Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Tibetans make it

By Oken Jeet Sandham

The Tibetans have achieved their main objective this time. They make their voice against the Chinese occupation of Tibet heard the world over. Taking advantage of the upcoming Beijing Olympic, they could organize a series of protests against the Olympic torch relay in key locations of the world like Paris, London, New York, New Delhi, etc. It is a history that the Beijing Olympic flame has ended its chaotic relay journey through Paris, amid city-wide protests against China's crackdown in Tibet that forced the torchbearers to extinguish the flame and take refuge in a bus. The Chinese authorities seemed to be facing unprecedented apprehension to the unusual Tibetan uprising against them. The world communities have woken up to find the reality that there is an issue between the Tibetan and the Chinese. And in fact the Chinese government’s integrity and standing in the eyes of the world community has been badly dented, although they might be claiming that Tibet is part and parcel of China. The Tibetans could not only draw the attention of the world communities but also their moral and physical support towards their cause. Already many leaders of the world expressed their sympathies with the Tibetans. Public sympathy in India lies with the Tibetans, who have sought refuge in the country since the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader, fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Beijing in 1959, setting up his government-in-exile in the northern town of Dharmsala. China is heavily worried on many countries’ offering overt support to the Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of masterminding the uprising in an attempt to secure Tibet's independence and undermine the Olympic Games. And last year China temporarily barred U.S. warships from docking in Hong Kong after President Bush presented the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress' highest civilian honor. The whole world is anxiously looking at Delhi’s reaction to the development because the home of the Tibetan government-in-exile is in India. Over one lakh Tibetans are living in India and majority of them are residing in Delhi. In the last few days, a large number of Tibetans took out torch rely demanding freedom of the Tibetans from the yoke of China. Although Delhi had provided foolproof security to the Olympic torch bearers in the national capital, it has also done a significant job by turning down the Chinese request to ban Tibetan protest during the torch relay ceremony in Delhi. Indian authorities told the Chinese authority that they could not ban any democratic protests like the Tibetan ones as the country is a democratic nation. In fact, large number of Tibetans had paralleled torch relay at Jantar Mantar, while Olympic torch relay was organized from Rashtrapati Bhawan to India Gate via Rajpath. Unprecedented security arrangement with about 15,000 security personnel was made for the relay. The world communities however appreciated the way Tibetans used modest method. They know few countries have the appetite to cross China, particularly at a time the world is counting on the emerging superpower to keep the global economy ticking as the United States appears headed into a recession. "His Holiness says we have to be realistic," said Tenzin Taklha, a senior aide to the 72-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner who has come to embody the Tibetan struggle since he fled to India in 1959 in the wake of a failed uprising against China. From the exiled Tibetan leaders, there were no calls for sanctions, like those imposed when Myanmar suppressed pro-democracy protests last year, or even a boycott of this summer's Beijing Olympics. It's an approach that reflects the pragmatism of the Dalai Lama, who has long sought an accommodation based on his "Middle Way" dialogue with Beijing aimed at autonomy for Tibetans under Chinese rule. At the end, it is the Tibetan’s gain not the Chinese.

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