Michael van Walt van Praag & Miek Boltjes for The Sunday Guardian Live.
China’s aggressive behaviour towards India and Bhutan, its expansionism in the South China Sea, and its bullying and interference in Nepal, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia, all accompanied by a sense of entitlement are directly related to how the international community has treated and still treats China’s invasion and occupation of Tibet, write two Dutch international law and conflict resolution experts with extensive knowledge on Tibet. February 13 was ‘Tibetan Independence Day’.
SAN FRANCISCO: China has occupied Tibet against the will of the Tibetan people for nearly three generations now. Its sovereignty claim to Tibet has no legal basis and rests solely on a self-serving historical narrative. This narrative is Sino-centric, part inaccurate and highly misleading. But it is so persistently and forcefully pushed by Beijing, that the world has gradually bought into it and today largely treats Tibet as China’s internal affair, beyond its purview. We have become passive bystanders to an unfolding tragedy and, as a result of our governments’ appeasement on Tibet, China has become an entitled bully, aggressively pursuing strategic and territorial expansion.
The world has grown largely silent on Tibet. Governments are self-censoring to accommodate Beijing’s self-proclaimed “sensitivities” in the hope this will serve their interests. But it is high time we took a hard look at the implications of our silence on the illegitimacy of China’s presence in Tibet and of not actively countering Beijing’s historical narrative on Tibet. Does it serve India’s interests?
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