Why China fears the smiling monk?

Tibetans burn the Chinese flag demanding Chinese withdrawal from Tibet Autonomous Region

Kriti Kulshrestha
NSoJ Bureau

After the visit of the Tibetan Buddhist monk Dalai Lama in 2009 to Arunachal Pradesh he is all set to make another historic visit to one of the most remote states of India. Considering Arunachal is a predominantly Buddhist region with some of the most well known Buddhist monasteries situated in the state his visit has more religious significance than a political one. But India’s neighbour which shares a long boundary with Arunachal Pradesh has strongly objected to the visit and has warned of serious setbacks to Indo-Chinese relations.

The Dalai Lama who has been in exile in India at the scenic town of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh came as a boy monk with a group of followers in 1959 following the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is one of the very sparsely populated areas but has vast reserves of natural resources and has witnessed many anti-Chinese demonstrations in the capital Lhasa and other parts of the region.

This was followed by the humiliating defeat of India by the Chinese in 1962 which led to the eventual death of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Dalai Lama has on several occasions praised India for hosting him and has asserted that he is just an ambassador for India and will not cause any damage to India’s image abroad.

China has always claimed that Arunachal Pradesh as the part of their territory and has called it Southern Tibet. They allege that India has occupied their territory. On the other side Tibetans claim that they are not a part of China but a different nation. The Dalai Lama has many followers in China and around the world and is also a widely respected global leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize. So, being an exile he is not supposed to enter Chinese territory.  Before Chinese independence in 1949, Tibet was an independent state and was ruled by the Dalai Lama.

The Chinese Communist Party which has a strong hold over the nation is not ready to accept the fact that the Dalai Lama is a voice demanding autonomy to his homeland and has been raising concerns over human rights violations. They fear that his visits to different parts of the world will keep the focus on the Tibetan struggle for a free state.

Despite warnings from China, India and the state government of Arunachal Pradesh has made it clear that his visit is purely for religious purposes and does not pose any threat to China. India’s union minister of state for home who also hails from Arunachal Pradesh has brought in the latest visit to greater limelight. One has to wait and see how this event will unfold in wake of the firm stand taken by India.

 

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