“We should soon expect the world to stand firmly behind occupied countries like Tibet, East Turkistan and South Mongolia which China has colonized over past many decades” : predicts Prof. Michael Van Walt
“An interesting outcome of the events in Ukraine today is that it has helped the world community to revive its memory about how a big nation like China used its brutal force to occupy weaker neighboring nations like Tibet, East Turkistan and South Mongolia by imposing its own interpretation of history and law. The arguments being forwarded by President Putin of Russia today and the manner in which Russian Army has invaded Ukraine have too many similarities to ignore how China occupied Tibet in 1950-1951 era”, says Prof. Michael Van Walt Van Praag, a renowned international law jurist who specializes in international conflict resolution.
Michael is currently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Social Science in the University of California, has played important role in quite a few conflict situations like Chechnya and Abkhazia-Georgia dispute and has been a legal adviser to the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai Lama in defining his ‘Middle Way Approach’ on Tibet. He was speaking last night from California at an international live webinar, based on his discussion with Vijay Kranti, a renowned Indian Tibetologist. The webinar organized jointly by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) was focused on famous book “Tibet Brief : 20/20”, jointly authored by Prof. Michael and Miek Botjes.
Other participants were Ms Tenzin Lhamo, Secretary of TYC, Prof Aayushi Ketkar of JNU.
Answering to a question from Vijay Kranti, the host of the show and Chairman of CHASE, Michael said, “The rogue conduct of China in many areas including the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, Indian Himalayas and the Central Asia has shaken the world community, especially the Western countries, out of their slumber. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has now made the world to sit up and realize that it has been blindly kowtowing and accepting all false claims and narratives of present day People’s Republic of China (PRC) about the Asian history,” he said. “We should soon expect the world to stand firmly behind occupied countries like Tibet, East Turkistan and South Mongolia which China has colonized over past many decades. Crushing of human rights in these countries by the Chinese communist regime and exploitation of their natural resources is bound to become a big issue,” he added.
Pointed out a major mistake of the world community Michael said that the diplomats, historians, academicians and the media have relied exclusively on the Chinese narrative on the Asian history to make their opinions and decisions about most of Asian countries. The worst example is buying the Chinese idea of ‘seamless inheritance’ of Tibet, Manchuria and Mongolia first by the ‘Republic of China’ in 1912 and then by the PRC in 1949. “The reality is that the real China was nothing more than the central China ‘Zhongyuan’ and some contiguous areas which were ruled by the Chinese ‘Song’ and ‘Ming’ dynasties who too remained occupied by the much larger Mongol and the Manchu empires for many centuries, which were non-Chinese and foreigners. It is absurd that today the Chinese communist rulers want the world to accept their narrative of ‘seamless inheritance’ to claim that since the Mongols also occupied Tibet therefore Tibet is also a part of China,” he said. “But it is heartening to see now that the world has started looking at Asia from non-Chinese perspectives like that of Russian, Mongolian, Manchu and Tibetan historians to understand the real history of Asia,” he added.
Michael cautioned the world governments, diplomats, the academics and especially the international media to stop being victim of using certain terminology which the Chinese rulers have been trying to spread through a very systematic and refined propaganda. Giving examples he said that referring to the Tibetans, the Uyghurs and the Mongols as ‘ethnic minorities’ of China is a direct acceptance of Chinese claims that they are an integral part of a wider Chinese population. But the reality is that all of them are independent ‘people’ and belong to three different countries namely Tibet, East Turkistan and South Mongolia which were ‘occupied’ territories in recent history. In the international law an ‘ethnic minority’ in a country may have some rights but they cannot claim to be a separate ‘country’.
Similarly, another great blunder being committed by the world governments and diplomatic community is referring to these three countries as an ‘internal matter’ of China. By doing so the world community is failing not only in its legally bound duty of opposing the illegal occupation of these countries by China but it is rather providing formal recognition and acceptance to the act of forcible colonization of these countries by China. “This is nothing short of playing as an accomplice of China in its act of aggression, invasion and occupation of these countrie,” he added.
This book (“Tibet Brief : 20/20”), is among the most outstanding books on TIBET in past many decades. It can be a highly effective armor as well as a weapon for Tibet supporters and scholars against China’s false propaganda and narrative on TIBET and other colonies like East Turkistan (Xinjiang), South Mongolia and Manchuria said Ms Lhamo in her vote of thanks.