Public Comment

Moments of Tragedy & Test for Beijing

By Chime Tenzing ( Dharamsala - India )
Thursday April 22, 2010 - 08:33:00 PM

It’s time for Beijing to show the world how far they are ready to translate their concern for the Tibetans into action through a well-planned speedy relief works & requisite aids for the victims of the Kyigudo earthquake 

As I begin to write this piece, the death toll from the Kyigudo earthquake has crossed above thousand and still body count is on the rise as the survival prospect of the victims trapped under the rubbles becomes difficult as days elapses by. Pictures of hundred of dead bodies scattered around, what looks like a make-shift morgue, appear before my eyes and the sight of the corpses piled up on top of one another keeps me haunted and disturbed for day in and out.. It is difficult to imagine how such tragic moments are being faced by our brothers and sisters in Kyegudu.For now, praying for the return of normalcy and peace to the region is the only option for many of us who have been distanced and exiled from our homeland due to political reasons. 

The tragedy that struck Tibet last week left the Tibetans and its sympathizers throughout the world with one common and nagging question: How would foreign aids from outside Tibet , or China for that matter, will make it to the victims, knowing the security restrictions put up by the communist government of China and the PLA forces throughout Tibet. Unlike other Han-Tibetan mixed neighborhood, Kyegudu is an area exclusively populated by Tibetan farmers, herdsmen, monks and tradesmen where the ruling government sees the potential of mass uprising as an upshot from the March 2008 riot in Lhasa.The tragic quake suddenly brought the Tibetans back to the limelight despite strict media restrictions and ban due to its political sensitiveness.  

Beijing had managed to make a good impression during the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008 showing the world how efficient the Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army could be. But that, in contrast to the present tragedy, can be seen from a different political light because Sichuan is not exclusively Tibetan inhabited area and it is but natural to receive the unconditional support and sympathy from the mainland China because most of the lives and properties lost in that tragedy were of ethnic Han Chinese origin. 

Going by the recent development taking place at Kyigudo, it looks good for some of us to learn that President Hu visited Kyegudu, cutting short an official trip to South America, to deal with the disaster and met with the victims and their families. Whether it was a ‘scripted trip’ or otherwise, this would definitely help rebuilding the image of Beijing. At this hour of tragedy it is in the best interest of Beijing to act swiftly leaving aside all the political issues. It is the most opportune time for Beijing to act and engage in relief works for the maimed, injured and the families of the dead. This is how the world would weigh Beijing’s response to the tragedy and it would be nice for them to see Beijing in a kind of a role-reversal avatar. 

Against all odds and hope, Tibetans in Kyigudo have reportedly appealed to the President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao to allow the Dalai Lama to visit the area and pray for the victims in a letter written by the Tibetans of Kyigudo. They would be most fortunate if a visit by His Holiness becomes reality! Unfortunately, this is most unlikely because Beijing reviles His Holiness as ‘separatist’ and ‘splittist ’.And , also this would mean exposing China’s lies to the outside world! 

Therefore, right now, keeping all the political differences at the back-burner, Beijing should focus completely on providing necessary life support to the families of the dead and those who were injured and rendered homeless. They should allow freedom of media and accept all the international aids coming to the region without any restrictions. By doing so, Beijing would have easily had the balls in their court. If it keep pressing the panic button and remain hyper conscious of its image at this hour, they would have to surely face the censures from the global communities and human rights watch dogs. Therefore, it is in the best interest of Beijing to show the better side of its politics and engage in rescue work without any strings of conditionality attached. This tragedy could be Beijing’s test to the rest of the world. With this I leave with prayers for the victims and bereaved families of Kyigudo. OM MANE PADME HUNG! ( Buddhist Mantra for Peace).