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UK recognises Chinese sovereignty over Tibet

Keith Parkins | 17.11.2008 17:46 | Globalisation | Repression | Terror War | World

In a shameful act, the British government has recognised Chinese sovereignty of Tibet.

"Like every other EU member state, and the United States, we regard Tibet as part of the People's Republic of China." -- UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband

"The change of position has already had damaging consequences for the Tibetan people. With Britain now stating that Tibet is 'part' of China, any incentive for the Chinese government to negotiate on the issue of autonomy has vanished." -- Stephanie Brigden, Free Tibet

"My trust towards the Chinese Government is thinner, thinner, thinner." -- Dalai Lama

In one of the most shameful acts since Robin Cook authorised the shipment of Hawk ground attack aircraft to Indonesia, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has recognised Chinese sovereignty of Tibet. The statement is very damaging for the Tibetan people, it is green light to the Chinese to continue their cultural genocide, torture and arbitrary detention. The announcement by Miliband that Tibet was part of China was made days before the Chinese entered into talks with Tibetans regarding the status of Tibet and was clearly intended to scupper those talks.

The legitimisation of Chinese occupation of Tibet comes in a long line of shameful acts by the British on foreign policy.

Under his ethical foreign policy, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook authorised the sale of BAE Hawk aircraft to Indonesia in the full knowledge that they would be used in East Timor.

Neo-Labour ministers are little more than pimps and salesman for BAE Systems, a company mired in corruption allegations.

At the height of tensions between India and Pakistan, when there was the very real danger of nuclear weapons being used, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott seized the opportunity to visit India to flog them BAE Systems Hawk aircraft.

Prime Minister Tony Blair pulled the plug on corruption investigations into BAE Systems.

The Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP is to host a neo-Labour Christmas Party in the Commons, funded by BAE Systems. A big thank you to its neo-Labour pimps? As Trade and Industry Secretary, Patricia Hewitt granted an export licence for an overpriced BAE Systems military air traffic control system to Tanzania that the country could ill afford and had no use for. Even the World Bank was critical of the project and its cost. Former trade Secretary Hewitt now sits on the board of BT, the company that last week announced 10,000 job losses to be implemented by the end of March 2009.

Weapons have been sold to Israel for use in the Palestinian occupied territories.

Weapons have been sold to Turkey for use in Turkish occupied Kurdistan and cross border forays into the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq.

The British, as the junior partner of the US, supported the illegal war on Iraq, lied on weapons of mass destruction. Supported the sanctions on Iraq which resulted in a million children dying, a price worth paying according to UN Ambassador and Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

The Iraqi Super Gun Affair and the breaking of the Arms Embargo on Iraq.

Kicking the Chagos Islanders off their island so it could be handed over to the Americans to be used as a military base and toxic dumping ground.

The recognition of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, part of a long line of shameful acts by the British.

There was no debate in Parliament over the change in British foreign policy on Tibet, not even a murmur from MPs. Not a murmur from the mainstream media. Just an announcement by the foreign secretary which seems to have passed by unnoticed, unreported, until the Chinese expressed their delight at this turn of events.

The first reaction in the media, was not reporting of the shameful act itself, but reporting of the Chinese reaction some days later to the shameful act. And contrary to the nonsense spouted by BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson last week, the Chinese have not shown a willingness to engage.

Zhu Weiqun, the Chinese Minister responsible for Tibet, the de facto governor of occupied Tibet, welcomed the recognition by the British. Indeed he was delighted according to a report by BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson. He then went on to accuse the Dalai Lama of promoting ethnic cleansing. This was a reference to the Dalai Lama calling for the Han Chinese who have flooded Tibet, turning Tibetans into a minority in their own country, to go back home.

The Chinese are carrying out culture genocide in Tibet. They are doing everything possible to destroy Tibetan culture. Children are educated in Chinese, thousand of monasteries and other centres of religion have been destroyed, it is a crime to possess a picture of the Dalai Lama or to watch an image of the Dalai Lama, local businesses have been destroyed or taken over by Han Chinese, nomadic people are being kicked off their lands and corralled into cities, the land is being raped, strip mined, forests destroyed, used as a dumping ground for nuclear waste.

Tibet is in lockdown. Tibetans are subject to arbitrary arrest, detention and torture. Chinese snipers are on the rooftops, military patrol the streets night and day.

Leaving Fear Behind, was smuggled out of Tibet and shown in China on the eve of the Olympic Games in Beijing Those involved in the production of this moving film have disappeared, their whereabouts and fate unknown.

China illegally occupied Tibet in 1949, the Dalai Lama was forced to flee to exile in India in 1959. The illegal occupation has resulted in the death of at least a million Tibetans. Every year, thousands of Tibetans undertake the dangerous journey over the Himalayas and flee to India.

The UN is powerless to due anything as China has the power of veto in the Security Council. Now even the British cannot be relied upon.

The view of Dr Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, is that torture is widespread in Chinese occupied Tibet. China is a signature to the UN Convention Against Torture. A UN review of Chinese torture is due to take place this month.

Why has Britain legitimised the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet, other than to guarantee a continuous supply of cheap worthless consumer tat from Chinese sweatshop factories? Or are they hoping for a piece of the action in the rush to exploit Tibet's rich mineral resources?

Tibet is rich in copper, gold, aluminum, iron ore, lead, zinc and gas. Extraction of gold and copper uses cyanide and arsenic which will lead to pollution of rivers.

China has just opened the Yulong Copper Mine in Tibet, the second largest in Asia, with proven copper reserves of 6.5 million tonnes. The Aluminum Company of China has recently started exploration.

British mining company Central China Goldfields, has started copper exploration in Nimu, close to Lhasa. This is a joint venture with China. The huge Gangdese copper belt stretches all the way to Afghanistan.

Railways and roads are being built in Tibet. This is to bring the army and Han Chinese settlers in, to get the stolen resources out.

To discuss the deteriorating situation in Tibet, the Dalai Lama called an emergency meeting of all Tibetan exiles to take place this month. This is the first such meeting to take place since 1991.

In Hidden Agendas, John Pilger talks of unpeople. People who do not exist, or when their existence is recognised it is as a bloody nuisance in the way of the Grand Imperial Strategy who should do the decent thing and vanish off the face of the planet. The Kurds and the Chagos Islanders are unpeople. The British government has added the people of Tibet to the list of unpeople.


reference and background

BAE's links with New Labour, Indymedia UK, 15 November 2008

China announces development of major Tibet copper mine to go ahead, International Campaign for Tibet, 7 April 2005

China orders sweeping purge of Tibet's monasteries, Free Tibet, October 2008

China welcomes UK Tibet decision, BBC on-line, 15 November 2008

China Western Mining to start up Tibet copper plant, Reuters, 14 October 2008

Dalai Lama makes China warning, BBC News on-line, 30 October 2008

Mark Curtis, The Ambiguities of Power, Zed Books, 1995

Mark Curtis, Web of Deceit, Vintage, 2003

Dennis Cusak, Tibet's War of Peace, Brown Door Publishing, 2008

David Eimer, China and Britain ready to exploit Tibet's natural resources, Sunday Telegraph, 31 July 2008's-natural-resources.html

Forced resettlement threatens Tibetan identity, Free Tibet, October 2008

Leaving Fear Behind, 2008 {DVD}

Leaving freedom behind, Free Tibet, October 2008

Lockdown in Tibet, Free Tibet, October 2008

Keith Parkins, Free Tibet in Guildford, Indymedia UK, 11 November 2008

John Pilger, The New Rulers of the World, Verso, 2002

John Pilger, Freedom Next Time, Bantam Press, 2006

Bill Schiller, Tibet dreams of full autonomy dealt big blow: Britain's decision to recognize China's authority and Dalai Lama's fragile health seen as setbacks, Toroto Star, 13 November 2008

John Simpson, China shows willingness to engage, BBC News on-line, 15 November 2008

Cameron Stewart, China's iron fist cracks down to subdue Tibetan rebels, The Australian, 8 November 2008,25197,24619265-25837,00.html

Cameron Stewart, Tibet's looming eruption, The Australian, 13 November 2008,25197,24642115-2703,00.html

Mark Thomas, As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela, Ebury Press, 2006

Tibetan monks: A controlled life, BBC News on-line, 20 March 2008

Torture continues in Tibet, Free Tibet, October 2008

Keith Parkins
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