« | Home | »

No Middle Way

Tags:

On 9 December, Wanchen Kyi, a 16-year-old Tibetan schoolgirl, set fire to herself in Dokar Mo township in Qinghai. More than ninety Tibetans have done so since March 2011. Their last words have included calls for the return of the Dalai Lama, the release of the Panchen Lama and other political prisoners, protests against the Chinese government’s policies in the region (phasing the Tibetan language out of education; encouraging non-Tibetan settlers from inner China), and calls for Tibetan independence.

The Chinese government, condemning the self-immolations as terrorism, has increased the presence of security forces in Tibetan areas, raided monasteries and arrested suspected collaborators. The only halfway effective measure they’ve taken is to set up fire brigades outside monasteries. Both the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile have called for the self-immolations to stop. But support for them seems to be growing, especially among younger people: most of the people who’ve set fire to themselves have been under forty. The generational shift in attitudes first became apparent during the protests in Lhasa in 2008. Since the late 1980s the Tibetan government in exile has pursued a ‘Middle Way’, agreeing that Tibet should remain part of China, but with more autonomy than at present. After 25 years, however, the Middle Way has had little success in achieving any of the five points first outlined by the Dalai Lama in 1987. Rather than becoming ‘a zone of peace’, Tibet has become increasingly militarised; the transfer of settlers from other parts of China has continued; there are few safeguards for the protection of Tibet’s natural environment; there are no indications that the Chinese government is any more willing to respect the Tibetan people’s ‘fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms’. As for the question of Tibet’s final status, it seems unlikely that the new Chinese leadership will be any more willing than its predecessors to grant ‘genuine autonomy’.

Comments are closed.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • AndrewL on To Ultima Thule and Beyond: It would be better to say that "elements heavier than iron are only formed by supernovae". Elements lighter than iron can be formed by burning (fusin...
    • KevinWhitston on What is Corbyn thinking?: Here is a contribution that I hope does address your arguments. Corbyn might get brownie points for consistency in his Euroscepticism, but nothing els...
    • sgt101 on To Ultima Thule and Beyond: Mostly stars fuse hydrogen into helium to create energy (I think it's called PP fusion) once the star has a helium core things start to go wrong and a...
    • RegPresley on What is Corbyn thinking?: It's an interesting argument that Brexit is a marginal issue because the underlying problems- inequality etc. - can be solved either from within or wi...
    • Peter Leary on What is Corbyn thinking?: Aside from a fairly transparent effort to use Brexit as a ‘wedge issue’ to oust Corbyn, there is no good reason for any real Remainer to get worke...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement
Advertisement