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Destroying Tibetan identity

By Arthur Thomas - posted Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The Tibet rights factor was prominent in the Insight forum on SBS "Going to China", with interesting and lively participation and views on the direction of negotiations with China.

The Dalai Lama is actively pursuing a peaceful solution for the rights and future of the Tibetan People and Tibetan culture in talks with China via his "Middle way". This is a peaceful coexistence concept with full autonomy for the Tibetans and their inalienable right to retain their culture and practice their religion.

There is however growing militancy, mostly among the young within and outside Tibet due to the failure of progress in the "Middle Way" caused by China's delaying and intransigent tactics and lack of respect for the religious leader.


Despite the Dalai Lama's best intentions, the "Middle Way" will never happen and the reasons are clearly enshrined in the principles of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). This demands unconditional obedience and loyalty to the Party before all else. The PLA (People's Liberation Army) is at the CCP's exclusive disposal to enforce this command if and when the need arises.

In democratic countries it is the government that is responsible to the people and the military is there to protect the people and the country.

This is not the case in China where the Government is the Chinese Communist Party and the difference can be found enshrined within the guiding principles of the PLA. “Obeying the Party comes before defending the country”.

Freedom of religion is in direct conflict with official policy and the CCP will not tolerate belief or loyalty to any individual, body or icon before the CCP. The CCP sees religion as undermining the stability of the state and creating civil unrest. There is also an ongoing policy of denigrating the Dalai Lama and his honest intentions that only increases dissent.

The CCP ridicules the concept that Tibetans have the capacity to rule and develop a nation such as Tibet in modern times with a government based on religion, made up of monks and lead by the Dalai Lama.

Despite Beijing's best efforts, the current Panchen Lama, selected and educated by the CCP, will never be recognised or accepted by the Tibetan population as their true spiritual leader. The selection process did not comply with the ancient and accepted selection process of the monasteries.


China on the other hand is intent on delay, waiting for the death of the Dalai Lama so that they can replace him with their own chosen and Chinese educated Panchen Lama.

The CCP considers that a “bunch of monks” are incapable of governing or developing Tibet in modern times from a religious base. Is that merely an over simplistic concept based on ignorance that fails to recognise existing and increasing latent abilities of Tibetans and fuelled by fear?

One does not have to look far to find one state that belies this concept and successfully runs an extensive global “empire” with ambassadors and "citizens" living in harmony, and respected around the globe. It successfully manages an amassed wealth exceeding that of many countries including Tibet. That state is the Holy See and its government comprises a collective mind of scholars and experts in every field beyond religion that includes modern technology, the sciences, finance, development, politics, environment, history and the humanities to name but a few.

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About the Author

Arthur Thomas is retired. He has extensive experience in the old Soviet, the new Russia, China, Central Asia and South East Asia.

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