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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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Game Of Chess On The Roof Of The World

Tibet Map

Tibet and Beijing's machinations

As another part of a concerted international campaign being waged by Beijing over the last several months to assure the world that China is positively impacting on Tibet Chinese authorities announced on June 21 that they have established an organization to be called the Association for the Protection and Development of Tibetan Culture to promote and develop Tibetan culture.

In the last two months China has released a "White Paper" arguing that Tibet enjoys considerable autonomy, sponsored a visit to the United States by Chinese promoted Tibetan scholars as well as having rolled out numerous "advertorials", through the official news organ Xinhua, trumpeting the economic and social marvels China has been instrumental in conjuring since taking over the country in 1955.

According to a Xinhua report via Phayul.org, the Tibetan news portal, this newly formed association

"... aims to carry researches into the history, status quo and development trend of Tibetan culture, advise the government and other organizations on how to protect and develop Tibetan culture, sponsor exhibitions and symposiums on Tibetan culture in the world, and engage in international exchanges so as to enable the world to know Tibet better and raise funds for the protection of fine traditional culture in Tibet."

The preservation and promotion of Tibetan culture has been one of the main objectives of the Dalai Lama in his calls for greater autonomy for the Tibetan people within the Chinese state and is a major hoped for outcome in attempts by the Dalai Lama to open official dialogue with Beijing.

This latest move by the Chinese government together with the recent "White Paper" purporting to demonstrate that Tibetan autonomy already exists and "justification" press releases as to the great improvements in the Tibetan economy, infrastructure and social indicators, is an attempt to effectively reduce the Dalai Lama's position to a non sequitur. In other words Beijing by its recent machinations is attempting to paint the picture of the Dalai Lama seeking an outcome that already exists and, hopefully by doing so, diminish his relevancy to the Tibet debate.

This overall strategy could be for one of two reasons. Either it could be setting the stage for a final repudiation of the Dalai Lama's overtures seeking official dialogue with Beijing over the future of Tibet or it could quite possibly be setting the stage for an olive branch to be offered the Lama without loss of face for the Chinese Communist Party.

Essentially with this latest announcement all the Dalai Lama's objectives have theoretically been met and therefore offering an olive brach to the him would not be seen as a backdown or concession from the Chinese side. The desire to save face is a vitally important consideration for the CCP and should not be overlooked.

The indicator as to which way China will jump will be whether a suggested official meeting between the Dalai Lama's representatives and Beijing mooted for October this year gets the go ahead.

China Announces Association to Promote Tibetan Culture - www.phayul.com