Sat, Mar 10, 2018 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: Nothing irresistible about Xi or China

The Chinese National People’s Congress is due to approve the removal of presidential term limits tomorrow, making Chinese President and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary-General Xi Jinping (習近平) the most powerful Chinese leader in decades.

Today is the 59th anniversary of a key uprising in Lhasa, Tibet, against CCP rule, the culmination of an armed rebellion that began in 1956 in the Kham region of eastern Tibet and gradually spread into the center of the country, leading the Dalai Lama to flee into exile on March 17, 1959.

It is also the 10th anniversary of another uprising in Lhasa by thousands of Buddhist monks and others against the CCP, one triggered by Beijing’s efforts to turn Tibetans into a minority in their own land and further restrict their language, culture and religion.

It was probably with those three dates in mind that Wang Guosheng (王國生), CCP secretary of the 14th Dalai Lama’s birthplace, Qinghai Province, on Wednesday told reporters on the sidelines of the congress that Tibetans living in Qinghai’s “herder areas” have said that Xi is a “living Bodhisattva.”

Despite the CCP’s massive propaganda campaign to paint Xi as a man of the people and the only one capable of leading China into a glorious future, it is hard to believe that anyone could believe Xi is someone either willing or capable of compassionate acts sufficient to achieve enlightenment — the definition of a Bodhisattva — or compassionate acts, period.

Wang’s claim is especially hard to swallow considering that the CCP sought to eradicate Buddhism among Tibetans for decades and Tibetan Buddhists consider the Dalai Lama, like his predecessors, to be the incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas.

If Xi were such a paragon, there would not have been yet another self-immolation protest by a Tibetan, this time on Wednesday in what used to be part of Tibet, but has been absorbed by Beijing into Sichuan Province. The International Campaign for Tibet said the man’s death was the 153rd self-immolation by a Tibetan since such protests began in 2009.

Wang’s claim was just another example of the sanctimonious claptrap emanating from Beijing as the rubber-stamp congress holds its annual session, just like Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi’s (王毅) claims that recognizing Beijing’s “one China” principle is an “irresistible trend” or that “everything will operate in the sunshine” when it comes to Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan and others are to march in downtown Taipei today to commemorate the anniversaries of the rebellions in Tibet. There is also an exhibition in the city’s Liberty Square commemorating the 2008 uprising.

Given Xi’s ambitions to leave his mark on China, and the growing petulance among many in China that Taiwanese continue to spurn their calls for unification, it is worth taking a moment today to remember what this day means to a majority of Tibetans and what Tibet’s fate could herald for Taiwan if Beijing ever takes over.

As New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐), who heads the Taiwan Parliamentary Group for Tibet, said this week, the Chinese government has been suppressing minority groups in the country in every possible aspect: culture, languages, arts and the environment.

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