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Operations Against China

GermanForeignPolicy.com

LHASA/WASHINGTON/BERLIN

(Own report) — Sev­eral front orga­ni­za­tions of Ger­man for­eign pol­icy have for years been sup­port­ing the Tibetan exile struc­tures in Dharam­sala, India. This includes sup­port for orga­ni­za­tional mea­sures enabling the “gov­ern­ment in exile” in Dharam­sala to orches­trate its activ­i­ties against the People’s Repub­lic of China world­wide. Par­tic­u­larly the Free Demo­c­ra­tic Party (FDP) affil­i­ated Friedrich Nau­mann Foun­da­tion and the Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion (affil­i­ated with the Green Party) are coop­er­at­ing with the “gov­ern­ment in exile” and other exile Tibetan insti­tu­tions. Front orga­ni­za­tions of US for­eign pol­icy are work­ing toward the same objec­tives. Already in the 1950s Wash­ing­ton was inter­ven­ing in Tibet with mil­lions of dol­lars, at the time, even sup­port­ing Tibetan armed upris­ings against the People’s Repub­lic of China. Ger­man orga­ni­za­tions took up the ques­tion of Tibet around the end of the 80s, at a time when China was begin­ning its rise to become a global com­peti­tor of the west. The cur­rent activ­i­ties are apt to greatly weaken China. These sup­ple­ment other German-US mea­sures aimed at thwart­ing the rise of their East-Asian rival.
Guer­rilla Attacks
The first west­ern activ­i­ties in Tibet began only a few years after the found­ing of the People’s Repub­lic of China. These activ­i­ties are still today embla­zoned in China’s polit­i­cal mem­ory and play no insignif­i­cant role in China’s judg­ment of the cur­rent seces­sion­ist ten­den­cies. The US logis­ti­cal and mil­i­tary sup­port for the armed Tibetan rebel­lions, begin­ning in 1957, was aimed at desta­bi­liz­ing the com­mu­nist government.[1] The inter­ven­tion out­lasted the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile in Dharam­sala, India, where, after 1959, a Tibetan “gov­ern­ment in exile” was called into being. Accord­ing to offi­cial doc­u­ments from the gov­ern­ment in Wash­ing­ton, dur­ing the 1960s the CIA was pay­ing up to $1.7 mil­lion per year to main­tain “oper­a­tions against China.” Up to $180,000 was given directly to the Dalai Lama.[2] Iso­lated skir­mishes con­tin­ued up into the 1970s. Accord­ing to the Tibet expert, Prof. Karen­ina Kollmar-Paulenz, “Guer­rilla attacks, orig­i­nat­ing in Mus­tang, a Tibetan enclave in Nepal, per­sisted with US-American sup­port until 1974, when the USA and the Nepalese gov­ern­ment stopped their help.“[3] Two years ear­lier, Wash­ing­ton had entered into a new coop­er­a­tion with Bei­jing that defined their com­mon efforts against Moscow to be top priority.

Green Alter­na­tive
Ger­man orga­ni­za­tions have become inten­sively engaged in the Tibet ques­tion since the 1980s, when the People’s Repub­lic of China began an eco­nomic upswing that has now placed it in the top ranks of global com­mer­cial sta­tis­tics. Already at that time polit­i­cal strate­gists were pre­dict­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of China’s rise to becom­ing a major power and fore­saw rivalry between China and west­ern pow­ers. Using con­tacts to Tibet by “alter­na­tive” polit­i­cal cir­cles, who had con­verted to Bud­dhism, the Green par­lia­men­tary group, through hear­ings and par­lia­men­tary res­o­lu­tions, placed the ques­tions of auton­omy and the demands for seces­sion in that region of China on the polit­i­cal agenda of the Bun­destag in 1985. Tse­wang Norbu, a for­mer assis­tant of the Dalai Lama, helped shape pol­icy on Tibet, first as an employee of the Green par­lia­men­tar­ian Petra Kelly and, since 1992, as an employee of the Green Party affil­i­ated Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion. In addi­tion, Norbu founded the German-Tibetan Cul­tural Soci­ety and, over an extended period of time, presided as its vice-chairman. He also works as a “spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent” for the US financed “Radio Free Asia” (RFA). RFA is among the news sources of west­ern report­ing on the recent upris­ing in Tibet.

Polit­i­cal Decision-Making Process
Two of the most influ­en­tial Ger­man party-affiliated foun­da­tions are par­tic­u­larly engaged in Tibet-related activ­i­ties. For­mer Pres­i­dent of Ger­many, Roman Her­zog, qual­i­fies their work as “effec­tive instru­ments of Ger­man for­eign policy”.[4] These foun­da­tions are mainly gov­ern­ment financed. One, the FDP-affiliated Friedrich Nau­mann Foun­da­tion (FNSt) has been coun­sel­ing the Tibetan exile par­lia­ment “in all ques­tions of polit­i­cal edu­ca­tion” since 1991. A few years ago the foun­da­tion claimed that this func­tion will be “very impor­tant for the polit­i­cal decision-making process of Tibetan parliamentarians”.[5] One of their project part­ners, the “Tibetan Par­lia­men­tary and Pol­icy Research Cen­ter” (TPPRC) orga­nizes work­shops for the Tibetan exile com­mu­ni­ties that are mostly found in India or in Nepal.[6] It also teaches Tibetan stu­dents “how they can serve their coun­try within and out­side the government.“[7] 500 stu­dents took part in the sem­i­nars between 2003 and 2007. The FNSt has also been orga­niz­ing con­fer­ences since the mid-90s that are meant to “coor­di­nate the work of the inter­na­tional Tibet groups and strengthen their links to the cen­tral Tibetan ‘gov­ern­ment in exile’,” a com­pli­cated enter­prise that facil­i­tates the world­wide net­work­ing of Tibet mil­i­tants with Dharam­sala. The most recent of these con­fer­ences ended in May 2007 with agree­ment on an “plan of action” which would include the use of the sum­mer Olympic Games to take place in Bei­jing for the exile Tibetan cause. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8])

Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion
Also active for the “Tibet cause” is the Green Party affil­i­ated Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion, which, like the FNSt works out of its branch office in India. Accord­ing to its own indi­ca­tions, it “inten­si­fied the focus of its years long sup­port for the exile Tibetan com­mu­nity at the turn of the year 2005/2006.“[9] They are now con­cen­trat­ing their sup­port on two orga­ni­za­tions that have their head­quar­ters in the exile Tibetan “cap­i­tal” Dharam­sala. They are the “Tibetan Cen­ter for Con­flict Res­o­lu­tion” (TCCR) that medi­ates con­flicts that arise within the com­mu­nity and more par­tic­u­larly the “Tibetan Cen­ter for Human Rights and Democ­racy” (TCHRD). The TCHRD pub­lishes annual reports on Human Rights vio­la­tions in Tibet and is very sig­nif­i­cant for the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of Tibetan polit­i­cal demands. The Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion writes that “tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the per­sist­ing — even though seem­ingly futile — demands for Tibetan self-determination, there still exists (...) an urgent need for doc­u­men­ta­tion of human rights vio­la­tions and the pol­icy of assim­i­la­tion car­ried out by the Chi­nese state author­i­ties in Tibet, such as pro­duced by the TCHRD.“[10] The TCHRD is also being sup­ported by the “National Endow­ment for Democ­racy” (NED), a front orga­ni­za­tion for US for­eign pol­icy that has become noto­ri­ous for spon­sor­ing the “color rev­o­lu­tions” in East­ern Europe and Cen­tral Asia.

Con­fla­gra­tion
Ger­man foun­da­tions’ activ­i­ties around Tibet touch one of the most sen­si­tive spots in Chi­nese pol­icy. Not only do they rep­re­sent inter­fer­ence into the domes­tic affairs of that nation, they also threaten the People’s Republic’s ter­ri­to­r­ial integrity. “To a cer­tain extent, Tibet is the cor­ner­stone of a frag­ile multi-ethnic state,” writes a pol­icy advi­sor at the Insti­tute of Asian Stud­ies of the Ger­man Insti­tute of Global and Area Stud­ies (GIGA) in Ham­burg. “A hor­ror sce­nario for Bei­jing is that begin­ning with Tibet, a con­fla­gra­tion devel­ops.” One finds “des­ig­nated on a map pub­lished in a 1990 auto­bi­og­ra­phy of the Dalai Lama (...) along­side Greater Tibet also ‘East Turkestan,’ as the area where Moslem Uygurs set­tled, Inner Mon­go­lia and Manchuria.“[11] The seces
sion of these regions would have dras­tic con­se­quences: “the remain­ing Chi­nese set­tled areas would have shrunk to a third of the People’s Republic.”

Strate­gic, Rather Than Legalistic
In fact, the cur­rent Tibet cam­paign, with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Ger­man orga­ni­za­tions, is but an exam­ple of Berlin’s and Washington’s grow­ing anti-Chinese pol­icy. In Africa, Ger­many and the USA are now openly agi­tat­ing against China.[12] Aggres­sive com­pe­ti­tion is being prac­ticed also in Latin Amer­ica [13] as well as in Cen­tral Asia [14]. India is seen as a pos­si­ble counter-balance for the con­tain­ment of the People’s Repub­lic. The west is woo­ing it accordingly.[15] Here, Tibet could also pro­vide lever­age for spurring New Delhi’s ret­i­cent rul­ing cir­cles on course. Accord­ing to the dec­la­ra­tion of a for­mer offi­cial of the Indian For­eign Min­istry, it is “high time for India” to give up its “timid rap­proche­ment” with China and place Bei­jing “under pres­sure” also on the Tibet ques­tion. The rela­tions with China must be devel­oped “from a strate­gic, rather than legal­is­tic per­spec­tive.” The posi­tion paper has been put up for debate by the Hein­rich Boell Foun­da­tion’ Indian field office.[16]

Not Tol­er­ated
Not least among the con­se­quences, the Tibet cam­paign is also stim­u­lat­ing an anti-Chinese atmos­phere in Ger­many leav­ing a dwin­dling amount of room for crit­i­cism. Opin­ions that are at vari­ance with the anti-Beijing main­stream are, in the mean­time, being pun­ished. In Cologne a sinologist’s lec­ture on the theme of Tibet had to be can­celled at the last minute. The orga­niz­ers had crit­i­cized the one-sided west­ern media report­ing and sought to ini­ti­ate a dif­fer­en­ti­ated debate of the conflict.[17] This inten­tion led to the can­cel­la­tion on short notice of the rental con­tract for the loca­tion in the Cologne Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. Those respon­si­ble for the com­mu­nity cen­ter made it known that no “anti-Tibetan” events would be tolerated.

[1] Karen­ina Koll­mar Paulenz: Kleine Geschichte Tibets, München 2006
[2] CIA funded covert Tibet exile cam­paign in 1960s; The Age (Aus­tralia) 16.09.1998
[3] Karen­ina Koll­mar Paulenz: Kleine Geschichte Tibets, München 2006
[4] see also “The Most Effec­tive Instru­ments of Ger­man For­eign Pol­icy“
[5] Buchbe­sprechung: “Tibet im Exil”; www.fnst-freiheit.org
[6] Inten­sive work­shop for Tibetan Local Assem­bly Mem­bers; www.southasia.fnst-freiheit.org
[7] “The objec­tive is to make the stu­dent under­stand one­self and the exile gov­ern­ment, enabling them to know exactly how to serve their coun­try by work­ing within the gov­ern­ment or out­side it.” Youth Lead­er­ship Train­ing with a Dif­fer­ence; www.southasia.fnst-freiheit.org
[8] see also The Olympic Torch Relay Cam­paign
[9], [10] Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung: Poli­tis­cher Jahres­bericht Län­der­büro Indien, 2005/2006
[11] “Der Dis­sens unter den Exilti­betern wächst”. Inter­view mit China-Experten: Unruhen unter­minieren paz­i­fistis­ches Credo des Dalai Lama — Bei­jing fürchtet Vision eines Großti­bet; GIGA News 20.03.2008
[12] see also Mr. Horst Koehler, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Auf gle­icher Augen­höhe, Hege­monic Rivalry and Näher an Afrika
[13] see also New strate­gic ori­en­ta­tion, Schlüs­sel­po­si­tio­nen and To the Mines
[14] see also Spät, aber nach­haltig and Gün­stige Lage
[15] see also Mil­i­tary Part­ner, Friedens­mächte and Der dritte Pfeiler
[16] “It is time for India to get out of its defen­sive mind­set and timid approach in deal­ing with China. There are vital national secu­rity inter­ests at stake. Rela­tions with China must be han­dled from a strate­gic, not a legal­is­tic, per­spec­tive. The approach India fol­lows should be multi-dimensional. India does want bet­ter rela­tions with China, but it must also evolve a cal­cu­lated and cal­i­brated pol­icy to put China under some pres­sure to safe­guard its inter­ests and con­cerns.” Rajiv Sikri: India’s Tibet Pol­icy: Need for a Change; www.boell-india.org
[17] Für Infor­ma­tio­nen zu Tibet in der Alten Feuerwache kein Platz? www.salz-köln.de

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