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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

How coincidental: A "White Paper" on Tibet

China Trots Out the "Daddy" of it's "justification" arsenal

Chinese White paper on TibetOn the 17th of this month I posted an article entitled Dalai Lama's World Trips Stirring Up The Anthill? in which I commented that the Chinese Government is nothing if not a predictable body. I observed that it is like clockwork that as soon as the CCP receive any adverse international press or even if they anticipate that they will, they begin to churn out through their official news organs what I have called "Justification Pieces"

These "justification pieces" generally are several "news" articles appearing in close succession which attempt to "sell" to the world all the good points of China's involvement in the issue that is under the world spotlight, or, that they expect soon will be.

Alternatively they will set the stage for an expected event by publishing negative pieces on the target. Late last year (2003) for example they published several news items on "Uygur Terrorism" in quick succession before their ultimate article in December "naming" "Uygur terrorists" and "terrorist organisations".

In an article I published at the time in response, "China's 'Bin Laden' The terrorist Leader China Forgot", I argued that the naming of "Uygur Terrorists' in the ultimate article was not spontaneous but had not only obviously been pre scheduled but was done so some months in advance. My reason for drawing that conclusion was that the number one, most wanted, "terrorist" leader named, the Chinese equivalent of the United States' Bin Ladin, had actually been dead for two months (a fact China was aware of having helped identify the body). Someone within the government or Xinhua was just not interested enough to check and update the copy before it was published.

Whilst in this latter instance I could not at the time connect the reason for that particular period of activity I believe now that the timing of the articles, in the lead up to Ramadan which has been a period that has seen the major incidences of Uygur dissent such as the Yining (Guljha) incident in February 1997. I suspect that the Chinese government perhaps expected something might happen and were setting the stage so that if they had to instigate any harsh crackdowns they could justify it as a response to renewed "Uygur terrorism"

My recent article on the Dalai Lama stirring up "Anthills" came as a result of several justification pieces that appeared on Tibet in the week or so prior to my post. I stated that I believed that these were in direct response to the very positive press (ergo negative for China) that the Dalai Lama was receiving on his highly successful trip to Canada on which, despite China's protests, he was met by the Canadian prime minister and held several successful outdoor rallies. Also at the time the Tibetan "Hunger Strike" in front of the U.N. Building in New York was getting some pretty high level and positive responses from the U.N.

One thing I was not aware however was that the ninth anniversary of the kidnapping of the 11th Panchen Lama was coming up in May as well, an anniversary which the CCP might also have expected some renewed international agitation and protest for news of his fate (which did not eventuate I might add as an aside). To coincide with this event they even trotted out the "pretender" to the Panchen Lama throne.

Big Gun Rolled Out

Now today the big guns have been brought to bear. The daddy of all "justification pieces" the famous Chinese Government "White Paper" has been released and carried in full by Xinhua and the People's Daily and, coincidences of coincidences today's topic is Tibet.

The released "White Paper" is entitled Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet in which the Chinese government attempts to prove to the world that the Tibetans really are the masters of their own destiny although they do receive plenty of loving support from "papa" Beijing.

These "White Papers" are of significance for two reasons. Firstly they usually provide facts and insights that are not normally available, albeit in a far from impartial way, and, secondly and more importantly, they are a window to topics China is feeling either vulnerable on at the time or about issues that she wishes to 'sell".

Past papers, and there are usually two or three a year, have covered topics such as "Human Rights" (several) Tibet (several) Taiwan (several) the "Uygur Question", population policy and the environment. Xinhua on it's English web edition has a page of links to past papers going back several years as does the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Has the Dalai Lama really stirred the anthill so much or is there something else afoot? Could they be about to formally reject overtures from the Dalai Lama for a meeting on the future of Tibet? Could it be Taiwan?

That is the question. Stay tuned for further developments and hopefully an answer!

Link Read Rating:
Introduction and Summary to White Papper on Tibet">
People's Daily Online -- Full Text: Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet