The U.S. Tibetan Policy and Support Act is Essentially a Sabotage Act

– Prof. Long xingchun

(Director of the center for Indian studies at China west normal university)

On the afternoon of January 28, 2020, the House of Representatives of the United States reviewed and passed the so-called Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 under the anti-China noise. This means supporting Tibetan independence, interfering in China’s internal affairs, and attempting to split China’s territory. Additionally, the United States arranged for the visit of William Lai Ching‑te, Taiwan independence fundamentalist, to Washington, and sent warships to carry out harassment in waters near our South China Sea islands and reefs. If it was in the past, these moves would have been deemed as international political conflicts. However, wheninstigated by the US amid China’s all-out battle against the COVID-2019, it’s only natural for the Chinese people to interpret these anti-China actions as twisting the knife or looting a burning house.

The United States has been long involved in the Tibet issueunder the banner of religious freedom and human rights. Nonetheless, the Tibet issue is essentially used as a tool to seek to subvert the Chinese regime and split China’s territory. China is a country with many religions. Both local and foreign religionsenjoy the freedom of belief. Separatist forces use religion as a tool to engage in inciting and organizing political activities to split China. Due countermeasures shall be necessitatedagainst those people.They are not right to distort Tibet issue as religious issue just because they believe in a certain religion. To give you an analogy, in the anti-terrorist wars waged by the US in Afghanistan and the Middle East, the terrorists killed were basically Muslims. Could it be said that American anti-terrorism is a violation of Muslims’ religious freedom,thereforeagainst Islam? Another example, say if American police arrested a robber who happened to be a Catholic. Could it be said that the American police persecuted Catholics and violated freedom of religion?

The U.S. harped on the same string, asking China to dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives or leaders of the Tibetan community without pre- conditions attached. Whether China talks to the Dalai Lama is a matter of its own sovereignty, and the United States has no right at all to interfere. Moreover, the dialogue between the Chinese central government and the Dalai Lama would be mainly related to his personal issues. As long as Dalai Lama recognizes Tibet as an integral part of China’s territory, the door to dialogue would always be wide open. The Dalai Lama has no right to represent Tibet or the Tibetan people. The dialogue between the central government and the Dalai Lama’s personal representatives would never touch uponthe status of Tibet. As for the overseas Tibetan community referred by the United States, it isin realitythe overseas Tibetan independence community. Most of these people were born and raised outside China. Many of them were American citizens, not Chinese Tibetans at all. Naturally, they have no right to represent Tibet or Tibetan people. Why should the Chinese government talk to such a community or its leaders? What can be talked about with them? Now that the United States is so interested in them, the U.S. Congress and the U.S. government can talk to them!

The U.S. not only interferes in China’s internal affairs and supports Tibetan independence community, but also,in its bill,advocates other countriesto follow suit. The so-called “other countries” are mainly, except for some of its small partners in the west, India and Nepal, due to their geographical proximity to China’s Tibet and theirlarge overseassettlements of Tibetans. Despite the facts that India accommodates the Dalai Lama and the exile independence community, and many Indian organizations and politicians have been agitating formaking advantage of the Tibet issue to contain China, India’s interests and policies on the Tibet issue are significantly different from those of the United States. India and China are neighbors. Any regional unrest caused by Tibetan independence activities may directly harm India’s interests as well.Meanwhile, India has its own trouble from the local separatist activities here and there, especially in the northeast region bordering China. If India publicly supports Tibetan independence, China would have tocounteract by supporting the independence of India’s northeast. Therefore, India must carefully keep the U.S. at a distance. The Indian government has formally acknowledged to China many times that no organization is allowed to use Indian territory to engage in activities that endanger China. As a small landlocked country, Nepal’s economic and personnel exchanges with the United States are very limited. However,in the American embassy there,there are more than 200 staff members of various functions and in permanent residence. Most of them are deployed to watch Tibet. All the ruling Nepalese governments, be in the Kingdom or Republic period, have always firmly supported China on the issue of Tibet. China is far more important to Nepal than the United States, and Sino-Nepalese friendship cannot be provoked. Without the cooperation of India and Nepal, the United States cannot possibly set off any big wave on the Tibet issue.

The bill also forbids China from opening a new consulate in the US until a US consulate is allowed in Lhasa in ordertoa) provide consular services to UnitedStates citizens traveling in Tibet, andb) to monitor political, economic, and culturaldevelopments in Tibet.Although serving American citizens is prioritized, everyone knows that there are not many American citizens traveling to Tibet. Therefore, setting up a special consulate for this reason is not justified. Furthermore, the United States has already set up a consulate in Chengdu in southwest China. If those very few Americans travelling to Tibet need a consulate specifically for Tibet, then the United States can only be satisfied when almost every province in China has one American consulate. The number of American consulates worldwide will probably increase tenfold. The true intention of the United States is to blatantly interfere in China’s internal affairs and to incite and support the “Tibetan independence” separatists, which is stark clear to the Chinese government and people. But to reveal it through such stipulations in the bill, it can only look too distasteful. Nepal, bordering with China’s Tibet, is a friendly country to China. The two countries have very close economic and personnel exchange relations. Therefore, Nepal was approved by the Chinese government to establish by farthe only foreign consulate in Lhasa. Some countries other than the U.S. have also requested the establishment of a consulate there. The Chinese government would not approve such requests by those countries that explicitly or implicitly supportTibetan independence.

It looks as if the United States were helping the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan independence community. But in reality, it ismerely using “Tibetan independence” as a chess piece to contain China. The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 once again sent the wrong signal to the “Tibetan independence” community, a pie in the sky, making them mistakenly believe that with the support of the United States, their goals could be achieved, resulting in unrealistic Fantasy. We must know that the starting point of the American Tibetan strategy and policy is to serve the interests of the United States, not the interests of the Tibetans. If overseas Tibetans gofarther and farther on the road towards Tibetan independence under the agitation of the United States, not only will Tibet’s prosperity and stability be damaged, but the interests of the vast number of Tibetans at home and abroad will also be compromised. Already,some clear-headed Tibetans overseashave come to seethe pit that they have fallen into under the guidance of the United States. Indeed, the United States is a superpower.Many politicians are superstitious about its capability.But those days are long gone when it was omnipotent. 20 years in the small country of Afghanistan, still its mission has not been accomplished. In the face of an increasingly powerful China, America’s calculation would not end in any better result. What the United States failed to have achieved on the Tibet issue in the past 60 years would be even more impossible now and in the future.