Nobody disputes that the Tibetans are a distinct people with their own language and culture, who form a large majority of the population of Tibet. Moreover, Tibet is controlled by the Chinese government by means of military occupation for the benefit of the Chinese state. Tibet is a country “under foreign military occupation, and its people are subject to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation” within the meaning of the United Nations Resolutions on Colonial Peoples and on Friendly Relations. The severity of the repression the Tibetans have undergone, combined with the threadbare nature of China’s territorial claim to Tibet, mean that if the universal right of peoples to self-determination has any meaning, it must extend to Tibet.
Michael Ledeen: Beijing Embraces Classical Fascism
Substitute in the “great Chinese people” and it all sounds familiar. We are certainly not dealing with a Communist regime, either politically or economically, nor do Chinese leaders, even those who followed the radical reformer Deng Xiaoping, seem to be at all interested in treading the dangerous and uneven path from Stalinism to democracy. They know that Mikhail Gorbachev fell when he tried to control the economy while giving political freedom. They are attempting the opposite, keeping a firm grip on political power while permitting relatively free areas of economic enterprise. Their political methods are quite like those used by the European fascists 80 years ago.
Tsering Shakya: The Gulf Between Tibet and Its Exiles
Two recent articles concerning the unrest in Tibet purport to prove that the March unrest in Tibet was the result of foreign instigation. As a result, they have since been heavily featured in official Chinese news media, including CCTV, as well as on the Internet. This episode tells us much about the government’s efforts to influence domestic and international perception of the conflict in Tibet, as well as Chinese misconceptions about the nature of the linkage between Tibetans at home and in exile.
After the violence in Tibet began on March 14, it became very difficult within China to obtain outside information, even as there was a flood of uninformative content reiterating distilled talking points from the government. The Chinese Communist Party reframed public perception of the riots, suppressing any discussion of ethnic conflict and instead drawing a connection between the violence in Tibet and China’s history of oppression by foreign powers. This framework conveniently distracts from any governance failures and depicts the Party in its favored role, standing in solidarity with the people against a hostile foreign world. This narrative is potent, as the CCP came to power through its heroic fight against the Japanese.