Thursday, July 30, 2009

China’s plans behind the Xinjiang tragedy



An interesting perspective by Wei Jingsheng, the Chinese dissident who wrote about the Fifth Modernization on the Great Wall of Democracy in 1979 in Beijing. Wei is probably right about the power struggle within the CCP.


China’s plans behind the Xinjiang tragedy
by Wei Jingsheng
As Beijing launches a ‘Xinjiang’s charm’ campaign to draw tourists back to the region and its old ‘Silk Road’, the father of China’s pro-democracy movement, currently living in exile, says the killing in Xinjiang earlier this month was planned to turn public opinion away from infighting in the Communist Party and China’s campaign to extend its control over petroleum-producing nations in Central Asia and the Middle East.
Washington (AsiaNews/WJSF) – They all say it is a season of great events in China. Indeed, it is. What has happened in Shaoguan (Guangdong) and Urumqi (Xinjiang) has already resulted in continued condemnation from the international community.
Meanwhile, there is news that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has quarrelled with the Australian government and arrested the China chief of a big Australian company. The Chinese government has neither put him on trial or sentenced him, nor provided detailed information to the Australian government even when the Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister made inquiries. This kind of conduct that violates international conventions will surely generate anger in Australia, and will surely make foreign business people in China more nervous. Who knows whether China’s secrecy laws will apply to them as well? Since the Yan‘an period in Mao Zedong’s rule, these secrecy laws have been 100 per cent effective. However, since the Xinjiang issue is more important for the average Chinese, and has had new developments, let us put aside the matter of Australian business involvement with the corrupt CCP.
There are two issues that did not receive enough attention lately. According to a report by BoXun, the most reputable overseas Chinese website, an old party official who retired from the party during the CCP's 17th Congress revealed that the reason for the explosive situation in Xinjiang was a struggle within the CCP.
From the jailing of Shanghai Mayor Chen LiangYu to last month's detention of Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng, Hu Jintao joined forces with Wen Jiabao to beat the leading members of the Jiang Zemin faction. Thus the Jiang faction had to find an opportunity to fight back. They did so by fuelling tensions which led to the Shaoguan incident, and by demobilising police during the Urumqi riots, thus enabling Uyghur terrorists to use a peaceful demonstration to murder Han Chinese to the extent that Hu Jintao lost face at the G8 meeting in Italy. Hu had to return to China to secure his own backyard and prevent the situation from getting out of control at his expense.
A lot of information has been recently leaked that proves that the CCP government is guilty of doing nothing, thus allowing thugs to cause large scale murder. This tragedy had nothing to do with the World Uyghur Congress which supported the peaceful demonstration. The CCP Xinjiang government had reliable intelligence and enough power to start police action. But since the Jiang faction controls China's legal system and courts, they chose the strategy of doing nothing before and during the tragedy. They enabled Uyghur terrorists to do whatever they wanted and allowed the situation to get out of control. Indeed, through skilful cooperation the CCP's Xinjiang government and Uyghur terrorist group are responsible for such a horrifying tragedy.
Some friends are still not willing to believe that it was the CCP that took the initiative in this tragedy. They do not believe that the CCP was trying to cause hateful ethnic killing in an effort to shift political attention.
If anyone thinks this way, they might want to consider the second piece of news. During a review of the Sino-Russian joint military exercise, the CCP military Chief of General Staff, Admiral Chen Bingde, talked a lot about “anti-terrorism”, pointing the finger at Uyghurs. He claimed that China would cooperate with the four Central Asian members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and send troops outside of China to attack Uyghur terrorist organisations. He skilfully played on ordinary people’s desire for security whilst increasing their sense of hostility. At the same time he was able to extend China's military forces to the edges of the Mideast petroleum-producing region in order to thwart Western goal of controlling it. Trying to kill two birds with two stones is no coincidence but a long term strategy.
Some people wonder whether the Xinjiang tragedy was meant to make trouble for Hu Jintao. Why does he have to swallow this bitter fruit? Why did he not try to stop it or even counterattack? They are too anxious. Counterattacking does not have to happen today. “For a gentleman to take his revenge, ten years is not too late” says an old Chinese saying. Not counterattacking today does not mean never counterattacking.
What is more, the plan to cause the tragedy was perfectly executed. The underlying reasons were sufficient; the choice of timing was just right. So Zhou Yongkang, the CCP's official in charge of security, could say that without the order from Hu Jintao, he could not order his troops to open fire to stop the escalation, which gave the thugs several hours to murder. As for why not letting the military police move into Urumqi, there is the simplest excuse of underestimating the problem which is not enough to condemn anyone to death.
The most important thing is that there is sufficient reason to do something after the tragedy. These conspirators did not just shift people’s attention away from opposition [to the regime], they also might have obtained a frontier base to move west into the petroleum producing areas. What reason could Hu Jintao use to go against this? This is exactly what he wanted to do, but did not dare to do. He had no reason to oppose this even if he has to carry a knife in his back.
This situation is similar to when Hu Jintao murdered the 10th Panchen Lama, something which scared Deng Xiao Ping[2] even though it was one of his goals. In fact Deng wanted to do this but did not dare to do it.
In addition, they dealt with the aftermath skilfully by not allowing Western media to find something to protest against. So Deng happily welcomed this unexpected surprise and saw Hu in a new light.
This time, dealing of the aftermath was more difficult but the outcome was good as well. Even some anti-CCP patriotic youths turned around to help the CCP attack Uyghur opposition forces.
Some Western media, who can’t see the forest for the trees, unwittingly became accomplices in this evil. This goes to show that the CCP conspiracy was successful, something that is bound to increase.
By contrast, we must try instead to clearly distinguish between good from evil so as not to fall for the conspiracy of the Chinese Communist Party.

[1] The author here refers to the arrest of four employees of the British-Australian company Rio Tinto on charges of corrupting Chinese officials in charge of a steel mill before a contract involving an iron mine was signed. One of the four employees holds Australian passport. All four are accused of stealing a “state secret”.
[2] The 10th Panchen Lama died unexpectedly in 1989 after criticising China’s Tibet policy in a speech. For years Beijing had tried to subjugate him by different means, including prison, house arrests and forcing him to marry a Han Chinese woman.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jawaharlal Nehru on Tibet



I have begun posting on my website excerpts on Tibet found in the Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru. More in the next few weeks. Click here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Is the lamp trimmed?



Capt. Bharat Verma, the Editor of the Indian Defence Review recently made the headlines by declaring that China may attack India in 2012. Whether his ‘prophesy’ will come true or not, only the future will tell us. But apart from pointing out the aggressiveness of some of India’s neighbours, Verma’s statement probably has another objective: to make us think about today’s India and her preparedness to cope with an unwanted and unexpected situation.
India is the largest democracy in the world. So, we are told! Unfortunately, the sense of Nation has today been relegated to the back burner due to the distortions of the very same ‘democratic’ process which everybody is proud of. Look at UP and elsewhere! One see that while everybody swears in the name of democracy, ‘Bharat that is India’ seems to be forgotten, particularly by some of those who are the ‘elected representatives’ of the people.
In this gloomy context, Bharat Verma’s recent book brings some fresh air and forces us to take his ‘prophesy’ a bit more seriously. Under the disturbing title, Fault Lines (Lancers Publishers), Verma publishes an anthology of editorial pieces which have appeared in the Indian Defence Review from 1998 to 2009.
In geology, a ‘fault line’ refers to a fault within the earth's crust, often running along the boundary between two tectonic plates. It is caused by ‘differential or shear motions’ between plates, say geologists. Being caused by energy release during rapid slippage along a fault, most earthquakes occur along these fault lines. Verma has extended the concept to national politics.
These editorials are more than relevant to the present ‘democratic’ environment; they not only go deep into the movements of the different subcontinental plates, but often anticipate some of the upheavals that the country may have to face in the coming years and offer preventive measures.
While reading Fault Lines, one ponders on the ‘elasticity’ of the Indian State and wonders when the next earthquake will shake India. Will it come from the Middle Kingdom?
For Verma, one of the main problems is that many in India have: “the tendency to create their own make-believe world convinced that the invasions from our land frontiers for centuries could be ignored as the subcontinent assimilated the invaders in the existing society.” He adds: “How misplaced and erroneous, a perception. Invaders from the Northwest/Central Asia ruled over the locals by edge of the sword and forced their assimilation. Our helpless, bewildered ancestors with their petty bickering were left with no choice and therefore, tried to make a virtue out of consistent defeats. [This tendency] persists in the Indian mind.”
Read the headlines of any newspaper or switch on your TV and zap through any ‘breaking news’ channel, one will never hear questions which are critical for India’s survival. This is the real tragedy.
Many examples of the impeding forthcoming catastrophe due to the make-believe approach could be given.


An illustration: while China is planning to divert the Brahmaputra river from Tibet to the mainland, but India has decided to keep quiet, so as to not disturb its friendship with Beijing. Would not the logical step have rather been to take up the matter in the strongest possible way with Beijing?
We are now told that Delhi is ‘forced to look for preemptive solutions’. What are these solutions? A news report explained: “China’s unilateral plans to redirect the flow of Brahmaputra river away from India has certainly led to alarm bells ringing in the Indian camp”. But it only resulted in India “unleashing efforts to quicken the pace of projects envisaged on the three tributaries — Siang, Subansiri and Lohit — of the river, so that it can claim first-user rights on the water”. One newspaper has even titled “Panel to plan for more hydropower projects to pre-empt China”.
How can building dams in India ‘preempt’ Beijing from going ahead with its project? It just shows the intellectual paucity of the Indian politicians (Though from their point of view, there are probably mega-bucks to be made out of the mega-dams).
When the ‘friendly’ Chinese regime in Beijing blocks an Indian application for a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) because it contains a $60 million project for Arunachal Pradesh, a ‘disputed territory’ according to China, Delhi only meekly protests. The irony is that India wanted to use the ADB loan to deal with water management and ecological problems caused by the Chinese deforestation policy in Tibet.
Hundreds of other cases could be cited such as the wrong drafting of the Joint Indo-Pak Statement. India’s tectonic plates today are not only terrorism, the talibanisation threat, Naxalism, corruption or casteism, which a;; increasingly collide with India’s interests, but also the lack of character of politicians. It is probably the deepest fault line in the country today.
One can always argue that the tectonic tremors are far greater in the neighouring states, particular in Pakistan. Many analysts (including some foreign ones) give only a few months to the Pakistani State to implode. The problem is that what happens in India’s neighbourhood has serious consequences for India.
It is like global warming. The Government may argue that the Americans are worse polluters than us in India, but the problem does not get solved by quoting greater wrongs to justify one’s actions.
True, the original fault line (one could call it, the ‘original sin’) was the work of the British who decided to partition the subcontinent on communal lines. All great leaders agreed at that time to the ‘shear motion’ on the country, to put it in geological terms. It has resulted in 4 quakes in 1947-48, 1965, 1971 and 1999 (Kargil). With the fault line still very much present, the high volatility on the Pakistan side (and despite the legendary Indian ‘flexibility’, makes a new quake always loom large on the Indian horizon. This time it will be a fully fledged pandemic, but who cares? Cricket and ‘breaking news is continuing.
The words of Sri Aurobindo, written nearly one century ago always resound in my mind: “There are moments when the Spirit moves among men and the breath of the Lord is abroad upon the waters of our being; there are others when it retires and men are left to act in the strength or the weakness of their own egoism. The first are periods when even a little effort produces great results and changes destiny; the second are spaces of time when much labour goes to the making of a little result. It is true that the latter may prepare the former, may be the little smoke of sacrifice going up to heaven which calls down the rain of God's bounty. Unhappy is the man or the nation which, when the divine moment arrives, is found sleeping or unprepared to use it, because the lamp has not been kept trimmed for the welcome and the ears are sealed to the call.”
The question is India prepared? Is the lamp trimmed and ready?
Sri Aurobindo concluded: “Nor let worldly prudence whisper too closely in thy ear; for it is the hour of the unexpected, the incalculable, the immeasurable.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

About the US Archives




"In my view, any official should have a clear and precise case involving
the national interest before seeking to withhold from publication
documents or papers fifteen or more years old" wrotes President Kennedy in 1961.

The Secrecy News of the Federation of American Scientists, publishes today a National Security Action Memorandum signed by the former President.
Indians can continue to dream. Fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty years, the Government won't let them see their own archives. Such a pity for the Nation!

Text of the Secrey News:
The latest volume of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, the official record of U.S. foreign policy, reflects events that took place from 1969 to 1972, or nearly forty years ago. This represents a continuing violation of a 1991 statute which requires the Secretary of State to publish FRUS "not more than 30 years after the events recorded." But even that seemingly unachievable goal is insufficiently ambitious,
according to a 1961 directive issued by President John F. Kennedy.
"It has long been a point of pride of our government that we have made the historical record of our diplomacy available more promptly than any other nation in the world," President Kennedy wrote.
"In recent years the publication of the 'Foreign Relations' series has fallen farther and farther behind currency," he wrote back then. "The lag has now reached approximately twenty years. I regard this as unfortunate
and undesirable. It is the policy of this Administration to unfold the historical record as fast and as fully as is consistent with national security and with friendly relations with foreign nations."
"In my view, any official should have a clear and precise case involving the national interest before seeking to withhold from publication documents or papers fifteen or more years old," President Kennedy concluded. See National Security Action Memorandum No. 91, "Expediting
Publication of 'Foreign Relations'," September 6, 1961.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Veni, Vidi, Vici?



“Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered). These are the words used by Julius Caesar when he returned to Rome and informed the Senate about his victory over King Pharnaces II during the Battle of Zela, (located in today’s Turkey). He was brief and to the point.
Can Prime Minister Manmohan Singh say the same thing after his return from Europe and more particularly his visit to France which got special attention from the media? It is doubtful.
A first remark: the Indian Prime Minister has not the age of Julius Caesar when he went for his military campaign; the Roman general (not-yet-Dictator) was in his early-fifties, while Dr. Singh is in the second half of his seventies.
You may ask, what is the point to raise this issue?
The answer is simple, in order to ‘conquer’, a general or a Prime Minister needs the energy to do so. Strangely, the babus of South Block had fixed the Prime Minister’s program in such a way that he was scheduled to return to India from the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy (where he had a tough Agenda with top world leaders) and leave again just two days later for Europe to attend the French National Day in Paris. A day later, he returned to India via Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt where the 15th Non Aligned Movement summit was held; he was to meet the Pakistan PM on the side of the Summit.
For a person who has been through a by-pass surgery only a few months ago, this hectic schedule seems strange, to say the least. Having myself gone through the painful process of an open heart surgery, I remember how tough it was during the first year to live a normal life. But the Prime Minister is probably fitter than I!
It was rather shocking that the G8, under the influence of the United States, till recently one of India’s supposedly closest allies (do you remember that the first Manmohan Singh government nearly fell when the PM defended his special relation with the US), convinced the other world's richest nations to ban the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing items to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India was targeted.
Of course, South Block is cool, they are “not deeply concerned over the G8 stand”. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee even told the Parliament that New Delhi had received a country-specific clean waiver from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), therefore nothing to worry.
Atomic Energy Chairman Anil Kakodkar was more circumspect; he considered that “it would be a matter of concern” if the G-8 nations insisted on banning transfers of nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technology to non-signatories of the NPT.
One could however rightly ask, where was the PM when this decision to include the nuclear rider was included in the G8 statement. Was he not in Italy?
Apart from this, the G8, which has lost its relevance according to most analysts, was quite uneventful, if only for the discussions on climate change which once again demonstrated the gap of perception between the Indian (and Chinese) position and the Western stand. Probably in the end, everyone will have to make compromises and even the ‘emerging’ powers will have to admit that ‘development’ and ‘growth’ do not solve all the problems and could lead sooner or later to some catastrophic scenario for the planet.
Dr Manmohan Singh’s second trip to Europe of was more glamorous and interesting. It provided a better chance for India to ‘conquer’.

We were told that Dr Manmohan Singh was the Chief Guest at the French National Day parade. Before leaving New Delhi (he had just arrived from the G8) he declared that it was ‘an honour for the people of India’. His communiqué added: "India and France enjoy a close and wide ranging strategic partnership. Our relations with France encompass a large number of areas and have served our national interests well. We would like to build upon our partnership in the areas of trade and investment, high technology, space, nuclear energy, defence, education, culture, tourism and scientific research and development." It sounded good.
Despite the media coverage, the footages and images of the glamorous Indian Navy Sikh commander or Carla Bruni’s small talk with Mrs Gursharan Kaur, Dr Manmohan Singh was not the Chief Guest. He was only one of the Guests of Honour with President Hun Sen of Cambodia and the German President, Horset Köhler. The latter was sitting on the right-hand side of President Sarkozy, the place usually reserved for the Chief Guest. This is a detail.
The parade was truly grandiose and millions saw Indian jawans marching down the Champs Elysées (the French believe that it is the most beautiful avenue in the world, though Indians believe it is Rajpath). A rare and exceptional sight.
Of course in today’s world, there is no free meal (even at the Elysée Palace)! Paris needs New Delhi and reciprocally, India needs France, especially when relations with the United States are not as good as they used to be under the Bush Administration. An agreement on refitting 51 French Mirage fighters, is pending for a long time and the price, too high according to New Delhi, had to be thrashed out. A delicious French meal was a good occasion. The subject was on the agenda of the ‘working lunch’ and hopefully, the Mirages will be ‘refitted’ soon and upgraded with more efficient avionics and weapon systems. Some nuclear power plants are also in the pipeline with the French company Areva.
The ‘big deal’ for 126 medium multi-role combat aircrafts which the Indian Air Force badly needs is trickier. A couple of months ago, Dassault’s bid for Rafales was dropped by the Ministry of Defence. The French company was later reintegrated, but many questions remained as the plane is costlier than most of its rivals and it is doubtful if Dassault can deliver the fighters in time without jeopardizing the already ordered planes for the French Air Force and Navy.
Other matters were routine. Dr. Singh renewed an invitation for Sarkozy to visit India. It had already been accepted (remember, the French President had promised to take Carla Bruni to the Taj Mahal).
The Indian Prime Minister and the French President agreed to work in concert in the fight against terrorism. This is already happening.
During the Garden Party at the Elysee palace, President Sarkozy declared that "India's involvement is essential in all major global matters”. No scoop here either.
Anyway, the visit was probably useful to reiterate the 1998 ‘strategic partnership’, even if these two words have no real meaning any longer. It is only a modern avatar of the old Bhai-Bhai policy (India has even today a strategic partnership with China!).
From Paris, Dr Singh continued his journey to Sharm-el Sheikh in Egypt for the NAM Summit and his much-awaited meeting with Yousuf Raza Gilani.
During the SCO Summit in Yekaterinburg (Russia), the Prime Minister told President Zardari that there would be no dialogue with Pakistan until progress was made on the 26/11 enquiry. India’s policy however diametrically changed in Egypt and the press release after the meeting with Geelani stated, 'Both Prime Ministers recognized that dialogue is the only way forward. Action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these should not be bracketed.”
Back to square one and returning to India, in time to receive Hilary Clinton who has finally decided to visit India.
All this tribulations show a lack of preparation not to say a lack of direction. Where were the Foreign Minister and his glamorous MoS? It is true that they are inexperienced but was it not an occasion to learn? S.M. Krishna was spotted in Egypt, but he did not accompany the Prime Minister during the other legs of his foreign tours.
Interestingly, Daniel Markey, a scholar at the Council of Foreign Relations has published a telling paper Developing India's Foreign Policy ‘Software’ in which he argues that “India’s own foreign policy establishment hinders the country from achieving great-power status”. He points out four main reasons:
“(1) The Indian Foreign Service is small, hobbled by its selection process and inadequate mid-career training, and tends not to make use of outside expertise;
(2) India’s think-tanks lack sufficient access to the information or resources required to conduct high-quality, policy-relevant scholarship;
(3) India’s public universities are poorly funded, highly regulated, and fail to provide world-class education in the social sciences and other fields related to foreign policy; and
(4) India’s media and private firms—leaders in debating the country’s foreign policy agenda—are not built to undertake sustained foreign policy research or training.”
This is something Indian politicians should ponder about, if they want to ‘conquer’.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Will China attack India in 2012? (2)





The Chinese have answered Bharat Verma's article posted on this blog.
When the Chinese writer speaks of "a New Forward Policy which may aggravate border disputes and push China to use force", he forgets China's own Forward Policy.
In this regard, the transcript of a Radio Lhasa broadcast makes interesting reading. While India keeps the old British-time inner-line permit system, China not only develops the border area, north of the McMahon Line, but gets some hefty revenue out of it! Not bad!




Radio Lhasa Broadcast (June 14, 2009 at 17:46, translated from Tibetan)
“Nyinchi area achieved good result in tourism revenue”

According to a report received from Nyinchi Prefecture Tourism Department from January to May this year, Nyinchi area received 2,20,000 tourists and earned 100 millions RMBs revenue from tourism. In May only, Nyinchi area received 90,000 tourists and achieved 40 millions RMBs as revenue.
Due to last year March 14 incident [in Lhasa], tourism in Nyinchi area was severely affected. Nyinchi area [Party] Committee and the administration firmly grasped (sic!) the protection of the social harmony. They considered promotion of tourism as an important task and intensified more tourism development. Infrastructural development for tourism contributed greatly towards promotion of tourism.

The Chinese answer to Capt. Bharat Verma.

Illusion of "China's Attack on India Before 2012

By Chen Xiaochen, Beijing,Published:July 17,2009

The 2000 km border between China and India has been a notable absence from press headlines in the years since then-Indian PM Vajpayee’s 2003 visit to Beijing. Tensions, however, have risen again as India announced last month a plan to deploy two additional army divisions and two air force squadrons of Su-30 Fighter Unit, some 60,000 soldiers in total, in a disputed border area in the southern part of Tibet, which India claims as its state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Adding fuel to the flames is an article by Bharat Verma, editor of Indian Defense Review, predicting that China will attack India before 2012, leaving only three years to Indian government for preparation.
According to Mr. Verma, “growing unrest in China” due in part to economic downturn will leave the Chinese government looking for something to “divert the attention of its own people from ‘unprecedented’ internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems.” China will also want to strike India before the latter becomes powerful, which is the reason for the 2012 “deadline.” India, with its growing affiliation with the West, is yet weak under China’s fire.
But a “China’s attack” is not going to happen, and one wonders at the basis for Mr. Verma’s thinking. First, although it is true that China’s macro-economy has taken a hit from the global financial crisis, the extent of the damage is under control. Recent statistics shows China’s economy grew 7.1% in the first half of 2009, while its foreign exchange reserve has exceeded $2 trillion. China’s stimulus plan has been effective and given people confidence. China will survive the global downturn as well or better than the rest of the world’s economies.
And even if China’s economy was really all that bad, would the government try to distract “unrest” by taking military actions against India? Mr Verma’s reasoning rests on a lack of documentation. Looking into the past 60 years, China has no record of launching a war to divert public attention from anything. Moreover, while Mr. Verma supposes the Chinese Communist Party has no cards to play other than “invading India,” the Party, widely experienced in dealing with domestic disputes, will hardly in only three years have run out of all options facing potential social instability. Moreover, even if Chinese leaders considered such an option, they would certainly be aware that an external war would severely jeopardize domestic affairs.
Other reasons the author mentions in the article are also vague. The Western powers would not take kindly to a Chinese conflict with India, leaving China rightfully reluctant to use force in any case other than extreme provocation. US forces well deployed in Afghanistan and Pakistan could check any China’s military action in South Asia. And then there is also the nuclear problem: there has never been a war between two nuclear equipped nations, and both sides would have to be extremely cautious in decision-making, giving more room for less violent solutions.
Further, it is important to realize there is no reason for China to launch a war, against India in particular. Economic development, rather than military achievement, has long been the consensus of value among China’s core leaders and citizens. Despite occasional calls to “Reoccupy South Tibet (occupied Chinese territory),” China’s decision-making is always cautious. It is not possible to see a Chinese “incursion” into India, even into Tawang, an Indian-occupied Buddhist holy land over which China argues a resolute sovereignty.
Last but not least, China’s strategy, even during the 1962 border war with India, has been mainly oriented towards the east, where Taiwan is its core interest, while the recent Xinjiang unrest highlights China’s growing anti-terrorist tasks in the northwest – both issues are more important than the southwest border. If China were to be involved in a war within the next three years, as unlikely as that seems, the adversary would hardly be India. The best option, the sole option, open for the Chinese government is to negotiate around the disputed territory.
However, there is one scenario where there is possibility for war: an aggressive Indian policy toward China, a “New Forward Policy,” may aggravate border disputes and push China to use force – despite China’s appeal, as far as possible, for peaceful solutions.
Consider the 1959-1962 conflict, the only recorded war between China and India in the long history of their civilizations. After some slight friction with China in 1959, the Indian army implemented aggressive action known as its Forward Policy. The Chinese Army made a limited but successful counterattack in 1962.
Now, it seems “back to the future”. Mr. Verma asserts another war will happen before 2012, a half century after the last, regrettable one. India has started to deploy more troops in the border area, similar to its Forward Policy 50 years ago. Is Mr. Verma’s China-bashing merely a justification for more troops deployed along the border? Will India’s “New Forward Policy”, as the old one did 50 years ago, trigger a “2012 war?”
The answers lie mainly on the Indian side. Given China’s relatively small military garrison in Tibet, Indian’s 60,000 additional soldiers may largely break the balance. If India is as “pacific” as Mr. Verma says, and is sincere in its border negotiation, China-India friendship will remain. After all, China shares a long and mostly friendly cultural exchange with India as well as other neighbors. Now China is seeking deeper cooperation, wider coordination, and better consensus with India, especially in the global recession, and peace is a precondition for doing so. China wants to say, “We are on the same side,” as the Indian Ambassador did in a recent interview in China. Thus, “China will attack India before 2012” is a provocative and inflammatory illusion.

(Chen Xiaochen serves as a journalist of editorial and comments in China Business News.)

Where are the Archives (2)





On the same subject of declassification of history, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has passed an interesting order on December 31, 2007, when the Commission was asked to decide if some files kept by the Ministry of Defense could be declassified under the RTI.

The CIC recommended that the MoD should built 'a storehouse of information' for scholars or historians.
Has something happened since then? Doubtful. Reminder will probably be needed.

Here is an extract of the Order:
“We recommend that the Indian Navy and, in fact the Indian Armed Forces build up their storehouse of information, as mandated u/s 4(1) of the RTI Act, 2005 for disclosure at the appropriate time for the benefit of the students of India’s defence and to enhance the people’s trust in the armed forces’ undoubted capacity to ensure national security.”
The Order is available on the CIC's website or by clicking here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Where are the Archives? (3)



Are things finally moving?
The Henderson Brooks which was given to Neville Maxwell is only one example of unnecessary over-classification.
In the case of Shastri's death, the PMO is keeping the files closed.
The initiative of Anuj Dhar and his friends is however promising. Visit their website.

I have posted several of my articles on the subject on my website.



HC asks Centre to place before it report on Sino-India war

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the government to place before it the report of Lt Gen Henderson Brooks on the reasons behind 1962 Sino-India war to decide whether it could be made public.
Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notice to the government and asked it to file its response on a petition filed by noted journalist Kuldip Nayar, seeking the court''s direction to the Centre to disclose the report.
Advocate Rajiv Nayar, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the report was more that 45 years old and it could not remain classified.
"It is now 43 years old and should have been formally available in the Archives of India some 30 years after it was submitted to the Government of India. I hope I can use my right under Right to Information to get copy," the petition said, adding that in the US, the papers relating to Vietnam were made public.
The Court after hearing his arguments asked the government to file the report in a sealed envelope and posted the matter for further hearing on October 22.




45 years on, Shastri's death a mystery
Himanshi Dhawan, TNN 11 July 2009

NEW DELHI: Nearly 45 years after former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri died in Tashkent, mystery continues to shroud the circumstances around his death. In reply to a RTI query, the PMO said it had one document relating to Shastri’s death but refused to declassify it.
Incidentally, the PMO has cited exemption from disclosure on the plea that it could harm foreign relations, cause disruption in the country and cause breach of parliamentary privileges. Significantly, while officially Shastri is declared to have died of a cardiac arrest, his wife Lalita Shastri had alleged that her husband was poisoned. Shastri died on January 11, 1966.
The government has admitted that no post-mortem was conducted in the USSR but it had a report of a medical investigation conducted by Shastri’s personal doctor R N Chugh and some Russian doctors.
Author of "CIA's Eye on South Asia' Anuj Dhar, who asked for information regarding Shastri’s death, has questioned the secrecy that the establishment continues to insist on. "The government has a knack of fermenting unwarranted mysteries. We should have a clear declassification policy and matters like these must be in the public domain," Dhar said. While admitting that that it had a document relating to Shastri’s death, the PMO also said there was no record of any destruction or loss of documents in the PMO having a bearing on Shastri’s death.
Dhar, who has launched a website endthesecrecy.com to lobby for declassification policy along the lines of the US’s also asked if India had any information given by the Soviets. The home ministry is yet to respond to queries whether India conducted a post-mortem and if the government had investigated allegations of foul play.
In Russia for the India-Pakistan summit, Shastri was awakened by a severe coughing fit on January 11. R N Chugh came to his aid. Shastri was unable to speak and pointed to a flask kept nearby. A staffer brought some water which the former PM sipped. Shortly afterwards, Shastri became unconscious and attempts to revive him proved futile. The Russian butler attending to him was arrested on suspicion of poisoning Shastri. He was later absolved of the charges.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Will China attack India in 2012?



Bharat Verma says that China will attack India in a couple of years. Let us see if his prediction comes true!
One thing is sure, after the attack, they will say that it is India who attacked first!


China may attack India by 2012: expert
NEW DELHI: A leading defence expert has projected that China will attack India by 2012 to divert the attention of its own people from "unprecedented" internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems that are threatening the hold of Communists in that country.
"China will launch an attack on India before 2012. There are multiple reasons for a desperate Beijing to teach India the final lesson, thereby ensuring Chinese supremacy in Asia in this century," Bharat Verma, Editor of the Indian Defence Review, has said.
Verma said the recession has "shut the Chinese exports shop", creating an "unprecedented internal social unrest" which in turn, was severely threatening the grip of the Communists over the society.
Among other reasons for this assessment were rising unemployment, flight of capital worth billions of dollars, depletion of its foreign exchange reserves and growing internal dissent, Verma said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of the premier defence journal. In addition to this, "The growing irrelevance of Pakistan, their right hand that operates against India on their behest, is increasing the Chinese nervousness," he said, adding that US President Barak Obama's Af-Pak policy was primarily Pak-Af policy that has "intelligently set the thief to catch the thief".
Verma said Beijing was "already rattled, with its proxy Pakistan now literally embroiled in a civil war, losing its sheen against India."
"Above all, it is worried over the growing alliance of India with the US and the West, because the alliance has the potential to create a technologically superior counterpoise.
"All these three concerns of Chinese Communists are best addressed by waging a war against pacifist India to achieve multiple strategic objectives," he said.
While China "covertly allowed" North Korea to test underground nuclear explosion and carry out missile trials, it was also "increasing its naval presence in South China Sea to coerce into submission those opposing its claim on the Sprately Islands," the defence expert said. He said it would be "unwise" at this point of time for a recession-hit China to move against the Western interests, including Japan.
"Therefore, the most attractive option is to attack a soft target like India and forcibly occupy its territory in the Northeast," Verma said. But India is "least prepared" on ground to face the Chinese threat, he says and asks a series of questions on how will India respond to repulse the Chinese game plan or whether Indian leadership would be able to "take the heat of war".
"Is Indian military equipped to face the two-front wars by Beijing and Islamabad? Is the Indian civil administration geared to meet the internal security challenges that the external actors will sponsor simultaneously through their doctrine of unrestricted warfare? "The answers are an unequivocal 'no'. Pacifist India is not ready by a long shot either on the internal or the external front," the defence journal editor says.
In view of the "imminent threat" posed by China, "the quickest way to swing out of pacifism to a state of assertion is by injecting military thinking in the civil administration to build the sinews. That will enormously increase the deliverables on ground – from Lalgarh to Tawang," he says.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

An unending tale of repression

My article on the events in Xinjiang was published today in The Sunday New Indian Express. It is available on line. Click here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The New Aristocracy

My article on The New Aristocracy in Tibet, published in The New Indian Express on June 22 is available on line. Click here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The New Dominion in Flames




Will the Emperors in Beijing read the writing on the Wall of History?


July 6 was the Dalai Lama’s birthday. It was certainly not the kind of birthday present the apostle of non-violence would dream of.
In the morning, the news flashed that in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang (The New Dominion in Chinese), violence had erupted the previous day, resulting in at least 156 people dead and more than 800 wounded.
The background of the bloodiest-ever riot in the restive region is not clear. Apparently, it started with a peaceful protest which later turned violent. At one point, the crowd (between 1,000 to 3,000 people according to agencies reports) angered by the brutal reaction of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) started overturning vehicles, attacking houses and clashing with police. A few hours later, the Chinese TV began showing images of the riots.
For Uygurs groups abroad, the trouble was triggered when the police violently cracked down on peacefully demonstrating students who were protesting against the killings of two Uygurs by Han Chinese in a factory in South China.
According to Wu Nong, a spokesperson for the Xinjiang provincial government, 260 vehicles were attacked or set on fire and 203 houses damaged. The figures are quite astonishing. The number of dead and wounded and material damage seems extraordinarily high compared to the number of participants.
Tensions are not a new phenomenon in a province which over the past decades, has been flooded by millions of Han settlers. Part of the Republic of East Turkistan till 1949, the Uygurs, Muslims of Turkish origin have sporadically demonstrated their resentment against Han colonization. Today the overwhelming majority of Urumqi's 2.3 million inhabitants are Chinese.
The Communist Party’s satraps were quick to blame the incident on a ‘foreign’ hand. Xinjiang CCP boss, Wang Lequan declared that the riot in Urumqi showed the violent and terrorist nature of the separatist World Uyghur Congress leader (and businesswoman) Rebiya Kadeer. Similar declarations had been issued when unrest erupted in Tibet in March 2008. The Dalai Lama was then called by Party Chief, Zang Qingli, a ‘wolf in monk’s dress’.
In an interview with Xinjiang TV, Wang added: “The riot has destroyed the spiritual support with which the terrorist, separatist and extremist forces cheated the people to participate in the so-called Jihad”.
His conclusion was that “all Party members should take the strongest measures to deal with the enemies' attempt at sabotage and keep regional stability”. No doubt that ‘extreme measures’ have been taken!
The motivation for the revolt in Urumqi seems to be the same as in Tibet: both are fuelled by a deep resentment against the Han Chinese settlers. When ordinary people risks demonstrating against a repressive totalitarian State like China, it means that they are desperate. For the past 50/60 years, Tibetans and Uygurs have gone through a similar history: they have had no say in their own lives and the affairs of their respective provinces. In both cases, Beijing has reacted similarly: put blame on ‘foreign hands’ for the unrest and used force to counter ‘splittist’ elements. In the case of Xinjiang, ‘jihad’ label has been added to make the repression more palatable.
In Xinjiang however, there is a difference: the swiftness of the repression.
In 2008 in the New York Times, Tibet-expert Robbie Barnett had thus described the authorities’ reaction after the first riots in Central Lhasa: “No reinforcements were sent into the area for at least three hours (one Western journalist who witnessed the events saw no police for twenty-four hours), though they were waiting on the outskirts. It was the traditional response of the Chinese security forces to serious unrest — to wait for orders from Party leaders on whether to shoot or not. …In this vacuum, a number of Tibetans turned from attacking police to attacking the next available symbol of Chinese governance, the Chinese migrant population.”
In Urumqi, the repression was swifter and perhaps even more brutal than the Roof of the World.
Interestingly, a report, prepared by a Chinese think-tank, Beijing Gongmeng Consulting has recently given an interesting picture of the 2008 unrest in Tibet; it contradicts the official version. The authors, Li Kun, Huang Li, Li Xiang and Wang Hongzhe are lawyers “committed to building a modernized China and promoting human rights, democracy, and rule of law in China."
Their research team spent one month in Tibet “interviewing Tibetan monks, nomads, farmers, scholars, migrants, artists, and businesspeople”.
Their objective was to come into personal contact with voices which can give “a clear and objective outline of ordinary people’s living conditions in Tibetan areas”.
The lawyers point out “major errors in government policy" after March-April 2008 protests. One was ‘over-propagandizing of [Tibetan] violence’; another, encouragement of racist sentiment towards Tibetans: “The excessive response of government all over Tibet was to regard every tree and blade of grass as a potential enemy soldier.”
According to them, this further strained the relations between the local Tibetans and the Han migrants.
One of their conclusions is: “Understanding is a precondition for discussion, unity and development. If the promotion of healthy development in Tibetan areas is truly desired then there must be a change in thinking and an adjustment in thinking behind the current nationality theories and policies.”
Another issue was the emergence of a new aristocracy in Tibet (it is not different in Xinjiang!). The Chinese Revolution is supposed to have wiped out the old aristocracy and emancipated the masses.
For the Chinese lawyers, this new aristocracy, which is ‘legitimized by the Party’, is even more powerful than the old one.
The Report analyses in detail the rapport between the new aristocracy and the masses: “there is a lack of any effective supervision over the local officials …who have learned how to use stability to protect themselves. …‘Foreign forces’ and ‘Tibet independence’ are used by many local officials as fig leaves to conceal their mistakes in governance and to repress social discontent …elevating everything to the level of splittist forces in order to conceal their errors.”
The final conclusions are not far from the Tibetan Diaspora’s views: “Earnestly listen to the voices of ordinary Tibetans and on the basis of respecting and protecting each of the Tibetan people’s rights and interests, adjust policy and thinking in Tibetan areas to formulate development policies which are suited to the characteristics of Tibetan areas, and which accord with the wishes of the Tibetan people.”
One important issue is religious freedom: “Fully respect and protect the Tibetan people’s freedom of religious belief, resuming and supporting normal religious lives and activities. Fully recognize the important significance of religion and a religious life to Tibetan areas and to the Tibetan people.”
Beijing is also advised to “promote rule of law in governance processes in Tibetan areas”, if it is interested in a stable Tibet. All this could apply to Xinjiang.
The Report made similar points than the 70,000 character petition sent by the late Panchen Lama to Premier Zhou Enlai in 1962 for which he spent 17 years in jail.
The CCP General Secretary Hua Yuabang had also presented a report in the same vein after a visit to Lhasa in May 1980. His was soon removed from the political scene, though his disciple, Zhao Zyiang continued as Premier till the Tiananmen events.
Obviously, the Beijing leadership had not read these Reports before giving the order to the PAP to ‘strike hard’. But in the long term, the use of brutal repression to subdue genuine resentment and injustice can only weaken the State and lead to an implosion of the Middle Kingdom.

Monday, July 6, 2009

2008 Tibet, 2009 Xinjiang?



Will Xinjiang witness unrest like Tibet in 2008? Resentment against Hans is perhaps even stronger in Xinjiang than in Tibet? And Uygurs are not Buddhists!

China state media says 140 killed in riots in west

By WILLIAM FOREMAN – July 6, 2009

URUMQI, China (AP) — Violence in the capital of China's volatile Xinjiang region killed 140 people and injured 828, an official said Monday, following rioting by members of a Muslim ethnic group and a police crackdown on their demonstrations.
The official toll makes the unrest the deadliest single incident of unrest in Xinjiang in recent decades.
The violence in Urumqi apparently happened after a peaceful protest Sunday of about 1,000 to 3,000 people spun out of control, with rioters overturning barricades, attacking vehicles and houses, and clashing with police.
Uigher exile groups said the violence started only after police began violently cracking down on the peaceful protest.
Wu Nong, director of the news office of the Xinjiang provincial government, said more than 260 vehicles were attacked or set on fire and 203 houses were damaged. He said 140 people were killed and 828 injured in the violence.
The official Xinhua News Agency also said 140 people died and that the death toll "was still climbing."
Tensions between Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese are never far from the surface in Xinjiang, China's vast Central Asian buffer province, where militant Uighurs have waged sporadic, violent separatist campaign. The overwhelming majority of Urumqi's 2.3 million people are Han Chinese.

State television aired footage that showed protesters attacking and kicking people on the ground. Other people sat dazed with blood pouring down their faces.
Mobile phone service provided by at least one company was cut Monday to stop people from organizing further action in Xinjiang.
The protest started Sunday with demonstrators demanding a probe into a fight between Uighurs and Han Chinese workers at a southern China factory last month. Accounts differed over what happened next in Urumqi, but the violence seemed to have started when a crowd of protesters — who started out peaceful — refused to disperse.
Uigher exile groups said the violence started when Chinese security forces cracked down on the peaceful protest.
"We are extremely saddened by the heavy-handed use of force by the Chinese security forces against the peaceful demonstrators," said Alim Seytoff, vice president of the Washington-based Uyghur American Association.
"We ask the international community to condemn China's killing of innocent Uihgurs. This is a very dark day in the history of the Uighur people," he said.
The association, led by a former businesswoman now living in America, Rebiya Kadeer, estimated that 1,000 to 3,000 people took part in the protest.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

He made of a fool of himself!





He made a fool of himself, but he tried. A visit to Beijing would have probably been more fruitful. He twisted the wrong arm!




UN chief not allowed to see Aung San Suu Kyi
AP, July 4, 2009
Naypyitaw (Myanmar):

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon could leave Myanmar empty-handed after apparently failing to win any concessions on Friday from the country's top military ruler or to gain permission to visit opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in jail.
Ban talked for two hours with reclusive Senior Gen Than Shwe in an ornate reception hall -- complete with an indoor waterfall -- in Naypyitaw, the junta's remote, newly built capital.
It was a rocky start to what the UN chief predicted would be "a very tough mission" to win freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi, the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been detained by the junta for nearly 14 of the past 20 years and is now on trial charged with violating her house arrest.
The UN chief will press again on Saturday in another private meeting, a UN spokeswoman said. He also will continue to seek various other reforms that include democratization, fair elections, economic cooperation and freedom for her and all other political prisoners.
Ban emerged from Friday's meeting saying he still hoped to meet Suu Kyi before he leaves the country on Saturday night.
"I told him that I wanted to meet her, but he told me that she is (on) trial," Ban told reporters after meeting with Than Shwe. "But I told him that this is my proposal, and this is important, and I'm waiting for their reply."
It was Ban's second visit to Myanmar since Cyclone Nargis devastated much of the country last year. His first visit managed to persuade the military government to ease access for hundreds of foreign aid workers who had been restricted from entering cyclone-affected areas. He also oversaw a conference that raised up to $150 million in emergency relief funds.
However, the UN has been unable to budge the junta on its refusal to free its estimated 2,100 political prisoners, including Suu Kyi.
Shortly after the UN chief arrived on Friday, the court presiding over Suu Kyi's widely criticized trial announced an adjournment until July 10. The trial had been set to resume after a month-long delay.
In May, she was charged with violating the terms of her house arrest when an uninvited American man swam secretly to her lakeside home in May and stayed for two days. She has pleaded not guilty and faces five years in prison if convicted.
Suu Kyi is being detained at the compound surrounding Myanmar's Insein Prison, where 53-year-old John William Yettaw of Falcon, Missouri, the intruder who is charged with trespassing, also is being held.
The trial has sparked outrage from world leaders, other Nobel laureates, human rights groups and Hollywood celebrities who say the military-controlled government is using the bizarre incident as an excuse to keep Suu Kyi behind bars through elections scheduled for 2010.
The elections are part of the junta's "roadmap to democracy," which critics say is a sham designed to cement the military's four-decade grip on power.
Ban said he also urged Than Shwe to "accelerate the process of democratization."
"I was assured that the Myanmar authorities will make sure that this election will be held in a fair and free and transparent manner," he said, without elaborating.
Senior UN officials who participated in Friday's talks described them as far-ranging, with "a lot of back and forth" between the world's top diplomat and the military rulers.
Than Shwe was accompanied by four other generals and the foreign minister, among others in his entourage. Ban kept a few aides by his side, though he prefers one-on-one talks with world leaders in contrast to Than Shwe -- who also refuses to take Ban's phone calls.
Suu Kyi's opposition party won national elections in 1990, but Myanmar's generals refused to relinquish power. Her latest six-year round of house arrest was to expire last month.
Her supporters fear that Suu Kyi will be found guilty because the courts are under the influence of the ruling junta and usually mete out harsh punishment for political dissidents.
Ban also met with ethnic minority groups and leaders of 34 political parties, including senior members of Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, who were driven to Naypyitaw, senior UN officials said.
Human Rights Watch urged Ban to make the trip "meaningful" after years of failed UN attempts to win Suu Kyi's freedom and promote democratic reforms. Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962.
"Time and again, the UN has politely requested Aung San Suu Kyi's release, but her 'release' back to house arrest would be a huge failure," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "(Ban) should make it clear that the time for stalling and playing games is over and that real change is needed now."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Great Green Dam of China




This is what happens when you don't agree with China or question them, you are hacked!
Though since then, the State has temporarily backed out on the Green Dam project.



Web Filtering Company Reports Cyber Attack To FBI
The U.S.-based company that claims its programming code was unlawfully included in China's Green Dam software reports being targeted by a cyber attack.
By Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek, June 29, 2009

Solid Oak Software, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based maker of Web filtering software called CYBERsitter, on Friday contacted the FBI to investigate a cyber attack on the company that appears to have come from China.
Earlier this month, the company charged that the Green Dam Web filtering software, made by two Chinese companies, contains its proprietary computer code. The Chinese government wants all PCs sold in China to include Green Dam starting on July 1.
Although the U.S. government and trade organizations have asked China to rescind its Web filtering rule, Sony has already begun shipping PCs with Green Dam installed.
Jenna DiPasquale, head of public relations and marketing for Solid Oak, said that following the receipt of suspicious e-mail messages sent recently to company executives and unexplained server problems, a Microsoft representative had volunteered to analyze the suspicious e-mail for malware.
A request for comment from Microsoft, submitted through DiPasquale, was declined.
But DiPasquale confirmed that Microsoft's investigator identified the messages as malicious. "They did determine that the files were infected and that the attack was specifically created for us," she said in an e-mail. "We discovered several one-off emails similar in nature that were caught by our filters. We do not know yet for certain, but it does appear that the e-mails are Chinese in origin."
Green Dam is made by Jinhui Computer System Engineering Co, and its Web filtering black list is provided by Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy Co.
The senders of the infected messages "used spoof-name Gmail accounts to create the attacks, and the documents sent were meant to appear like a clean e-mail," DiPasquale explained. "The infected documents referenced Jinhui and Green Dam and the attacks were written using Chinese language software. This is how we suspect that they are Chinese in origin. We discovered different types of attacks caught in our defensive gateway, AlliGate."
Solid Oak president Brian Milburn believes the attacks were the work of skilled computer professionals who have knowledge of his company, according to DiPasquale.
Solid Oak, however, is not the only company under attack for its involvement with Green Dam. The English-language China Daily said last week that Jinhui had received more than 1,000 death threats since the government's filtering rule was first reported earlier this month.
After three University of Michigan researchers identified security flaws and copied code in Green Dam, the Chinese government directed the makers of Green Dam to fix the security vulnerabilities, according to a report in the English-language China Daily.
But according to a June 25 report published by Solid Oak, the most recent release of Green Dam (v3.17) still contains four files from CYBERsitter. The copied files are not merely lists of sites to be blocked, the report alleges, they also contain programming code.
"Contrary to statements made by Green Dam's developer that these were just 'lists of international pornographic sites,' the code lines shown above are code snippets that tell CYBERsitter (and Green Dam) how to handle word combinations when found in URLs, search queries, or page content," the report says.
Solid Oak has advised Dell and HP that they face legal liability if they comply with the Chinese government mandate and ship PCs with Green Dam.
The U.S. government last week lodged a formal protest of the Green Dam mandate. Chinese authorities did not respond directly. However, the Chinese Ministry of Health's decision on Friday to issue new anti-pornography rules affecting sex education sites suggests that Chinese authorities intend to resist public pressure.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Morarji Desai and Zhou Enlai: a tough encounter

A fascinating record of a meeting between Morarji Desai, then Finance Minister and Premier Zhou Enlai. Morarji must be one of the rare politicians who dared speaking frankly with a Chinese leader. Of course, Zhou sees red after been spoken in such a manner.

Record of Finance Minister Morarji Desai's Meeting with Premier Zhou Enlai (22 April 1960)

The vice-president hosted a private lunch at his residence for Premier Chou En-Lai and Marshal Chen Yi. At 3:30 pm, I escorted Chou En-Lai to the finance minister's house located in the president's estate. Marshal Chen Yi and Deputy Foreign Minister Chang Han-Fu accompanied him. Ambassador G. Parathasarthi, Jagat Mehta, Vasant Paranjpe and myself [Natwar Singh] were the Indian representatives.

The first few minutes were taken up by inconsequential chatter.
References to common colonial past, etc., were made. The finance minister said that India had lost out to the Muslims and then to the British due to our disunity. Premier Chou agreed.
Discordance started at the very beginning. Chou En-Lai said the boundary problem was a legacy of history and would be solved. Morarji bhai disagreed saying history could not be blamed for the dispute.
Trouble started only in the last three or four years. India had not told the people or parliament about the border troubles, hoping differences would be resolved in a spirit of good neighbourliness. This had not happened. Now, the parliament and people were angry. Chou En-Lai said old maps were not accurate and had not demarcated the border properly. Both sides, however, agreed that current troubles began after revolt in Tibet. Morarji bhai said that India allowed China to become dominant in Tibet. In 1950 and 1954, India surrendered all privileges inherited from the British.
Chou En-lai made a lengthy response, blaming the Dalai Lama, his feudal and reactionary advisers. 'China respected the Dalai Lama as a religious leader that is why he was not arrested.' He pointedly said that the centre of anti-Chinese activities was in Kalimpong. The Dalai Lama was against reforms in Tibet. Serfdom existed in Tibet till China stopped it. The Dalai Lama was abusing the conditions of political asylum and was politically active. We object to this.'
On the boundary issue, he said China did not recognise the McMahon Line or the Shimla convention of 1913. Now since 1959, India wanted us to recognise both. This was not acceptable to us. We could not negotiate a settlement on this basis. He mentioned the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
In his response, the finance minister told that negotiations could only be held on the basis of agreement on facts; otherwise not. He emphatically denied any India’s role in the revolt in Tibet. He did not accept what the prime minister had said about Kalimpong.
According to Morarji bhai, it was the Chinese elements in Kalimpong who were creating trouble for India. Prime Minister Nehru in 1957 persuaded the Dalai Lama to return to Lhasa. He is highly respected in India. People of India have friendly sentiments about Tibet. 'You imposed your system in Tibet by violent means. We are not going back on the agreements we signed in 1950 and 1954.'

The FM mentioned the name of Dr K.I. Singh, who went to China to carry out political activities. 'India had not objected. India had a democratic system. We have accepted people's verdict in Kerala where the communists are in power. India had no territorial ambitions, yet we are called Imperialists.' Chou En-Lai said K.I. Singh was not permitted any political activity in China. As the PM of Nepal he actually criticised China.
Morarji bhai then rubbed in the point of India, that every year, at the UN, India supported China's case for membership. We did so because it is the right thing to do. Panchsheel has now become one-sided. We cannot for the sake of friendship give up territory, which is ours. The boundary problem can be settled not through war but through negotiations. But we must first agree on facts.'
Premier Chou agreed that matter must be settled through mutual agreement. War was ruled out.
The finance minister asserted that China must withdraw troops and then talks could begin. If this did not happen, then there could be no discussion. Premier Chou En-lai categorically stated that China would in no circumstances accept the McMahon Line. He was willing to accept Indian jurisdiction south of the line, where China had no territorial claims. He held forth on Kalimpong, which was full of spies. The Dalai Lama's relatives were active in Kalimpong. Desai responded that China too had spies in Kalimpong. [Chou En-lai went red in the face.] Chou En-lai asked how the Indian government allowed Tibetans in Kalimpong to hold an anti-Chinese convention. Desai said the convention was not sponsored by the government. All kinds of conventions are held in India, some, even against the government. He mentioned Lenin working in London. No one restricted his movements. We did not want anyone to conspire against China but we cannot prevent free speech. This is fundamental in a democracy. The Municipal Hall in Kalimpong was not a government building. Municipalities in India are autonomous bodies. They can let out their halls to anyone.
The Chinese premier again said that the Dalai Lama was engaged in political activities. Prime Minister Nehru had told him that the Dalai Lama would not be allowed to indulge in political work. But he was doing so. Desai said, not so gently, that Chou En-lai was being unjust. The Dalai Lama was not preparing to march into Tibet. All he said was that he would like to go back to Tibet. How could we prevent him from saying so?
Chou En-Lai said there was no campaign against India in China. Desai asserted that the responsible people in China had 'called us a reactionary government'. Chou En-Lai's response was quick and curt. 'The portraits of Chairman Mao and the prime minister of China were burnt in India.' Desai retorted that his effigy was burnt recently, adding that even Gandhiji's effigies had been burnt. Premier Chou En-Lai, getting a bit worked up, said Indians had the freedom to abuse China but China had no freedom to criticise India. Desai in a waspish tone said he was being frank and tried to explain India's viewpoint. Chou En-Lai retorted that the finance minister had said enough. Desai shot back, 'The Chinese prime minister said more than enough.'
He added that all he was trying to say was that he condemned his people for abusing China. If that was not so, then India would not have sponsored the case of China at the UN even after the Tibet revolt.
Premier Chou En-Lai, calming down, thanked the finance minister for helping on the UN front. He then spoke about the western sector saying it was under China for two hundred years not four or five years. China had every right to build roads there. Desai firmly replied that he did not agree with this.
Acrimony continued. Premier Chou En-Lai said that China sent troops to Tibet in 1950. Desai countered that this did not mean China could make claims on territory which belonged to India. The Chinese premier made a conciliatory reply. There was no need to quarrel. The matter could be resolved by mutual agreement and accommodation. This was not good enough for Desai who said there was no question of India giving up any of its territory. However, he was confident that a satisfactory agreement would be found.

The meeting finished at 5:40 pm. It had not been a pleasant encounter.
In the car, I sat next to the Chinese prime minister. I could feel and see how annoyed he was. Perhaps, the astutest diplomat in the world, he obviously did not feel comfortable dealing with second category Indian leaders.
Why our prime minister has inflicted Morarji Desai on Chou En-lai beats me. I suppose he has his compulsions. Morarji belonged to the ultra right wing of the Congress.

A fable of blood and bribes

My article A fable of blood and bribes is available on Rediff.com website.