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Editorial

The dragon breathes fire

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By EMN Updated: Nov 03, 2013 9:40 pm
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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Chinese government has shown no signs of moving toward peace and reconciliation with Tibet. This, despite the Nobel Peace Laureate and spiritual leader of the Tibetans, His Holiness the Dalai Lama having conducted hundreds of conferences, lectures and workshops worldwide, as part of his humanitarian efforts.The latest reports by news agencies are that China intends to “stamp out” the voice of the exiled Tibetan spiritual and temporal leader in his restive and remote homeland. The Chinese Government has tried to prevent Tibetans from listening to or watching programmes broadcast from outside the Land of the Dragon or accessing any information about the Dalai Lama and the exiled government on the internet and has succeeded to do so to some extent.
However, wherever there is a ban, reactions always follow. Tibetans still access news either via satellite television or by skirting Chinese internet. This is because Tibet has been under the yoke of the Dragon which is still breathing fire and the Tibetans still nurture a light of hope shining in their hearts vis-à-vis the Dalai Lama and all that he stands for.
Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political leader, has strived to make Tibet an independent and democratic state from China. He was born Lhamo Thondup on July 6, 1935 in Taktser, China. At age 15, he assumed political power of Tibet as the Dalai Lama in 1950. The People’s Republic of China invaded the country the same year and soon overpowered Tibet’s defence forces.
In the wake of the invasion, the Dalai Lama, and nearly 100,000 Tibetans fled into exile. The Dalai Lama himself was smuggled out through Arunachal Pradesh, and took refuge in the Tawang monastary in West Kameng district. Its over 60 years since the 17-point agreement between Tibet and China were made. Beijing had begun its occupation of Tibet and was in uncompromising mood over what it regarded as the reunification of all China’s territories.
At the time, even the Tibetan leaders believed the agreement would bring them some benefits, but it did not turn out the way they hoped.
Since then, the Dalai Lama has taken numerous actions in hopes of establishing an autonomous Tibetan state within the People’s Republic of China.
In the years after, Tibet’s remarkable culture and its inhabitants, have been systematically persecuted. Alexander Solzhenitsyn described China’s rule in Tibet as “more brutal and inhuman than any other communist regime in the world.” The destruction of Tibet’s culture and oppression of its people was brutal during the twenty years following the uprising.
Despite forty years of Chinese occupation and various policies designed to assimilate or signify Tibetans and to destroy their separate national, cultural and religious identity, the international community reacted with shock at the events in Tibet. The overall impact of the influx is devastating because the Chinese not only control the political and military power in Tibet, but also the economic life and even cultural and religious life of the people
The question of Tibet was discussed on numerous occasions by the U.N. General Assembly between 1959 and 1965. Three resolutions were passed by the General Assembly condemning China’s violations of human rights in Tibet and calling upon China to respect those rights, including Tibet’s right to self-determination.
Dalai Lamas are believed to be the reincarnation of Avalokitesvara, an important Buddhist deity and the personification of compassion. Dalai Lamas are also enlightened beings who have postponed their own afterlife and chosen to take rebirth to benefit humanity. The title of Dalai Lama is literally “Ocean Teacher,” meaning a “teacher spiritually as deep as the ocean.”
Unlike other religions that are centered on a supreme being, Buddhism is centered on four basic truths: Life is not perfect; people are left unsatisfied by trying to make life perfect; people can realize there is a better way to achieve fulfillment; and by living one’s life through wisdom, ethical conduct and mental discipline, people will reach enlightenment.
Like Nagas, the Tibetan people’s determination to preserve their heritage and regain their freedom is as strong as ever. The situation has led to confrontation inside Tibet and to large scale Chinese propaganda efforts internationally.
The Dalai Lama has always insisted that his return to Tibet is not the issue; instead, the question that needs to be addressed is the future of the six million Tibetans inside Tibet. It is the Dalai Lama’s opinion that his own return will depend entirely upon resolving the question of the status and rights of Tibet and its people.
The Chinese military as well as the civilian build up in Tibet has been a source of great concern to India, as it impacts directly on India’s security. Tibet acted for centuries as a vital buffer between China and India. It is only when Chinese troops faced Indian troops on the Indo-Tibetan border that tensions, and even war, developed between the world’s most populous powers.
The more Tibet is converted into a Chinese province, populated by Chinese, the stronger China’s strategic position along the Himalayas will be. China’s growing military reach has now become a source of concern to many Asian nations as well as to India.
Recent events in Tibet have intensified the dispute over its legal status. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims that Tibet is an integral part of China. The Tibetan government-in-exile maintains that Tibet is an independent state under unlawful occupation.
The PRC makes no claim to sovereign rights over Tibet as a result of its military subjugation and occupation of Tibet following the country’s invasion in I949-I950. Thus, China does not allege that it has acquired sovereignty by means of conquest, annexation or prescription in this period. Instead, it bases its claim to Tibet solely on their theory that Tibet has been an integral part of China for centuries.
In many cases, such as the present one, it is necessary to examine a country’s history in order to determine its status. Such a historical study should logically be based primarily on the country’s own historical sources, rather than on interpretations contained in official sources of a foreign state, especially one claiming rights over the country in question. This may seem self-evident to most.
The military plays a greater role in the administration of Tibet than any Chinese province, and no Tibetan serves in the leadership of the military district governing Tibet.
Human rights conditions in Tibet remain dismal. Under the Chinese occupation, the Tibetan people are denied most rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including the rights to self-determination, freedom of speech, assembly, movement, expression and travel.
Looking at Tibet and the dilemma of its people, Nagas in Nagaland have so much to learn from what the Tibetan people have achieved despite the odds. We are envied because we have our own land and state and the laws which govern us. Tibetans have settled in several parts on India including Nagaland and also in various parts of the world. They work for their livelihood wherever they are. In today’s world it may sound rather ironic but as per Buddhism’s tenets the Dalai Lama had stated: “The true value of existence is revealed through compassion.”

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By EMN Updated: Nov 03, 2013 9:40:42 pm