If we are to accept public comments issued by Samdhong Rinpoche, the last Tibetan to hold the post of exiled Prime Minister, as reflecting official policy of the Central Tibetan Administration (former Tibetan Government-In-Exile) then Tibetans (and all those who care about securing a free and independent Tibet) should read the following words extremely carefully.
They are taken from a round-table discussion given by Samdhong in New Delhi on August 27 2009. Why at the time they did not produce ave not elicited any critical response is baffling, significantly these comments, which have not been repudiated by Doctor Lobsang or the present CTA, are of toxic relevance, in terms of negotiations with Beijing, Tibet’s future status, and in particular an issue which has consistently frozen talks between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and communist Chinese officials. Defining what constitutes ‘Tibet’ in terms of proposals on an autonomy solution [sic].
Samdhong presented a grandiloquent account which, stripped of its adornment, denied that Tibetans are a distinct people “All Tibetans belong to one minority nationality among the 55 minority nationalities of the PRC” and went on further by appearing to offer the astonishing concession of sacrificing Amdo (so-called Qinghai Province) in exchange for a single autonomous administration over currently existing so-called autonomous regions.The ambiguous assertions and dangerous compromises he presented imply that if the Central Tibetan Administration were to get its way only those Tibetans living in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (U-Tsang-Central/Western Tibet) Kanlho Autonomous Region (small area in Amdo-East Tibet), Ngapa Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (small area in Amdo-East Tibet), Kanze Autonomous Prefecture (Kham-Eastern Tibet) and Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Kham-Eastern Tibet) would supposedly benefit from living under a single proposed autonomous administration.
On the reasoning articulated by Samdhong the overwhelming majority of Tibetans in Amdo, and the region itself, would at a provincial level and in terms of ‘national’ governance remain firmly under the administrative and political control (in reality of course so would all Tibetans, whatever the so-called improvements in autonomy) of communist China’s central regime.
It should be noted that located in Amdo is the source of China’s most important economic and culturally iconic rivers, the Yangste and Yellow River, while the CTA may unrealistically hope to squeeze some movement on autonomous rights, it must surely have recognized that freeing Amdo, a region that is also immensely rich in mineral and fossil fuel resources, from Beijing’s grip was a colossal task. As noted by Warren Smith in ‘China’s Tibet?’:
“The need for China to control the headwaters of its two major rivers..is alone sufficient reason why China will not allow any expansion of the TAR” (page 280).
At this stage Tibetans reading this may understandably be going into denial, surely the Tibetan Government would never consider agreeing to a truncated Tibetan region, sacrificing Amdo, with Tibetans just another Chinese minority people, and only the illusion of autonomy as protection? Well maybe this analysis is indeed misplaced but take a close look at what Samdhong stated:
“This propaganda (Editor’s Note: Communist Chinese criticism of the TGIE proposals on autonomy) is done to make people believe that His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s aspiration is unreasonable and that he is asking for separation of one fourth of the PRC or that His Holiness is asking for inclusion of certain areas into autonomous region that are not already declared as Tibetan autonomous areas”. (emphasis added) Page 87 Here
So clearly the Tibetan Government-in-Exile is not asking for that! Later in his address Samdhong is more specific:
“We are not seeking additional areas to be included in the Tibetan autonomous areas….Nor, is there a need of re-drawing the border between Tibetan autonomous areas and other provinces or autonomous areas” (emphasis added)
See Article HERE
Given that the traditional Tibetan region of Amdo forms a majority of so-called Qinghai Province, and at a provincial level, was not designated (apart from two small strips of territory) a so-called Tibetan autonomous region. If Samdhong’s assertions are to be understood correctly, he and the exiled CTA appear to have decided to abandon Amdo and its people to an uncertain and dangerous fate under communist Chinese control, while other Tibetans are supposedly to benefit from an improved autonomy. which Samdhong would happily accept in place of genuine freedom.
On the objectives of the CTA, and by extension, he is implying the Tibetan people (although any claim that he has such a mandate exists only in a world of fantasy) Samdhong notes:
“The basis of our demand is the concept of National Regional Autonomy for minority nationalities propounded by Marx, Lenin, Mao and the provisions enshrined in the Constitution of the PRC” (emphasis added).
In his easy capitulation and compromise his words callously betray those hopes and dishonor the sacrifices of the countless Tibetans who died fighting for Tibet’s independence. Now it would seem that the Central Tibetan Administration is sending out signals that it’s willing to surrender Amdo, as an inducement to make progress in negotiations with communist China.
Towards the end of his speech Samdhong offered the communist Chinese leadership, what he sees as important benefits, which will be to the advantage, of what is carefully described as the ‘Central Government’. One suggestion in particular stands out from the sickening catalog of appeasement, he advises the communist Chinese regime that the CTA’s proposals (of a single united autonomous Tibetan region, minus Amdo)
“Will help contain local nationalism”
There is only one word which best describes such proposals, treachery.