Security bureaus of two counties in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, were attacked by rioters last week, forcing police to open fire in self-defense. The incident resulted in at least one death and many injuries, provoking serious "concerns" from some Western officials and making the Chinese government a target of some Tibetan organizations in exile.
The incident has brought new challenges to the Tibetan areas. It could serve as a new point the Dalai Lama group will use to criticize the Chinese government, as well as to maintain the group's strategic value for its Western supporters. Such turbulence is in the interest of the Dalai group; without these conflicts, it would be of no use in the geographical competition between China and the West.
Tibet is developing at a rate that is unprecedented in view of recent centuries. The Tibetan culture, however, has been better preserved in modernization than its counterparts across the world. Conflicts in the Tibetan areas are not in accordance with the interests of locals, and they counteract improvements to local livelihoods, as well as development. At present the Chinese government is paying special attention to development in the Tibetan areas. It is hard to imagine extremism would gain the favor of Tibetans.
Reporters from the Global Times have conducted many in-depth reports in the Tibetan areas. They find that seeking prosperity and development is the most common hope of Tibetan people. Extreme political advocacies such as "independence of Tibet" and "high-degree autonomy" don't make sense. What folks care about is living happily. The demands of those self-immolating political extremists do not reflect reality.
Amid China's globalization, dissident groups which are active in exile take conflict as an opportunity to enlarge their political impact. Through modern communication technologies, they have imposed some influence on a small number of people in Tibet. Interest coalitions have appeared between Tibetans and those dissidents.
This is not surprising. In coastal China, some people view themselves as allies of the West, sharing Western interests and values. This trend can hardly be blockaded. Some Tibetans act according to the doctrines of the Dalai Lama, which is an unavoidable result of the opening-up of Tibet.
The problem at the moment is that the Dalai Lama still has religious clout in Tibet, and the political collusion between his government-in-exile and some political forces within the Tibetan areas may trigger the risky tendencies of a theocracy. This can lead to some brutal and devastating incidents, whereas outsiders don't know their real cause.
Causing damage is always going to be easier than maintaining order and making constructive changes. In the current world, a few extremists can shake a region, not to mention the camp led by the "spiritual leader" Dalai Lama and well supported by the West. Apparently they're able to make some "trouble" in the Tibetan areas from time to time.
Nevertheless, this doesn't mean they enjoy wide support among Tibetan people. The prerequisite to grass-roots support is that a group should reflect the people's interests. By creating radical incidents, the Dalai Lama's camp undermines the development environment in the Tibetan areas. The consequential instability and social anxiety also weakens this area's competency.
The Dalai Lama has been abusing his religious reputation in the Tibetan areas to acquire unspeakable interests for his exile group. His selfish and politically motivated acts have risked the well-being of the general Tibetan public and will eventually become his own downfall.
This is fairly obvious because the exile group always gets excited when tragedy arises in Tibet, yet they never show a sign of happiness over the huge improvements in the living standards within the areas.
The Dalai Lama is merely a manipulator representing the exile group. To them, ordinary people living in the Tibetan areas are nothing but tools, and they will continuously exploit them, even exposing them to great danger.
The article is an editorial from the Chinese edition of the Global Times Sunday.