Perfidious Alliance Distorting Tibet’s True Cause?

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During a recent meeting with colleagues on how to consolidate the progress of promoting Tibetan national freedom someone raised a view, that of all the exiled Tibetan communities, Britains qualifies for the dubious honor of being the least vocal in terms of actively supporting Tibet’s rightful independence. This challenging assertion was balanced by a recognition that within that country  exists much Tibet-related activism. While acknowledging the good work that folks there do, our critical friend countered that it was not the absence of action that was troubling, but the nature of it, in particular its message. Elaborating further it was contended that despite Britain being home to a number of Tibet groups, two of whom have publicly stated objectives of Tibetan independence, when it came to political protest and lobbying there was no determined, collective or unified effort to convey Tibet’s true cause of national freedom.

Evidence of such a worrying situation is claimed to exist within the annual March 10 protests and various public statements, issued by what is loosely called a ‘Tibet Coalition’, an over-arching body that seeks to unify efforts of various UK-Tibet groups. These, so the claims assert, regularly avoid mention of Tibetan independence, at rallys banners and placards convey more diluted and less politically emphatic slogans, often more ‘rights-based’ in content. While press releases, issued by that body, ommit reference to Tibet’s political struggle. Such were the concerns raised and it must be noted, when viewing available material, it is not an entirely unfair assessment, there does within Britain’s Tibet-organizations appear to be an active unwillingness to forcefully protest in support of Tibetan independence.

What then of those groups that on paper at least are committed to Tibet’s national freedom? Why are they not openly demanding Tibetan independence? The Students For Free Tibet-UK and Tibetan Youth UK both appear to be strongly committed to the goal of an independent Tibetan nation, yet their voice seems to be overuled and marginalized in favor of promoting so-called ‘meaningful autonomy’ and focussing on human rights (valuable and needed though that is). An influential component within Britain’s Tibet scene is the Tibet Society, an organization which at one stage held as an objective, independence for Tibet (it is unclear if their membership has agreed to an amendment to remove that key aim). It seems to play a determining role in shaping the nature, profile and content of Tibet related campaigns and has fairly close links to Parliament, administering an annual Lobby of that institution, as with previous actions this year’s event failed to offer a single word in support of Tibet’s independence. It’s key aim being to: “To write to the Foreign Secretary, reminding him of the British government’s commitment to make progress towards meaningful autonomy for Tibet…” (Emphasis Added)

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Much has been written over the years about this organization, that while its charitable arm carries out welcome work bringing relief to Tibetans in exile, it has not been able to prevent questions regarding what some have suggested is an overly close relationship with Britain’s Foreign Office. Some of the Tibet Society’s former executives were previously either Ambassadors or junior Ministers at that Department, speculation continues as to what (if any) connection currently exists. Does such influence matter in regard to the presentation of Tibet’s cause within Britain? Most certainly due to the important consideration that Britain’s Foreign Office has one prime duty with respect to China; to maintain, encourage and protect British commercial and political interests. Within that context it is no friend of Tibet’s independence and is wholly unsupportive of an assertive campaign for Tibetan independence, it is such an intolerance that has fuelled the suggestion that within the United Kingdom the Tibet movement is corrosively undermined and manipulated by individuals sympathetic to the national goals and orthodoxy of the Foreign Office. Is this perfidious control behind the consistent failure of Tibet-related bodies within Britain to represent Tibet’s true cause? Partly maybe, however there is another pressure that exerts a stifling influence, that of the exiled Tibetan Administration, which shares the same dismissive arrogance on the subject of Tibet’s independence as the Foreign Office. It is engaged in a campaign to undermine, vilify and censor those who demand Tibet’s rightful independence, actively promoting breathtaking compromises with China’s regime, to secure some form of ‘autonomy’, in opposition to the struggle waged by its compatriots in occupied Tibet,  the Tibetan leadership seeks to control the political activities of exiled Tibetan communities and those of its supporters. It regards independence for Tibet as an irritating inconvenience that undermines its appeasement of China to reach a negotiated ‘solution’ and therefore is unsleeping in extending a censorial influence across the Tibetan movement. One only has to note the recent disgraceful incident in Washington DC in which the President of the Tibetan Youth Congress and colleagues were censored, by a fellow Tibetan loyal to the policies of the exiled Tibetan Administration. See Here

With such leverage is it any wonder that the message of Tibet’s national independence is so invisible within Britain? Is it purely coincidence  also that there is no Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, an organization dedicated to the restoration of an independent Tibet, in the United Kingdom? The establishment of a regional branch would be a very welcome development indeed and give voice to the struggle of Tibetans inside occupied Tibet, who strive, not for the ‘meaningful autonomy’ featured in the Parliamentary lobby organized by the ‘Tibet Coalition’, but for their nation’s just independence. Word of warning to any considering launching a UK based RTYC be independent, strong, politically assertive and above all cautious with those who appear to be supporting your country!

2 thoughts on “Perfidious Alliance Distorting Tibet’s True Cause?

    • Your comments, though not entirely salient and repeating points previously made has been included, if only to provide a contextual background for our response. We shall not be engaging in further discussion on this so please refrain from a enjoinder,as your point has been made and featured on this occasion.

      Firstly, you should understand that unlike yourselves our network is not based in England, we have subscribers and friends there who keep us informed of events from time-to-time. The consistent message we receive, and report without reservation, is that Tibet’s true cause for independence, so courageously waged by Tibetans in occupied Tibet, is marginalized, ignored, diluted and distorted, by what’s been called a ‘Tibet Coalition’ in your country. We further understand that an unhealthy closeness exists between your equivalent of the State Department and some Tibetan organizations in England, some questions on this subject have been raised previously with the Tibet Society coming under particular scrutiny. From what we are told it appears that your government’s State Department, ,through such organizations, exerts some corrosive influence of the English Tibet movement that is wholly intolerant and inactive in terms of public ad vocation of Tibet’s independence. We gather too that the preparations for rallys and events in your country are somewhat dominated by a handful of individuals, who we hear are implacably opposed to the struggle for Tibetan independence, being more followers of His Holiness and uncritical adherents of so-called autonomy for Tibet. It seems like this situation has been in operation for a number of years, our reporting on that is a factual observation based on reports and eyewitness accounts from those in England who have found it impossible to secure any enthusiasm or cooperation from groups there to publicly support Tibet’s rightful independence. It is an appalling situation, more so when contrasted to action for Tibet taking place in the US where there is a vibrant and powerful lobby for Tibetan independence, mirrored in Europe also, notably in Switzerland. There are of course many questions raised by what is a betrayal of the political objectives being sought by Tibetans in occupied Tibet, and given your assertion that there are two groups in England supportive of Tibetan independence, many will rightfully be asking why it is that such voices are not being given equal representation at public events for Tibet? What censorial influences are ensuring that such solidarity is not allowed to express itself? The answer to these important questions do not lie within the extenuating fudge offered by your explanation,as clearly anyone totally committed to supporting Tibet’s true cause would not be deflected, silenced or censored on the basis of a lack of majority support. The focus will of course turn upon the groups you say are supportive of Tibet’s independence and questions asked about why they have not asserted themselves, and in so doing stood with Tibetans in their rightful cause for national liberation.

      We are always willing and happy to cooperate,encourage and support those who actively support Tibet’s independence, however from the information we have it seems that in England that cause is afraid to raise its voice, or be proudly written on banners or placards. While that lamentable state-of-affairs exists we shall continue to report, challenge and expose those who misrepresent and conceal the true cause that Tibetanssuch as Tsewang Norbu gave his life for. If you want our support make a stand stop letting folks there dominate your actions and beliefs.

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