There were a lot of mummering’s surrounding President Xi Jinping in the lead up to the 20th National Party Congress, with the news of a coup occurring in the PRC with the PLA overthrowing the current Xi led regime. However, all this was in naught, with the latter being stated as a hoax. When the 20th National Party Congress took place from 16th October to 22nd October it very clearly laid down to us all that President Xi Jinping is the president of China for an unprecedented 3rd term. The highlight of the session besides President Xi securing an unprecedented 3rd term being the speculated purging of former President Hu Jintao, who was unceremoniously removed from the dais in front of the world media. Now what does such an implication of President Xi have not only for China at large but to the already oppressed Tibetans in their occupied territory of Tibet?
Tibet similar to the other occupied territories of East Turkestan, Southern Mongolia etc. experienced and continues to experience an unforeseen number of crackdowns prior to the 20th National Party Congress. Many experts duly point out how China and its leadership in Beijing with its so called dynamic zero covid policy were wanting to suppress all humane activities leading to the Congress.
In Tibet, Tibetans were pushed to take their own life through self-immolation. Even a young Tibetan (Tsewang Norbu) who showed such promise in the entertainment industry was forced down this unwarranted path. Furthermore, several Tibetans were persecuted and continues to be suppressed, the destruction and attack against Buddhism practiced in Tibet is now at unprecedented level reaching similar heights to the dark years of Cultural Revolution. The usage of a Bio-security apparatus which includes the mass collection of DNAs has now been implemented parallelly to the famed Skynet like technological surveillance in Tibet.In addition, the continued assimilation of Tibetans through denuding Tibetan language and enforcing colonial boarding schools all point to a total disintegration of the Tibetan identity in Tibet. Does it mean that Tibetans in Tibet are eventually looming over a Cultural revolution like scenario where the usage of advanced technology including biological means would usher an unforeseen dystopian environment in Tibet?
Tibet, the 20th National Party Congress and its aftermath:
Since, 1959 the fateful year that the Tibetan leader HH the 14th Dalai Lama along with several Tibetans were pushed to flee Tibet and become refugees, China has held 12 such National Party Congress. All of which became an arena to undermine, destroy and nullify the threat of Tibet separating from China’s motherland narrative and becoming independent as it once were and should be legally. In all these National Party Congress meeting there has never been a Tibetan ever coming close to becoming a Polit Bureau member. It is an astounding fact because although Tibet accounts for more than a quarter of China’s current landmass in terms of territory, their delegation in the party congress out of a total of 2,296 only accounts for a mere 1.65%, showcasing the sheer negligence towards the Tibetans from Beijing.
The 20th National Party Congress this year occurred simultaneously when Tibet, especially the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa was undergoing more than 60 days of Lockdown under the aegis of the dynamic zero-covid policy. The lockdown in Tibet in application was completely different from rest of China as the procedures, maneuvers and modus operandi implemented highlights this. The ground situation in Tibet was so bad that Tibetans risked their own life shared the reality in Lhasa. Here the Tibetans showed how they were not provided sufficient healthcare, food, accommodations and instead there were videos circulating how Tibetans in were forced to thank the Chinese Communist Party in squashed together quarantine centers. Even the Chinese, stranded and living in Lhasa started to relent and they were bold enough to record their thoughts. A video of a Chinese living in Lhasa proclaimed how if the government would not resolve the situation in Lhasa, he would commit suicide. All of this initially led the Lhasa vice-mayor Damdul to apologize to the public. However, it did little to cool things down.
The straw that broke the Camel’s back was when the Chinese migrant workers had enough and along with the Tibetans, they took the lead and protested against the government. This was the first time since 2008 that such a protest at mass level broke out publicly in Lhasa. Here one can analysis two things
- The Chinese government treatment over Tibetans goes beyond apartheid, a new term, if necessary, must be coined to define this level of marginalization and discrimination over the Tibetans in Tibet from the decision makers in Beijing. The 2008 Lhasa riots saw guns and many other severe steps taken to quell and suppress the protest led by Tibetans but now when it is Chinese instead who leads such protests, there is evidently a huge difference in terms of handling and dismissing the protesters. As Sakar Tashi says, if it were Tibetans, it would have been bloody suppressions long ago.
- There is a brewing storm against the Chinese communist government by their very own people. The Hong Kongersseems to be leading this movement but more inspiring than that is we can now see how Chinese in the mainland have started realizing and now have taken matters to their own hand. The recent protest by a lone man passing of as a construction worker in Beijing’s Haidan district on 13th October, where protest banners against President Xi Jinping and his zero-Covid policy was unfurled at a bridge, has gripped the nation and its people. The banner states “We want food, not PCR tests. We want freedom, not lockdowns and controls. We want respect, not lies” The protestor who remains in incognito has been dubbed “Bridge Man” and has inspired many Chinese throughout the world to protest against the Chinese Communist Government.
President Xi Jinping has secured an unprecedented 3rd term but along the way he has created and engulfed himself in a veil of insecurity which his speech clearly in the 20th National Party Congress expounds upon. Furthermore, he has done away with the China’s factional politics and is now the seen as the sole decision-making entity. Tenzin Lekshey, the official spokesperson of the CTA during “China 2.0: Under Chairman Xi” a session in his personal capacity stated that “China’s rise emboldens further by Xi Jinping securing an unprecedented 3rd term would in some benefit the Tibetans as China being seen as a responsible nation and leader would have to abide by international norms. And doing so would help resolve the Tibet-China conflict in a meaningful way based on international norms.”
However, repression and duress are still on a rise on an unprecedented level in Tibet occupied by China but the soaring of protest and showing of unity between Tibetans and Chinese against the communist party of China is welcoming sign and will likely be the key that unlocks liberal changes in China. Eventually leading to the resolution in the Tibet-China conflict which every Tibetans dream of.