Tibetans are going through extremely difficult times. Their existence is threatened. They are asking for limited religious autonomy. Self immolations in Tibet seem to be making no difference. They are crying for help and attention, and we can't fail them.
The Tibetans being Buddhist, are followers of non-violence and are a highly 'contended' community. They are being denied the basic right of religious freedom which is the basic right of every human being. Being a communist state, the Chinese do not believe in God and therefore do not encourage religion.
The greatest fear the Chinese have today is not military or economic threat but existential threat of implosion. With Uighurs, another Muslim minority, being suppressed with force and Buddhists being subjected to tremendous harassment. The Chinese society is going through its most turbulent phase. The Muslims are taking to arms whereas the Buddhist are following the peaceful protests. But the fact is both are challenging the power of Central Government which is forcing Han domination through use of force cum financial incentives and demographic change. This policy has not met much of success in integrating the majority Hans and minorities, in fact its causing the divide to become bigger.
The Chinese vulnerability at this point of times becomes all the more because of extremely turbulent change of Central leadership, once in ten year process which is currently going on, certainly not smoothly.
In addition, there is major social unrest due to riches being cornered by few and large populace from the interior areas has been marginalised and pushed towards poverty. The rich and corrupt officials have made their millions at the cost of common man. Frustration and disenchantment today is at its peak.
China has also foolishly managed to show its aggressiveness in South China Sea; thereby not only bringing back the US Naval might but all the littoral states are joining hands because of Chinese fear. This does not augur well at all for China, on the contrary, it may bring Taiwan to the front again and all its investments may be pushed back in time by a decade or two.
In spite of the fact that China is in its most vulnerable state, the world appears to be unwilling or unable to do anything in spite of glaring human right violations.
Of course, US presidential elections, economy and the world economy are going through a bad phase and there is US involvement in Af-Pak, and its impending arrival in Iran is leaving little appetite or resources to take on China. India
too is busy with its own domestic problems in spite of Chinese moving into occupied Kashmir; creating trouble in Nepal; claiming Arunachal and number of pin pricks seems to have made India helpless to even raise the issue forcefully. In fact, our government wishes to be in the good books of the Chinese rather than exploit their vulnerability to suit our values, interests and emerging long term security threats.
What can be done?
Support the struggle for religious autonomy of Tibetans as propounded by HH Dalai lama. If China has accepted Hong Kong why not Tibet? It’s just a question of building adequate pressure.
Chinese economy threat is over blown. It has huge dollar reserve, massive manufacturing base and the fact is that its markets are abroad. Its mutual dependence is not a one-way street. The problem comes up when the nations fall over each other to secure the markets and overlook the larger humanitarian issues.
Awareness of Tibetan demands by offering HH Dalai Lama an electronic platform to air his views – has put psychological pressure on China. This will cease with his demise, so let’s not lose the opportunity which will not come back. Mobilise Buddhist nations to counter the Buddhist populace by Chinese. Get the Muslim states on board to counter the Chinese. Exploit our soft power amongst Buddhist and Muslim states. Facilitate dialogue and become a stake holder in Tibet and undo our historic blunder of accepting it as part of China without extracting any benefits.
Empower the refugees in exploiting soft power. This can be done by facilitating placement of individuals in World bodies, US and other economically powerful countries and Buddhist dominated states of Asia. These ambassadors will continue to propel the issue and force an acceptable outcome of religious autonomy. Buddhist/Tibetan chairs of excellence in universities may be another great idea. We the people need to contribute our bit and make a difference.