"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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Full Name: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
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China-Tibet Conflict and Europe



Like all other regional conflicts, the China-Tibet Conflict remains a crucial issue for speedy resolution. Tibet seeks independence from China but the latter, a strong military power and a UNSC-5 entity, refuses to concede even usual human freedoms prescribed global legal bodies to the Tibetans although Peking does not resort to continuous genocides of Tibetans as India does in Kashmir. Over recent years the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama aggressively pursued the resolution by involving world leaders, but failed, again. 


The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959, after Chinese troops had crushed an uprising by pro-independence Tibetans. Beijing says Tibet has been part of the Chinese nation since the 13th Century. Many Tibetans disagree, pointing out that the Himalayan region was an independent kingdom for many centuries, and that Chinese rule over Tibet has not been constant.  



The Dalai Lama has urged the EU to stand firm on the issue of human rights in order to protect the long-term interests of the Chinese people. In modification of his earlier demand for independence or autonomy, Tibet's spiritual leader said that they wanted freedom of expression, a free media and the rule of law. He also said he planned to reach out to the Chinese by meeting their writers and intellectuals in the coming months.


The EU plans to continue to "promote the strategic partnership it has with China, particularly at a time when the world economic and financial situation calls for close co-operation between Europe and China".  An EU statement on Dec 03 said that the European Union, which set ambitious aims for the 11th EU-China summit, takes note and regrets this decision by China to postpone it. It said the Chinese authorities explained their decision by pointing out that "at the same time the Dalai Lama would be paying a fresh visit to several EU countries and would meet heads of state and government of EU member states, as well as heads of European institutions".  


Sarkozy has said he plans to meet the Dalai Lama in the city of Gdansk on 6 December, where Poland will mark the 25th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Lech Walesa, who led the anti-communist Solidarity union in the 1980s. A French diplomat confirmed that Sarkozy still intended to meet the Dalai Lama in Poland next week, the BBC's Oana Lungescu reports from Brussels..




The Dalai Lama was due to address the European Parliament and to meet the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, this week. The Dalai Lama's European tour includes an address to the European Parliament, meetings with the Belgian and Czech prime ministers and with fellow Nobel Peace Prize-laureates like Poland's Lech Walesa. But it is his planned talks with the President Sarkozy of France, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, at the weekend that has led China to scrap its annual summit with the bloc in an unprecedented sign of anger.


Lama is also calling on Europe, Beijing's main trading partner, to stand firm on human rights. "Our friends should take firm stand," he told the BBC. "That I think for the long run is an immense help to the Chinese people." Chinese people also want freedom of expression, free media and rule of law, he added. "If you adopt an attitude of appeasement, in the long run it is in no-one's interest."



Chinese Reaction


But the Chinese authorities call Dalai Lama a wolf in monk's clothing and a devil with a human face, hell-bent on breaking Tibet away from China. The 73-year-old Dalai Lama insists his goal is meaningful autonomy for his homeland. He now wants to reach out to the Chinese people, by inviting Chinese writers and scholars to meet him in the next few months, at a location yet to be decided. In response, the Chinese government has angrily cancelled its annual summit with the EU, warning that the meeting would put relations at risk.



China has postponed a summit with the EU - planned for 1 December - because of European contacts with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. EU diplomats say China has been angered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to meet the Dalai Lama. France holds the EU's rotating presidency. Sarkozy has said he will meet the Dalai Lama in Poland on 6 December. China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was set to attend the summit in Lyons next Monday.


A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said "we oppose any foreign leaders having any contact with the Dalai". The spokesman, Qin Gang, was speaking to reporters in Beijing, the Chinese government has previously said Sarkozy risks losing "hard-won" gains in ties with Beijing if he meets the Dalai Lama.


China says it had "no choice but to postpone" a summit with the EU because of the French stance on the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader. China's foreign ministry said French President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to meet the Dalai Lama had "deprived the summit of a good atmosphere". Sarkozy has said he will meet the Dalai Lama in Poland on 6 December. "To maintain good relations with France and the European Union, China has told France time and again to properly handle the Tibet issue, so as to create necessary conditions for the China-EU summit," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. "Regrettably, the French side has not actively responded to these efforts, so that the summit cannot be held in a good atmosphere, nor achieves its expected goals."  Qin added: "In China we have a saying, 'Whoever causes the problem should solve the problem'. It is not China that caused the present situation."


Beijing has previously said Sarkozy risks losing "hard-won" gains in ties with Beijing if he meets the Dalai Lama. An EU statement said "the European Union, which set ambitious aims for the 11th EU-China summit, takes note and regrets this decision by China to postpone it". It added that the EU planned to continue to "promote the strategic partnership it has with China".


 Earlier this year, the Chinese government warned the US to stop interfering in its affairs after President George W Bush called the Dalai Lama to inquire after his health. The exiled spiritual leader said he would miss the outgoing president. "I love Mr. Bush - very straightforward, very nice person as a human being. But some of his policies, I don't know. In some cases, a little disaster!" he joked.




Tibet is a plateau region in Central Asia and the home to the indigenous Tibetan people. With an average elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft), it is the highest region on Earth and is commonly referred to as the "Roof of the World." The general history of Tibet begins with the rule of Songtsän Gampo (604"“50 CE) who united parts of the Yarlung River Valley and ruled Tibet as a kingdom. Under the next few kings who followed Songsten Gampo, Buddhism became established as the state religion and Tibetan power increased even further over large areas of Central Asia while major inroads were made into Chinese territory, even reaching the Chinese capital Chang'an (modern Xian) in late 763.



Tibet was once an independent kingdom, but today is part of the People's Republic of China (PRC) while a small part, according to the government of the People's Republic of China, the government of the Republic of China, some of their diplomatic allies, as well as sympathetic scholarly and non-governmental bodies, is controlled by India. Currently, the PRC government and the Government of Tibet in Exile still disagree over when Tibet became a part of China, and whether the incorporation into China of Tibet is legitimate according to international law (see Tibetan sovereignty debate). Since what constitutes Tibet is a matter of much debate (see map, right) neither its size nor population are simple matters of fact, due to various entities claiming differing parts of the area as a Tibetan region.



A unified Tibet first came into being under Songtsän Gampo in the seventh century. The government of the Dalai Lamas, a line of Tibetan spiritual leaders, nominally ruled a large portion of the Tibetan region at various times from the 1640s until its incorporation into the PRC in the 1950s. During most of this period, the Tibetan administration was subordinate to the Chinese empire of the Qing Dynasty. As a measure of the power that regents must have wielded it is important to note that only three of the fourteen Dalai Lamas have actually ruled Tibet. The PRC government equates Tibet with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). As such, the name "XÄ«zàng" is equated with the TAR.


At the end of the 1230s, the Mongols turned their attention to Tibet. At that time, Mongol armies had already conquered Northern China, much of Central Asia, and as far as Russia and modern Ukraine. A second invasion led to the submission of almost all Tibetan states. In 1244, Göden summoned the Sakya Pandita to his court, and in 1247 appointed Sakya the Mongolian viceroy for Central Tibet, though the eastern provinces of Kham and Amdo remained "under direct Mongol rule". When Kublai Khan founded the Yuan Dynasty in 1271, Tibet became a part of the Yuan Dynasty. In 1578, Altan Khan of the Tümed Mongols invited Sonam Gyatso, a high lama of the Gelugpa school. They met near Khökh Nuur, where Altan Khan first referred to Sönam Gyatso as the Dalai Lama; Dalai being the Mongolian translation of the Tibetan name Gyatso, or "Ocean".


The first Europeans to arrive in Tibet were Portuguese missionaries in 1624 and were welcomed by the Tibetans who allowed them to build a church. However, by the 19th century the situation of foreigners in Tibet grew more tenuous. The British Empire was encroaching from northern India into the Himalayas and Afghanistan and the Russian Empire of the tsars was expanding south into Central Asia and each power became suspicious of intent in Tibet. By the 1850s Tibet had banned all foreigners from Tibet and shut its borders to all outsiders. In 1904 a British mission under the command of Colonel Francis Younghusband, accompanied by a large military escort, invaded Tibet and reached Lhasa.The principal reason for the British invasion was a fear, which proved to be unfounded, that Russia was extending its power into Tibet and possibly even giving military aid to the local Tibetan government. In order to offset the damage done to their interests by the 1906 treaty between England and Tibet, the Chinese set up about extending westwards the sphere of their direct control and began to colonize the country round Batang. The Tibetans reacted vigorously.





The Dalai Lama said he had met President-elect Barack Obama years ago and had kept in touch during the campaign. On Tibet, he said: "I'm quite sure it will be a new face in the White House but the same policy." During a trip to France this summer, the Dalai Lama met Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni and the foreign minister Bernard Kouchner. Earlier this year the EU voiced serious concern about a crackdown by Chinese authorities on Tibetan protesters. As for his own future, the Dalai Lama said, with a typical giggle, that he was in no hurry to retire and hoped to remain Tibet's spiritual leader for another 10 or 15 years.


In 1995 the Dalai Lama named 6 year old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama without Chinese approval, while the PRC named another child, Gyancain Norbu in conflict. Gyancain Norbu was raised in Beijing and has appeared occasionally on state media. The PRC-selected Panchen Lama is rejected by exiled Tibetans and anti-China groups who commonly refer to him as the "Panchen Zuma" (literally "fake Panchen Lama"). Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family have gone missing "” believed by some to be imprisoned by China.


Foreign governments continue to make occasional protests about aspects of CCP rule in Tibet because of frequent reports of human rights violation in Tibet by groups such as Human Rights Watch. The government of the PRC maintains that the Tibetan Government did almost nothing to improve the Tibetans' material and political standard of life during its rule from 1913"“59, and that they opposed any reforms proposed by the Chinese government.


In 2001 representatives of Tibet succeeded in gaining accreditation at a United Nations-sponsored meeting of non-governmental organizations. On 29 August Jampal Chosang, the head of the Tibetan coalition, stated that China had introduced "a new form of apartheid" in Tibet because "Tibetan culture, religion, and national identity are considered a threat" to China.


In 2005, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's offered to hold talks with the 14th Dalai Lama on the Tibet issue, provided he dropped the demand for independence. The Dalai Lama said in an interview with the South China Morning Post "We are willing to be part of the People's Republic of China, to have it govern and guarantee to preserve our Tibetan culture, spirituality and our environment." This statement was seen as a renewed diplomatic initiative by the Tibetan government-in-exile.


Of late, knowing the power game in which the major powers like UNSC-5, including China, are involved, Lama seems to have tactical adjustments in demands with China and, therefore, has been soft over the independence and soverigntyislsue. The Dalai Lama has stated his willingness to negotiate with the PRC government for genuine autonomy, but according to the government in exile and Tibetan independence groups, most Tibetans still call for full Tibetan independence. 


Yours Sincerely,


Columnist & Independent Researcher in International Affairs, South Asia
The only Indian to have gone through the entire India.

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