Alexa

Taiwan should open door to Dalai Lama

Taiwan should open door to Dalai Lama

This year is a suitable time for Taiwan to open its doors for a visit by the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and one of the world's most prominent philosophers of non-violence.
A visit by the 73-year old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who was invited to visit our shores yesterday by the Association of Taiwan Journalists would offer an important opportunity to deepen the understanding of Taiwan citizens, including our political leadership, with the changes in Tibet since last year's wave of protests and the emergence of a native Tibetan autonomy movement for Taiwan's own complex relations with the PRC.
In a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the March 10, 1959 peaceful uprising of the Tibetan people against oppressive rule of the People's Republic of China that led to his exile (http://www.dalailama.com/news.350.htm), the Dalai Lama recounted how Chinese authorities "forcibly violated" a 17-point agreement signed in June 1951 with the Tibetan government in Lhasa, whose negotiators naively fell into a political trap and "recognized" that Lhasa was a "local" government during talks with representatives of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Department.
The Dalai Lama said "immense chaos and destruction" to the lives, cultural heritage and religious freedom ultimately "left the Tibetan people with no alternative but to launch a peaceful uprising on March 10, 1959" which was brutally crushed and forced himself and thousands of other Tibetans into exile.
The Dalai Lama related the attempts of the "democratic" exile Tibetan government in India to hold negotiations with Beijing, including eight rounds of talks since 2002, on the basis of a "middle way" proposal for "genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people" through the full implementation of the "national regional autonomy" mandated by the PRC Constitution.
However, the Dalai Lama related that the PRC authorities demanded prior acceptance of "Tibet as having been a part of China since ancient times," a familiar sounding claim that he described as "not only inaccurate but also unreasonable," since "we cannot change the past whether it was good or bad."
Despite his adoption of a "middle way," Beijing has launched a campaign blaming Dharamsala for "riots" and "anti-Chinese violence" and releasing films celebrating the "liberation" of the Tibetan people in 1950 from theocratic dictatorship and serfdom.
Such depictions, which may be less accurate than the PRC film claimed and more realistic than the Tibetan exiles are willing to admit, are irrelevant since "most of the participants" in last year's demonstrations "were youths born and brought up after 1959" who were not living in an imagined past but protesting against living conditions now, including the deprivation of fundamental human rights by the PRC regime now.
Whose history, whose future?
The "inconvenient truth" is that China's increasing investment in construction and infrastructure and the rising influx of Han immigrants to promote "economic integration" has become a catalyst for the emergence of a distinctly native Tibetan movement armed with modern communication technologies such as text messaging.
The CCP regime had the option of treating the "riots" as civic disturbances, but instead decided to use propaganda films and a high-profile exhibition to the protests as violent attacks by Tibetans on Han Chinese, a tactic that succeeded in sparking intense anger and even hatred between Han and Tibetans.
This strategy of fostering of bitter feeling among Han against Tibetans will make it even more difficult for Han Chinese and Tibetans to coexist and will generate a reactive rise in Tibetan national identity and push Tibetans to shift from democratic or social demands into calling for Tibetan independence.
The Beijing regime may ultimately come to regret rejecting serious talks with the Dalai Lama's representatives as the moderate approach of the Nobel Peace Prize winner may exercise less influence on the native Tibetan movement, whose evolution may have unexpected influences on pressures for democracy within the PRC itself.
The CCP regime's obvious inability to respond with flexibility or wisdom to the surfacing of pluralism or divergent notions of identity and calls for greater autonomy in today's globalizing Chinese society should foster concern about whether Beijing will have the "political quotient" to respect Taiwan's democratic pluralism or our civic nationalism identity.
After overcoming a century of colonialism and authoritarianism, a democratic Taiwan should support the struggle of Tibetans for human rights and set aside the hoary colonial mythology shared by the CCP regime in Beijing and the Kuomintang martial law government that Tibet is "part of China" and uphold the principle of "free choice" for the people of Tibet as well as for ourselves. Moreover, we should adopt a consistent and positive humanitarian stance on appeals by Tibetan exiles for political asylum in our democracy.
We believe that it is important for the Taiwan people to have an opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama's views on the future of the Tibetan people directly and urge the Kuomintang government to facilitate his third visit to Taiwan in the near future.


Updated : 2021-04-13 23:55 GMT+08:00