Ever since the turn of the year, the world over the people’s faith in mainstream media has been dwindling as the people refuse to buy their biased narrative. In the United States, Donald Trump is undergoing a witch-hunt of sorts where CNN and the NYT are not only found to spread fake news but also try to distort the narrative in favour of the Democrats. The New York Times has all but become the official mouthpiece of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan as post India’s move to abrogate Article 370, not only did the publication ignore India’s viewpoint and spread exaggerated claims, it also provided a platform to Khan which he used to threaten the world with a nuclear war if the world doesn’t stop India’s alleged ‘aggression’. Unsurprisingly, the Indian media wasn’t to be left behind and the Hindustan Times has now published the Chinese ambassador’s take on Tibet where Sun Weidong has elucidated the imaginary progress in Tibet.
Suddenly Hindustan Times has sounded like the Global Times or People’s Daily, the official mouthpieces of the Chinese government.
The propaganda piece by Weidong starts with him marking the 60th anniversary of democratic reform in Tibet. Such is the democracy in Tibet that it continues to be closed out to foreign journalists and only ‘selected’ journalists are allowed entry in Tibet. The piece right from the headline asserts China’s unholy and distorted claim over Tibet as Weidong claims that those who claim “the Chinese government violates the religious freedom of the Tibetan people” either have never been to Tibet or harbour ulterior motives. Perhaps Weidong thinks that the Indian readers can be easily manipulated as he completely forgets that India is a democratic country in its truest sense, unlike China. Han Chinese guards deliberately obstruct the pilgrim route through Lhasa to the holy Jokhang temple by sipping tea at strategically placed tables in the middle of the road. In front of the Potala, the Dalai Lama’s former seat of power, an imposing guarded concrete square glorifies China’s occupation.
Weidong’s propaganda piece places Tibet as the shining jewel of China thanks to the latter’s democratic principles. On the contrary, during the 1990s, Tibetans suspected of harbouring nationalist tendencies were arrested and imprisoned and that continues to be the norm till date. In 2006, Romanian climbers witnessed Chinese guards shooting a group of refugees headed for the Nepalese border. China’s abhorrent treatment of “political subversives” has rightly spurned a global Free Tibet movement. For the last 3 years in a row, US think-tank Freedom House ranked Tibet among the worst places in the world because of the denial of freedom.
The Panchen Lama is one of the most important figures in Tibetan Buddhism, second only to the Dalai Lama himself. The previous Panchen Lama (Lobsang Trinley Lhundrup Choekyi Gyaltsen) spoke out against Chinese rule many times and wrote a report chronicling Tibet’s famines in the 1960s. As a result, he spent more than eight years in jail and died in suspicious circumstances in 1989.
Whenever Tibet has sought to gain autonomy, it has been crushed brutally by the Chinese government. In 1995, as the list of probable candidates for the next Panchen Lama was sent to the Dalai Lama who continues to live in exile in India, Dalai Lama announced that Gedhun had been recognised as the 11th Panchen Lama. Unsurprisingly, exactly two days later, the Chinese government abducted the child and his family. None of them has ever been seen or heard from again. Fast forward six months and the Chinese government announced Gyaltsen Norbu as the next Panchen Lama who incidentally also happened to be the son of two Communist Party members. Gyaltsen continues to stay in Beijing and has rarely visited Tibet.
Weidong has the audacity to talk about the reincarnation of the Buddha, the Dalai and Panchen Lama when in fact, the Panchen Lama identified as per traditions, by the Dalai Lama, has been disappeared by the CCP. In order to muffle their religious freedom and to give the Tibetan people a more compliant communist version of the spiritual leaders, China has named a Panchen Lama and forced the Tibetans to believe his authenticity.
China in Xinxiang has diluted the ethnic Muslim population by flooding the city with the Han Chinese people which it has only been practising in Tibet since decades and there are no signs that China will scale back its operations to dilute the ethnic populations.
Weidong concludes the article by writing: “India recognises that Tibet Autonomous Region is part of the territory of the PRC and India does not allow Tibetans to engage in political activities against China in India. This commitment was reaffirmed in subsequent bilateral documents between the two countries. China appreciates India’s position. It hopes and believes that India, as a responsible major country, will stick to its position, honour its commitments, resist interference on Tibet-related issues and promote the healthy and stable development of China-India relations.”
While India continues to honour its agreement, China’s actions vis-a-vis Kashmir continue to be anti-India, it’s about time India sheds its nice-guy image and steps on China’s jugular vein. But that can not happen when the Indian media continues to give a platform to anti-India voices in an attempt to distort the reality.