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Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Special report: Tibet: Its Past and Present," China Daily, July 8, 2008.

[This story is reproduced complete from Xinhua news service and appeared originally in the China Daily. Links have been added. The Chinese version strongly supports the view expressed here before that the issue is essentially a "land claim," a type of conflict that Canadians have every reason to be familiar with. Not everyone has the same story about the Simla Treaty. -jlt]

BEIJING, July 8 (Xinhua) -- English-language China Daily on Tuesday carried an article titled "Dalai Lama must match words with deeds".

The author is Zong Yiwen, a councilor of the China Religious Culture Communication Association. Following is the full text:

The Chinese central government has demanded the Dalai Lama to promise "four not-supports". One of these is any argument and activity to seek "Tibet independence" and split the region from the country.

Since the Dalai Lama has repeatedly claimed that he does not seek the "Tibet independence", he must prove his sincerity by his deeds. And he needs to take back his unreasonably wrong and traitorous remarks first.

On June 4, the Dalai Lama said in an interview with the Indian press that the McMahon Line drawn during the 1914 Simla Convention was legal and that Tawang was part of India according to the agreement between the then Tibet local authorities and the British colonial government in India.

The Dalai Lama's words were echoed by the "Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile", Karma Chophel, who said a ceremony would be held to mark the 94th anniversary of the signing of the Simla Treaty.

"The site of the convention is still there so the ceremony will be held there," he said.

As is known to all, the notorious Simla Treaty was part of the British colonialists' conspiracy to seize and occupy Tibet.

In April 1914, the British government forced Chen Yifan, the Chinese representative to sign on the agreement. Reluctantly, Chen initialed his surname but soon claimed that an approval was different from the official signature which requires government permission.

Later, Yuan Shikai's warlord government objected to the proposed boundary and immediately called to repudiate both the agreement and his initial to it. Although Chen Yifan was forced to sign the treaty, the bottom line was retained.

In 1930, the 13th Dalai Lama made a clear statement that the British government did try to lure him but he knew clearly that the sovereignty couldn't be lost. He said that he was neither pro-Britain nor would he betray the central government. He also managed to keep his bottom line.

In March 1943, the British colonial government in India issued a memorandum to the local Tibetan government, saying that it opposed sending Tibetan officials to Tawang.

In April, the local Tibetan government stated in a letter to Britain that Tawang is Tibetan territory and ignored the British demand for the recall of the Tibetan army and military officials. Faced with the well-armed British Empire, the weak local Tibetan government still kept the bottom line.

Canadian scholar A. Tom Grunfeld said that the Simla Treaty remained notorious in the years after its signing and could not be implemented. An international law expert also said that the Simla Convention exposed the acts of the British India officials to harm China. Western scholars are all aware that the bottom line cannot be touched.

Although the Dalai Lama refused to give direct answers to whether he recognized the McMahon line, he had stated before that Tawang is part of Tibet. After all, the region is the hometown of the 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso. But why did he suddenly change his claim?

The reason is that the "Tibetan independence" activities led by the Dalai group have become more and more unpopular and harder to be carried out. This May, Indian police arrested five leaders of "Tibetan independence" organizations including the "Tibetan Youth Congress" and the "Tibetan Women's Association", which were charged with violating Indian laws and endangering personal safety.

Faced with such a crisis, the Dalai Lama decided to give out a part of Chinese territory in an attempt to undermine the improving Sino-Indian relations and to ease the current crisis for "Tibetan independence".

We need to not only listen to what the Dalai Lama says but also observe what he does. Since the private representatives of the Dalai Lama have stated that they accept with no difficulty the " four not-supports" as demanded by the central government, they have to prove it by their deeds and should first start with correcting their wrong and traitorous remarks.

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