Saturday, March 15, 2008



The Government of India has adopted a two-pronged policy in relation to the outbreak of a revolt in Tibet in protest against the continued occupation of Tibet by China and the violation of the human rights of the Tibetans by the Chinese.

2.It has prevented the Tibetan refugees in India from indulging in activities which might result in acts of violence or disruption directed against Chinese nationals and interests in India and in dramatic acts such as their professed intention of crossing the border into Tibet, which could lead to an undesirable escalation of cross-border tensions. At the same time, it has expressed its distress over the situation in Tibet and called for a dialogue so that the Tibetans don't feel the need to take to acts of violence in their desperation. A spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India said on March 15,2008: , "We would hope that all those involved will work to improve the situation and remove the causes of such trouble in Tibet, which is an autonomous region of China, through dialogue and non-violent means."

3. This is the right approach--- expressing our moral support to the Tibetans in accordance with our national interests without identifying ourselves with the attempts of anti-China activists in the West---particularly the US--- to exploit the continued alienation of the Tibetans and their desperation to create embarrassment for China before and during the Olympic Games in the hope of thereby achieving their own foreign policy goals in matters such as greater Chinese pressure on North Korea on the nuclear issue and on the military junta in Myanmar on the issue of the restoration a of genuine democracy and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

4. There are two issues involved here---- the aspirations of the Tibetans and using the Tibetans to needle China and create diificulties for it in organising the Olympic Games and making a success of it. While supporting the aspirations of the Tibetans in a sophisticated manner, we should not identify ourselves with the attempts of anti-China activists to sabotage the Olympic Games. We should do whatever we can in helping China in making a success of the Olympic Games. If India is seen as discreetly helping the efforts of the anti-China activists in their anti-Beijing Olympics Great Game, we will hurt the feelings of national pride of over a billion Chinese. This is not in our national interest.

5. Indira Gandhi disapproved the attempts of the West to exploit the Afghanistan issue to embarrass and humiliate the erstwhile USSR as the host of the 1980 Olympics by organising a boycott of the Moscow Games.A similar attempt is now on to exploit the Tibetan issue to embarrass and humiliate China as the host of the forthcoming Olympics by organising, if possible, a boycott of the Beijing Olympics or at least, a disruption of it. India should strongly oppose this and should advise the Dalai Lama too not to let the Tibetanbs be used by the anti-China activists in the US to target the Beijing Olympics. These activists had waged a fierce campaign against the award of the Beijing Olympics by the International Olympics Committee. Having failed in their attempts, they are now trying to sabotage the Games.

6. Our aim should be not to embarrass and humiliate China, but to persuade it to change its policy on Tibet and enter into a dialogue with the Dalai Lama on mutually agreed terms. India should play the role of a facilitator of such a dialogue. India has done well in expressing openly its distress over the turn of events in Tibet and in expressing its interest in a dialogue and not a street confrontation between the Chinese and the Tibetans. It could consider one more step at this important point in the history of the Tibetan issue----- removing all informal restrictions on official and social interactions with the Dalai Lama and his advisers. Though not openly admitted, such informal restrictions exist. We saw it at the end of last year, when the Cabinet Secretary to the Government of India was reported to have advised all Ministers of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh, not to attend a public reception for the Dalai Lama to felicitate him on the award of the Congressional Medal of Honour to him in the US. Greater interactions between the Prime Minister and the Dalai Lama in the form of exchange of courtesy calls, meetings for discussions etc should be considered.

7. Till now, our policy has been to make a clear distinction between the religious and political dimensions of our stand with regard to the Dalai Lama. We have been saying that the courtesies and honour extended by us to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees is because of his stature as a highly respected Buddhist leader in the land where Buddhism was born, but it has no political significance and does not imply our tacit support for his political views. We should now make it clear that we consider that the Dalai Lama is also an important political figure in the eyes of the Tibetans and hence, his political views have to be considered in determinuing our policy on Tibet.

8. Expressing our moral support to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans, without damaging our relations with the Chinese leadership and people----that should be the objective of our policy. The Tibetan issue has defied a solution for over 50 years. It will be wrong and unwise to think that it can be solved now---- or at least a beginning made in that direction--- by exploiting the Chinese eagerness to make a success of the Beijing Olympics.

9. There are many landmines in the path of policy-making and implementation. As we fine-tune our policy and push it forward gradually, there could be misperceptions and misinterpretations in China with not only negative impact on our relations with China, but also with renewed tensions across the border, particularly in the Arunachal Pradesh sector. We are likely to see a reversion back to the period between the 1960s and the 1980s when the Chinese military was in the driving seat of policy-making on Tibet. It was during that period that we saw the military confrontation of 1962 and the subsequent tensions in Sino-Indian relations.

10. The confidence of the Chinese political leadership that they have pacified Tibet and its people once and for all has been badly shaken. The current revolt shows there has been no emotional integration between the Tibetans and the Han settlers in Tibet. The fear of the masses would once again distort the Chinese military mindset in Tibet. They would not admit that their policies towards the Tibetan people are responsible for the revolt. Instead, they would see with greater conviction than in the past that the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees in India are the source of all their problems in Tibet and not their policies. The temptation to divert international attention away from Tibet to Arunachal Pradesh and Dharamsala by engaging in military moves in the Arunachap Pradesh area would be strong..

11. The conventional wisdom holds that the Chinese are so eager to make a success of the Olympics that they would not make any negative moves. This could be so, if the situation in Tibet calms down without any more escalation. But if the revolt further deteriorates and if the Chinese find themselves facing a situation where the choice is between saving their hold on Tibet and saving the Olympics, they would not hesitate to give priority to the suppression of the Tibetans. Their behaviour with relation to Arunachal Pradesh could become unpredictable.

12. Renewed cross-border military tensions----even Chinese incursions of a major nature--- in the Arunachal Pradesh sector after the Olympics is a possibility to be factored into in our scenario-buiding and policy-making exercise

13. Our presence in Arunachal Pradesh should be further strengthened and the various infrastructure projects recently announced by the Prime Minister during his visit to the area should be pushed through vigorously.

14.Some of the articles written by me during the last one year relating to the Olympics and Tibet----implications of the Olympics for Tibet and the implications of Tibet for the Olympics--- are available at (16-3-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

October 26,2007--
China in Hu's Colours--Part III

By B. Raman

In a despatch on October 21, 2007, the State-owned Hsinhua news agency of China reported as follows: "For the first time in its history, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has mentioned the word "religion" in an amendment to its Constitution, adopted on Sunday (October 21, 2007) at the closing session of the 17th CPC National Congress. To insert CPC's guiding principles and policies in religious work in the Party Constitution is conducive to their full implementation, according to a resolution on the amendment to the Constitution. It said the insertion has been made to meet the demands posed by the new situation and new tasks. The CPC has been widely known as atheistic since its founding in 1921."

2. The actual text of the amendment has not been available so far. However, a resolution on the amendments passed by the Congress at its concluding session stated as follows: "The Congress holds that incorporating into the Constitution the principles and policies the Party has formulated for guiding efforts to strengthen the armed forces as well as the work related to ethnic and religious affairs, the united front and foreign affairs in light of the new circumstances and tasks is conducive to fully implementing these principles and policies and getting better results in the work in these areas."

3. In the past, the reference used to be to "the work related to ethnic affairs". The Tibetans and the Uighurs were treated as ethnic communities and not as distinct religious communities. The Catholics and the Protestants were not treated as distinct religious communities. They were identified with whatever ethnic group to which they belonged. Does the present reference to "ethnic and religious affairs" presage their being treated as not only ethnic groups, but also distinct religious groups? It would be difficult to answer this question till more details become available.

4. The Chinese project every concept or idea as having unique Chinese characteristics. Thus, they have "socialism with Chinese characteristics" and "democracy with Chinese characteristics". Similarly, they have religious freedom too with Chinese characteristics, though they do not openly use that expression. One could give the following examples of the Chinese characteristics of religious freedom:
The Buddhists have the freedom of worship in their places of worship, but they cannot project the Dalai Lama as their leader or possess his picture. Nor can they speak of their faith in reincarnation. They have to accept the Panchen Lama chosen by the Communist Party. When the Dalai Lama dies, they have to similarly accept the Dalai Lama chosen by the Party. Reports from Sikkim say that local trans-border traders have complained of harassment by the Chinese police in Tibetan territory for possessing pictures of the Dalai Lama.
The Catholics and the Protestants similarly have the freedom of worship in their churches, but the Catholics cannot project the Pope as the head of the Catholic church or possess his picture. The Chinese look upon the Dalai Lama and the Pope as political and not religious figures.
The Muslims too have the freedom of worship in their mosques, but they cannot have madrasas to impart religious education to their children. There are also restrictions on how they worship in order to prevent large gatherings at the time of worship. To talk of jihad even in the benign sense (the inner struggle to make oneself a better Muslim) is a crime.

5. The apparent decision of the Congress to give a de jure recognition to religion in the Party Constitution has come in the wake of continuous pressure from the West---particularly the US--- on the Chinese Government to grant full religious freedom to those Chinese who believe in religion. The decision has also been motivated by the desire to improve the image of China as it nears next year's Beijing Olympics. To improve its visage, China has been using a lot of cosmetics and religious freedom is one of them.

6. The pre-Olympics angle is evident from the report on this amendment carried by the Chinese media. To quote from a despatch of the Hsinhua news agency: "The CPC is atheistic but allows freedom of religious beliefs. China is home to 100 million religious faithful, largely Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Catholics and Islamites. "The Party's secret in handling well China's religious issues lies in its principles and policies," said Ye Xiaowen, director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs. "Their insertion in the Party Constitution shows the Party is sincere, and capable, of its implementation of policies on the freedom of religious beliefs." He said religious problems are reported in many parts of the world. "But in China we enjoy peace and quiet because we have the established policies and principles." With the new elaboration on religious work, Ye said the Party is determined to enhance the active role of the religious circle and faithful in boosting social and economic development. Hao Peng, vice Party chief in Tibet, described the relations between the Party and the religious faithful as "united, cooperative and mutually respectful". The CPC's tenet of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, featuring prosperity, democracy, cultural advancement and harmony, reflect the common aspirations of Tibet's religious faithful, said Zhukang Tubdankezhub, president of the Tibetan branch of the Buddhist Association of China. As the host country of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, China has pledged to offer religious services for foreigners arriving for the Games. "A large number of religious faithful will be arriving for the Games," Ye Xiaowen told reporters at a news conference on the sidelines of the 17th Party congress. He said China is working on religious facilities at its Olympic venues with the help of the International Olympic Committee and referring to the practices at previous Games. "Our religious services will be up to previous standards." Ye also dismissed allegations that China restricted the printing and sale of Bibles, which he said receive state subsidies and other preferential policies. China, with 16 million Protestant Christians, has printed 42 million Bibles, he said. "

7. In an article under the title "God As A Threat To National Security" written by me on July 11, 2002, which is available at, I had stated as follows: "The Chinese people have reasons to be grateful to their leadership, which has given them increasing prosperity and a well-run administration. People definitely have more money in their pockets now than in the past and than the people of India have in theirs. Despite this, why are they attracted to God? Why this feeling of emptiness inside them despite a bulging money purse? Why more and more people seek solace in religion and spirituality, even at the risk of falling foul of the establishment? These are questions which continue to confuse and haunt the Chinese leadership, which is not able to find an answer to them. The way they monitor religious and spiritual activities, one gets the impression as if they feel that God is a major threat to their national security. The pragmatic and far-sighted Chinese leadership has handled the economy with aplomb. The chances of political instability due to economic causes are low. One wishes the leadership develops an equal understanding of the force of religion and spirituality. If one day there is serious instability in China and if its society comes unstuck, it will, most probably, be not due to political, economic or social causes, but due to the State continuing to come in the way of the religious and spiritual yearnings of the people. "

8. Mr. Hu's China may no longer see, to the same extent as in the past, God as a major threat to national security, but they continue to see the Dalai Lama as a major threat to their national security and to the smooth holding of the Olympics. Their concerns have increased after the high-profile treatment accorded to His Holiness during his current tour of the US. Their concerns have also increased after seeing the recent massive demonstrations by the Buddhist monks in Myanmar in support of democracy. They are worried over the possibility of the monks of Tibet emulating those of Myanmar. That is why they have been nudging the Myanmar Junta to make overtures to the pro-democracy activists in order to keep the monks off the streets. Remember how the huge demonstrations in Bulgaria, Romania and other Communist countries of East Europe in the late 1980s spread like an European flu? They don't want the Myanmar flu to spread to Tibet.

9. On the eve of the Congress, the Chinese authorities further stepped up their campaign to denigrate His Holiness. They have been projecting the Dalai Lama not as a respected Buddhist leader, but as the leader of an evil sect comparable to the Aum Shinrikiyo of Japan and the Falun Gong of China. They accuse all the three of being evil birds of the same feather. Annexed is an article on the Dalai Lama, which was carried by the "People's Daily" on October 9, 2007. To be continued

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:


Xinhua was authorized on Tuesday to release a signed article by Shi Shan on the relationship between the 14th Dalai Lama, Aum Shinrikyo cult and Falun Gong. The full text of the article is as follows:
The world has seen rapid development in the scientific civilization of mankind, but the malignant tumor of evil cults is still rampant, plunging innocent people into the depths of suffering. Evil cults such as the Solar Temple Cult of the United States, the Falun Gong of China and the Movement of the Restoration of God's Ten Commandments of Uganda wantonly preach the fallacy of "the End of the World", destroy social stability and jeopardize the lives and property of the public. Such perverse acts have aroused strong indignation of the people and governments of various countries. Many countries have staged a fight against evil cults by enacting legislation and setting up special agencies.
Buddhist doctrine advocates good deeds and extrication from the earthly weal and woe. It has also long been viewing evil cults as the "feud of Buddha" and maintaining that "Buddha and demons do not coexist with each other". The 14th Dalai Lama, who boasts to be a "follower of Buddhism" and "human rights fighter", however not only has no hatred toward evil cults but instead shows a great deal of compassion for them. Isn't it worth pondering the reasons behind this? Let's first start with the Aum Shinrikyo cult of Japan. The cult leader Shoko Asahara claimed that it was "the 14th Dalai Lama who personally led him into the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism" and that he could shorten the time needed for one to become a Buddha from 2,000-3,000 years to just 10 years, urging people to ditch the ascetic practices advocated by Buddhism and follow his sect tenets to merrily achieve longevity and even to become a Buddha. The 14th Dalai Lama kept writing certificates or letters of recommendation for Shoko Asahara to the authorities of Tokyo, hailing Shoko Asahara as "a very capable religious teacher" and hoping the authorities would "allow the Aum Shinrikyo Sect to be exempted from tax payments and propagandize its credo. The German weekly Focus reported that without the support of the 14th Dalai Lama, it would have been absolutely impossible for Shoko Asahara to build up his sect empire and, within a short period of very few years, gain status as a cult leader in Japan. In other words, it is the 14th Dalai Lama's all-out "support" that turned Shoko Asahara, a swindler and a mountebank, into "a religious teacher".

It was because of the 14th Dalai Lama who persistently supported and trumpeted Shoko Asahara that the Aum Shinrikyo cult could acquire the privilege of "tax exemption" and accumulated funds to bankroll his cruel evil doing against the Japanese people. In the Spring of 1995, Shoko Asahara organized a terrorist attack by discharging poisonous gas in Tokyo's subway, killing 12 people and injuring 5,000 others. The event sparked indignation from the Japanese people. In October of the same year, Shoko Asahara and his die-hard followers stood public trial in a local court of Tokyo and were punished in line with laws.

Even at this moment, the 14th Dalai Lama who claimed to be a "human rights fighter" still spoke plausibly to the Kyodo News Service that Shoko Asahara remained his friend and that he still thought what the Aum Shinrikyo cult preached was in accordance with Buddhist doctrines. It was the support and connivance of the 14th Dalai Lama who took the foe for his friend that made Asahara feel secure in the knowledge that he had strong backing. The evil cult continued to do evils under the guise of constantly-changed names and leaders. Eventually in 1999, the Japanese Senate completed the legislative procedures against evil cults including the Aum Shinrikyo. The Tokyo authorities also took a number of measures to crack down on the leaders of the evil cult.
Why would the 14th Dalai Lama openly violate the teachings of Sakyamuni that urge his followers to get rid of demons and uphold truth and laws to favor Aum Shinrikyo? Why would he flout the tenets of Buddhism urging the masses not to do evils but to do good deeds? The 14th Dalai Lama had confessed in a letter to the cult, appreciating the Aum Shinrikyo Sect for its "generous donation to our Buddhist collective in exile". Aha, it turned out to be that the "leader" even bartered away the sacred tenet of Buddhism as a cheap bargaining chip in money deals.

It is the 14th Dalai Lama's own deeds that have step by step betrayed his real intentions and political ambitions put under the guise of Buddhism and peace. A weekly newspaper in Manila commented it was a pity that the 14th Dalai Lama wore the cassock of a Lama but played political tricks, spoke of the pursuit of freedom through peaceful means but harbored in mind the vain attempt of restoring the past feudal rule of Lamaism. Even catholic senator P. Santorum of the United States couldn't help exclaiming that such conduct reflected a subdued religious sentiment. He held that to establish a society respecting life, cracking down upon crimes and promoting dignity of mankind, efforts must be made to prevent religion from being individualized. It appears that many people of insight across the world have recognized the tricks of the 14th Dalai Lama in using Tibetan Buddhism to engage in political activities and have stayed on high alert to and repulsed the deed of the Dalai Lama.
Let's now have a look at the 14th Dalai Lama's attitude toward China's evil cult Falun Gong. Cult leader Li Hongzhi of Falun Gong took religion as pretence, trampled upon religious doctrines and thus invited indignation, reprimands and stern objections from the religious circles. They said that Li Hongzhi had blasphemed Buddhism by fabricating his birthday from July 1952 to May 13, 1951, the date on which Sakyamuni was believed to be born. His attempt to pass himself as the reincarnation of Sakyamuni and his bragging about getting true knowledge from Sakyamuni and thus being more powerful than Sakyamuni was "an extreme blasphemy to Buddhism", they said. However, even such an evil cult leader who is denounced by many people and had to flee abroad to escape the punishment of laws secured compassion and admiration from the 14th Dalai Lama. The latter first dispatched his representative to comfort Li Hongzhi and then sent over his representatives to conspire with Li and staged various farces at the time when the 56th World Human Rights Conference was held in Geneva, stopping at nothing to spread lies and rumors and to trumpet anti-China bills.
As one Chinese saying goes: Birds of a feather flock together. The real reasons for the collusion of the 14th Dalai Lama and Li Hongzhi are their shared situation. They are both in exile after their illegal acts to subvert the Chinese government and the Chinese people ended in constant failures under the august Chinese Constitution and laws; Shared nature--They are both not resigned to failures and attempt to hoodwink and manipulate their few domestic followers to carry on making turbulence and to hold back the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation; Shared intention--They are both hostile to their motherland and regard the 1.3 million Chinese as enemies, dreaming a pipe dream of returning to China, with the support of their masters, to materialize their evil objective of splitting China. Imagine the 14th Dalai Lama, the self-proclaimed "religious leader", even condescended to associate with Li Hongzhi who has been labeled by the United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters as a preacher of evil cult and a swindler! This obviously reflects that the 14th Dalai Lama has cornered himself into a dead end!
Source: Xinhua

dECEMBER 4,2007---

Pre-Olympics Revving up of Tibetan Issue: Chinese Concerns

By B. Raman
China has been increasingly concerned over what it views as a US-inspired revving up of the Tibetan issue in the months preceding the Beijing Olympics of August, 2008.

2. This concern, which was there even before, has gone up ever since the recent high-profile visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the US and Canada and the honours given to him in the US----particularly the award of the Congressional Medal of Honour at a Congressional function, which was attended by President George Bush. Even though the Americans projected it merely as an expression of their respect and admiration for a spiritual and humanitarian leader with no political significance, the Chinese suspected that the honours concealed a desire to needle China on the Tibetan issue.

3. As the Olympics approach, what the Americans are up to in Tibet has become a more worrisome question for Chinese policy-makers than what the Americans are up to in Taiwan. Beijing has not treated the Congressional Medal of Honour as a one-event issue to be criticised and forgotten. It continues to express its concerns and unhappiness in various subtle ways. The recent Chinese refusal of permission to US naval ships transiting to and from Japan to touch Hong Kong---which was a significant departure from the post-1997 policy of allowing them to halt in Hong Kong--- is believed to be an outcome of the Chinese unhappiness over the Dalai Lama issue.

4. On November 21, 2007, China cancelled a permission given months ago to the US naval aircraft-carrier USS Kitty Hawk and some support ships to dock in Hong Kong to enable the sailors to spend the Thanksgiving holidays on shore, but it reversed its cancellation, when it realised that it had already given permission months ago. By the time the refusal was reversed, the ships were already on their way to Japan and hence did not dock in Hong Kong.

5. Subsequently, Pentagon officials were quoted by the media as alleging that Beijing also turned away two minesweepers seeking refuge from a storm and a US military flight to resupply the US consulate in Hong Kong. They were quoted as claiming that the Chinese Government has formally notified the Pentagon that it is refusing a request for a port call in Hong Kong over the New Year's holiday by the guided missile frigate USS Reuben James.

6. While neither US nor Chinese officials have connected these refusals to the Dalai Lama issue, non-governmental analysts have. The "Washington Post" of November 25, 2007, has quoted Prof. Shi Yinhong of the People's University in Beijing, as saying as follows: "The U.S. selling weapons to Taiwan is an old issue, and China expresses its dissatisfaction constantly on that. By blocking the warship (USS Kitty Hawk) and its support vessels, China just hoped to use its reluctance, changing its attitude, to tell the United States that China is unhappy with Bush over his decision to personally present the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama."

7. The Chinese concerns have further increased following the pronouncements of the Dalai Lama over the selection of his successor. Just as the Chinese Communist Party has imposed a Panchen Lama of its choice on the Tibetan people, it is determined that when the Dalai Lama dies, his successor would be chosen by a religious process controlled by the party in which the Tibetan exiles would have no role.

8. To pre-empt the Chinese imposing a Party-selected Dalai Lama on the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama has started discussing in public the various options available to him and the Tibetan people. During a visit to Japan in November, 2007, the Dalai Lama was reported to have told the "Sankei Shimbun" newspaper that the Tibetan people would not support a successor who was selected by China. He added: "If the Tibetan people wish to uphold the Dalai Lama system, one possibility would be to select the next Dalai Lama while I am still living. Among options being considered are a democratic selection by the high monks of Tibetan Buddhism, or the appointment of a successor by myself."

9. Subsequently, the Dalai Lama was reported to have told journalists in the margins of an inter-faith conference at Amritsar on November 27, 2007, as follows: "If my death comes when we are still in a refugee status then logically my reincarnation will come outside Tibet." He added that in view of the difficulties that could be faced in following the Buddhist tradition of choosing his re-incarnation, his successor could be selected by election, like the pope; by seniority, or could take over in the traditional way (reincarnation), but outside Tibet.

10. In a strong criticism of the Dalai Lama's views, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: "The reincarnation of the living Buddha is a unique way of succession of Tibetan Buddhism and follows relatively complete religious rituals and historical conventions. The Dalai's remarks obviously violated the religious rituals and historical conventions."

11. Beijing has strong reasons to be concerned over the fact that the Dalai Lama has started talking of other options after his recent visit to the US. It strongly suspects that the idea of a pre-emptive strike at Beijing on the succession issue must have been suggested to him by his followers and advisers in the US. Beijing seems to be worried that his US advisers might persuade the Dalai Lama to announce who would be his successor on the eve of the Olympics just to draw international attention away from the games.

12. The attempts of the critics of China and supporters of the Dalai Lama in the US to organise a boycott of the Olympics in protest against the continuing violations of the human rights of the Tibetans has not picked up momentum. They are now focussing on preventing the Olympic Torch being allowed to touch the US. The Olympics Organisers have reportedly chosen San Francisco as the US City where the torch will be taken in April, 2008. The supporters of the Dalai Lama have started a campaign to pressurise the local municipal authorities not to agree to this. "The torch should not be permitted to be used as a propaganda vehicle for the communist dictatorship in China," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who in August, 2007, co-sponsored resolutions calling for the US to boycott the Olympics over China's role in Darfur and its human-rights violations at home. In a letter to Mr. Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of San Francisco, an organisation called the San Francisco Tibet Coalition has said : "Your welcoming of the Olympic torch would suggest ... that you are ready to turn your back on a unique opportunity to promote legitimate international concerns and ... take a stand for justice in Tibet and China."

13. Aware of the Chinese unhappiness over the award of the Congressional Medal of Honour to the Dalai Lama, the Government of India was recently reported to have advised Ministers of the Government and senior Government officials not to attend a function in New Delhi in honour of the Dalai Lama after his return from the US. The organisers of the function had reportedly notified that one of the objectives of the function would be to congratulate His Holiness on the US honour. The Government of India does not want any wrong impression that the supporters and well-wishers of His Holiness in India are acting in tandem with those in the US.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:


October 30,2007

CHINA in Hu's Colours---Part VI

By B. Raman

In the Chinese perspective, a major success of China's international relations during the first tenure of President Hu Jintao as the Party Secretary was the close relations established with African countries in order to tap their energy resources and markets for Chinese goods and the China-Africa summit held in 2006.

2. Two more international events of even greater significance in their eyes are scheduled to take place during his second tenure. The first will be the Beijing Olympics of August, 2008, and the second will be Expo--2010, an ambitious international trade fair, which is to be held in Shanghai in 2010. Presently, much of the energy of the Party and the Government is devoted to making the Olympics a spectacular success, which, they hope, will enhance the image of China in the eyes of the international community and the image of the party leadership in the eyes of their people. Any mishap in the handling of the Olympics could damage the standing of not only Mr.Hu and Mr. Wen Jiabo, the Prime Minister, but also the entire Standing Committee of the Party Politburo, which was elected at the recent 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC),

3. Even while working with determination for making a success of the Olympics, the Chinese have already started thinking of ways of making Expo 2010 an equally spectacular success. As they go ahead with the preparations for the Olympics, three concerns keep bothering them:

Will Western human rights activists try to organise a boycott of the Olympics similar to the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics by the Western countries in protest over the intervention of Soviet troops in Afghanistan? It is in this context that the human rights situations in Darfur in Sudan and Myanmar keep worrying them, because of their close involvement in both countries. While there is little likelihood of the Darfur situation providing a handle to the critics of China in the Western world, if the situation in Myanmar deteriorates badly in the months before the Olympics, this would definitely provide a handle to the critics of China interested in spoiling the Olympics. The Chinese were rattled by the recent demonstration of Buddhist monk power in Myanmar and the dissemination of dramatic images of that power through the Internet and world TV channels. Worried over its possible copy-cat effect on the monks of Tibet, they quickly nudged the military junta in Myanmar to come out of its diplomatic isolation and be more responsive to the concerns of the international community. They should have been relieved when the Junta effectively closed its Internet servers and prevented images of monk power being flashed across the world. The Chinese would be closely monitoring the situation in Myanmar in order to make sure it does not come in the way of a grand Olympics of their dreams.

Would there be threats to the Olympics not only from Al Qaeda and its associates, but also from the Tibetan activists, the Uighurs, the Falun Gong and others?

Could China face a situation similar to what South Korea faced after the 1988 Seoul Olympics when the relaxation of restrictions on the political freedoms of the people by the then dictatorship set in motion a train of events, which led to the end of dictatorship?

4. The Chinese are very keen to avoid any frictions in their relations with the US in the months before the Olympics. The co-operation of the US would facilitate the success of the Olympics. The US has the equipment, technology and know-how to prevent any threats from terrorism. The Chinese are aware of the role played by the US and other NATO countries in ensuring the security of the Athens Olympics of 2004. The Americans are already fully co-operating with the organisers of the Olympics in this regard. The Chinese have also reportedly enlisted the services of big names in Hollywood to choreograph a spectacular closing function, which would bring the best of Hollywood before the eyes of the Chinese spectators. They would not like this co-operation from the US to be affected by any misunderstanding.

5. While the US Government and its security agencies have been helping the Chinese in whatever way they can, Beijing is worried over the possible machinations of die-hard anti-China elements among right-wing American intellectuals, Christian missionaries and others. The Chinese do not want to underestimate their capacity for a political sabotage of the Olympics.

6. For the present, the present leadership under Mr.Hu is confident that nothing can come in the way of a successful and spectacular Olympics. Will their confidence be belied? If it is, Mr. Hu could face serious embarrassment, if not trouble, in the party.

(The writer is Additional secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. e-mail:

Here is a blogger's account of the happenings in Lhasa when its people rose in revolt on March 14,2008. The blogger calls himself Kadfly

"The situation has gotten much worse. A quiet morning stroll down Beijing Street turned into running away with a crowd of Tibetans as an empty PLA convoy pulled through. Maybe 100 meters further there was a massive crowd of Tibetans surrounding a narrow alleyway. As it turned out, they were throwing stones and abuse at PLA soldiers who were blockading the passage to a monastery. After a minute or two, everyone rushed the PLA blockade and burst through. The soldiers left parts of their riot gear lying around and Tibetans started breaking them.

"Up until this point the entire situation was almost jovial: there was no sign of danger whatsoever (unless you were a PLA soldier). Then things started getting out of control. Shops were taken apart, buses filled with passengers were attacked, motorcyclists were stoned. We fled into the relative safety of a nearby hotel as attention began to be drawn to us and from there we saw the street and nearby stores get ripped apart and more violence. Before being ushered into a safer part of the hotel away from the street we also saw a monk (or at least someone dressed like one) direct an attack on a store or restaurant with a small Chinese flag flying from it.

"Currently there are massive fires on the street outside and basically every store has been gutted. At least two deaths have been confirmed. PLA troops have moved in with huge armoured transport trucks and put out some of the fires. A new fire, however, which is taller than any building around, has just been started recently (approximately 8:30pm). At around 2am things were very, very quiet. A few loud bangs but otherwise nothing."

Here are some pictures: (See 1 to 6)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies Chennai, He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )


Please visit the following site for a blogger's account of the happenings in Lhasa when its people rose in revolt on March 14,2008.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies Chennai, He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )


Please visit the following site for a blogger's account of the happenings in Lhasa when its people rose in revolt on March 14,2008.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies Chennai, He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )


Please visit the following site for a blogger's account of the happenings in Lhasa when its people rose in revolt on March 14,2008.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies Chennai, He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )


Please visit the following site for a blogger's account of the happenings in Lhasa when its people rose in revolt on March 14,2008.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies Chennai, He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )


Please visit the following site for a blogger's account of the happenings in Lhasa when its people rose in revolt on March 14,2008.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies Chennai, He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )


Please visit the following site for a blogger's account of the happenings in Lhasa when its people rose in revolt on March 14,2008.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies Chennai, He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )