New Delhi, 3 November 2008: Tibet Study Group along with TPPRC organised an Open Debate on Five Questions on Tibet at Constitution Club, Speaker Hall. The programme was bisected into two sessions. The first session chaired by former Ambassador Shri Ranjit Gupta with eminent debaters Prof. P Stobdan (IDSA), Dr Amb Sudarshan Bhuani, IFS (retd.) and Shri Man Mohan Sharma (author). The second session was chaired by Shri Ravi Bhoothalingam (Institute of Chinese study) and speakers included Mr. Tenpa Tsering la representative of HH Dalai Lama's Bureau Office and Prof. Mira Sinha Bhattadharjea, Institute of Chinese study.
The inspiration for the subject came from answers to the five questions given by Mr. Mao Siwei, consul General of China at Kolkata. These questions were reportedly put to him by some Indian friends. The following is the preamble for the debate on five questions on Tibet.
The focus of discussions would be on the answers given by him. A brief of Qs and their answers by the Chinese Consul General are as follows.
Q1: Why do Chinese doubt the sincerity of Dalai Lama’s suggestion for a genuine autonomy?
Ans: by Consul General Dalai Lama refuses to recognize that Tibet has been part of China for several hundred years.... If you recognize Tibet was part of China then whatever happens in Tibet is the internal affair of China and Tibet independence can not be the solution... Actually some important Tibetans in exile openly said their strategy was that the genuine autonomy would be first step and independence would follow after some time later.
Q2: Why does China refuse to recognize the massive human rights violations in Tibet?
Ans: The basic human right in Tibet is the right to live (in harsh place due to unique geographical factors). The census by Tibetan regional Government has shown increase in population from one million in 1953 to 2.8 million in 2007. Life expectancy increased from 35.5 years in 1950s to 67 now.
Q3: Why does China refuse to recognize that there is no religious freedom in Tibet?
Ans: We admit that in the time of so called Cultural Revolution religious activities were severely restricted. However, the situation has fundamentally changed since 1980. Now Tibet has more than 1700 monasteries which accommodate 46,000 monks. Extra ordinary big number of monks and nuns in the past had made Tibetans as a weak ethnic group.
Q4: Why did Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao say the accusation by the Dalai Lama that China is engaged â€œcultural genocide in Tibet is a nothing but lie?
Ans: The facts and figures denote another picture. Before 1951 less than 2 % of children went to school and illiteracy rate was 95% in Tibet. Now the overall illiteracy rate is below 30%. Regarding teaching of Chinese language to Tibetans which is a sensitive issue for Dharmshala, it is necessary to make Tibet a modern society. The Tibetan language is rich in religion and culture but is not much developed in science and technology. Now bilateral linguistic education has become common in Tibet. Young Tibetans in China love to learn the Chinese language just as those in Dharmshala love to learn English for whatever reason.
Q5: Why is Greater Tibet not acceptable to China?
Ans: Dalai Lama has made the Greater Tibet a preliminary condition for any negotiation with central Government. Anybody with basic knowledge of history of China would point out that there is no historical basis at all for an administrative division such as a Greater Tibet. More significantly, for several hundred years different ethnic groups have been living together in most of the areas that Dharmshala wants to be included in Greater Tibet.