The Dalai Lama Has No Time To Lose – OpEd


The recent Doklam episode — where China tried to show its muscle power in the border with Bhutan, and India resisted it and finally China gave up its war cry — clearly indicates that China is now vulnerable.

State Of Chinese Economy

In the past, China has built capacity at a feverish pitch registering steady growth in production and GDP, which exceeded 7.5% at one stage.

China’s economy has grown by leaps and bounds in the last two decades and the present capacity build up in industries and infrastructure in China is much more than what China needs. In the case of some products and chemicals, the capacity build up in China is not only more than what China needs but also more than what the world needs.

However, China’s debt has now surpassed 304% of its GDP and debt fueled consumer demand accounting for 71% of China’s economic growth. With an inability to market the products produced in China in domestic and world markets due to the overcapacity build up, China’s GDP slowed down to 6.7% in 2016 from 6.9% in 2015 and is likely to drop down to around 6.2% in 2017.

China’s Dependence On World Market

In the above scenario, China is now dependent on the world market to sustain its growth and protect its economy from passing into a crisis stage due to the massive under-utilization of capacity built up in China at a heavy cost. China cannot afford to go for any conflict with any country or antagonize the world opinion, that would affect the prospects for marketing its products and services across the world.

Such conditions now faced by China explain as to why it backed out from a risking military conflict with India over the Doklam issue. This also explains as to why China is not ready to provide open support to North Korea in its present conflict with South Korea, Japan and USA.

It is well known that China is the only major trade partner for North Korea and most of North Korea’s supply needs are met by China, though it is not known as to what is the level of trade deficit between China and North Korea. Obviously, North Korea enjoys a sort of protectorate status in its relations with China and is an important ally for China in its plan for long term global domination. Even as President Trump threatened to wipe out North Korea (which appears to be a rhetoric) , China has been careful and has exercised great caution not to antagonize the USA by taking any stand in support of North Korea.

Further, in recent times, China has been inevitably integrating itself with the world market and global economy by investing in several countries in the world by way of overseas acquisition of projects and technical research collaboration. Therefore, China cannot have its own way in any issue unmindful of others and it has no alternative other than seeking and ensuring cooperation with all regions.

Time Now To Advance Tibet’s Cause

In other words, China is now vulnerable to international pressure and cannot anymore ignore world opinion. It has to shed its image as a bully and this is what the Chinese government is now trying to do with great effort.

In this scenario, it is necessary that the world should be reminded about the Chinese occupation of Tibet and how China forcibly entered Tibet, mercilessly put down the freedom fighters in Tibet and drove them out of the country. The world should be strongly told that China’s now occupying Tibet is immoral and unethical and China is an aggressor as far as Tibet is concerned.

The United Kingdom recognized Tibet as an integral part of China and India too has done this. This is unacceptable. This does not provide legitimacy for China’s occupation of Tibet. After all, who are the United Kingdom and India to recognize Tibet as part of China and what authority do they have to do so? It is the opinion of the Tibetans that should matter in asserting Tibet’s independence and the rights of Tibetans have to be recognized.

No Time To Lose

His Holiness The Dalai Lama commands great respect among a cross-section of people everywhere and it is largely recognized that he represents the voice of peace, wisdom and civilization. The Dalai Lama, despite his age, is active and should become more “aggressive” and open in voicing the need for winning freedom back for Tibet.

Considering the Dalai Lama’s advanced age and the present climate where China is vulnerable to international pressure and China desperately needs the goodwill across countries to sell its products to support its economy, there is unlikely to be a more conducive time to take the fight for the liberation of Tibet to a greater and ultimate height.

As a towering leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama needs to use his moral strength and gather the world opinion in favor of the Tibetan cause, so that China will be left with no alternative other than taking note of it and bowing to world opinion and come to negotiating table with Tibetan leaders.

The Dalai Lama has no time to lose.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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