Lodi Gyari, former main negotiator for the exiled Tibetan Administration in its fruitless efforts to seek progress in talks with China’s regime on resolving the thorny issue of Tibet has issued a curious statement on his website Reading its contents there’s a feeling that concealed somewhere in his recollections of the early beginnings of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the clever arguments and academic posturing, is an unspoken sense of apology or regret. There’s much to be sorry about, after all this prominent Tibetan has been at the forefront of pressing a surrender of Tibetan nationhood in exchange for slavery under China’s rule. A condition charmingly described as ‘meaningful autonomy’.
Thankfully the ever suspicious and paranoid psychopaths of China’s leadership have consistently rejected this orchestrated appeasement. For now, albeit precariously the door remains ajar on Tibet’s rightful cause for at the very least self-determination, with the objective of restoring its national independence. Problem is that the articulations of the elite cabal, within which Lodi Gyari has a central place, argue that such aspirations are the stuff of fantasy. Better they counsel to be ‘realistic’ and call only for the application of existing communist Chinese law on autonomy and so-called ‘ethnic minority’ rights, ignored in all this of course are the Tibetans of occupied Tibet who are opposing China’s terrorism to assert their national and cultural identity, while demanding Tibet’s independence and a return of the Dalai Lama.
This key issue of a people currently seeking national liberation is avoided by the honey-coated reasoning offered by Lodi Gyari, instead he chooses to toss the common aspiration of Tibetans for nationhood into the muddy pool of historical perspective and interpretation. There are a number of takes on Tibet’s history, each colored by the thinking, bias, understanding of the author, while geographic and political boundaries shift, emerge and disappear making any definitive single Tibetan political territory elusive. It is not however a falsehood to assert that Tibet and those territories inhabited by Tibetans enjoyed cultural and political freedoms. Moreover in terms of what constitutes a ‘people’ a tough definition, then Tibetans enjoy/ed characteristics that mark them out as ‘distinct’, certainly not Chinese and for considerable periods experienced either directly or more distantly a national and cultural freedom. Such a reality, though challenged by Gyari’s pseudo-intellectual critique, probably remains at the core of Tibetan national identity, the spark that lights the fire resisting China’s tyranny.
Disappointingly however his statement chooses to gloss-over that factor, far too busy in asserting the complex nature of Tibet’s status and former territorial status, he suggests is unknown to many, what is he seeking to achieve, a simple restatement of a select historical view? A darker interpretation may read his comments as a barely disguised attempt to undermine as credible the advancement of an independent Tibet constituting the three traditional Tibetan regions. Having drawn upon the scrutiny and perspectives of history to question an independent Tibetan polity, he then goes on to claim international law as being equally unable to convincingly establish the veracity of Tibet’s independent status. Take this extract for example:
“International legal experts and strong Tibet supporters could not clearly establish the legality of an existence of an unquestionable independent sovereign state of Tibet according to international law in the past few centuries….”
Note the cute extenuation injected in his remarks, subjective assertions which misrepresent the facts somewhat, these additions require us to ask in what circumstances, and by which party, is an independent state ever truly recognized or established by a process of international law without being questioned, or realized in absolute clarity? The descriptive lengths he went to in dismissing claims of Tibetan sovereignty would no doubt be greeted with welcome applause by China’s regime, which has for many years been offering similar arguments!
Meanwhile Lodi Gyari appears to have forgotten the deliberations and findings of a forum of which his colleagues Gyaltsen Gyaltag and Kesang Takla were formal advisors in which a large number of highly respected and experienced international lawyers convened in London to examine the case of Tibet’s status. It is worth visiting the archives to read the findings of this august assembly of legal experts, conclusions which question the comments asserted above. Reflecting on the claim that prior to 1949/50 Tibet was an independent state for the purposes of international law the eminent collective assessment stated
“5.5) By consensus, the participants of this conference reached the conclusion that the attributes of sovereignty were sufficiently present at that time, in the context of a nation such as Tibet and given its history, to sustain the Tibetan argument as the preferable one. In doing so they took fully into account the arguments of the PRC concerning the historical relationship between China and Tibet.” (Source: CONFERENCE OF INTERNATIONAL LAWYERS ON ISSUES RELATING TO “ “SELF-DETERMINATION AND INDEPENDENCE FOR TIBET “ LONDON, JANUARY 6-10, 1993
So there we have it, there exists an authoritative legal assessment that affirms Tibet enjoyed sovereignty, a conclusion which perhaps Mr Gyari chooses to ignore to better serve his stated support of the Middle Way?
As regards his repeated insistence that the ‘Tibet’ featured in various United Nations Resolutions, was during the time, that defined by and governed by Gaden Phodrang (the Tibetan Government) an area largely absent of Kham and Amdo Tibetan regions, we cannot wonder if this claim has a fallacious objective. After all what counts more than such evidence-free assertions is the present reality, which is that across all Tibet’s regions Tibetan protests, collective and individual are demanding national liberation. However their sacrifices, courage and rightful demands are being callously ignored by the cynical sophistry reflected in the wording of Mr Gyari’s statement which selectively focuses upon debatable aspects of Tibet’s territorial and political history and distorts the facts relating to Tibet’s previous status. Now why would such a prominent supporter of surrendering Tibet’s right to nationhood choose to misrepresent in such a fashion? Could it be that our warning, made some years ago, of a stealthy effort by the Exiled Tibetan Administration to abandon Kham and Amdo in favor of securing progress with China’s Regime on the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region maybe revealing itself further?
Should Lodi Gyari, described on his site as a “…seasoned and skilled diplomat who is an impassioned advocate for the Tibetan people” wish to offer a reply to our article his comments will be most welcome.