I have to admit being slightly irritated by Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo’s fence sitting blog article about his visit to Tibet, also published in today’s Singapore Straits Times, ever so subtly ‘substantiating’ China’s supposed rights over Tibetan affairs. There is even a distortion of the so-called right of “approval” that the Chinese court supposedly had over the nomination of high lamas in Tibet. Historically this was simply a diplomatic process which had virtually nothing to do with the actual decision making process – and let’s not forget that China too in it’s day was indirectly vassal to Tibet!

Basically his only interest is whether Tibet is a wedge or a link between China and India. Forgive me for thinking that the Foreign Minister of this small “Switzerland in Asia” would like to play the Great Game.

There are various instances in his article which purport to be ‘reasonable’ which in fact are simply endorsements of the PRC’s claims of backwardness etc such as pointing to the lagging economy of the Tibetans compared to the Han in Tibet. No kidding – there is ample evidence of the discrimination along ethnic and political lines since the so-called liberation of Tibet.

Then there is a very contentious line which states “During the Cultural Revolution, Tibetan youths, following Chinese youths in other parts of the country, engaged in an orgy of destruction.” Where have you been Your Excellency? Tibetan youths willingly engaging in destruction of their own culture, inspired by Chinese youth? A handful perhaps inducted and forced may have joined, but it is hardly evidence of a voluntary movement on the part of the Tibetan youth. Accept the fact it was the Han Chinese, the PRC. the PA who were responsible.

Regarding his view that the Tibetans are still medieval, in this world there a lot of people who are.. But in the Tibetans case, ironically, those who are still in that situation are there because of PRC dominance over who gets the benefits of their economic ‘injections’, not because monasteries are still holding serfs in slavery (something which even historically was not so clear). Perhaps it would do George Yeo some good to examine the quality of life in China at the turn of the century, in the mid century, and even in the 80’s.

I am not sure what your mission is Mr Yeo, but it clearly is not about getting the facts straight.

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