News

Dalai Lama Seen as Instigator and Solution in China-Tibet Struggle

The Dalai Lama gestures as he arrives to give a religious talk at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharamsala, India, Oct. 23, 2011.
The Dalai Lama gestures as he arrives to give a religious talk at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharamsala, India, Oct. 23, 2011.

One of the key demands Tibetan self-immolation protesters have been calling for as they set themselves on fire is for China to allow the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet.   Some Tibet analysts say Beijing is missing a crucial opportunity by not engaging the Dalai Lama to find a compromise to the situation.  But, from China’s perspective, increasingly so, it is Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader that is the problem, not the solution.  

It is no secret that China distrusts the Dalai Lama.   He is routinely blamed as being the source of unrest in Tibetan parts of China and is the frequent target of scathing attacks in China’s state media and in Internet chat rooms.

Late last week, the state-run Chinese website China Tibet Online carried a commentary that not only accused the religious leader of instigating the self-immolations, but of advocating what it said was “Nazi-style” racial segregation. The official Xinhua news agency also published the commentary.

View an interactive timeline of the Tibetan self-immolations from Radio Free Asia

Tibet specialists in China say that while those who self-immolate may be calling out for the exiled spiritual leader’s return, the Dalai Lama’s influence is waning in Tibetan parts of the country.  Chinese authorities have branded the acts as terrorism and say those who have participated in the flaming protests are largely individuals who are social outcasts and criminals.

Tanzen Lhundup, with the China Tibetology Research Center in Beijing, said “When talking about a historical solution, we should first note that the Dalai Lama chose to flee to India in 1959, no one sent him to India. It is not the central government that sent him there. He chose to go there himself. And now, over 50 years have passed. Tibet has become a historical issue.”

He added, “We note that the people who set themselves alight make the request that the Dalai Lama come back form India to China. The fact is that the central government has never stopped him from coming back. We have all along hoped that he would come back, but he chose not to.”

Chinese academics also argue that the Tibet of today, is not the same place the Dalai Lama left over five decades ago. Instead, they say, it is a place in transition.

However, what Tibetan parts of China are transitioning to is unclear.

Some Western Tibet experts believe that time is running out for any type of negotiations between the Dalai Lama and Chinese authorities.  Tibet's exiled spiritual leader is getting older and the last time representatives from the two sides met, was in 2008.

Robert Barnett, a Tibet specialist at Columbia University, said, “At the same time the Tibet issue inside Tibet is shifting very fast from an issue that is about discontent with the Chinese government … to a real desperation, a real sense among many Tibetans that China cannot be trusted at all, that there is no way you can make a deal with China.”

The Dalai Lama says that what he is seeking is greater autonomy for the Tibetan people in China and guarantees that their identity, language, religion, and culture be preserved.  But China believes the Dalai Lama’s ultimate goal is independence for Tibet.

Thupten Jinpa is the Dalai Lama’s English translator. He says that while the Dalai Lama has formally stated that Tibetans are willing to let go of their demand for independence and seek some kind of accommodation within the larger family of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing appears to lack the political will to reach any kind of a solution. “From a cynical point of view, one could say that their strategy may be to simply wait out the present Dalai Lama, and their calculation is that once he’s gone, then there will be no energy left in the freedom movement, the international community will no longer pay any attention and then gradually the issue will disappear. But I think this is quite a big gamble," he said.

He says Tibetans are seeking something similar to what China has set up in Hong Kong. “Culturally speaking, Hong Kong people are much closer to mainland China, but because of its history and economic importance, China has been able to create a particular model of governance at the local level in Hong Kong.  From the Tibetan perspective, when we look at this, we know that the Chinese can do this, but at the same time, when it comes to Tibet, they seem to be completely paralyzed," he said.

Yet, while China’s leaders may appear paralyzed when it comes to Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, they have recently expressed some sympathy for the protestors - albeit while condemning their actions.

And one possible sign that China may be trying to get a different perspective on the situation came in a recent report published in the state-run Global Times newspaper.  According to the report, Chinese authorities recently dispatched more than 20,000 officials to visit some 5,000 plus villages in Tibet.  The purpose of the visits, the report says, was for officials from government bodies and institutes to live and eat with villagers, understand their demands and help them solve their problems promptly.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs