CHENNAI, India, 28 November 2019
Ever since China forcibly entered Tibet around six decades ago and massacred Tibetan protesters, Tibet has been held in the vice-grip of China. China is holding Tibet today inside an iron curtain, and no foreigner or even Chinese national can enter Tibet without permission from the government of China. Nobody knows what is really happening inside Tibet today.
Apart from Tibet’s precious and unique historical traditions, there are also valuable mineral resources in Tibet. For example, Tibet has large deposits of lithium ore, which is used for the production of lithium ion batteries, an important component of electric vehicles. Demand and production of electric vehicles is increasing all over the world, as electric vehicles are considered to be eco-friendly. Lithium deposits are available only in a few countries in the world and Tibet is one of them. Lithium deposits are considered to be one of the rare and valuable minerals in the world, of crucial and strategic importance. There are so many other valuable resources in Tibet, which China is exploiting with the outside world not knowing much about this.
Though China has been an aggressor in Tibet, the conscience of the governments of the world, including that of India, has been silent in view of their business and trade interests with China. While world governments are largely ignoring the plight of Tibetans, it is not as if world opinion, by and large, approves of China’s role in Tibet. What is required is that information on China’s aggression and methods in Tibet should be brought into focus. A worldwide movement has to be initiated by way of a sustained campaign for Tibet’s liberation from China. This should be done in a manner similar to the environmental campaign now being carried out by the activists, which has caught the imagination of the world.
However, with the plight of Tibetans now living in Tibet not known to the outside world, the younger generation of Tibetans in Tibet being systematically brainwashed by China to convince them that Tibet has never been an independent country, and the Tibetans living outside Tibet being scattered all over the world with a number of them becoming citizens of other countries, many wonder whether Tibet will see the light of freedom anytime soon.
Realising that the Chinese government is brutal in suppressing dissent, many people think that Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom struggle which was launched in India as a non-violent movement cannot succeed in Tibet. Some people even think that Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent movement succeeded in getting freedom for India only after the end of the Second World War, at a time when Britain became exhausted, with a very weak economy. Perhaps if Churchill had won the election in Britain after the Second World War, he would not have given freedom for India. Such opinion makers think that a non-violent movement for any cause can succeed only if the other side becomes too weak, or highly ethics-conscious.
The other trend of opinion is that Tibetans living in Tibet should wage a struggle against China, just like what the citizens of Hong Kong are presently doing. This strategy also will not work for Tibet’s cause, since, unlike Tibet, Hong Kong is well-exposed to the world, with China unable to conceal it’s suppression of dissent in Hong Kong from the eyes of the outside world. The world opinion is now shaping in favour of the struggle of Hong Kong citizens.
In such circumstances, what option is left for the friends of Tibet and the Tibetans living outside Tibet to liberate Tibet from China’s grip ?
Today, China, in spite of its economic and military strength, is highly vulnerable to world opinion and international trends, in view of its dependence on the international market for Chinese goods in conditions of over-capacity creation in China. China can not antagonise world opinion, particularly after the determined trade war launched by President Trump against China, which is likely to continue till it would reach its logical end. It is more than likely that China will not have the last laugh in the ongoing trade war.
With China becoming vulnerable to world opinion, it is high time that writers, journalists, bloggers, speakers — all the pen warriors for the Tibetan cause — activate themselves with much more vigour to convince the world about the atrocities done in Tibet by China.
It appears that the best way to liberate Tibet from China’s grip is to launch a much more determined campaign for the Tibetan cause around the world. This is very feasible, as many good-hearted people and peace lovers in the world will react favourably and support the cause of Tibet if the Tibetan issue and the injustices done to Tibet by China would be brought to their attention.
Let not anyone think that the pen warriors who speak and write about Tibetan cause are mere lip sympathisers with no sense of hope. This is not fact at all, and it is a negative way of viewing the scenario.
The pen warriors should speak and write about the Tibetan cause at every forum and at every opportunity. Tibetans in exile have a government in exile, and this government should act with purpose and with a definite opinion-building strategy. Tibetans in exile, including those Tibetans who have now become citizens of other countries, should give up all the differences among themselves and work as opinion-makers wherever they are.
With the respected Holiness the Dalai Lama happily with us, the Tibetans should derive inspiration from him and forge ahead with the Tibetan cause.
Pen warriors are the most needed activists today to achieve the cause of Tibet freedom.
Pen warriors and a worldwide opinion-promoting campaign are the only way to liberate Tibet, as other options like non-violent movement of Mahatma Gandhi or violent agitation of Hong Kong citizens are ruled out in the case of Tibet.
Further, Buddhism advocates peace and non-violence, and Tibet is the centre of thoughts of Buddhism and its philosophy. Pen warriors launching an opinion campaign on Tibet’s cause will truly be acting in the Buddhist tradition and way of life, in a peaceful, proactive manner.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice for the Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden, and working for probity in public life.
More articles by NS Venkataraman on Tibet Sun.