Australia should stand by Tibet’s side, not shun it

10 March 2022 will mark the 63rd anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day when Tibetans revolted towards the unlawful occupation of their lands by the People’s Republic of China.

Despite the rebellion of 1959 leading to hundreds of deaths and mass exile, Tibetans have continued to battle for his or her freedom ever since.

When Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong carried out the Cultural revolution in 1966, Tibetan tradition was degraded. Ancient Tibetan Buddhist texts had been burned by China’s People’s Liberation Army within the identify of ridding society of the “four olds”: outdated customs, outdated tradition, outdated habits, outdated concepts. This angle of pure disrespect was in step with Chairman Mao’s view, which he personally professed to Tibet’s religious chief, the 14th Dalai Lama: that faith is poison.

Violence has not ceased in Tibet. In current months, Tibetans have seen their holiest monuments torn down, their language eroded, dissidents arrested, political prisoners tortured by Chinese authorities.

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One horrifying consequence of human rights abuses in Tibet is the usage of self-immolation as an act of protest.

Journalist Barbara Demick detailed in her e book Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town that Ngaba, a county in Tibet, has seen many monks self-immolate.

Demick claims that mass self-immolations in Ngaba in 2011 successfully captured the world’s consideration on pages 218 and 219:

‘Ngaba… was now putting Tibet back in the headlines. The undisputed world capital of self-immolations, it was on the front page of newspapers around the world. It was discussed in white papers, congressional hearings and academic conferences… Tibetans from elsewhere were coming for the express purpose of self-immolating.’

157 Tibetans have self-immolated throughout Tibet and China since 2009.

While the Chinese State’s actions are abhorrent, it’s faulty to easily demonise China alone. As Australians, we’re accountable for our Government’s function.

In current years, Australian governments have executed little or no to assist Tibetans of their battle. No Australian Prime Minister has met with the Dalai Lama in 15 years and few public statements have been made in reference to human rights abuses in Tibet since.

In an investigative report into Australia’s silence on Tibet, the Australian Tibet Council discovered {that a} key think about each Labor and Liberal governments’ lack of help is the affect of China on Australian universities.

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In 2021, there have been 140,786 Chinese worldwide college students enrolled in Australian universities, a slight lower from earlier years resulting from COVID.

Higher schooling is a major a part of our financial system. It is our fourth-largest export business and partly financially dependent on Chinese worldwide college students. Supporting Tibet would danger extreme financial injury to the business and to Australia’s financial system typically.

Another consequence of the affect of China on Australian universities is that they appear hesitant to host visits from the Dalai Lama. In 2013, the University of Sydney cancelled a talking occasion (the University’s China Studies Centre has shut ties to Chinese enterprise pursuits).

Regardless of 1’s view on the Dalai Lama as a non secular determine, his political standing as a consultant of resistance to colonialism absolutely calls for respect. For this purpose, extra Australian universities ought to welcome his presence.

Having carried a lot of the burden of the Tibetan trigger over the previous six many years, his advancing age at 86 is regarding. There are suspicions that, upon his demise, China will set up a puppet chief of Tibet in his place.

Tibet generally is a tough situation to strategy from the Left. When contemplating its pre-occupation society, one should be cautious to not romanticise it as a religious utopia. Even the Dalai Lama has in contrast it to feudalism. However, there’s a motion for a extra democratic Tibet.

Many leftists may be hesitant to throw their weight behind a trigger that has traditionally acquired help from neoconservatives. American neoconservatives have aided Tibet in pursuit of rival empire constructing and nostalgia for a Communist chilly struggle enemy.

For instance, the Dalai Lama asserted that America’s Central Intelligence Agency provided help within the Nineteen Sixties:

‘… not as a result of they cared about Tibetan independence, however as a part of their worldwide efforts to destabilise all Communist governments.’

However, the geopolitical actuality is that Tibetans are an oppressed folks: they deserve our help for that purpose.

As Australians, our establishments’ choices to show a blind eye to human rights abuses in Tibet for financial causes is occurring on our watch.

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Current horrors in Europe broadcast throughout mainstream and social media confront us with the fact of empire as soon as once more. With the Dalai Lama ageing and China’s energy rising, the clock is ticking on Tibet’s hopes of independence.

On Tibetan Uprising Day, Australians ought to increase their solidarity to the folks of Tibet residing beneath the evil of imperialism.

Alex Hipgrave is a libertarian socialist author principally involved with social and political points. He studied a Bachelor of Arts at Edith Cowan University, majoring in literature and writing. You can comply with Alex on Twitter @alex_hipgrave.

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