Ukraine invasion revived memories of Chinese occupation of Tibet: International jurist

California, US: Russian attack on Ukraine is similar to the memory of Tibetans being attacked by China.

Prof. Michael Van Walt Van Praag, an international law jurist who specializes in international conflict resolution, said “an interesting outcome of the events in Ukraine today is that it has helped the world community to revive its memory about how a big nation like China used its brutal force to occupy weaker neighboring nations like Tibet, East Turkistan and South Mongolia by imposing its own interpretation of history and law,” The Singapore Post reported.

On February 24, Russian forces launched military operations in Ukraine, three days after Moscow recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent entities.
Several countries including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union have condemned Russia’s military operations in Ukraine and imposed sanctions on Moscow.

Michael, currently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Social Science at the University of California, continued by saying, “the arguments being forwarded by President Putin of Russia today and the manner in which the Russian Army has invaded Ukraine have too many similarities to ignore how China occupied Tibet in 1950-1951 era”, The Singapore Post reported.

He made these remarks at the webinar organized jointly by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC). It was focused on famous book “Tibet Brief: 20/20”, jointly authored by Prof. Michael and Miek Botjes.

“We should soon expect the world to stand firmly behind occupied countries like Tibet, East Turkistan and South Mongolia which China has colonized over the past many decades. Crushing of human rights in these countries by the Chinese communist regime and exploitation of their natural resources is bound to become a big issue,” Michael said.

Michael cautioned the world governments, diplomats, academics and especially the international media to stop being victims of using certain terminology which the Chinese rulers have been trying to spread through very systematic and refined propaganda, The Singapore Post reported.

Giving examples he said that referring to the Tibetans, the Uyghurs and the Mongols as ‘ethnic minorities’ of China is a direct acceptance of Chinese claims that they are an integral part of a wider Chinese population. But the reality is that all of them are independent ‘people’ and belong to three different countries namely Tibet, East Turkistan and South Mongolia which were ‘occupied’ territories in recent history. In international law an ‘ethnic minority’ in a country may have some rights but they cannot claim to be a separate ‘country’, The Singapore Post reported.

Tibet was formerly an independent country that was conquered and absorbed into China by force 70 years ago.

Tibetans living in Tibet and Tibetan areas of western China frequently complain of discrimination and human rights abuses, and say they fear Beijing is pursuing ever more aggressive policies aimed at eradicating their national and cultural identity

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