Miscellaneous, Tibet

Who’s Funding The Parliamentary Gravy Train to Dharamsala?

A couple of years back we wrote a post questioning if the exiled Tibetan Administration was funding trips of overseas Parliamentarians to its Dharamsala base in India. In particular we highlighted the case of English MP Mr Norman Baker, around whom at that time there was some controversy regarding expenses.  He had visited India in October 2007 and September 2008, on trips reportedly sponsored by the Tibetan Administration (and the Tibet Society of UK, of which he was then President). The Parliamentarian found himself in hot water for alleged breaches of Parliamentary protocols that govern expenses and overseas trips. According to the British Parliamentary rules, any MP who undertakes an overseas trip, sponsored by a foreign government (Editor’s Note does this mean that this Parliament considers the exiled Tibetan Government as a legitimate and operating political administration?) is required to register it within four weeks. In addition they must declare a financial interest if it “might reasonably be thought by others to influence the speech, representation or communication in question”.

It would appear he weathered that particular storm, so much so that  over the past few days Mr Baker has again been in Dharamsala, acting we understand in the capacity of observer overseeing voting for the head of the Tibetan Administration.

Mr Norman Baker, English MP (far right) in Dharamasala, India
Mr Norman Baker, English MP (far right) in Dharamasala, India

Image:voiceoftibet

It’s not clear if he funded his trip or if his expenses were covered by the Tibetan Administration, International Network of Parliamentarians, or the International Campaign For Tibet. Our previous post on this issue raised concerns at the idea of the Administration bankrolling politicians trips to India. Not only would that be a profligate use of funds, with a questionable return in terms of political advancement for the Tibetan cause, but an extravagance subsidized directly or indirectly by Tibetans. Who face all manner of economic and social deficiencies.

Image:farm2

There were many troubling questions. How many politicians have had their flights and accommodation subsidized? What amounts of money has been spent on such trips?  Were details placed before the exiled Tibetan Assembly? Tibetans scratching a precarious living across India have every right to know if their exiled Administration is wasting precious resources on funding affluent Parliamentarians. When there is so much need within the exiled Tibetan community. Others may well be wondering if foreign politicians, who express support for Tibet, have not reached into their own cash-lined pockets to fund trips to Dharamsala?

Appeasing China, News Item, Tibet

Ottawa Declaration Fails To Support Tibet’s People Or Their Just Cause

Image:archivenet

Can anyone be surprised by the Declaration of The Sixth World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet (WPCT), which was adopted on April 29, 2012, its wording advocated a cause and strategy that has been acknowledged as a failure by the Dalai Lama. That singular and sobering truth however did not prevent the assembled Parliamentarians from endorsing proposals which abandon Tibet’s nationhood, and the rightful aspirations of Tibet’s people, for a solution that would see Tibetans become another ethnic minority group under the tender mercies contained in China’s national and regional laws on so-called ‘autonomy’

For ease of reference here are the key extracts from the Declaration which should be of concern to any who support Tibet’s true cause and stand in solidarity with the struggle waged by Tibetans for their nation’s independence.

“Reject the argument made by the government of the PRC that the engagement of governments with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and members of the elected Tibetan leadership and the expression of support by governments for the peaceful resolution of the issue of Tibet through dialogue and negotiations constitute breaches of the ‘one China policy’ “

So the World Parliamentarian Convention on Tibet sees the issue of Tibet as being resolvable through the domestic law and policies of communist China, with the clear implication that it considers Tibet and its people as not separate from China, but as an internal issue, defined by the cynical fabrications of the so-called One China Policy.

“Remain convinced that a sustainable solution to the issue of Tibet can be achieved  through genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the PRC, as evidenced by the positive experience of the many autonomous regions around the world, and note in particular the example set by the creation of the Territory of Nunavut as a self governing community within the sovereign nation of Canada.”

Does the WPCT not realize that autonomy, as understood or experienced in more liberal states, such as Canada, Spain or Scotland cannot in any intelligent or realistic manner be projected upon or realized under what remains a totalitarian system? Moreover, while particular indigenous groups may be tolerant or welcoming of limited freedoms offered by autonomous conditions, in say Canada,  those people may not be actively struggling for national liberation or seeking an independent status. Furthermore, while there is an historic record of exploitation, occupation and cultural genocide experienced by such groups in North America, the tragic process of assimilation and economic and political domination has left such peoples with little choice but to accept whatever social or cultural freedoms such autonomy provides. The situation in occupied Tibet is of course entirely different, in the sense not only of the nature and extent of brutal expansionism, colonization and human rights atrocities and cultural erosion, but in that Tibetans are resisting China’s tyranny to demand, not ‘genuine autonomy’ but their national independence. This reality, ignored by the WPCT, illustrates another important distinction, unlike indigenous groups within Canada, Tibetans were in possession of, not just lands but an independent political nation, one which enjoyed its own Government, currency, international treaties and was marked by a national boundary.

“Express solidarity with the Tibetan people in their non-violent struggle for their rights and freedoms including the right to determine their own destiny”

If the WPCT truly stands in solidarity why during the entire proceedings of it meeting, and the contents of its Declaration is there no reference to Tibetan independence, or any assertion that such is the demand of political protests by Tibetans inside occupied Tibet. The Tibetan people already have the right to determine their own destiny, they exercise that by courageously resisting China’s occupation and demanding national independence. Sadly the WPCT refuses to express such solidarity with that rightful cause.

“Dispel the false accusation that His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration is seeking separation from the PRC since the Tibetan proposals expressly formulate a solution within the constitutional framework of the PRC and therefore call upon the government of the PRC to cease to propagate such misinformation”

Let get this right shall we? The Dalai Lama has formally relinquished political authority so it is reasonable to ask why the WPCT continues to deliberately equate his name with the issue of Tibet, and more significantly conflating Tibet’s cause with the proposals made by Tibetan spiritual leader, which have been formalized as the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for Tibetans. The cause of Tibet belongs not to any one Tibetan but to the six million Tibetan people, inside occupied Tibet, where virtually all Tibetans survive under China’s oppressive and illegal occupation, a movement for national independence has been waged for decades, a fact the WPC make no mention of. Yet the truth is that protests, be they by individuals or mass uprisings consistently demand Tibetan independence. It is therefore misleading and disingenuous of the WPCT to claim that the Dalai Lama is not seeking the separation of Tibet from China, firstly because he is now divested of political authority and more importantly because it is the voice and political aspirations of Tibetans in Tibet that should be respected and supported. In that context we remind Parliamentarians of the plain fact that Tibetans are not seeking ‘separation’ as their nation already existed, Tibetans seek independence from an illegal occupation. An objective which the WPCT, in its effusive support for the Dalai Lama, chooses to ignore.

“Offer to work with members of the National People’s Congress to jointly ascertain the causes of protest and unrest in Tibet, including the self-immolations”

Having expressed grave concern for human rights violations and oppression in Tibet the World Parliamentary Convention on Tibet now volunteers to collaborate with China’s political establishment, to examine possible reasons which explain Tibetan dissent. What planet are these Parliamentarians living on, are they not already aware of the catalog of atrocities and cultural genocide that Tibetans suffer? Do they not yet understand that Tibetans are not taking to the streets to demand moderation or improvements in any policies applied by their oppressors. That would be a gross misrepresentation of the facts and a betrayal of the struggle waged by Tibetans, that the WPCT can make such a statement reveals either a damning degree of ignorance or a cynical effort to distort and conceal the political nature and objectives of Tibetan protests. Imagine a global body of Parliamentarians offering to collaborate with the Apartheid Regime of South Africa, to better determine why the Black township of Soweto was the scene of repeated protests. Of course at that moment the world knew precisely the reasons for such dissent and thankfully no offer of collaboration was extended to the racist government of South Africa. Why then this absurd proposal to cooperate with they very tyrants whose illegal occupation and genocidal assimilation of Tibet are the obvious causes of Tibetan unrest?

Tibettruth had produced a briefing paper for the 6th World Parliamentary Convention on Tibet which raised some very important questions and exposed the nonsense of the failed proposals to seek ‘autonomy’ for Tibetans. It appealed to participants to recognize that Tibetans in occupied Tibet are not seeking such a solution, but are actively protesting for Tibet’s independence. Furthermore it called upon Parliamentarians to note the acknowledgement made by the Dalai Lama, that the proposals for a ‘Middle Way’ solution (autonomy) had failed, and that any support for Tibet should honor and respect the political aspirations and struggle of Tibet’s people. Unfortunately those Parliamentarians supportive of Tibet, have in this latest Declaration, again abandoned the very people whose cause they continue to evade and dismiss.