Fujisan's Kyareng

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

China's White Paper on Human Rights 2019

China's white paper on human rights; a blatant farce

The Chinese State Council Information Office publishes a white paper titled “Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China,” September 22, 2019. Photo/CCTV

The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China has, on 22 September, issued a white paper on the progress China had made on human rights issues in the last 70 years. The white paper is titled “Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China”.1 The paper can be seen as a prelude to the grand celebration China is preparing on 1 October, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It has eight chapters, the first four devoted to the historical development in three phases, from Mao to Deng to Xi, all in rosy pictures. The 5th chapter deals mostly with the human rights situation in the minority areas including Tibet, all tall claims. The remaining three chapters are about how China has ‘responsibly’ contributed to the promotion of human rights globally.

If what China has claimed in the paper is true, the Nobel Peace Prize should go to the Chinese leadership. Unfortunately, the white paper is a total farce. One could only wish if it were all true. It describes rosy and humanly evolution of human rights in China since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The tragedies and miseries that the Chinese people and other minority nationals suffered under the Great Leap Forward movement and the famine, atrocities of Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square massacres are all missing and tucked away in a secluded corner of some ancient monuments.

In minority areas, it has boasted of full autonomy in the regions and claimed that the leaders and administrators in these autonomous regions are from the local ethic populace only. It talks of development in education and protection of minority languages.

From the Tibetan experience, in all these past 60 years of occupation, all the 14 Party secretaries were Han Chinese and the few appointed Tibetan deputies were in names only. Most of the administrative decision making power rested in the hand of Chinese cadres. It talks of protection of minority languages, but in reality, China has made Tibetan a second language in Tibet. Priority and preference are given to Chinese language in job and business avenues. Monasteries were banned from teaching Tibetan language to the children.

It says, “Religious freedoms of ethnic minority groups are protected. The living Buddha reincarnation is a succession system unique to Tibetan Buddhism, and is respected by the state and governments at different levels of the autonomous regions.”

This is, in fact, a gross violation of the religious and cultural rights of the Tibetan people. Reincarnation of high Tibetan Lamas is a highly sacred and spiritual matter. Communist China, who does not believe in religion and spiritualism, has no rights to interfere in this matter. The so-called State Religious Affairs Bureau Order No. 5 on the measures on the management of the living Buddhas is a gross insult to the Tibetan religious sentiments. Chinese leadership should also refrain from interfering in the selection of 14th Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. Last month, China organized indoctrination workshop to some 100 Tibetan monks in the regions on the reincarnation issue, which in fact, intimidated the monks to follow the dictates of the party on the issue. Such interference in the Tibetan religious matter will only earn distrust and distant the Tibetans from the regime.

The last three chapters are about how China has strengthened the rule of law, how it participated in the global governance of human rights and how it advanced the international cause of human rights. Human rights watchdogs are sure to have a hearty laugh here.

Whatever the Chinese claims, the truth is there for all to see: what is happening in Hong Kong right now. People are revolting because of the regime’s repressive policy and that China did not keep the promises it made during 1997 takeover. It did the same thing with the Tibetans in 1951’s forced 17-point agreement.

While it talks of advancing the international cause of human rights, China has consistently tried to block Tibetan human rights appeal heard at the United Nation forum. In February this year, the Chinese mission in Geneva wrote to the U.N. not to allow 15 human rights activists, including the Dalai Lama, to attend the U.N. Human Rights Council’s annual session.2 It has lobbied hard with other dictators to suppress the voice of the Uyghur minority.

According to Human Rights Watchdog, “China has also pressured other members, especially those economically dependent on its Belt and Road Initiatives. During its universal periodic review – a process in which the Human Rights Council examines countries’ human rights records every five years – last year, China warned countries to submit positive reviews and threatened consequences for any that criticized Beijing. It has also blocked critical nongovernmental organization and activists from attending U.N. forums while letting representatives of government-sponsored groups participate in them and speak widely.”3

In a nutshell, Chinese communist party’s white paper on human rights progress in the last 70 years is just another disgraceful attempt to whitewash all the human rights violation it has perpetrated in China and in the occupied lands, most prominently, Tibet.

If China is really serious about its claim of “Splendid History of China’s Human Rights Protection” and “Socialist Paradise in Tibet”, then it should let the U.N. Human Rights Commission, diplomats, media and representatives of Tibetan Administration to visit Tibet and assess the situation. It is unbecoming of an aspiring superpower to issue false claims in the guise of white paper on such an important occasion as the 70th anniversary of the national founding day.
 1Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-09/22/c_138412720.htm
 2China, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela in hot seat at U.N. rights forum, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-rights/china-saudi-arabia-venezuela-in-hot-seat-at-un-rights-forum-idUSKCN1QB1S8
3Council on Foreign Relations, Is China Undermining Human Rights at the UN? https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/china-undermining-human-rights-united-nations


Monday, September 2, 2019

China's white paper on national defense; a sugar coated sabre


Amidst the growing turmoil in Hong Kong Island and the surging voice for independence in Taiwan; the repression and cultural genocide in Tibet and Uighur, and the escalating US trade war, China has on 24th July, issued a white paper titled “China’s National Defense in the New Era”. Faithful commentaries and justifications followed immediately in their official mouthpiece, Xinhua News and the Global Times.

The fifty-one paged English translation of the white paper has some six chapters justifying the need for China to build a fortified national defense and a strong military. The purpose of the white paper, it says, “To expound on China’s defensive national defense policy and explain the practice, purposes, and significance of China’s efforts to build a fortified national defense and a strong military, with a view to helping the international community better understand China’s national defense.”

It says “Peace is a common aspiration of people around the world”. The white paper has many things about peace, cooperation and development to justify the activity of the Chinese military and the role of the People Liberation Army (PLA). Along with this, it has issued a stern warning to Taiwan and noted Tibet and Uighur as a national security risk. Hong Kong has been left out deliberately, the tacit immediate target.

It is a piece of welcome news that China has said that “it will never seek hegemony, expansion, and sphere of influence” in the white paper, how we all wish if this could be true. Unfortunately, given the factual and historical distortion that China has deliberately made in the white papers issued on Tibet in the past, China observers and the International community will not take this statement at its face value.

It talks about China not seeking hegemony, but what about the regions already under its illegal occupation, like Tibet. What about those 12 developing nations whose ports, media, economy and civil authority that China has taken over through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)’s debt trap. [“Chinese Malign Influence and the Corrosion of Democracy” International Republican Institute (IRI) 2019 Report]

The paper says, “No matter how it might develop, China will never threaten any other country or seek any sphere of influence.”

Chinese interference in Nepal to keep the Tibetans leashed, dumb, immobile and out of the country has crossed the limit of sphere of influence. The recent deportation of a Tibetan-American with a similar name with the former Speaker [PenpaTsering] of Tibetan Parliament in exile by Nepal immigration has demonstrated the extent of Chinese dictatorial authority in the civil administration of the land.

China will never threaten – Just recently, China threatened India by warning that it should stand by the dictates of communist China about the reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama.
The white paper says, “Since its founding 70 years ago, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has never started any war or conflict.”

Was Tibet not illegally occupied in the 1950s, and what caused the death of 1.2 million Tibetans and the flight of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetans into exile? What about the unprovoked Chinese aggression against India in 1962, the so-called Sino-Indian war, and the numerous border intrusions that India has experienced, the most recent being the Doklam standoff in 2017.

Now, the important question is: what prompted the communist regime to issue a white paper on national defense at this time? If we analyse the fact surrounding the current situation, it betrays China’s plan to use military and its PLA army in containing civil unrest, Hong Kong people should be wary of it. While it warns Taiwan on its independence drive in a belligerent tone, Tibet and Uighur are just shown as a threat to China’s national security and social stability.

It has openly challenged and attacked the US for its unilateral policies. It criticised Trump administration for its increased activity based on the so-called freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea. But China should reflect what has caused this increased activity? Who initially disturbed the peace in this otherwise peaceful South and the East China Sea? What country in the regions is not in loggerheads with China?

What is dreadful about the white paper is how explicitly its purpose is explained in the Global Times, it said, “The white paper also for the first time defined that PLA’s missions and tasks are to provide strategic support to consolidate the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the socialist system, safeguard national sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, protect China’s overseas interests, and promote world peace and development.”

The above statement forebodes bad times ahead for those in odd with the communist regime. Tibet and Uighur, although totally under the military control, it warns further repression involving the PLA army is in the offing. There is already news of Uighur type of detention centers or gulags coming up in Tibet. The immediate target of the white paper in Hong Kong and Taiwan and China is indirectly seeking international approbation to the military action about to happen in the regions. It is a clear message from China to notify the international community that very soon it’s military and People Liberation Army (PLA) would be in the Hong Kong Street, and later in Taiwan.

China has no historical, religious and political rights to interfere in Dalai Lamas reincarnation issues


1.       https://tibet.net/2019/07/china-has-no-historical-religious-and-political-rights-to-interfere-in-dalai-lamas-reincarnation-issues/

H .H.the 14th Dalai Lama at his enthronement ceremony, February 22, 1940, in Lhasa, Tibet. Photo courtesy of Tibet Museum

Oblivious to the international uproar over the growing repression in Tibet and Uighur region, and Hong Kong unrest, China invited journalists from India this month and condescendingly warned India on the Dalai Lama and Arunachal Pradesh issues. They explicitly conveyed in no less intimidating terms that China will select the 15th Dalai Lama within the country and any interference by India on the issue will not be tolerated!

The inspiration behind the move seems to be from the two dictums in the Sun Tzu’s Art of War tactics. The first, “The further you penetrate into a (enemy’s) country, the greater will be the solidarity of your troops, thus the defenders will not prevail against you.” The second, “Reduce the hostile chiefs by inflicting damage on them; make trouble for them, and keep them constantly engaged; hold specious allurements, and make them rush to any given point.”

Wang Neng Shang, a Vice Minister in TAR and Director General of people’s government information office; Zha Luo, the director of China Tibetology Research Center, the premier Chinese government Tibet policy think tank; and Xiao Jie, assistant fellow at the Institute of Commentary Studies were the three main Chinese officials who interacted and briefed the visiting journalists.

The Chinese officials pointed out two things as important historical criteria for the selection of the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. First, the selection should be within China based on the 200-year old historical process. Second, it should have the approval of the Chinese Central government. Wang and Xiao further went on to explain that the incumbent 14th Dalai Lama is Dalai Lama because of the Chinese Central government’s recognition.

With due respect to the three learned Chinese officials, we beg to differ, because the fact is otherwise. This is a blatant deliberate attempt by the Chinese leadership to distort historical and religious fact.
When they said “200-year old historical process”, it should be around 1819 AD during the reign of the Qing emperor Jiaqing [r.1796-1820]. However, the history and Institution of the Dalai Lama dates back to more than 500-year, when the first Dalai Lama was born in 1391. It existed much before the emergence of the Qing dynasty [1644-1911] in China. Therefore, the purported indirect assertion that the Qing emperor’s decree governed the reincarnation of the Dalai Lamas is unfounded and baseless. Now, let us have a glimpse of the history of the Dalai Lamas’ reincarnation.

The first Dalai Lama, Gedun Drupa was born in 1391 and his reincarnation, the second Dalai Lama, Gedun Gyatso was born in 1475. The third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso was born in 1543, it was during his time that the Mongolian King Altan Khan conferred the title of Dalai Lama on him as a mark of respect. The fourth Dalai Lama, Yonten Gyatso was born in 1589 in Mongolia. The fifth reincarnation, Lobsang Gyatso [1617-1682], became the spiritual and temporal head of Tibet with the help of Mongolian King Gushri Khan. Then came the sixth in 1682, the seventh in 1708, the eighth Dalai Lama in 1758 and the ninth Dalai Lama in 1805. All the reincarnation selections had been done as per Tibetan religious tradition.

In 1792, during the reign of Manchu emperor Qianglong [r.1736-1795], Tibet requested Manchu’s help to fight the invading Gurkha force. As this was the fourth time the Tibetans asked for the Manchu’s help, the Manchu officials suggested 29-point regulation for the effective administration of Tibet. This was based on the Priest-patron relationship; it has no ruler-subject context. One of the points was to use the Golden Urn method to select reincarnation of Dalai lamas and Panchen Lamas. But except for the selection of the 11th Dalai Lama, this method was never used. For the 10th Dalai Lama, Tsultrim Gyatso, the selection was already done, but to humor the Machus, it was announced that the Golden Urn was used. For the 12th Dalai Lama also, Golden Urn was used as a formality only, as the selection was already confirmed as per Tibetan religious tradition.

So, the Tibetan age-old religious tradition was followed to select the Dalai Lamas. The 13th and the 14th Dalai Lamas’ reincarnations were also selected as per Tibetan religious tradition. Representatives from the neighboring nations including China came during the enthronement ceremony of the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940. No approval or recognition of any kind from any central government was sought. Wang and Xiao’s assertion, “It was with the central government’s recognition that the Dalai Lama became the 14th Dalai Lama.” is misleading and deplorable.

Therefore, the three Chinese government officials’ statement emphasizing the method of Golden Urn and approval of Chinese central government as mandatory criteria for the recognition of reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is not true and baseless. It is an aggressive and ignominious attempt on the part of the Chinese leadership to distort the ancient religious tradition of Tibet to serve its current political agenda.

To make the historical record straight, it was the Manchu Qing dynasty with whom the Tibetans had been dealing with, China was only a part of the dynasty at that time. If China’s claim on Tibet is based on the Manchu’s relationship with the Tibetans, then Mongols have a better reason to make claim over Tibet.

Sun Yatsen, the father of Chinese republic has stated that the Chinese nation had fallen twice under foreign rule: the first time under the Mongol Yuan dynasty [1271-1368] and the second time under the Manchu Qing dynasty [1644-1911]. So, where is China? What central government are Wang and Xiao talking about? The People’s Republic of China of Communist China came only in October 1949.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has on numerous occasions explained his stance clearly on the reincarnation. Here is what he has said in September 2011, it is on the official website:

“As I mentioned earlier, reincarnation is a phenomenon which should take place either through the voluntary choice of the concerned person or at least on the strength of his or her karma, merit and prayers. Therefore, the person who reincarnates has sole legitimate authority over where and how he or she takes rebirth and how that reincarnation is to be recognized. It is a reality that no one else can force the person concerned, or manipulate him or her. It is particularly inappropriate for Chinese communists, who explicitly reject even the idea of past and future lives, let alone the concept of reincarnate Tulkus, to meddle in the system of reincarnation and especially the reincarnations of the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas. Such brazen meddling contradicts their own political ideology and reveals their double standards. Should this situation continue in the future, it will be impossible for Tibetans and those who follow the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to acknowledge or accept it.

"When I am about ninety I will consult the high Lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not. On that basis we will take a decision. If it is decided that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should continue and there is a need for the Fifteenth Dalai Lama to be recognized, responsibility for doing so will primarily rest on the concerned officers of the Dalai Lama’s Gaden Phodrang Trust. They should consult the various heads of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions and the reliable oath-bound Dharma Protectors who are linked inseparably to the lineage of the Dalai Lamas. They should seek advice and direction from these concerned beings and carry out the procedures of search and recognition in accordance with past tradition. I shall leave clear written instructions about this. Bear in mind that, apart from the reincarnation recognized through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China.”

While the international community respects His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a great spiritual master and accorded Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution in promoting peace and non-violence, the Chinese leadership has condemned him as a devil, a terrorist, a separatist, and a wolf in a sheep’s skin. The important question here is: then why are they so desperate to have the devil, terrorist, separatist and the wolf to be reborn?

The concept of reincarnation is based on the Buddhist and Hindu belief of existence of past and future lives. Chinese communist leadership should first learn and accept the existence of past and future lives before meddling in the reincarnation of Tibetan lamas. China’s State Religious Affairs Bureau Order No. 5 should be withdrawn. Buddhists and devotees around the world including those in China will not tolerate this communist blasphemy!

Therefore, the leaders of the free world and the advocates of freedom, justice and democracy around the globe should uphold the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as final in his reincarnation issue, and collectively urge the Chinese leadership to refrain from any act of sacrilege against the highest order of Tibetan Buddhism. The fact is that communist China has no historical, religious and political rights to select the Dalai Lamas.


Why Chinese leadership is avoiding talks with the Tibetan representatives


1.       https://tibet.net/2019/07/why-chinese-leadership-is-avoiding-talks-with-the-tibetan-representatives/

Zhu Weiqun, the former Executive Deputy Head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the former the Chair of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee, in his recent article in Global times and tirade against His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has said, “It is impossible to hold negotiations with Dalai Lama without conditions.” He criticized Ambassador Terry Branstad for interfering in China’s internal affairs in the same article.

The US Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, during his visit to Tibet in May, has rightly pointed out to the Chinese authorities the need for substantive dialogue with the Representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama without any precondition to resolve Tibet issue.

Zhu was one of the leading members in Sino-Tibetan dialogue 2002-2010, which ended without any concrete result. Now, let us examine what prompted Zhu and the Chinese leadership to insist on preconditions to any further Sino-Tibetan dialogue.  Although Tibet did not achieve any positive result from the nine rounds of talks, it greatly helped China. Firstly, to silence the international uproar over Tibet for sometimes. Secondly, to gain the 2008 Olympics right for Beijing and thirdly and most importantly, to understand what exactly the Tibetans are looking for. 

The first and second point proved advantageous to China. But the third “Genuine autonomy for Tibet” has sent adrenaline rush among the leadership.  As this was within the Chinese constitution, it greatly alarmed them. Refusing it would mean violating the Constitution, this would invite Chinese public and international outcry. So, they insidiously misinterpreted the Tibetans’ Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy as ‘independence in disguise’, ‘demanding greater Tibet’, ‘expulsion of Chinese from Tibet’ etc. and rejected the proposal to negotiate on the same. The Chinese public and many among the leadership in China are also not aware of the contents of the Memorandum.

From the nine rounds of dialogue that have taken place since 2002, China realized that it has no strong legitimate ground to enter into negotiation. They saw that the Tibet was a military occupation, and the 17-point Agreement was a forced one and an excuse to invade Tibet. Now, that the Tibetans are demanding what is already provided in the constitution of the land and the 17-point agreement. So, the truth and justice are in favour of Tibet. A talk without some purported precondition would mean putting itself in a difficult corner. Therefore, the concoction of preconditions. 

Zhu mentions two preconditions: first, “the talks are not between China’s central government and the Tibetan government-in-exile or ‘Central Tibetan Administration,’ nor are ‘Tibetan-Han Talks’ or ‘Tibetan-China Talks’.” Second, the Dalai Lama must accept Tibet and Taiwan as an integral part of China, and stop all separatist and destructive activities.

If we study the contents of these two preconditions, it is obvious that the intention is only to jeopardise and evade any further talks. It demonstrates no serious intention on the part of communist leadership to resolve the issue. Therefore, Zhu Weiqun’s statement “It is impossible to hold negotiations with Dalai Lama without conditions” only betrays the Chinese leadership’s deliberate intention to strangle the talks. Because a free and fair talk or negotiation is bound to be in favour of Tibet.

It also shows that the Chinese leadership is just wishing that Tibet issue fade away with the Dalai Lama. Their wishing away that “there is no so-called Tibet issue” will not make Tibet issue go away. The recent visa issue of a New Zealand-born half Tibetan 14-year-old boy’s episode is indicative of this fact and Chinese vulnerability. 

China considers itself as very strong and invincible because of its military and economic power. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans have nothing but the power of truth with them. This reminds us of David and Goliath story from the Bible, where the Giant despite his strength was defeated by the young boy David. This analogy is succinctly demonstrated from the recent Chinese consulate in New Zealand’s refusal to grant a visa to a New Zealand born half Tibetan 14-year-old boy to play football in China. 

It shows how scared and vulnerable China feels about Tibet and the Tibetans. No doubt, guilty conscience pricks the mind. The message is clear; despite its all military and economic power, a half Tibetan 14-year-old boy is enough to put the totalitarian regime on its toe. Then what about a full grown Tibetan, for that matter, the whole Tibetans! 

Therefore, Zhu Weiqun is wrong in saying that there is no Tibet issue. There is Tibet issue and it will live till the last Tibetan, even to the last half or quarter Tibetan.
Instead of trying to distort history and vilify His Holiness the Dalai Lama, China should accept the reality and give Tibet its rightful autonomy as enshrined in the country’s constitution.