Tag: self-determination

The UK, China & Tibet

A sad story just becomes …. well, sadder.

Only the most discerning of news-followers will have picked up the fact that the British government has recently abandoned a long-held position on Tibet and now fully recognizes China’s direct rule over the country.

Map of Tibet

A recent article in the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, explains all this far better than I could, but what intrigues me is WHY this has been done now and WHAT concessions have been made by China.

In truth, the Chinese Communist Party is not renowned for making concessions, so one suspects that the Tibetans have simply been sold down the river to gain general political kudos with the Chinese government, even though the former have an extremely good case in their claim for autonomy within China (independence having been abandoned in the cause of realism). Of course, Britain, France, the US and other western states are the world champions of freedom, democracy and the right to self-determination, aren’t they? Well, perhaps not …..

As far as Learning from Dogs is concerned, the main question is that of integrity. Should we simply change our political policies for convenience? Labour government ministers and indeed even Chris Patten, former Conservative Governor of Hong Kong, have referred to the previous view on Tibetan independence as “a quaint eccentricity”. However, I very much doubt whether the Tibetans – who after all live there and form the majority (or at least DID until they were ethnically-swamped by the Han Chinese) – would consider as an eccentricity the overnight and unheralded abandonment of yet one more hope in their fight for justice.

If the previous position was right for nearly 100 years then why is it suddenly wrong? What happened? Were we wrong all that time and have suddenly seen the light? That couldn’t be for reasons of expediency, could it?

Tibetan girl

And what HAVE the British gained? Apparently, there was no attempt to gain anything, since “The Chinese were not pushing for this.” Well, if they weren’t, then why give it? As it happens, the rather pathetic Dalai Lama is engaged in yet more “negotiations” with the CPP. I can just imagine the smirks on the Chinese side. The Tibetans didn’t have many cards to start with; now their only  Ace has been well and truly trumped.

By Chris Snuggs