A BIG DEMONSTRATION in New Zealand had 4,000 pro-Chinese demonstrators turn out against four folk holding Tibetan flags.
In other news, the People’s Republic is sending someone to meet the envoy of the Dalai Lama, although what they’ll say to each other no one really knows.
Mr Dalai has long said he’d like Tibet to be an autonomous area of China – there are many Tibetan Buddhists in Taiwan now, don’t you know. And quite a few in India. And even quite a lot in Scotland.
Of course, in all the hoohah about the useless concept called the Olympics, everyone seems to have totally forgotten the British expedition to Tibet in 1904, headed by a man called Younghusband. A few squaddies under the command of this geezer shot their way through to Lhasa, it appears.
This book, on page x of the foreword, has the telling statement: “The [British] Government of India, however, despite its perceived geopolitical requirements, was never able to persuade its masters in London that Tibet was not in some way or other a part of the Chinese world… When, soon after the British had departed the Subcontinent in 1947, the Government of independent India was not slow in acknowledging the fact of a Chinese Tibet.”
The problem, of course, is not suzerainty, but religion. The PRC in 1951 was hardly secular, and a form of Buddhism has long been prevalent in Greater China and still has many adherents. It is all very complicated. The PRC does get its knickers in a twist over this however – religion is not the “opium of the masses” any more, capitalism is. And the Opium Wars are long over.
Perhaps if the new Kuomintang government in Ole Taipei gave back or at least started talking about the treasures held in the CKS museum to mainland China, a new era of rapprochement between “autonomous regions” could kick off again. After all, even Scotland has its own “parliament” these days, apparently from an Old French verb “parler”. And as Winston Churchill is said to have said, “better jaw jaw, than war war”. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to think that… ♦