all these years. Once this support base and organizational structure crumbles or melts away, it will take another life time for Dalai Lama or his establishment to resuscitate international Tibet support movement back to life.

Four, enormous world media coverage of the visit of Dalai Lama to mainland China on the invitation and hosting of Tibet's colonial masters will simply leave this clear and unambiguous signal to the world that "all problems between the Dalai Lama and China have been sorted out". This means that all those individuals, organizations and action groups across the world who loved, admired and supported Dalai Lama simply because he was the best symbol of fight against the tyranny of colonialism, communism and anti-democratic powers will be made to believe that he no more needs their support.

Five, Beijing is bound to present this visit of Dalai Lama as the endorsement and certification of China's position on Tibet from none other than the supreme leader of Tibet and Tibetans. Hence it will lay its claim over all the respect, credibility and sheen that it had lost due to its sad record as a colonialist occupier of Tibet.

Six, if the Dalai Lama chooses China as the destination of his Buddhist pilgrimage, the communist masters of Beijing are bound to lap it up as the final 'ISO' certification of China as world's 'Buddhist Super Power' by the supreme spiritual leader of Buddhism. It will be interesting to see how a Dalai Lama and his exile establishment who have spent their life time in painting colonial rulers of their country as 'anti religion', 'anti Buddhism' and 'destroyers of Dharma' will manage this contradiction?

Seven, and last, but surely not the least, is the dreadful scenario of this happy looking marriage between Beijing and the Dalai Lama going to the rocks any day in future. Having dealt with China all their life, who else understands better than the Dalai Lama and his fellow Tibetans the real levels of honesty and loyalty that Beijing leaders hold towards their own commitments or agreements with others? On such a fateful day Tibetans would be shocked to discover that there is no one standing behind them as all cheering and clapping crowds have already melted away and the Tibet support movement has closed its shop long ago. In the eventuality of Beijing masters of Tibet turning back to their old games in Tibet, it is anybody's guess how much enthusiasm or commitment the world would be left with to save the Dalai Lama and his countrymen once again?

It is therefore high time for everyone who stands by the Tibetan people to realize and accept that Dharamsala has already lost a significant share of his political and strategic ground on the Tibetan front to Beijing and stands on an utterly weak and vulnerable ground vis-a-vis its (all) mighty opponent. Even his most optimistic sympathizers and supporters would agree that the Dalai Lama has nothing significant to gain from a Chinese 'pilgrimage' except some media grand-standing or, may be, some spiritual virtues as a practicing Buddhist. But who else other than the Dalai Lama himself would understand that such 'gains' are too petty and personal for a man who is already the darling of world media and is so deeply revered as the embodiment of Avalokiteshwara -- the God of Compassion?

Many critics of Dharamsala have expressed fears that a dominant section among the Tibetan exile leadership appears desperate on cobbling up a deal with China on whatever terms. But even a junior student of history or diplomacy can testify with full confidence that history, especially the history of nations and peoples, keeps changing and that the world has consistently witnessed the mightiest of regimes melting away into oblivion without a whimper.

Innumerable examples of countries like India and Israel would help Tibetan leadership to understand that the greatest strength of a nation does not lie in opting for most comfortable solutions in a crisis, but in enduring difficult times and wait to be available on the day when history holds your rightful share to be returned to you. It will require a deep rethinking and detachment on the part of the Dalai Lama to distinguish between the historic responsibilities which his great institution has bestowed upon him and the current desperation that is guiding a dominant section among his advisors.

On the part of such group of desperate advisors too, they are advised not to lose their faith in Dalai Lama's political, social and spiritual wisdom. They should understand that by transferring his political powers to a democratically elected exile 'government' of Tibet he has already empowered and freed the Tibetan society to take Tibetan struggle far beyond the physical limits of his own life span or even relying on the institution of Dalai Lama in their struggle. This means that Dalai Lama has already realized the capacity of Tibetan society to take ahead its national struggle for many generations to come irrespective of whether next Dalai Lama is leading them or not.

As a professed follower of Mahatma Gandhi Dalai Lama is already aware of the enormous powers that Gandhian way of thinking and action holds. Therefore, a far better option for him would be to adopt some of the techniques which Gandhi successfully employed in dealing with the British colonial Raj that was far more powerful than today's China. For example, by sitting on a hunger strike for the cause of those 135 Tibetan who gave the supreme sacrifice for the freedom and human rights of their colonized countrymen, Dalai Lama can shake the world conscience far deeper than by visiting Wutai Shan and getting photographed by the international media as he shakes hands of the occupiers of his nation.

The author is a senior journalist and a Tibetologist with more than 30 years of association with the Tibet movement. He can be contacted at v.kranti@gmail.com

Justice VR Krishna Iyer Passes Away (Dec 04, 2014)

Eminent jurist and former Supreme Court judge, Justice VR Krishna Iyer, passed away at a private hospital in Kochi around 3.30 pm December 4, 2014. Justice Iyer, known for his forthright views, turned 100 recently. He was sworn in as the judge of the Supreme Court on July 17, 1973 and retired on Nov 14, 1980. He was a true supporter of the Tibetan people and their struggle for independence. 

Deepest condolences from the Friends of Tibet family.

Message from Justice Shri VR Krishna Iyer on the 77th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and World Tibet Day on July 6, 2012.
“Lord Buddha stands for the greatest blessings of God to humanity. Tibet as a nation and the Tibetan culture stands for the Buddha. His Holiness the Dalai Lama stands for humanity and compassion; human rights and human culture. And I wish he becomes popular in the whole world. He is not just an individual, not the state, he is for global culture. The people of Tibet are dying, they are becoming slaves, we cannot allow that. They are entitled for full freedom and we stand for that. Support its culture and independence. We are with them. May this Day grow more glorious!”

"My Tibet Manifesto" by Maura Moynihan


Saturday, Nov 29, 2014

LHASA - My first trip to Tibet, 1994
LHASA – My first trip to Tibet, 1994

Joe Hamilton wrote a moving piece about how he discovered Tibet, and taking Phuntsok Nyidron the Tibetan political prisoner, to visit Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp built in 1933, the year Hitler came to power in Germany. Joe then asked me to post photographs and write about how I discovered Tibet. Thank you Joe, for making me look back and write my story.

From Delhi to Peking

I was 15 years old in January of 1973 my father was appointed US Ambassador to India. I had been a 10th grade student in the American International School for about 2 weeks when I was invited on a class trip to Manali, near the Tibet border. As we drove through Himachal Pradesh, we passed thousands of Tibetans breaking rocks along the Kangra Highway. I asked, why are these people here? I was told China invaded their country, they are refugees in India. When we reached Manali we walked to a mountain pass that once linked India and Tibet, sealed by barbed wire, guarded by Chinese soldiers, wearing green Mao caps with the Red Star, clutching rifles. Our Tibetan guide was frightened and told us we had to leave at once. I had never heard of this story, no seemed to have heard of it. I wondered why.
PEKING - At Tiananmen Square 1975
PEKING – At Tiananmen Square 1975

When we left India 1975, we were granted permission to visit China. Chairman Mao was alive and the Cultural Revolution was still underway. I had a rare glimpse into China’s totalitarian dictatorship that few outsiders had ever seen. Our hosts, the Chinese Communist elite, wore silk Mao jackets, Swiss watches, fine jewels, and every night we were treated to banquets fit for a Roman emperor. But in the grim and forlorn streets of Peking (as it was called in 1975) the “proletariat masses” were frightened and desperately poor. There were no stores, no restaurants, no newspapers, no places of worship; every transaction of commerce and culture was controlled by the Communist Party. Worlds apart from the freedom I had seen in the Republic of India and the Kingdom of Nepal, the nations that gave Tibetans sanctuary, where so many of us discovered Tibetan culture.

In his 1975 book, A Dangerous Place Ambassador Moynihan wrote of our trip to Peking:
“The vast portraits of Marx and Engels, along with Stalin and Mao, in Tiananmen Square somehow confirmed the conviction that it was absurd to let these people, or their like, seize the political initiative from us. When Americans take to sandals and to pasting up posters of Hindu divines, it is understood that adolescence is a difficult phase. But what in the name of God were these half-acre portraits of hirsute German bourgeoisie doing in the main square of a Mongol capital? Were there grown-ups here? The three-year old in the nursery school sang songs about how they were going to smash Confucius and the Western regions. They behaved, alas, as adults. Why not explain to their parents that Marx was a correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune, and is someone rather intimately known to us. To us. Not them. Instead, the Americans at the liaison office behaved as if in the presence of a higher civilization than any known at home: ancient. Inscrutable, perhaps in the end inaccessible to the one-dimensional Occidental mind.”

In 1975 I was a freshman at Harvard University, and was puzzled that there was no discussion, no examination, of the trauma of Mao’s Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution. I was presented with a copy of the seminal Chinese propaganda booklet “Tibet Today”, filled with airbrushed photos of smiling nomads posing before tractors on communal farms, as “proof” that Tibet was “much better off now that it ever was.” I had actually SEEN Mao’s empire, but my Asian studies teacher– a tall, blond Maoist apologist – derided me for stating that Mao’s China was a dictatorship, which had occupied Tibet and led its people into bondage. Harvard Sinologists coveted permission to visit the mainland, so the ugly truth of Mao’s atrocities was willfully suppressed. (That hasn’t changed; a friend at Harvard told me the faculty is under orders to “not talk about Tibet” for fear of offending the China cash cow).

The Bamboo Curtain Parts

In 1976 Chairman Mao died peacefully, in his bed. Deng Xiaoping rose to power and launched the era of “Reform and Opening Up.” In the 1980’s, Western investors rushed in, intoning the China market mantra: “One billion consumers!” Wall Street analysts insisted that China’s Maoists were different from Stalin’s Bolsheviks, and that Coca Cola would engender to democracy. Over time China’s Maoists indeed proved that they were different: they modernized their economy and drank Coca Cola without dismantling the police state.

In 1982 I met an Englishman in New Delhi, who had just returned from Tibet. I asked what he had seen, he replied “Ruination in the cities, but you can still find the old Tibet in the countryside. Go and it see it before it’s too late.” The backpacker trail now rose beyond Kathmandu, all the way to Lhasa. It seemed a miracle; after so many years sealed behind the Bamboo Curtain, Tibet was opening. When anti Chinese protests erupted in 1987,’88 and’89, there were tourists in the streets who brought back photographs – and gunshots wounds – from the crackdowns. The tourism window would henceforth open and close as the CCP decreed. I have met many a disappointed traveller in Kathmandu whose Tibet trip was abruptly cancelled, with no refund, due to “public security.”

In May of 1989, soon after the Berlin Wall fell, tens of thousands of students filled Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to mourn the death of Hu Yaobang, a reformer who had been deposed by hardliners, also the author of a famous White Paper that criticized Mao’s oppressive rule in Tibet. The students then appealed for reform of the Communist Party and built a Goddess of Democracy. On June 3rd, 1989, Deng Xiaoping ordered the Peoples’ Liberation Army to slaughter the students, and publically labeled the non-violent protests a “counter-revolutionary rebellion.”

In response to the carnage, the Nobel Committee awarded HH the Dalai Lama with the Nobel Peace Prize. The grim statistics of the Chinese Communist occupation of Tibet at last came forth; over one million people murdered, over 6,000 monasteries looted and razed, the rape and pillage of a great civilization, a story buried in the dysfunction of the Cold War. In the 1990’s the Tibet movement reached its zenith, with concerts, films, and legislative support. Senator Moynihan was principally responsible for Section 355 of Public Law 102-22 that states, “Tibet, including those areas incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai, is an occupied country under the established principles of international law; and Tibet’s true representatives are the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile, as recognized by the Tibetan people.”

US Senators welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 1996
US Senators welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 1996

Senator Moynihan spoke on the Senate floor on the occasion of the April 1991 visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Capitol stating; “The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1949 was a conquest every bit as clear as the conquest of the Baltic States during World War II or Iraq’s invasion and temporary conquest of Kuwait. It does not become less criminal because it has remained in place over a long period of time.”

But the CCP and the US-China lobby launched a counter-offensive. Beijing retained the services of Hill & Knowlton, a New York based public relations firm aligned with the Bush family, defense contractors and multi-national corporations, to discredit Tibet activists and divide Chinese democrats. The China lobby promoted “bi-lateral economic cooperation”, furnishing elite cadres of the Chinese Communist Party with access to American banks, companies and congressional offices, as manufacturing jobs were briskly shipped from the United States to China.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union nullified the rationale for “containment” of the Soviet Bloc and the “special engagement” with the People’s Republic of China, but US China policy failed to adjust to a new world order, and the US-China “special relationship” progressed without impediment or debate.

In 2009, the 50th anniversary of 1959 March 10th uprising in Lhasa, I was in Dharamshala and met Chin Jin, of the Federation for a Democratic China, who recalled; “I was a teenager in Shanghai in 1972, when Nixon came to China. When we heard the news an elderly friend of my father’s started to cry, he said, ‘now the USA has come to the rescue of the Communist Party, and this will prolong the suffering of the Chinese people for many more years.’ He was right.”

Journey to Lhasa

Getting Arrested at the Chinese Embassy, Washington DC, 1994
Getting Arrested at the Chinese Embassy, Washington DC, 1994

In the spring of 1994, I organized a Free Tibet protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington DC. Six of us were held in jail for 5 hours and charged $50 for “incommoding.” The next day I went back to the Chinese embassy, obtained a tourist visa, and three months later I flew from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

I wrote in my travel diary: “A surreal scene greets us on the tarmac at Golmud airport; a phalanx of policemen in identical sunglasses and caps, wielding handguns, line the walkway to the fluorescent-white terminal, a Bauhaus monstrosity that looks absurdly out of place. But there is nothing so powerful as standing on the Tibetan Plateau, to feel the power of the land, the sky, the mountains…
“My first night in Tibet I lie in a cold room at the foot of Chakpori Hill, once the medical college, now a ruin and a radio tower. A vicious mistral rattles the window glass, all night. I twist left and right, I feel, acute, unsparing, the stench of invasion. Machines awaken before dusk, hulking and groaning on the graves of temples…

“As in all police states, the simplest procedures are dispatched with sullen disregard; if your travel agent did not arrange transport, you are in trouble; finding a taxi in Lhasa is like finding a disco in Riyadh. They exist, but you need connections to get into one….Lhasa’s streets are lined with vast billboards with puerile Stalinist illustrations of rosy cheeked cadres, their features drawn with a decidedly Caucasian cast. Tourist literature states that Lhasa is to be developed as a “modern socialist city with local nationalities characteristics”; the medieval city is being razed to make way for more karaoke bars, shopping centers and housing blocks…I can plainly see plainclothes police everywhere. The square in front of the Jokhang Temple, is designed for mass surveillance, where the People’s Armed Police lounge under red and white striped umbrellas with the Marlboro logo…

“Through wreaths of juniper smoke, I see the Jokhang. It is Chokhor Duchen, the day of Buddha Sakyamuni’s first sermon; the first turning of the Wheel of Dharma. Four policemen follow me with a camera, stare, where pilgrim stone has been worn to a concave sheen, prayers planting the seed of rebirth in Shambala….”

Journey to Chamdo

In 1995, President Clinton de-linked trade and human rights, granting China “Most Favored Nation Trading Status” and Jiang Zemin swiftly implemented the “Strike Hard” Campaign in Tibet, which labels Buddhism “a disease to be eradicated” and the Dalai Lama “an incestuous murder.” That summer I travelled overland from Lhasa to Chamdo. From my travel diary:

“All photographs and images of HH the Dalai Lama were banned as soon as China got MFN trading status with Washington. The air is thick with fear. Police everywhere. It takes a full week to drive from Lhasa to Chamdo. Everywhere we see strip mining, deforestation, army bases, army trucks, radio towers. We reach the great gompa of Chamdo, twice burned by Chinese, and twice rebuilt by Tibetans in the past century. It rises above the confluence of two rivers, which flow into the Mekong. An aged lama appears, people flock to him. His back is crooked, he walks slowly, with a cane…that night our guide tells us his back was broken from years of torture in a Chinese prison…

“As we return to Lhasa, our guide takes us to a remote village filled with monks, maimed and tortured for refusing to renounce Buddhism and HH the Dalai Lama. We meet young men who have been crippled, blinded, burnt, scarred…My last night in Tibet I am besieged by nightmares. Ghosts plunge into my room, rattle the glass…a child is missing…where is Panchen Rinpoche…but I don’t want to leave…in the morning I gaze in awe upon the Potala Palace, rising above the Lhasa Valley…”

In the mid 90’s I worked at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. I learned so much from many gifted people at the museum who created exhibitions, study programs. oral histories. In 1994 Palden Gyasto made his first visit to the USA. Palden survived 33 years in Lhasa’s Drapchi Prison, and had smuggled out torture instruments commonly used in Chinese prisons. At a gathering in my home, we passed around an electric baton Palden had bought from a guard before taking flight to India. I took Palden through the Holocaust Museum, he studied the exhibitions carefully. He wept and said except for the crematoria, everything else, the beatings, torture, forced labor, the horror and fear, it was exactly like the prisons in China.

Nepal: the Lost Sanctuary

In 1998 I was hired by Radio Free Asia to train reporters and conduct research for the Tibet service in Kathmandu. Nepal was the ancient portal linking India and Tibet, weaving the rich culture of the Himalayan Belt, once a chain of independent kingdoms encircling the southern shelf of the Tibetan plateau. I kept a home for many years in Kathmandu, and travelled to Sikkim, Bhutan, and Ladakh, visiting Tibetan refugee camps, touched by the beauty and fragility of these precious remnants of the great Tibetan civilization that had once reigned from Ladakh to Lake Kokonor.

China’s victory in the 62 war with India, which locked Tibet behind the Bamboo Curtain, had a deleterious effect on the Himalayan Belt. The old trade routes and pilgrim trails to Tibet were sealed by Red Guards, as I saw at the Manali Pass in 1973. The Kingdom of Nepal was the sole buffer state where Indian and Chinese diplomats agreed to “ co-exist” and maintained an embassy in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Nepal had weekly flights to Lhasa, and the Friendship Highway into Tibet. Nepal’s Kings also granted sanctuary and citizenship to Tibetan refugees, and gave permission to UNHCR to operate a transit camp, rescuing refugees from the border and providing them with travel papers and transport to India.

I spent many years interviewing these “new arrivals” who had escaped into Nepal, and learned how China used Tibet as a torture laboratory, and how enforcing methods of extreme cruelty was a stepping-stone to a top post in the Politburo; 4 of the last 5 premiers of the PRC were governors of Tibet. I also studied the rise of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, which diplomats in Kathmandu initially dismissed as an aberration, since the Cold War was over and the west had presumably “won.”

Nepal's Maoist
Nepal’s Maoist
In January 2000, the Karmapa Lama made a bold escape from Tibet, passing in secret through Nepal on his way to India. The retribution was swift: the new Maoist insurgency launched violent attacks on Tibetan homes, businesses and monasteries. Diplomats and journalists dismissed a connection between Nepal’s Maobadis and the People’s Republic of China, insisting that it was all coming from India. But where did the Indian Maoists come from? Which empire had an interest in consolidating its military power in the Himalayan Belt, to protect its iron grip on Tibet? Not India. China.

On June 1st, 2001, Nepal’s King Birendra, Queen Aishwariya and 12 family members were shot and killed during the Friday night “bhojan” at Narayanahiti Palace in Kathmandu. Prince Dipendra, allegedly the sole killer, was said to have either shot himself in the head or was shot in the back by palace guards. He lingered in a coma for two days and his body was cremated before an official autopsy was completed and its results made public, thus the cause of Dipendra’s death will never be confirmed.
It is no small matter to assassinate a king, and there is compelling evidence that Prince Dipendra did not act alone. An English doctor who knew Dipendra well visited him in the hospital and said the drug and alcohol levels in his blood were so high that it was unlikely that he could have sharp-shooted 9 people wielding a heavy assault rifles. Some eyewitnesses reported seeing masked gunman during the massacre, and people who lived near the palace, including my Sherpa didi, saw a large helicopter hovering over Narayanahiti Palace, with commandos climbing a rope ladder during the time of the assassinations. Many Nepal based journalists, myself included, questioned the bizarre tale that Dipendra was so enraged by family’s refusal to allow him to marry Princess Deviyani of Gwalior that he killed all of them. This story flooded the international press moments after the murders, while there was a news blackout all over Nepal.

What was not reported was that the US had just completed a sale of armaments to the Nepali Royal Army and a military assault upon the Maoists was planned for the first week of June 2001. Many sources believe that Maoist spies learned of the plan, which led to the murder of the King and Queen. And in the chaos that followed the regicide it was the Maoists, backed by China, who rose to power.
What is missing from analyses of the alarming rise of Maoist insurgencies in India and Nepal is the legacy of Chairman Mao in Tibet. Without Tibet, China would not have access to the Himalayan Belt, the pathway to South Asia. The assumption that the West “won the Cold War” ignored the ugly truth that Communist tactics were alive and well in China’s Tibet, the source of funding and training for the Nepali Maoists, who launched their “People’s War” in 1995. Within a decade Nepal was ravaged by psychotic violence as Maoist insurgents slaughtered and tortured thousands and spread the virus across India, whilst embassies and development agencies in Kathmandu stammered in febrile confusion. Chairman Mao had permeated the Himalayas, his unsmiling visage an icon of terror, his power hurtling from the barrel of a gun.

Here is an excerpt from the Maoist Information Bulletin Website; “Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism & Prachanda Path! Royal Mercenaries Get Continued Blow from the PLA! The heroic People’s Liberation Army, Nepal, has been handing severe blows to the royal mercenary RNA day after day and in every possible front all over the country. There are almost daily reports of successful mining, ambushes, commando attacks and selected frontal battles against the genocidal royal armed forces organized in the so-called Unified Command, in which hundreds have been killed and large quantities of arms and ammunitions seized!”
Maoist rally in Nepal
Maoist rally in Nepal
Since the collapse of the monarchy, China is the new face of money and power in Nepal. Chinese roads, businesses, bookstores, consumer goods, are ubiquitous. The large and influential Tibetan community, given sanctuary and citizenship by Nepal’s kings, has been driven out of Nepal by the Maoists, and the number of new refugees from Tibet has dropped from 10 to 15,000 a year to less that 400. Nepal, anchor of the Himalayan Belt, abode of Shiva and Buddha, the lone buffer state affixed between the twin Asian giants, China and India, lurches towards an uncertain future, the age of kings eclipsed by the Communist Manifesto.

War Zone on the Roof of the World

The Tibet question is generally perceived as a human rights issue, but Tibet is principally a strategic and economic concern for China. The capture of Tibet and East Turkestan doubled China’ landmass: never before has the Middle Kingdom ruled an empire that spans Hong Kong, Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang. In 2000 China launched a multi billion-dollar development campaign “Xi bu Dai fa,” the “Opening and Development of the Western Regions”. The Standing Committee of the Tibet Regional Party Committee stated their goals; “We now have the chance of a lifetime in the great development of the Western regions. The task of safeguarding social and political stability is very important…we must firmly grasp the anti-separatist struggle.” That’s Chi Com Speak for suppression of ethnic minorities, Tibetans and Uighurs, who resist the pillage of their ancestral lands by Chinese colonialists.

I was in Kathmandu in March 2001, when the Taliban dynamited the ancient standing Buddha of Bamiyan. Lamas at Boudhanath had visions of disaster. On June 1st, 2001, the Nepali royal family was slaughtered. In September 11th, 2001, the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington were attacked. In Buddhist scripture it is written than the destruction of a Buddha image, especially an old and greatly venerated image, sends waves of black karma into the universe. Can a slab of sculpted stone contain the power to heal? Can its loss rupture the affairs of men? Who can say. When the Standing Buddha of Bamiyan was pulverized into dust, the global order was catapulted into crisis and the lama’s calamitous predictions came to pass.

After 9/11 the US launched the War on Terror and China faded from international scrutiny. In 2006 the Qinghai–Xizang railway opened in Lhasa, bringing over 250,000 Chinese engineers into Tibet and facilitating transport of minerals, stone and lumber from Tibet to the mainland. Chinese engineers launched massive development projects, mines and hydro dams on Tibet’s rivers, which flow into South and Southeast Asia. India and Bhutan must now contend with relentless Chinese military incursions, as China lays claim to large swaths of territory in India, Nepal and Bhutan border, which they call “Southern Tibet.” In 2010 China announced the completion of 6 military airfields in Utsang, filled with a new fleet of manned and drone aircraft, bearing down upon South Asia from the high plateau. In the coming Water Wars, China has a firm grip on the Water Tower of Asia: Tibet.

But this is not deemed newsworthy or deserving of serious analysis by the global media. The Tibet story is hobbled by the “Shangrila Syndrome,” a fantasy of magic and mystery, with comforting stereotypes of cheerful but needy Tibetan refugees. China only grants journalists permission to report from Tibet with a stifling military escort, which controls what can be seen and heard. The true story, the elemental facts about Tibet’s size, its minerals, lumber and water, and the strategic advantage gained by its capture, is lost. China’s seizure of Tibet is a seismic event in world history: Ghengis Khan is said to have uttered: “He who controls Tibet controls the world.”

The Beijing Olympics: Tibet Drowns the Blood Torch

On March 14th, 2008, I was in New York, finishing my master’s thesis about the Nepali Maoists, when I opened my laptop and read, on the Radio Free Asia website, of a citizen’s insurrection in Tibet, equal to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The Tibetan people had tossed blood upon the face of Mao and spoilt his big Olympic moment, the world had seen it. I closed my laptop and wept, for I knew that Beijing’s Politburo would exact cruel vengeance on the people of Tibet for ruining their global coming out party.

I passed the summer of 2008 in Kathmandu, interviewing escapees from Tibet, who described mobile killing squads, raids on homes and monasteries, drownings, beatings, fathers and sons hauled into police trucks and never seen again. I watched in disgust as the Olympic Committee and their corporate sponsors allowed Beijing to break every pledge to improve human rights, duly sworn when they lobbied for the Games. The heroes of the Beijing Olympics were Students for a Free Tibet – who organized massive protests in London, Paris and San Francisco and thereby extinguished Beijing’s “Blood Torch” relay – and invaded Beijing with banner hangs, “die-ins” to remind the world the uncomfortable truth about the host nation’s “Harmonious Society.”

In September 2008, journalists met in Honolulu for a conference on China after the Olympics. There was unanimous agreement that that Beijing was pleased with the outcome. Those irksome Tibet activists were gone, but the extensive security apparatus installed for the Games stayed, and in a world order where might makes right the persecution of Tibetans, Uighurs and Chinese intellectuals intensified without impediment or penalty.

Liu Xiaobo: China’s Jailed Nobel Laureate

In December of 2010, the distinguished Chinese author and poet Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, whilst serving the 4th year of an 11 year sentence for his role in the Charter 08 movement, which calls for the rule of law, democratic reforms and protection of human rights and criticizes the Chinese Communist Party for “clinging to an authoritarian political way of life, which has caused an unbroken chain of human rights disasters and social crises, held back the development of the Chinese people, and hindered the progress of human civilization.”

Liu Xiaobo’s incarceration, the continued persecution of his wife Liu Xia and scores of Chinese intellectuals and democrats, is apparently of no concern whatsoever to leaders of the “free world” who wanted to bomb the Soviet Union to rubble for imprisoning dissidents. Communist China has been wholly legitimized and integrated into the world community, with a seat on the UN Security Council, a privilege democratic India is denied. The west has slapped sanctions on Russia for the assault on the Ukraine, but China never feels such pain; it would be bad for business.

It is now painfully apparent that the policy of “constructive engagement” with the Chinese Communist Party has not produced the desired outcome of political reform. Our relationship with China is deemed “vital” to preserving the global economic order, but it has entangled the West in an appeasement policy that is morally repugnant and politically dangerous. A report from the European Council on Foreign Relations states: “The EU’s China strategy is based on an anachronistic belief that China, under the influence of European engagement, will liberalize its economy, improve the rule of law and democratize its politics. Yet China’s foreign and domestic policy has evolved in a way that has paid little heed to European values, and today Beijing regularly contravenes or even undermines them.”

As the West and China have become close friends and trading partners in recent years, democratic institutions have been dangerously attacked. We have witnessed a shocking erosion of civil liberties and press freedom and a vigorous effort to legalize torture. Is it merely coincidence? Those Wall Street analysts whose passion for de-regulation caused the global economic crisis are the same fellows who for years predicted that market capitalism would magically give rise to democracy in China. Now the global economy is collapsing, China is playing tough with every neighbor and trading partner and getting its way. Where’s the free press and independent judiciary that McDonald’s was supposed to conjure?

I have watched in sorrow and disgust as the Western bloc continues to bend low and kiss the blood stained hands of China’s dictators. In 2012 British PM David Cameron stated that he would never receive HH the Dalai Lama again. Neither would officials from the Norwegian Government, when His Holiness traveled to Oslo last year, the city where he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Money Matters Most.

The Indian Exile Fractures

For as long as HH the Dalai Lama lives in Himachal Pradesh, Tibetans in India have a measure of protection. But the Tibetan settlements managed by the Indian government since the 1960’s are disintegrating, filled with poor, often broken families, consigned to isolation and exclusion by the unsettled legal status of Tibetans into a 6th decade. By neglecting the crisis of statelessness the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) leaves tens of thousands of its constituents vulnerable to the most corrupt elements of society. The CTA’s leader Lobsang Sangay has a green card and a mortgage-free house in Boston, his cabinet officials all have Canadian, US and Indian citizenship, so clearly they are not tying their fortunes to their impoverished kinsmen, stranded in decaying refugee camps in India.

Conditions for stateless Tibetans in India are typical of what UNHCR describes as “Protracted Refugee Syndrome”; obtaining false ID cards from the black market, trapped in a poverty cycle, succumbing to drugs, alcohol, crime. Indian intelligence officials are well aware that the Tibetan exile world is now dangerously penetrated with Chinese spies and provocateurs, especially the Shugden operatives, who distribute literature claiming that HH the Dalai Lama is a greater mass murderer than Hitler. I was in Dharamshala in February 1997 when Shugden assassins murdered Geshe Lobsang Gyatso and two of his students, a short distance from the Dalai Lama’s home. It was Losar eve, a chill wind howled through the lanes of McLeod Ganj, all festivities were cancelled. The Times of India reported: “The two men suspected of stabbing their victims are believed to have fled India. Five others, all linked to the Dorje Shugden Society in New Delhi, were questioned for months about a possible conspiracy.”
Tibet is a war zone. The Nepal sanctuary is gone. Tibetans in India cannot wait for the CTA to take action. I am certain that a great many would gladly accept Indian citizenship and the attendant financial and political rights, which Tibetan refugees sorely need. India is Tibet’s loyal and last protector, and Tibetans will be productive and patriotic citizens of Gandhi’s homeland.

If the structural crisis of statelessness is perpetuated and ignored, the Indian exile base will be further weakened by a festering criminal underworld of human traffickers and Chinese agents. And if that foundation collapses, who will speak for Tibet? One winter afternoon, sharing tea and samosas in a Dharamshala garden, the poet and freedom fighter Lhasang Tsering stared into the golden light above the Kangra Valley and spoke; “We did not come into exile to become the world’s most successful refugees. We came to fight for our brothers and sisters in Tibet. We can never forget — that is what matters most.”

Tibet Today: Dams, Mines & War Games


In January 2014 my friend Paul Berkowitz asked me to testify before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee about the thousands of massive Chinese hydro dams on Tibet’s rivers ,and the environmental catastrophe looming over the many nations of South and Southeast Asia. Afterwards members of Congress, scientists, military officials, approached me in evident shock, to ask; “How come we never heard any of this before?”

That evening I sat in a shabby bar on Capitol Hill, wondering how it was possible that no one in the Rayburn Building that morning had seen any maps or satellite photographs of Tibet, and which settle the question of why Tibet matters and explains why Chinese officials shriek with Stalinoid dementia at the mere mention of HH the Dalai Lama. The International Campaign for Tibet failed to get this information on the desks of Congress and the Pentagon, leaving the field to the China lobby. Beijing’s obsessive demonization of HH the Dalai Lama has succeeded in subverting all rational discussion of the impact of China’s exploitation of Tibet and the ecological future of Asia, the world’s most populous continent.

When Russia was a Communist state, the West deemed it a threat so terrifying it justified a perilous arms race. China remains a Communist state, and the US has shipped nearly 80% of its jobs and manufacturing into the hands of the Chinese officials. And what does America get in return? Larry M. Wortzel, the author of the US Army War College report on China’s cyber espionage writes: “The thing that should give us pause is that in many Chinese military manuals they identify the U.S. as the country they are most likely to go to war with.” The US Commission on the Theft of Intellectual Property reports that Chinese espionage costs the US over $300 billion and 1.2 million jobs each year, but the US Department of State just announced plans to issue more visas for China, and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, where the US Ambassador to the United Nations resides, where the president stays when he is in New York, was just sold to Anbang Insurance Group of China for $1.95 billion. If anyone can explain why, I’ll give you five dollars and a warm beer.

The Ghosts of Dachau

In July 2012, I travelled to Munich to visit Joe and Andi Hamilton. They took me to Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp, now a museum. Dachau was the model for all the vast Nazi camp system, where the medical experiments and gas chambers were developed. The first prisoners of Dachau were Germans who opposed the Nazi party. My friend Bob Van Grevenbrock, a long time Kathmandu ex pat, often spoke of how his father was imprisoned in Dachau for a year, then fled with his family to the West Indies because his wife was Jewish, thus Bob was a “mischling” – half Jewish – and would have been killed by the Nazis.

It was a profoundly disturbing and upsetting experience, walking through the barracks, seeing the crematoria. I was sickened to think that the Chinese Communist Party, America’s #1 trading partner, to this day uses slave labor in an enormous concentration camp system, the Laogai, that imprisons millions of people. No one would think of walking into a party in New York, Paris or London with a tee shirt of Hitler or Stalin, but it is chic to wear an image of Mao Zedong. Mao, an unrepentant Sphinx, his hands stained with the blood of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, a Warholian icon, smiling on a banknote, sparkling a Shanghai nightclub. Mao got away with it.

Meanwhile, at least 135 Tibetans have lit their bodies on fire to protest China’s rape and pillage of their ancestral lands and the desecration of the Buddhist faith. Last year a friend at Shanghai bureau of the Washington Post wanted to cover the self-immolations but his editor told him; “Who gives a fuck about a few dead Tibetans? We have bigger fish to fry with China.”

Tibet at Midnight

I look at the Tibet movement today with terrible sadness. There is virtually no political or financial support for an issue of such magnitude. But I cannot regret the decades I gave to this cause. I have met individuals of unassailable virtue, who have not forgotten the millions murdered by Mao, the millions still trapped in poverty and labor camps. I don’t like having editors reject my articles about Tibet because they are “depressing” and being told by directors of human rights and refugee advocacy organizations that they will not hire me because “you’re too publically associated with the Dalai Lama and we have board members with interests in China.” These are the precise words of the Harvard educated director of one of America’s leading human rights organizations.

Western appeasement has sustained the totalitarian order, and those who challenge it are shackled, whipped, beaten, starved and killed for waving the Tibetan flag, reading the Koran, defending the poor, seeking to reform of the Chinese Communist Party. Western think tanks are filled with books proclaiming China the leader of the 21st century. Which China? The China of Liu Xiaobo and Hong Kong’s democrats? Or the China of Mao, whose police state seethes beneath the glittering cityscapes of Shanghai and Beijing, the police state that I saw in 1975, when the Great Helmsman was still alive?
The Tibet movement hovers at a precipice, penniless and abandoned. Time is running out. Tibet only wins moral victories, which are not enough. The truth is all that is left to us, in this primordial clash of civilizations, the rectitude of HH the Dalai Lama pitted against the repugnant brawn of a huge military dictatorship. If the totalitarian order prevails and China continues to yoke and choke Tibet’s rivers, what will happen to India, Thailand, Nepal? Will the United States and other NATO powers sit on their hands and blush if China strikes Taiwan or Japan? What cards will the Western powers have to play, when they willingly handed the Chinese Communist Party their computer codes and factories in the quest for profit?

All we can do now is wait and watch. For it seems no one wants to listen to us. Our voices have been drowned, our noble leader HH the Dalai Lama shunned and insulted. But I would rather be penniless in India with HH the Dalai Lama than rich in Beijing, clinking glasses with well-fed brutes from the Chinese Communist Party, like so many of my Harvard colleagues.

So I would like to ask the many Americans and Europeans who are beneficiaries of the open societies in which they live in comfort and freedom, who have moved their factories to China, leaving millions of their countrymen without work and dignity, empowering the Communist masters who treat their own people like slaves, and contributing greatly to the climate crisis with their wasteful, profoundly un-democratic model of growth and of power, I would like to ask them just one thing:



Remembering you... Amma...

Its two years today since you left us, after a battle of 3 years.. leaving us in dark, the void yet to be filled. Each moment a memory, still afresh in mind.

Rather than sit and brood over the loss, I decided to vent my feelings out in words.. the words becoming poems, you made me a poet... and I am on a mission..

"Let me kiss you" a poem I had written based on what I saw in you, a poem on the different phases of a Cancer patient's life, a dedication to you and million others, is now translated to many languages including #Spanish, #German, #Portuguese, #Arabic, #Hungarian, #Hindi, #Tamil, #Malayalam and many more to come. Strangers now friends who readily helped me in this mission by putting in hours to bring the translation alive. I am on a mission, to translate the poem to as many languages as possible, and art forms. A friend helped me recreate the poem in a canvas, the Angel guides me from my room's wall.
I feel your guiding force even today...

Shri Narendra Modi was kind enough to encourage me on this mission and wrote to me condoling and encouraging me on my mission...

An International documentary, The Legacy of Menla (https://www.facebook.com/thelegacyofmenla) in which I have shared your story, is soon to be released... I want the world to know.. your life...

I want the memories to be alive.. 'Seasons' thoughts in poetry was released this day, last year, at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre, Kochi, the place where you left us behind, two years back. My mentors, Sethu Das Sir (http://www.designandpeople.org/sethu.das/) and Dr. Dinesh M, (http://www.aimshospital.org/get-help/doctors/centers/4733/dr-m-dinesh-md-dnb/) encouraged me and helped me in this. Words are not enough to thank Sona Ma'am(https://www.facebook.com/sona.chaudhuri.3) and Geemol Ma'am, Amrita Hospital.

Seasons is now a part of many people's library including Buddhist Monasteries, Doctors, Member of Parliament, Supreme Court Judges, Business school Library, Activists and poem lovers. And the mission continues...

I find solace volunteering in places you have been. #Wellbeing camps (http://www.friendsoftibet.org/wellbeing/) helped me find a new meaning in my life, now a part of me.

You made me know #Tibet, and now #FreeTibet is a cause close to me. Thousands of people living in a land which is not theirs, and denied of land which is theirs...

I am indebted to many who were with us in the last moments, and to my colleagues at work Bijeesh Kuttikrishnan and Rakesh Er who were with me in the last moments, and who are still with me.

You guide me in each step of my life, and each stepping stone is a tribute to you...

Indian Air Force Reportedly Issues Security Warning Against Xiaomi Products
by , October 24, 2014xiaomi_phones_on_display_reuters.jpg

Is using a Xiaomi smartphone a security risk? The Indian Air Force (IAF) seems to think so. In a circular apparently distributed by the IAF to its personnel and their families, it advises against using handsets made by the Chinese company, according to a recent report. Xiaomi is no stranger to allegations of spying on its users - in July, a security firm had reported that Xiaomi phones were pre-loaded with software to spy on you.

Xiaomi assured users that this was not the case and recently, the company has also shifted some smartphone data out of China because of these privacy concerns.
The report about the IAF states that smartphones and notebooks made by Xiaomi have been found to send users' private data to servers in Beijing. This is strange considering that Xiaomi does not have any laptops yet - there are rumours that the company will release one, but none have been released so far. The report also mentions F-secure's findings that Xiaomi phones were forwarding information to Beijing. This does not take into account a later report by F-secure, which noted that the security flaws had been plugged.
According to Hugo Barra's blog post on Google+, data from non-Chinese users will be moved to Amazon servers in the United States and data centres in Singapore. Although there is no indication to suggest that the announcement about Xiaomi moving its data centres out of China is connected to the IAF circular, this move is nonetheless very important for it as it grows.
While it is frequently referred to as the Apple of China, Xiaomi's overseas growth is only beginning. Having the data centres in other parts of the world will address security concerns and lead to speedier services for customers around the world as well. Whether the IAF will issue a follow up telling its members that they can go ahead and buy the phone even after these changes is another matter.

Referendum in Scotland - What about Tibet?

Scotland has fought for their right and self-determined their future. But Tibet is still being deprived of this right. Not only have these two peoples a striking number of parallelisms of national destiny, but they also share family ties.George Bogle, the Scottish diplomat, was the first non-missionary Europeans in Tibet. In 1774 he stayed for 6 months at the court of the Panchen Lama in Shigatse and had not only cultivated friendly relationship with the formerde facto ruler of Tibet (interim between the 7th and 8th Dalai Lama), but had also had two daughters with the putative sister of his distinguished friend.

55.3% of the 5.3 million Scots have decided on September 18, 2014 to remain in the Union of 1707. The 307-year-old Kingdom of “Great Britain" will continue to exist and hence, together with Northern Ireland the "United Kingdom"of 1801 too. London, the majority of the 64 million subjects of the Kingdom, the EU, the NATO etc are relieved to see this result which they had hoped for but not necessarily anticipated with such clarity.

Nevertheless, the referendum entails legal and strategic implications both at national and international level. London and other capital cities have to face the reality that one reads in the commentary columns: Nothing will remain the same. Scotland will get the promised rights, followed by Wales and Northern Ireland. The border regions of England will also claim the same because they not only feel that they are being neglected by London, they now are afraid of falling behind Scotland and possibly behind Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

Implications are unavoidable for both Europe and the world. The Catalonians, visible everywhere with their flag during the referendum, Flanders and South Tyrols in Europe as well as other disenfranchised peoples and nations around the world will now demand independence, to get at the end at least more autonomy rights, because this is the cry of this referendum.

London did not try to stop the Scottish Parliament's decision to hold a referendum in 2014, on the one hand it wanted to respect the democratic rights of the people, on the other hand with less than 20% for independence,London felt itself in safety. As the "Yes-Vote" gradually caught up, and just before the election the opinion poll threatened to change, there was panic in London and the leaders of the three political parties promised the Scotsmore rights if they would support "No-Vote".

Tibet should follow the path of Scotland and push through a referendum. The right to self-determination is indivisible and the right of every people. The UN General Assembly in its resolution 1723 (XVI) on 12.20.1961 has clearly recognised the right of the Tibetan people to self-determination. The International Commission of Jurists has delineated in their study of 1997, who will be entitled to participate in the referendum.

The Scottish referendum shows the fatality of the Policy of the Middle Way of Dharamsala. Without Beijing's quid pro quo Dharamsala is increasingly deviating from his just demand, which has at best frustrated active Tibetans andweakened the freedom struggle. The panic reaction of London shortly before the vote is a lesson for rethinking.Attention is now directed to Dharamsala

(Translated into English from German by Tsewang Norbu, author of the commentary)
Source: Brennpunkt TIBET 4/2014, the Magazine of the Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V. to be published by the end of October 2014)