(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 05, 2009
Chinese Ambassador to India on Dalai Lama
THE doors for negotiations with the Dalai Lama are still open as far as China is concerned, the Chinese ambassador to India, Zhang Yan told press persons on March 25, 2009. But he added that we urge upon him to stop sponsoring violence and drop several pre-conditions that were unacceptable to Beijing.
“Last year we had three meetings but the Dalai Lama never stopped sponsoring violence in Tibet and creating problems. Even with this kind of situation, Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao had reiterated that the doors for negotiations were still open. We are waiting for the Dalai Lama to fulfil the conditions,” the Chinese ambassador to India, Zhang added.
The ambassador was speaking to newspersons ahead of the Serf Emancipation Day on March 28, 2009 that marks the total emancipation of over one million slaves and serfs in Tibet. Zhang opined that the commemoration of that day in China had world-wide significance since it was a great contribution to the anti-slavery movement.
Asked about the Dalai Lama’s statements seeking reconciliation, the ambassador pointed out that the ‘spiritual leader of the Tibetans’ was “very good at playing politics. I recommend you to be careful and look at him through history and not by his individual remarks.” He recalled that the Dalai Lama had made a lot of comments and proposals on resolving the issue. In 1987, he suggested a so-called five-point peace plan to the US Congress which was “quite strange.” Next year, he put forward a seven-point proposal in France, “again a strange place,” noted the ambassador.
Zhang said China was willing to discuss the future of the Dalai Lama in the context of modern Tibet provided he abandoned his position on seeking independence for the region. He should recognise that Tibet and Taiwan are “inalienable” parts of China and drop the demand for ‘Greater Tibet.’ If one goes by the Dalai Lama’s argument, Greater Tibet would account for several other Chinese provinces amounting to 2.4 million square km of area or one-fourth of Chinese territory as against the actual area of 1.2 million square km. “We hope the Dalai Lama can have a clear understanding of the situation and do something useful for the unity of the country and the prosperity of Tibet during his remaining years,” the ambassador added.
He described claims that religion was being attacked in Tibet as “sheer accusation and mere accusation.” The Chinese constitution clearly states that all rights for religious beliefs would be protected. “We can see what the Dalai Lama has been saying. He has been away for 50 years and does not know what Tibet looks like today. His observations are not in line with reality.”
“The Dalai Lama has no idea. Even if he knew the facts he won’t accept. After the 1959 democratic reform process, the local government has full autonomy in running the government. All chairmen of the regional councils are Tibetans. Almost 80 per cent civil servants in the region are Tibetans,” he added.
The ambassador complimented India for providing security to the Chinese embassy and consulates and pointed out that because of the fool-proof arrangements this year, no protestor was able to reach the embassy.
Joint work on financial crises
China has indicated its desire to work with India in mitigating the impact of the financial crisis, he said to repeated queries and added that both countries had extensively consulted each other as also Russia and Brazil in the run-up to the first G-20 summit on the financial crisis held in Washington last year.
Pointing out that both countries had unveiled stimulus packages to beat the downturn in the global economy, Zhang felt they could share their experiences to provide relief to their people. China and India can complement each other in the international arena to guard against protectionism in developed countries.
It is also necessary to join hands to protect their interests, have more say and more rights at international lending institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, he added.
Admitting that the financial crisis had created a big problem in China, Zhang drew comfort from the fact that the Chinese financial sector was not as severely affected as India’s because it was not closely related to the western financial system. But the real economy had been severely affected, especially industries related to exports located in the coastal areas. Joint ventures and foreign operations have closed down or stopped production leading to a large number of workers being laid off. At least 20 million workers (two crore) need to find new jobs as a result of closure of factories along the eastern coast, Zhang said. The money would be used for infrastructure, improvement of rural conditions especially in the agriculture sector, health care and education.
China was also taking a series of measures to encourage consumption in rural areas by providing subsidies to buy television sets, washing machines and other consumer goods, the ambassador added.
“These measures have had a very visible effect and factories producing these goods are doing quite well. We are quite confident we will maintain a stable and healthy economic rate of growth,” observed the ambassador.