Why Beijing Just Can’t Grasp Tibet

An article in Asia Times argues that the central government’s misreading of Tibet helped create the conditions for the recent unrest there:

The events of the past few weeks, however, demonstrate that Chinese authorities have failed to read the pulse of the Tibetan people accurately. This failure boils down to an inability to grasp a society in which the spiritual is prioritized over the material.

No matter how much the Dalai Lama is projected domestically as a sinister “splittist”, the average Tibetan still believes the spiritual leader is a living Buddha; a belief which cannot be bought off by subsidies and trains. The Tibet issue is therefore not one of “independence”, as it is commonly framed, but of the freedom to believe and worship. In Tibet such freedom is equivalent to worshipping the Dalai Lama.

April 11, 2008 12:19 PM
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Categories: Politics