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China's Future Course

The examination of Chinese media attack on “Western Anti-China Forces” (Reference C3S No.156 dated 11 May 2008), is useful in opening up analysis on the future course of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in regard to both Tibet and to wider international issues. In particular, the world will be keen to see how Sino-US relations shape up. Russia seems to have taken a back seat in this controversy. Is Medvedev-Putin’s Russia going to chart a very different line from Putin’s Russia with regard to the US and to China?

This writer has some sympathy for the Chinese in their resentment of American- funded propagandist and intrusive campaigns to destabilise other countries. India has suffered from Western stings and wiles for decades. There is a move in the American academia, instigated by Washington, to undermine the concept of national sovereignty, which has been a dependable guarantee for struggling new countries to ensure their territorial integrity since 1945. Kosovo has recently exposed the vulnerability of composite nation-states. For well-set nations like the US, there is little danger of outsiders helping to hive off chunks of territory and constitute separate states (like East Timor, Kosovo, etc). They feel secure and are capable of mischief in other nations. The Soviet Union itself, a superpower in the eyes of many, succumbed to disintegration for complex reasons. China and India have to watch this tendency. Unfortunately for us, China itself is not averse to adopting the ‘splittist’ policy with regard to India.

There is need for a compendious history of Tibet. There are several histories , but they must be compared and assessed in the light of recent reliable scholarship. The Russians in Tsarist times were deeply interested in Tibet, Xinjiang and Sichuan too. Even the period since the Communists came to power in Beijing, needs to be studied again. The US had used the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to rope in India to undo the Chinese (Han) conquest of Tibet. Indians today are ignorant of many facts, which have come to light from secretive archives in recent years. May be the Tibet policy of the Kuomintang (KMT) was also as imperial as that of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

This writer is glad about Part IV of Shanghai Diary (by Mr B.Raman, C3S No.157 dated 12 May 2008). We, in India, should never forget that China swallowed Tibet like an imperial power and that its historical claim is no better than India’s, in fact, much less convincing, since our case has a cultural-religious basis to it. Nor should we forget that China has Han-ised Tibet and discriminated against Tibetans for a long time.

(The writer, Mr A.Madhavan, is former Ambassador of India to Japan and France)

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