China musn’t feel humiliated by the West

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

“There is a gulf of misunderstanding between China and the West over Tibet and the Dalai Lama,” argues Stanley Crossick, founding chairman of the European Policy Centre (EPC), in a post on Blogactiv.eu.

“No agreement is possible on the alleged rights and wrongs of both sides,” he believes, claiming that the biggest single problem is “separating fact from fiction, whether its source is Tibetan, Chinese or Western”. 

Whatever the source, the author maintains that anything seen as a threat to China’s territorial integrity is “hypersensitive” in Beijing.

Aside from this, Crossick believes that “no progress has been made, or is likely to be made, in negotiations between Beijing and the Tibetan exiles”. While the Dalai Lama’s policy towards Beijing was “unchanged” at the bilateral talks in-between China and Tibetan exiles earlier this month, he warns that younger Tibetans at the summit had “more radical ideas”. 

However, the meeting resulted in “no effort” on the part of China to meet the demands for autonomy, Crossick states. Moreover, it remains unclear what the Dalai Lama means by calling for “meaningful autonomy” for the Tibetan people, he writes, insisting that clarification of what Beijing means by “autonomous region” is required. 

Whichever way we look at it, China sees “autonomy as the first stage to independence,” Crossick maintains. Therefore, he believes “it is impossible to imagine a compromise”. 

The founding chairman of the EPC also accuses the EU of failing to “coordinate its approach and use its collective authority” towards Beijing. He blames the European Parliament, media and protest groups for their “irresponsible behaviour”, which China is yet to disassociate from EU governments. 

“It’s important to remember that all 27 member states are committed to the territorial integrity of China […] but if they decide that they all wish to meet the Dalai Lama, at least let Beijing cope with a combined voice,” Crossick pleads. 

If there is any hope of Europe and China seeing eye-to-eye in future, “it is essential that the Chinese do not see the Tibet issue as a continuation of their humiliation by the West,” Crossick concludes. 

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