Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Did Britain just sell Tibet?

...asks Robert Barnett in an NYT op-ed.  Apparently, Britain is dropping its support for Tibet as an autonomous region in return for financial help from China to help the UK tide over the current global financial crisis:
an announcement on Oct. 29 by David Miliband, the British foreign secretary, that after almost a century of recognizing Tibet as an autonomous entity, Britain had changed its mind. Mr. Miliband said that Britain had decided to recognize Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China. He even apologized that Britain had not done so earlier.

And this matters to India as well, says Barnett:
the decision has wider implications. India’s claim to a part of its northeast territories, for example, is largely based on the same agreements — notes exchanged during the Simla convention of 1914, which set the boundary between India and Tibet — that the British appear to have just discarded. That may seem minor to London, but it was over those same documents that a major war between India and China was fought in 1962, as well as a smaller conflict in 1987.

This is NOT helping the Tibetans (d-uh!):
On Nov. 10, China issued a damning attack on the exile leader, saying his autonomy plan amounted to ethnic cleansing, disguised independence and the reintroduction of serfdom and theocracy. The only thing that China will henceforth discuss with the exiles is the Dalai Lama’s personal status, meaning roughly which luxury residence he can retire to in Beijing.

The last word from Barnett:
Including China in global decision-making is welcome, but Western powers should not rewrite history to get support in the financial crisis. It may be more than banks and failed mortgages that are sold off cheap in the rush to shore up ailing economies.

Free Tibet!  Let's at least have an autonomous Tibet.  Oh wait, we are broke and China has money... The Chinese commies are great, it's the Dalai Lama who is engaged in ethnic cleansing!

'Nuff said.

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