Shri N.Ram, the well-known Editor-in-Chief of "The Hindu" of Chennai, has been the toast of China for an article purported to have beenwritten by him refuting the allegations levelled by the Dalai Lama and his supporters regarding the events of March in Lhasa . The Chineseauthorities have been gratified by what they see as his vigorous articulation of the version of the events as put out by them.
2. A report on Shri Ram's article disseminated by the State-owned Hsinhua news agency of China is annexed. It is learnt that this has beentranslated into the Tibetan and Uighur languages and copies distributed in all the monasteries and educational institutions in theTibetan-inhabited areas of China. It has also been made required reading in the patriotic re-education classess for Tibetans being organisedby the Chinese authorities.In the meanwhile, the Chinese authorities have reduced the duration of the stay of the Olympic Torch in Tibetfrom three to one day. The torch will be in Lhasa on June 21 instead of June 19.
3. The dissemination of Shri Ram's article is unlikely to have any impact on the Tibetans and Uighurs. Nor will it have much of an impact oninternational opinion on the recent events in Tibet because Shri Ram's policy of "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil" with regard toChina is well known right across the world.His popularity in China is confined to the Chinese ruling circles.
4.After writing this article, I showed this to a number of Indian friends. While a majority agreed that this deserved to be written anddisseminated, some asked why do this since it could reflect on the credibility of a great institution of Chennai.
5. After carefully considering their advice, I concluded that this needed to be written in the interest of the Indian people and the lovablepeople of Tibet. It will be moral cowardice to remain silent when the Editor of a highly respected paper of Chennai uses his access to itscolumns to demonise the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans just as Beijing is in the habit of doing.
6. As you move around Chennai, you see thousands of advertisements inviting you to buy "The Hindu". When you see those advertisements,think of Shri Ram and his writings in support of the Chinese and in demonisation of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans and ask yourself thequestion:" Does such a newspaper deserve my continued support?". The choice is yours. Fortunately, despite Shri Ram and his ilk, India isnot China. We have a wide choice and we are not captive readers of Hsinhua. We don't have to worry that if we stop buying and reading"The Hindu", we may end in patriotic re-education classes.(18-6-08)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi . E-mail: email@example.com )
(The report disseminated by Hsinhua on June 18,2008)
Senior Indian journalist unmasks separatist Dalai clique
June 18, 2008
Reports in western media on the March 14 riots in China's Tibet autonomous region were "false" and "manipulated," and the Dalai Lama is a"consummate politician" and "separatist political figure," says N. Ram, editor-in-chief of Indian daily The Hindu, in a recently publishedarticle.
A notable feature of recent Western media coverage of Tibet is "the way journalism feeds off the disinformation campaign" unleashed by theDalai clique and the supporters of "Tibet independence," Ram says in the article.
Under the guise of responsible news reporting, those media published "the most exaggerated and fanciful accounts of events by pleadinglack of onsite access," Ram say, terming it "news-speak for 'anything goes' for journalists on the other side of the ideological-politicalfence."
These practices are free from all rules of responsible and transparent sourcing and verification prescribed by codes of good journalisticpractice, and innumerable books on journalistic ethics.
Under the banner of "human rights" and "freedom," various Western newspapers, news websites, news agencies, and television stations glorified the riots and disturbances, he says.
The reality is that the riots that broke out in Lhasa on March 14 and claimed the lives of 18 innocent civilians and a police officer, and left382 people injured, including 241 police officers, were the handiwork of violent mobs, Ram points out.
"As the evidence on the nature of the riots has piled up, the realization has dawned that it was too much to expect any legitimategovernment of a major country to turn the other cheek to such savagery and such a breakdown of public order," he says.
Ground reality contradicts the Dalai Lama's charge of "cultural genocide" against China, says Ram.
Tibet has 1,700 monasteries and other Buddhist religious sites housing 46,000 monks and nuns, four mosques for 3,000 Muslims, and aCatholic church for its 700 Christians.
Further, the entire world has been witness to the efforts made by the Chinese government to protect the Potala Palace and other pricelessheritage sites in the autonomous region.
The Tibetan language is flourishing, traditional Tibetan medicine is undergoing a renaissance and enjoys international cultstatus, and thestrength and vitality of age-old tradition are observed in the daily lives of the Tibetan people, the senior journalist says.
A fair, objective, and balanced assessment, according to Ram, makes it absolutely clear that many developing and developed nations havedone far worse by their ethnic minorities than China has done by the Tibetans.
The author found that a major focus of the propaganda campaign by the Dalai Lama, the remnants of his theocratic establishment, and hissupporters abroad is the "democratic" character of "Tibet in exile."
"This is a bit rich coming from the spiritual and temporal head of feudal serfdom," says Ram.
"In fact, the 14th Dalai Lama is a consummate politician leading a movement that seeks to take 'Greater Tibet' away from the motherland -an anti-communist and separatist political figure, with external links," he says. "The Dalai Lama's track record bears out this assessment."
The author also mentions that in his major pronouncements, the Dalai Lama has proclaimed that "Tibet has been an independent nationfrom ancient times," that it has been a strategic "buffer state" in the heart of Asia guaranteeing the region's stability, and that it has never"conceded" its "sovereignty" to China.
His demand for the reconstitution of a "Greater Tibet" is indeed "a revival of the infamous British attempt in the early 20th century toconstitute two zones, 'Outer Tibet' and 'Inner Tibet'," which aims to weaken China's sovereignty over both zones, Ram says in his article.
However, the kind of autonomy that the Dalai Lama demands "cannot possibly be accommodated within the Chinese Constitution," he notes.
"Acceptance of the demand for 'Greater Tibet' means breaking up the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan, doing ethnicre-engineering, if not 'cleansing', and causing enormous destabilization and damage to China's development and human rights," Ram pointsout.