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New Republic: China Flexes Its Regional Muscle (Tibet)

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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 06:51 PM
Original message
New Republic: China Flexes Its Regional Muscle (Tibet)


A Tibetan protester takes part in a prayer during an anti-Chinese rally by the Tibetan people's solidarity movement near the Chinese embassy in New Delhi on Nov. 23, 2011. Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images

by Ellen Bork
November 23, 2011

Ellen Bork, director of democracy and human rights at the Foreign Policy Initiative, writes frequently about U.S. policy toward Tibet and China.

After four prime ministers in four years, Nepal might finally be entering a period of stability. On November 1, Nepalese politicians reached a deal on demobilizing nearly 20,000 Maoist fighters who have been in limbo since a 2006 peace agreement ended the ten year insurgency. A second priority, drafting a constitution, may now also be within reach thanks to a compromise on power sharing among the major political parties.

But at the same time, Nepal has become the subject of a high stakes battle for influence between China, which occupies Tibet on Nepal's northern border, and India, which surrounds the country on all other sides. Nepal's current prime minister, Baburam Bhattarai, sent a signal by making his first trip abroad to Delhi last month, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit next year. But Chinese officials have responded with a full-court press of their own: Kathmandu's Tribhuvan airport has seen a steady stream of Chinese officials, including the head of China's People's Liberation Army, who inked a $20 million military-aid deal with the Nepalese army. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, for his part, will visit Nepal in December.

At this stage it's unclear who will prevail in this Sino-Indian struggle for influence, but one issue that is shaping up to be an important bellwether is Nepal's role as a haven and way station for Tibetan refugees. In recent months China has set its sights on closing off this avenue to Tibetans, and it has stepped up the pressure it exerts on Nepal accordingly. India, which provides a home for the Dalai Lama and the democratic, exile government of Tibet, has a strategic stake in seeing Nepal stand up to Chinese pressure. How Nepal responds to China's aggressive new campaign to cut off aid for Tibetans will indicate just how much influence the Chinese have in Kathmandu.

NEPAL'S COMMUNITY OF an estimated 25,000 Tibetan refugees dates mainly from China's conquest of Tibet in the 1950s. Some are resistance fighters or their descendants. New refugees no longer settle in Nepal, but under the 1990 "Gentleman's Agreement" between the Nepalese government and the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), Tibetans who make it across the mountainous frontieranywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand each yearare brought to the capital, Kathmandu, several hours away by car. Once there, they are documented and quickly sent on to India. Nepal has been a part of the escape path for numerous important Tibetans, including the Karmapa Lama, a young, charismatic monk who fled Tibet in a dramatic escape in 1999 when he was 14 years old. Some hope he will assume an important leadership role in the Tibetan cause when the current Dalai Lama, now 76, dies.

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/23/142696888/new-republic-china-flexes-its-regional-muscle?ft=1&f=1057
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 07:49 PM
Response to Original message
1. My Letter to the White House
Dear Mr. President,

I wish you a pleasant Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones. This is my first letter to you. In 2008, I had the luck of being your one-millionth-campaign contributor. I write you with great emergency. This is a deeply personal issue as my own grandparents on my mothers side were once in such condition; captives of Nazi Germany who survived the Holocaust and found refuge in American Displaced Persons Camps in Germany in 1945.

The People's Republic of China is taking increasingly severe steps to culturally eliminate the Tibetan people. A people of great peace and nobility who like the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock 391 years ago, are being denied the right to practice their faith and persecuted. They are being increasingly repressed and denied the right to flee Tibet to asylum in Nepal, India and elsewhere. Over a dozen Tibetan monks and nuns have taken the ultimate step of self-immolation in a desperate plea for international assistance in pushing the PRC to stop its repression and for the fundamental rights of human kind for Tibet. Tibet has never been part of China; it is not an internal Chinese issue.

I strongly encourage you to speak up for Tibet and to confront China on its grave abuses against human rights, not just in Tibet but also against North Korean refugees and internal dissidents. The foremost action you can take by granting the Dalai Lama a face-to-face meeting in the Oval Office. We must also begin to take steps to assure the peaceful exit of refugees. For our relationship with China to be successful in the 21st century they must know that we will not sacrifice human decency for economic peace.

The PRC believes that bullying the international community on these issues they will gain greater international force across the globe. They must not be granted this desire without our objection. Mr. President, you are truly the leader of the free world and it is your moral duty to speak up on this issue. We cannot afford to be silent or the least bit hesitant in this matter.

Sincerely,

ellisonz
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. K&R...
And a good letter too.

Sid
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Thank you.
We've got to have hope.

:thumbsup:
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riverwalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. a tragedy
I once worked with a nurse who did volunteer work for the Tibetan Refugee Reception Center.
The stories of these people, crossing the Himalaya on foot, arriving with severe frostbite, snow blindness, many dying along the way, was heartbreaking.
To close this only escape route is nothing short of genocide for the Tibetan people and the extinction of an entire culture.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I agree.
It's fast approaching the point where it is not just repression, but genocide. We get so little news out of Tibet, and what we do get takes weeks sometimes.

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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
6. Kick for Tibet.
:cry:
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Keep posting about Tibet...
Edited on Wed Nov-23-11 11:08 PM by SidDithers
There's a poster here that I'd like to see chime in with their opinions about the mistreatment of the poor Chinese at the hands of the terrorist Tibetans and their God-King the Da-Lie Lama.

Fuck it. Here are a couple of links to what I hope are eye-opening threads:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x3133638
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x3133656

Edit: one more http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x3044051

Sid
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 11:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I plan too.
I've been checking for news just about everyday for the last two months. Time has come for the United States and the world to stand up to the PRC on this issue. If they want to do business with us they need to know we are not going to be intimidated on human and political rights.

Some people are just amazing :thumbsup:
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Kaleko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I must have entered a parallel universe.
Dammit, I find myself agreeing with SidDithers!

Unprecedented. Miracles DO happen, people.
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ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I think most of us agree...
...on more than we often like to admit.

;-)
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. +1...nt
Sid
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-11 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
12. Kick for Tibet...nt
Sid
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