Tibet: Conscience Of The World
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives has called for an international probe to clear the Dalai Lama’s name in the violent protests in Tibet.
“If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against Chinese oppression and China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world,” Mrs Pelosi said.
She also said she was not surprised “about the use of violence on the part of the Chinese government.”
Mrs Pelosi is in India leading a U.S. delegation on climate change talks, and was presented with an orange ceremonial scarf by the Dalai Lama, who she described as “the embodiment of non-violence.”
The Dalai Lama espouses a middle path of greater autonomy for Tibet rather than full independence, and has said he is willing to hold talks with Chinese leaders once the protests have died down.
The Dalai Lama said he was willing to meet President Hu Jintao of China a day after Britain’s Gordon Brown said he had been told by his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, that he too was willing to hold negotiations.
But for this to happen, a major shift by Beijing would be needed. It has previously held out the possibility of negotiations, but has always accused the Dalai Lama of not being sincere.
Soon after Pelosi met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yan said no “country, organisation or person” should “take any irresponsible act or say irresponsible words” on happenings in Tibet.
“We oppose any country, any organisation, any person to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Yan told reporters here when asked to comment on Pelosi’s meeting with the Tibetan leader.
Paramilitary police march in front of a lion statue in the main square in Zhongdian, in an area known as Shangri-La, in China’s southwest Yunnan province Friday March 21, 2008. Thousands of troops converged on foot, in trucks and helicopters in Tibetan areas of western China on Friday as the government stepped up its manhunt for protesters in last weeks anti-government riots in Tibet’s capital. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
China state media says Tibet protests have spread to other provinces The official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday on “riots in Tibetan-inhabited areas in the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu, both neighboring Tibet.” It blamed the protests on supporters of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader.
A Tibetan nun is arrested while demonstrating against China near the UN office in Kathmandu, Nepal on Thursday, March 20, 2008.
According to a press release issued here Thursday from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Russian, Belarusian and Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesmen all expressed their support for China’s efforts to stop the unlawful activities in an aim to restore local peace and stability and their confidence in China’s capability of hosting the Olympic Games. Pakistani and Mauritania foreign ministries issued statements on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively applauding Beijing’s commitment to host the Olympic event, stressing that their countries oppose to any attempts to sabotage or politicize the Beijing Olympics, as well as the conspiracies to undermine China’s sovereignty and territory integrity.
Singapore’s Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan said, “It is vital to keep sporting competitions and politics separate. We must not let politics obstruct the sports.”
On the same day, Lesotho Foreign Minister Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa said in his meeting with Chinese ambassador that Lesotho will back China’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and territory integrity, stressing that the handling of the Lhasa riot was China’s internal affairs and no other countries have the right to make irresponsible remarks on the issue.
The press release also said that ambassadors in Beijing from Arabian nations all expressed their shock to the violence that occurred in Lhasa, saying that their countries support China’s approaches to safeguard national security and restore social stability, and would continue to adhere to the one-China policy.
China appears to be ramping up its security presence in Tibet and neighboring regions, and has admitted that security forces shot four people in the southwestern Sichuan province. Beijing has also expelled all foreign journalists from the region. Werner Pfennig, a political scientist at Berlin’s Free University, is pessimistic about the prospects of any change happening soon.
Both sides of this story are compelling. However, as with the crisis in the middle east, ancient cultural boundaries are rising to the top of political agendas. If this trend continues, the American Indian cultures have a precedent to reclaim the world that Europeans invaded six centuries ago. Tibet has over 3000 years of history. In the 1800s, Britain, Tsarist Russia and China all fought for control of this inhospitable region. “The People’s Republic of China and the Government of Tibet in Exile disagree over when, or if, Tibet became a part of China, and whether this incorporation into China is legitimate according to international law. Although Tibet proclaimed its independence from China in 1911, no country has ever recognized it as a sovereign nation. “Indeed, at no time did any western power come out in favor of its independence or grant it diplomatic recognition.” It is time for this long unresolved part of history, must be addressed by the world. The world must decide whether or not Tibet and its culture will be destroyed by a jealous China, once and for all. Obviously, Tibetans want their own country and to be left alone by intrusive and destructive forces.