China’s Tibet sensitivity

Ajai Shukla has a great column in the Business Standard on the British government’s foreign policy positions on Tibet, China and India. Shukla highlights the incredibly baseless, short-sighted, and weak concessions made by the British government regarding Tibet. The whole column is worth reading, particularly in regards to the opportunities the Indian government has to change the conversation on Tibet, but this observation towards the end about the Chinese government’s sensitivity to Tibet is critical.

China will cheerfully discuss human rights, labour protection legislation, environmental degradation and a raft of issues that could well be fobbed off as “internal affairs”. But say the word “Tibet” and the shutters come down. China’s expansive claim over Arunachal Pradesh is hardly backed by history. But it is designed to keep the discussion off Tibet, an increasingly sensitive issue for Beijing as its thuggish militias fail in stamping out a deep-rooted identity struggle.

The short story is that China has abjectly refused to discuss Tibet in any meaningful way with the world’s governments and the world’s governments have accepted this. The world is getting played and Tibet is suffering as a result.

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