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Galwan standoff breathes life into the ‘Free Tibet’ movement, Tibetan activists hope India will soon address the Chinese occupation of Tibet

Expressing agony over the Galwan face-off, the Tibetan government-in-exile asserted that it is the Indo-Tibet border and not Indo-China border. “We urge the government, media and other people to acknowledge it. It is about time that the Tibet issue should be voiced loudly, said the CTA's spokesperson.

In the aftermath of the violent Galwan Valley face-off, the movement to free Tibet from the clutches of China has once again gathered steam. The Tibetan government-in-exile, based in Dharamshala, the district headquarters of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India and several other independent bodies are now batting for the issue proactively.

According to a report in 101Reporters, the Tibetan leadership have asserted that the friction between India and China will go on unless the Tibet issue is resolved. Expressing agony over the Galwan face-off which killed 20 Indian soldiers, CTA information secretary Tsewang Gyalpo Arya asserted that the Line of Actual Control(LAC) is ‘Indo-Tibet border’ and not ‘Indo-China border’. “We urge the government, media and other people to acknowledge it. It is about time that Tibet issue should be voiced loudly,” CTA information secretary added.

It is pertinent to note here, that after the India-China standoff, the Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu had also echoed similar sentiments, referring to LAC as ‘Indo-Tibet border.

China had forcefully occupied Tibet in 1951

The statement by the two assumes significance since China had annexed Tibet in 1951. Tibet’s government is currently in exile. New Delhi, too, refers to its border in Arunachal Pradesh as an Indo-Tibet border. Reportedly, around 1 lakh Tibetans are living in exile in India including Dalai lama.

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Meanwhile, the campaign and advocacy manager of Free Tibet (a movement advocating Tibet’s autonomy), John Jones, added that the increased militarisation of Tibet puts the population at further risk. As quoted by the article in 101reporters, he adds, “The Tibetan people were given no say over whether they wanted their people and territory to be part of a border conflict. China should end its militarisation of Tibet and end its occupation too. Hopefully, increased reporting and international pressure on Beijing can help,” he added.

In fact, many activists and civil societies in Dharamshala have also batted for India in its fight against China and urged the international communities to publically condemn the Chinese military invasion into Indian territory. The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) and Students for a Free Tibet-India, has also in a statement, urged the world leaders to stand with India against the Chinese move. “China is an expansionist nation. They did the same with Tibet decades ago,” said TYC president Gonpo Dhundup.

The Tibetan Youth Congress had recently held a protest opposite the Chinese Consulate General in Toronto in support of the Indian Army and had called for the end of China’s occupation of Tibet.

India’s policy over China clouded by political defeatism, say some experts

While some intellectuals are skeptical over India’s tibet policy and do not hope for much, some pro-Tibet voices assert that India’s foreign policy has been changing and its stand in tibet is bound to reflect its current assertive posture vis-a-vis China soon.

Dr Tsering Togyal, from the Department of Political Science and International Studies in the University of Birmingham, says that India’s policy over China has always been clouded by strategic confusion, misled by ideological compulsions, fragmented by competing issues and goals, and thwarted by political defeatism. However, Tibetan activist and writer Tenzin Tsudue asserted that India now knows better and wouldn’t trust China anymore, stated the article in 101Reporters.

CTA representative in Ladakh says an independent Tibet is not far away now

In a video shared by journalist Arti Tikoo Singh, CTA’s representative in Ladakh Tseten Wangchuk stated that the dream of an independent Tibet is not too far away now because China is under a lot of pressure, due to the coronavirus, an increasing demand for democracy and other geopolitical issues. He added that many people in China too are now supporting democracy. He added that the CTA’s “middle-way approach” will be beneficial to both the people of Tibet and China.

CTA President-in-exile urged UNHRC to discuss human rights violations in Chinese occupied regions

Recently, CTA President-in-exile Lobsang Sangay had also slammed China of its expansionist policies and asked the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to hold a special session on “human right violations” by China in Tibet and other regions under it. Accusing China of committing “cultural genocide” in Tibet, President of the Tibetan government-in-exile had issued a statement in which he has asked UNHRC to “act with a sense of urgency” to “unite and ensure that China fulfils its obligations under international laws including human rights obligations before it is too late”.

Accusing China of carrying out unchecked human right violations in Tibet and other places under it, Sangay furthered that China has for decades tortured the Tibetans, and the act of cruelties which China has been imparting on the Tibetans “do not fall short of being categorised as cultural genocide”.

China’s five-finger plan

Earlier, Lobsang Sangay had warned Nepal that China has been looking at occupying the entire sub-continent since the 1960s after the occupation of Tibet. Sangay said that what China did with Tibet, it is looking at emulating the same with Nepal. Speaking on Chinese combativeness, Sangay said that the Chinese leadership had stated that Beijing was looking to accomplish its ‘Five Finger’ plan, where Tibet was the palm, while Ladakh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, the five fingers.

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