Cultural Genocide or Fight For Independence?

tibet.jpg“Whether China admits or not, there is a problem.”

This was the statement made by the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, from his exile base in Dharamsala on Monday. China, on Sunday, declared a ‘people’s war’ against the Buddhist monks that led to street violence. Reports state that 10 people were killed when the police opened fire on the Tibetan protesters in Lhasa.While expressing his concern over the safety of his people, the leader termed the happenings in his motherland as an example of cultural genocide. “They simply rely on using force in order to stimulate peace; a peace is brought by force using a rule of terror.” He felt helpless as he could do nothing to halt the violent outbreak in Lhasa and various other parts of the country. The 1989 Nobel peace prize winner believed it to be the time for the international committee to sit down and scrutinize the whole situation for the betterment of the people. A firm believer of non- violence, he made it clear that his commitment towards non- violence would act as a means of gaining autonomy. A clear picture should be presented in front of the UN, he felt. The outburst of the antagonism could be due to the various repressive measures adopted by the Hu Jintao government to control uprisings. However, the protest has spread like a wildfire to other areas with a significant Tibetan population. In Sichuan, which lies on the Tibetan border, a police station was burned down. Unofficial reports estimate the death toll at 80. The worst violence was reported to be on Friday, when the protesters came onto the streets and destroyed Chinese businesses and torched several police cars. In 1950, the Peoples Liberation Army invaded the Tibetan area, crushing the unequipped Tibetan army. In 1951, the Tibetan leaders, under the pressure of the PLA, signed the seventeen point agreement affirming China’s sovereignty over the state. The culturally rich nation has been, since then, under dire threat by the continuous assaults with respect to its very existence, by the Chinese government. The violence was a spontaneous outburst of frustration among the Tibetans over the last five decades. On the other hand, despite intense international pressure, the communist party of China is unwilling to compromise on this issue. Having raged a people’s war against the anti-Chinese elements in Tibet, they have now issued a deadline – either the protestors surrender by Monday midnight, else they would resort to violent means. “We must wage a people’s war to beat splittism and expose and condemn the malicious acts of these hostile forces and expose the hideous face of the Dalai Lama group to the light of day,” the Tibetan Daily stated, quoting a politician. The primary concern at the moment is that this outbreak of brutality might affect the 2008 Beijing Olympics. With the government of China trying to present a harmonious picture, the gory protest might cause an internal crisis in the country.Meanwhile, the Indian government is ambivalent on the situation. On being questioned on this issue, the Dalai Lama made a very mild and constructive criticism, “I think, India has always been over cautious in its approach on the Tibet-China crisis.”

Aakanksha Ahluwalia

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