NEW DELHI: Fifteen white papers since the 1990s and there could be more to come. So what explains China’s issuance of so many white papers on Tibet?
It reflects China’s insecurities about Tibet despite invading and occupying it 70 years ago, argues Tenzin Lekshay, director of the Tibet Policy Institute in Dharamshala. Speaking exclusively to StratNews Global on ‘The Gist’, he said China faces a crisis of “political legitimacy” and thinks the way to go about it is through further strong arm measures that include suppressing or manipulating every manifestation of Tibetan culture and faith. There are efforts underway to “sinicise” it, he said.
China is also trying to interfere in the succession to the current Dalai Lama, claiming for itself the right to choose his successor including the method (reincarnation and the Golden Urn). Apart from the irony of a professedly atheist state meddling in what are matters of religion, Beijing’s actions lack credibility given the manner in which it has dealt with the Panchen Lama, abducting and spiriting away the Dalai Lama’s choice and foisting its own candidate. Lekshay says that to this day, it is rare to find a photo or portrait of ‘Beijing’s Panchen Lama’ in any Tibetan home.
The Dalai Lama has indicated his successor will not be found in “occupied land”, meaning Tibet, which has reinforced speculation that he (or she?) could be found in India where the majority of Tibetan exiles live. That could change as young Tibetans, frustrated with the lack of any breakthrough in Tibet, and also the limited opportunities India gives them (unless they take Indian citizenship), increasingly opt to move overseas.