Tue, Nov 07, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Tibetization of the world has begun

By Sushil Seth

Zhou said that China’s debt was very high.

According to the World Bank, China’s overall debt-to-GDP ratio, both public and private, was 304 percent.

Be that as it may, China is determined to push ahead.

In the global fight against climate change, for instance, Xi promised a “revolution in energy production” by building an energy sector that was “clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient.”

At a time when US President Donald Trump is dumping climate change and open markets, China is promoting its credentials.

Xi was very emphatic on the question of safeguarding China’s sovereign interests with a modernizing military force.

“No one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests…,” such as China’s “steady progress” of constructing islands in the South China Sea, he said.

Dwelling on China’s “core” national assets, Xi issued a warning against Taiwanese independence in any form.

Within the country, he announced the continuation of the anti-corruption campaign, which has helped to get rid of his political foes.

And now, with the congress over, Xi is the undisputed ruler of China, with a CCP Standing Committee and politburo ready to do his bidding. Indeed, he has not even chosen or announced his political successor who, by convention, should succeed him after his second term, in 2022. This has given currency to the view that Xi might choose to stay on as the party’s general secretary and the country’s president for an indeterminate period.

During Xi’s presidency, what has perhaps attracted the most attention internationally is his much trumpeted “One Belt, One Road” project to connect the world through a network of road, rail, air and maritime channels, all of which would lead to China. It is the new vision to revive China’s glory as part of the Chinese Dream, with China once again as the Middle Kingdom.

As China is prepared to lend money for many of these incipient projects, it has incited interest and excitement among some countries. However, Australia has chosen to stay out of it for strategic reasons.

Interestingly, Tibetan government-in-exile President Lobsang Sangay, who was elected by the Tibetan diaspora several years ago, evoked his homeland’s example as a warning to the misplaced enthusiasm about this much hyped up Chinese project.

Speaking recently at the National Press Club in Canberra, he reportedly cautioned Australia, and by implication other countries, against the Chinese-sponsored Belt and Road project, citing how Tibet was annexed through one such highway project.

Sangay’s address is worth quoting at some length.

“If you understand the Tibetan story, the Chinese government [before the military takeover in the 50s] started building a road — our first-ever highway in Tibet,” he said.

“Now, we were promised peace and prosperity with the highway, and our parents and grandparents joined in building the road… so my parents told me the Chinese soldiers with guns were so polite, so nice, the kids used to taunt them and taunt them, they always smiled… Then they built the road,” he said.

“Once the road reached Lhasa — the capital city of Tibet — first trucks came, then tanks came. Soon, Tibet was occupied,” he said. “Then another strategy they deployed was ‘divide and rule,’ co-opting our ruling elite… They were paid, I think, in Australian context, huge consultation fees [a reference to how China is using this strategy in Australia to co-opt some of its elites].”

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