One wonders – How can a country, who has herself suffered grave violations of human rights, be surprisingly comfortable with subjecting the same torture and atrocities towards another nation? How can wiping out the cultural identity of ethnic minorities and coercing them, especially Tibetans and Uyghurs, into military styled labour camps, be explained under the pretext of “training schemes to develop work discipline, Chinese language and work ethics”? How can the forced disappearance of the spiritual leader, 11th Panchen Lama, a child of barely 6 years, be justified? How can the continuous destruction of Buddhist scriptures, historic artefacts and places of religious significance be explained under the narrative of ‘Sinicization’ ?
Can the destruction of the morale and the identity of the millions of Tibetans/Uyghurs/ethnic minorities, be justified?
Starting on such a gloomy note wasn’t the intention here but such questions often raise my suspicions on
the lack of the prevalence of selective humanity in China, which has since her liberation only intensified.
In 1950s, while the world was preoccupied with the war in the Korean peninsula, the plateau of Tibet was much forgotten. What followed in the next few years was the military annexation of the Kham and Amdo areas of Tibet (now parts of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces of PRC) and the resulting massacre, killing more than 90,000 Tibetans within 3 days. Since then, while the world progressed and developed, Tibet kept burning under religious prejudice and constant human rights violations. With barely any representation in CCP or the Tibet Work Forum, the fate of the land was left to foreigners from mainland China. It is heartening to find that the world seems to support the cause of Tibetans now.
Amidst the CCP influenced countries like Nepal preventing Tibetan refugees from voting and with the officially atheist CCP government showing an unusual amount of interest in choosing the 15th Dalai Lama as the 14th DL reaches the age of 85, the US’s ‘Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA)’, signed on 28 Dec this year, comes as a much-desired ‘New Year’ surprise for Tibetans everywhere.
The TPSA while addressing the issues of climate change and water security, also assures the funding of humanitarian and development projects for the benefit of all natives, whether in Tibet or elsewhere. This is a definite relief to the poverty stricken and neglected region. The highlight of the Law is the emphasis it lays on the strict compliance of ‘non-interference by CCP’ in the selection of future spiritual leaders of Tibet, and the sanctions the Chinese officials would be imposed with if they fail to do so. The law also requires China to grant permission to US for opening a consulate in Tibet before seeking permission to open new Chinese consulates anywhere in the US.
While some may argue, it’s just a foreign law and it’s only one country, we should not forget-
A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step– Lao Tze
The purpose and timing of the Law while certainly debatable, definitely doesn’t diminish it’s value for us – for us, who were forced out of our lands in 1959, with just one set of clothes, no food, no utensils, no money and (in most of our cases) no family either; for us, who sought refuge in foreign soils while watching our parents/siblings/spouses/children being put behind bars or in detention camps because they were not Hans but just another ethnic minority….for all of us today, this bill is HOPE. And honestly it doesn’t feel any less than a miracle…
…our ‘Christmas Miracle’.