Sunday, July 13, 2008
CHINA'S CHARADE: SPILLING THE BEANS
love it when colonialist thug regimes can't keep a secret. It happened last week when some unnamed Chinese spokesperson blabbed about the CCP's true intent in their "talks" with Tibetan representatives, thereby exposing the world's misapprehension that these shows have any worth.
While numerous world leaders have expected meaningful discussions, China will consider nothing outside of Dalai Lama's personal future (which the Tibetans have said is not an important issue). So far, the world hasn't yet been inclined to notice this fundamental charade.
One of my favourite journalists, Michael Sheridan in Times UK, has had the April and May editions of "Tibet Communications" (a classified publication restricted to Party officials) handed to him in Hong Kong. Containing transcripts of speeches to party members by such luminaries as Tibet party boss Zhang Qingli, the documents outline a secret programme of severe political repression concealed behind the mask of diplomatic talks presented in public. These policy speeches have been kept out of the Chinese media.
Despite Zhang's public assurances that conditions in Tibet were "normal," behind the Party's closed doors he admits that Chinese authorities in Lhasa are facing "a tide of encirclement" and that the March events have "destroyed social stability." He warns the party that "final victory" is far off.
Zhang has now outlined a Mao-era system of "administrative committees" to control the monasteries, revived officious "street committees" to watch over the city and co-ordinated an intensive military operation...Zhang's mentor is the politburo's ideologue for minority issues, Wang Lequan. Wang has taken on the overall ideological direction of policy in Tibet, having built the model in Xinjiang -- pour in millions of Han settlers, boost resource extraction, and have lots of political trials and executions (the latter feature saw two Uyghurs executed last week).
However, Zhang’s words make it plain the talks are a diplomatic mask to conceal China’s actual policy. His speeches, which are remarkably frank, show the government’s chosen response is a classic Marxist-Leninist propaganda and re-education campaign backed up by armed force.
There is also plenty of paranoia in these policy speeches by Tibet's most powerful man.
"But we are far from final victory because the Dalai Lama group, which was exploited by western enemy forces, is making a new plan for separatism," he said. "So you, the leaders of work units, must guard your gates and manage your people well. Let leaders of street committees be vigilant and keep watch on all outsiders.All police units, party branches and the state's religious bureau are ordered to "earnestly impliment" Zhang's instructions. The chief of propaganda in Tibet, Lie Que, seems to be fully onboard.
"Propaganda and education are our party’s greatest advantages. These are the most useful weapons with which to defend ourselves against the Dalai Lama group. So let the propaganda department work more actively to expose its plots."
"We must clean out the monasteries and strengthen the administrative committees," he said, "After that we will absolutely control them."
In reality, Tibet is governed by the party and the army. The outskirts of Lhasa are ringed by barracks. Every road in is blocked by checkpoints. Real power rests with Zhang and the military commander of Tibet, General Tong Guishan.If Lhasa is under a military lock-down, Tibet's great monasteries in the holy city are in lock-down within a lock-down. At least 1,000 monks remain sealed up under armed guard inside their monasteries (those that haven't been taken away to far distant prisons). Drepung, Tibet's largest monastery, is no exception (but rather the rule).
Nobody may go in or out. Photography is banned and passers-by are shooed away.Basically, the Buddhist monks of Drepung (and countless other religious institutions) are being held hostage by a military force, at the orders of a criminal regime with far more experience at lying than telling the truth. Hostage-taking, extortion, murder -- the occupiers of Tibet have far more in common with organised crime than with any sort of legitimate governance.
A camp of olive-green tents and two rings of roadblocks surround this sanctuary of meditation. Local people say the monks pay the army for food to be sent to them.