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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora