Saturday, May 03, 2008

Tsewang Rigzin Gets Some Ink

Tsewang Rigzin, the head of the Tibetan Youth Congress, is getting some unwelcome attention from the Chinese press.

From the English
People's Daily :

As the current president of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), Tsewang Rigzin recently had an interview with the Milan-based Italian newspaper, Corriere Della Sera, and voiced stunning words that left people gasping with awe and bewilderment. For the cause of "Tibetan independence", he said, the use of human bomb for revenge is a direction of development.

I'm afraid I can't improve on that English.

All I can provide is the automatic Google translation of Tsewang Rigzin's
interview with Corriere Della Serra on March 27, which gives us:

Not now. Maybe in a few years. But could the moment for the Tibetan resistance movement to adopt the way of suicide bombers already in vogue in the Muslim world. Suicide attacks in Lhasa: it seems to contradict everything from half a century featuring the figure of the Dalai Lama and the struggle of his people against the 'Chinese occupation.

But for Tsewang Rigzin, from four months president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, is "a development that possible. "Everything is open. It is a fact that non-violence preached by the Dalai Lama there leads nowhere. On the contrary, has enabled the Chinese espellerci [to expel us] from our homeland and to continue the genocide of our cultural and religious traditions. So could soon get the 'time to change strategies to combat ", argues in his office tree in the hills of Dharamsala, where the Tibetan government in exile. Born in India in 1971 by parents refugees, moved after 12 years in the United States, from one year Rigzin has left his wife and two children to devote himself to his mission of leading the Tibetan movement stronger among those not linked to the Dalai Lama.

Your goal? "Restoring the 'independence of our country, at every price. But we have to hurry. Each day that passes away our goal, species after the construction of the railway that since 2006 more easily connects Beijing to Tibet ".

The Dalai Lama threat to resign if the violence continued anti-Chinese. "He has already threatened other times. Please note that the initial events, March 10, were peaceful. Chinese police has infiltrated agents in the crowd to discredit the movement. Were they who foment violence ".

What is your response to those who say that the world sympathy for your cause is mainly due to non-violence? 'I answer that pacifism has led us on a blind alley. About us speaks only so incidental, limited. We are forgotten by the international community. Many fine words and then nothing. We look instead as they felt the Palestinians and activists in Iraq thanks to the suicide attacks. L 'attention of world media is all for them. "

Yes, but attention does not mean support. "We are in a desperate situation. If non-violence was winning would mean that our cause is. Instead we are losing. "

Worldwide growing voices of those who would boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. "We hope that in so many to follow the 'example of President Sarkozy. But it would be better if the Games were boicottati tout court. [I’ll go out on a non-Italian speaking limb and guess this means “it would be better if the entire games were boycotted.”]

The China accusation of racism against its civilians in Lhasa. "I am sorry that civilians are involved in the clash. But the responsibility is the Chinese government, which encourages its people to occupy our lands. At the end will have to go, just so we can get our country and peace. "

Not good.

Not a good idea for Tsewang Rigzin to kick back in his “office tree in the hills”—apparently his office amid the tree-lined hills of Dharmsala, though the idea of an office tree is ridiculously charming—and talk about how his differences with the Dalai Lama go beyond independence vs. autonomy to violence vs. non-violence

And not a good idea for Tsewang Rigzin to use his press availability to complain that the international community isn't giving the Tibetan movement adequate attention—because it isn't violent enough.

In case there is some misunderstanding, when I report on the Tibetan People's Uprising Movement—a coalition of five Tibetan emigre NGOs including the Tibetan Youth Congress—I don't give credence to the Chinese accusations that TPUM or TYC are terrorist organizations with training camps, fighters, and the means or strategy to coordinate violent actions throughout the Tibetan regions of China.

There is plenty of local anger and courage to spark sympathetic demonstrations and violent confrontations against Chinese rule throughout Tibet without outside direction.

But I do see the Tibetan Youth Congress as media provocateurs—who might have been tempted to do some dangerous dabbling inside Tibet.

Specifically, I wonder if TPUM encouraged a non-violent protest in Lhasa in order to provide a compelling Tibetan backdrop for its campaign to embarrass and pressure China on the occasion of the Beijing Olympics--and then watched the situation spin out of control into rioting and violence thanks to some unknown and unknowable combination of anger, hooliganism, and police provocation.

Especially when I read Tsewang Rigzin's statement (the translation seems to be accurate but I've appended the original Italian at the end of this post for interested readers):

Please note that the initial events, March 10, were peaceful. Chinese police has infiltrated agents in the crowd to discredit the movement.

I think:

Discredit what movement? Is he claiming the March 10 demonstrations in Lhasa were related to the Tibetan People's Uprising Movement? And, given the the lack of advance notice of the protests in the Bokhar and the speed with which chaos subsequently enveloped Lhasa, what privileged perspective from Dharmsala enables him to characterize the “initial events as peaceful”. How does he know?

His remarks make it sound like the initial demonstrations were planned in Dharmsala.

Not good at all, especially since the Indian government has absolutely no interest in being accused by China of providing a safe haven on its soil for Tibet independence militants planning actions inside the PRC.

Tsewang Rigzin was also a featured presence in the Chinese edition of People's Daily, in the context of a vitriolic attack on the Tibetan Youth Congress.

His remark about suicide bombers was skewed to make it sound like the Tibetan Youth Congress's immediate action plan, instead of hypothetical musings from the office tree:


“The Tibet resistance movement shall adopt violent suicide measures to proceed.”

The article takes it from there, with allegations that, needless to say, I haven't seen anywhere else:

On March 15, the Tibetan Youth Congress convened a meeting in Dharmasala and unanimously passed a decision “to immediate organize guerillas to secretly cross the border to initiate armed struggle” and set plans to dispatch people, money, and arms,and inflitrate across the China-Nepal border along secret ways scouted before the onset of the current disturbances. The chairman of the Tibetan Youth Congress, Tsewang Rigzin, acknowledged that that they wre prepared to sacrifice an additional 100 Tibetan lives in order to secure victory.


Specialists told reporters, on March 20 Tibetan Youth Congress Chairman Tsewang Rigzin convened a meeting in Dharmsala and announced “Violent activities have basically achieved the expected results in awakening the awareness of resistance within the Tibetan areas of the country, and eliciting a high level of attention in the international community toward the Tibetan question. However, resistance activities cannot cease. These activities are merely a prelude to this year's resistance activities.”

After these dubiously sourced allegations, the kitchen sink: accusations of operating terrorist training camps and contacts with the “terrorist, Xinjiang splittist” East Turkestan movement.

And the payoff:

“Experts say that, because of its long history of violent behavior, the Tibetan Youth Congress has already reached the point of return, and is inexorably sliding into the chasm of terrorist behavior.”

The article tiptoes up to the point of directly accusing the Dalai Lama ( Zhong Nan Hai-ologists, please take note that the phrase "Dalai Lama clique" explicitly excludes the Dalai Lama himself; when China wants to reference or criticize him personally, it's usually “the 14th Dalai Lama ” or “the Dalai") of having a secret understanding with the Tibetan Youth Congress by which he takes the high, non-violent road and TYC takes the low road to promote Tibetan independence.

Experts are quoted as asking :

The guiding directive of the Tibetan Youth Congress clearly states that it is to respect the correct leadership and guidance of the Dalai Lama. If that is the case, how can the Dalai Lama himself say he has lost control?

The inevitable conclusion—the demand that the Dalai Lama denounce the Tibetan Youth Congress and institutionalize and exacerbate the already deep and dangerous split between moderates and radicals in the Tibetan community—comes in the last paragraph:

"Of course, we want to discriminate between the majority of the 30,000 members of the Tibetan Youth Congress and a very small number of key cadres. Many members do not advocate violence”; the specialist said, if the Dalai Lama sincerely wishes to improve relations with China, he should truly discard the advocacy of Tibetan independence, stop splitting the country, stop planning and inciting violent actions, stop disrupting the Beijing Olympics, and truly put a stop to the violent activities of the Tibetan Youth Congress and condemn its terrorist intimidation.

One might think that the designation of TYC as a terrorist organization and a demand that the Indian government suppress it can't be far behind.

But the tenor of this paragraph indicates that the Chinese government is willing to let the Tibetan Youth Congress survive and satisfy itself with the condemnation of “a very small number of key cadres”.

Among that “very small number of key cadres” is undoubtedly a certain president of the Tibetan Youth Congress who made some injudicious comments while on Indian soil concerning the legitimacy of violent struggle,and whose political future is now in doubt.

È bene tenere conto che le manifestazioni iniziali, il 10 marzo, furono pacifiche. Please note that the initial events, March 10, were peaceful. La polizia cinese ha infiltrato agenti tra la folla per screditare il movimento. Chinese police has infiltrated agents in the crowd to discredit the movement. Sono stati loro a fomentare le violenze». Were they who foment violence ".


Unknown said...

Why no love for this article in the blogosphere? This is interesting findings. I guess CCP being right this time is not acceptable for NATO and ally nations.

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