DHARAMSHALA: Bapa Phuntsok Wangyal, a veteran Tibetan communist and founder of the Tibetan Communist Party, has expressed his desire to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama return to Tibet in his upcoming autobiography ‘ A Long Way to Equality and Unity’.
Bapa Phuntsok Wangyal also known as Phunwang, in his autobiography, urges the Chinese authorities to compromise with the Central Tibetan Administration and allow His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet. “If the Dalai Lama, exiled in 1959 and now approaching his 80th birthday, were to return, the homecoming would be peaceful and not chaotic, Phunwang writes.
He says that he appealed former President Hu Jintao and several members of the Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee to “allow the hundreds of thousands of exiled Tibetan compatriots headed by the Dalai Lama to return home, live and work in peace,” adding that his advice was ignored.
The veteran Tibetan communist also condemned the Chinese central government for exacerbating tensions between China’s Han-majority population and ethnic minorities. He writes that the political environment in China, where the emphasis on stability overwhelms everything and “even requests by Tibetans to learn their own language have become frightening words”.
“We cannot be afraid of the small trouble that may come up today and leave the big trouble for tomorrow,” he writes.
He says that a view among his Tibetan friends is that stability in regions such as Tibet cannot be maintained with “the gun and the renminbi [Chinese currency]”.
In a chapter titled “We cannot walk the road towards a Chinese Empire”, he warns the government in Beijing that it should not rely on violence and economic development to cement its rule over its Tibetan population.
The former Tibetan guerilla fighter and a socialist, is a figure of towering importance in the anguished history of Sino-Tibetan relations. As one of the earliest Tibetans to collaborate with the Chinese Government, he witnessed the early stages of the Chinese takeover of Tibet.
The publication of the autobiography is set to coincide with the first annual plenum of the National People’s Congress in Beijing under Xi Jinping’s presidency. It will be published by New Century Press, a publishing house based in Hong Kong.
“It is significant that someone who has spent his whole life working with the Central government shows this kind of dissatisfaction with its policies,” said Bao Pu, the book’s publisher.
Phunwang was born in 1922 in Batang, in the province of Kham in Tibet. He founded the Tibetan Communist party as a guerilla movement against the Chinese Kuomintang forces. In 1949, he merged the Tibetan Communist party with Mao’s Chinese Communist party. He assisted Mao in his early negotiations with His Holiness the Dalai Lama but was incarcerated in 1958, a year before His Holiness fled to India
Phunwang was rehabilitated after Mao’s death and Deng Xiaoping’s rise to power in 1978. He has since lived in Beijing. Now, 92, Phunwang is understood to be in rapidly declining health.