If ever Robert Barnett decides to step down from his position as scholar of ‘modern Tibet’ at Columbia University he would do well to consider moving into the investigations business, as he appears to have an uncanny ability to solve cases that would baffle the greatest of sleuths. How so? Well just two days after the shocking news of the killing of Akong Rinpoche (a high profile Tibetan lama, and his companions during a visit to Tibet and China) he was assuring the New York Times that this murderous attack was not linked to politics, or the seismic tensions resulting from China’s occupation of Tibet.
“Though forceful with Tibetans whom he worked with on his social projects, Akong Rinpoche was very judicious in political matters, avoiding any public assertions in either direction, and is very unlikely to have attracted serious hostility from any side,” Professor Barnett said in an e-mail. “He went as far as anyone has done in recent times in the effort to see if long-term, constructive Tibetan-Chinese coexistence and cooperation can be achieved without either side having to give up its basic principles and commitments.”
Ever willing to provide a detached and scholarly view many folks will be wondering what forms the basis for his confidence that China’s regime had no hand in this terrible crime. Was Robert Barnett flown in by the Communist Party of China to determine no involvement of the Chinese regime? Perhaps he enjoyed an informal conversation with an official from the Chinese authorities who assured him that this crime was committed by Tibetans and nothing to do with the government of China? It seems that he has the ear of Tibet’s oppressors:
“So we should not be surprised that, weeks before the Dalai Lama’s announcement about his retirement plans, elite analysts within the Chinese government were tasked with determining whether he might also be planning to go into retreat in order to conceal his eventual death. The level of concern was sufficient that even foreign views were sought, and I was approached discreetly for my opinion…” (Emphasis Added)
SOURCE (Editor’s Note: We also have an archived copy of that article)
Whatever the facts surrounding this appalling attack against a senior figure of Tibetan Buddhism, and the truth is hardly likely to surface within the mire of disinformation and censorship demanded by the Chinese authorities, it is telling that once again Robert Barnett rises to the occasion with yet another defense of China.