Recent protests in Tibet were brilliantly timed to draw the international attention given that few months are left till the commencement of Beijing Olympics on 8th August, 2008, according to an article on the website of the Russian Strategic Culture Foundation.
The article, entitled "Tibet in Turmoil", has been contributed by Arun Mohanty (India), a noted professor at the Russia and Asia Issue Study Center affiliated to elite Nehru University in India.
Thus the protests in Tibet were not all together unexpected. However, what is surprising is that the planned nature and the scale of violence that erupted in Tibetan capital Lhasa. The truth is that the riot that broke out in Lhasa on March 14 and involved violent mobs including militant monks from the Drepung monastery, who marched in tandem with a foiled march to Tibet by groups of monks across the border in India.
The violent rioters committed murder, arson and other acts of vandalism against innocent civilians and caused enormous damage to public and private property. The protest, which seemed so well-orchestrated and coordinated, erupted simultaneously in the neighboring Tibetan dominated regions of Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai.
This is not the first time that an attempt is being made to sabotage the Olympics, the article recalls. The boycott of Moscow Olympics held in 1980 by many Western countries at the height of cold war is a case in point.
A conference organized in New Delhi in June last year by self-proclaimed group "Friends of Tibet" emphasized on using the forthcoming Olympics to highlight the issue of "free Tibet" globally. The participants stressing that Beijing Olympics is a golden chance for Tibetans to come out to the streets, gave a call for worldwide protests and organize a march of Tibetan exiles in India and Nepal to Lhasa that would coincide with the opening of Olympic Games in the Chinese capital.
According to Indian media reports, notes the article, some groups close to the Dalai Lama had started giving calls in January this year to organize an uprising inside Tibet and the Tibetan exile groups had announced the creation of a "Tibetan People's Uprising Movement" on January 25.
Meanwhile, press reports also suggest that US ambassador to India, David Mulford, was at a meeting with the Dalai Lama at the time when the call for new uprising was given. US Under-secretary of State Paula Dobryansky, known for her role in colored revolutions in the former Soviet space, was in Dharamsala to meet with the Dalai Lama last November. Lot has been reported about US congress speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent meeting the Dalai Lama at Dharamsala after the riots began in Lhasa.
It is a "life or death struggle" to defend China's stability and territorial sovereignty, the article underlines. Tibet came under Chinese sovereignty long back in history, but Tibetan rulers used to declare independence whenever the power of the Central Government waned. Tibet came under forced British rule in 1907. A weak China then, nevertheless, was not in a position to act against British colonial occupation. Afterwards, the Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai-shek kept on protesting against British occupation of Tibet but to no effect.
While Dalai Lama has been pleading for "genuine autonomy", adds the article, some sections of Tibetans, particularly Tibetan non-governmental organizations (NGO) funded by foreign sources, continue to advocate for complete independence for Tibet. These NGOs have a history or resorting to violence to achieve their goal.
Moreover, the article goes on, China has witnessed unprecedented economic growth during the last three decades with its economy growing at an average annual growth of 10 percent. Tibet has seen an annual growth rate of more than 12 percent over the past six years and has entered a growth trajectory of 13 percent to 14 percent, the article says.
By People's Daily Online