China and its Politburo have a tendency to shriek in fear when a steadfast leader starts to rise against it. From PM Modi to President Donald Trump to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, China has time and again tried to muddle the elections of these candidates. This time around, Beijing has thrown in its entire state machinery to sabotage the election of anti-China Dolma Gyari to the Presidential post in the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
The mouthpieces of CCP have gone into overdrive to publish propaganda materials to paint Dolma Gyari in a bad light. The state-owned publication Xinhua, in one of its articles titled “Meeting between US lawmakers and Zhuoma (Dolma) Gyari escalates US-China tension: Chinese FM’, tried to project Gyari as a mole of the USA.
The publication attacked Dolma for meeting US lawmaker Jim McGovern and others and attempted to highlight her Western connections. The story argued that these meetings are going to worsen the relationship between the US and China.
However, over the years, Dolma Gyari has carved a strict anti-China image of hers in the minds of Tibetans and therefore it might take a much more concerted effort by the CCP to even put a speck of dirt on her.
Contrary to the claims made in the Xinhua article, a couple of members of the Tibetan community have highlighted that unlike most of the Tibetan leaders who have a base in the West and are connected to Western NGOs, Dolma Gyari is out and out ‘People’s Leader’
China wants to avoid the situation where it would have to fight an outspoken and popular leader with adherent anti-China sentiments like Dolma Gyari and thus, CCP is going out of its way to sabotage her chances.
In 2008, as a young leader and member of the assembly, Dolma Gyari showed her resolve when she openly challenged the CCP through her thought-provoking speeches, “The ball is in China’s court. The Tibetan exile government will suspend negotiations with Chinese Communist Party officials. His Holiness Dalai Lama has done everything he can possibly do to negotiate in good faith.”
It is pertinent to note that Tibet has a government in exile that operates out of Dharamshala. The CTA operates from there and represents one of the largest communities in exile whilst also spearheading the Free Tibet campaign. Currently, Lobsang Sangay is the President of the CTA.
Recently, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a grant of almost $1 million to the CTA to “strengthen the financial and cultural resilience of the Tibetan people and contribute towards a sustained resilience of the Tibetan people’s economic and cultural identity.” This was the first time the Tibetan administration received direct funding from the USA. India was asked to give its nod for the same, which it duly did.
China is rattled that Prez Trump, seemingly in his last days in the White House will recognize Tibet and consciously decouple the USA from the One China narrative. And if a hardliner like Dolma Gyari takes up the premier position then Beijing would be put under the pump from both sides.
Tibet has had a tumultuous history since Mao invaded it in 1950. Since the 1960s, the Chinese government has made great efforts to change the ethnic composition of the region habituated by Tibetan people. Millions of Han Chinese were sent to live, marry, and establish a family with ethnic Tibetans. This demographic takeover was done in the name of the integration of Tibet in mainland China.
With the rise of new world order increasingly calling out China for its misdoings, the hope of Tibet being recognised as a sovereign nation by India, the USA, and several other countries are gathering pace, especially with Dolma Gyari announcing her candidacy for Tibetan polls. Xi Jinping is a control freak and seeing the situation swirling out of his hands, he is trying to muzzle the voices of dissent.