By Ellen Bork
(Director, Democracy and Human Rights at the Foreign Policy Initiative, and ICT board member)
The Weekly Standard
April 24, 2012
The Chinese Communist party’s preoccupation with its leadership transition, expected to be made final next fall when Xi Jinping becomes general secretary, should not dissuade the U.S. from making a “strong intervention at the highest level” regarding Tibet, according to Lodi Gyari, who spoke yesterday at the Council on Foreign Relations. Tibet
Despite their renowned belligerence on Tibet, China’s Communists are “the most rational people” when confronted with a serious initiative, according to Mr. Gyari, who has been the special envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama since 1982. Mr. Gyari made his remarks in the context of the ongoing unrest and self-immolations – about three dozen over the past year—in Tibet, and in the context of the Chinese Communist party’s response, which includes harsh new restrictions on religion and monasteries.
A number of Mr. Gyari’s points support an in depth review of policy toward China and Tibet, as well as a consideration of new diplomatic initiatives, especially in coordination with other democracies supportive of Tibet:
—the achievement of Tibetan democracy in exile is significant and U.S. officials should grant greater access to the elected Tibetan leader, Lobsang Sangay. Sangay was inaugurated as Kalon Tripa, or chief of the exile government, last summer and has assumed the political authority that the Dalai Lama relinquished last March.
—the concept of “responsibility to protect,” or R2P, often discussed in connection to crises like Libya and Syria is relevant also to Tibet.
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