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China, Tibet and the real-politick

By Graeme Mills - posted Tuesday, 18 March 2008

It is interesting to compare the history of Tibet with Australia.

Tibet had been part of Greater China since 1279. Well, from China’s perspective. Tibet has always begged to differ, but as long as they sent some loot to the Chinese Emperor and were duly obsequious, things rubbed along OK. Tibet evolved from a warrior state to one of peace, love and monasteries. Monasteries where the monks sat and contemplated peace, love and how to live for many, many lifetimes: while the average “joe” worked hard to supply the necessary loot to build the monasteries and staff them with contemplative monks.

In 1949 the “New” China marched in and changed all that.


Australia was looked after, extremely well, for about 50,000 years by an essentially peaceful people who had learned to live in harmony with nature. It certainly was not a warrior state, and did not go around the region kicking other States in the googlies.

The life was not arduous, and consisted mainly of wandering around getting enough to eat, which usually did not take all that long, so the rest of the time was spent in contemplation and ceremony. In 1788 Britain marched in and changed all that.

For both countries it has been an exercise in real-politick, the defeat of the weaker power by the stronger power.

Indeed, that has been the history of the world. It is the basis of co-existence between all species, all plants, all microbes … everything.

For the last 220 years the Australians who looked after this land for 50,000 years have had to come to terms with the invasion and defeat of their nation(s). Reconciliation is a recognition of that reality, the “is”. What “ought” to have happened is a mute point, because it “didn’t”. Reconciliation is the final capitulation that tries to salvage some measure of dignity. It is the recognition of the real-politick, the defeat of their nation by the stronger power.

For nearly 60 years the Tibetans have had to come to terms with the invasion and defeat of what they thought was their nation. There has been weak and very peaceful protest for all that time, which has had all the effect of waving a wet tissue at a very self-satisfied dragon. A dragon that occasionally breathes fire onto the protestors to show where the real power lies.


And the rest of the world? Well, lets face it, apart from a few ineffectual bleeding heart liberals, the rest of the world couldn’t give a toss. Bleeding heart liberals, I have found, seem to mix up their “is” with their “ought” and get into terribly confused muddles. They are the “wombats” of the world, well meaning, cute, but essentially pointless.

From China’s point of view, Tibet has always been a part of China. Tibet is also the roof of the world and was (and is) a key strategic area in a threatening world. Mao, for all the demonising of the West, essentially wanted to reduce the inequality between the haves and the have-nots. He perceived that Tibet was run by a lot of very rich monks in very rich monasteries who lived off the sweat and labour of the peasants. He reasoned that all the wealth should be more evenly distributed. He also believed that you cannot have many nations within a nation and many competing leaders. To be strong, China had to be unified under one leader. So, the Dalai Lama was regarded by China as simply another leader who wanted (wants) his power back. The monks, as a ruling elite who simply wanted their power back.

They were never going to get it because they were the weaker power.

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About the Author

Graeme Mills was born 1955 in a country town. He left for Sydney to go to university and lived there for 20 years before retiring back to the same country town where he now lives. His was mainly in property, finance and development. Graeme holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (majors in English and History) and a recently acquired Law Degree. He has written two books, both unpublished which he is investigating publishing online. He now has an extended family in China which has given him a whole new focus to life. He set up the BLOGs Dialectic Blue and Kaixin to give vent to this new direction.

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