China's Xi vows unceasing fight against Tibet separatism
China's president has called for what's described as an impregnable fortress to stop separatism in Tibet Xi Jinping, speech, set out the country's policy direction intended to protect national unity, maintain stability, and educate the masses. Well, Isabel Hilton is the editor of China dialogue and has written extensively about Beijing's relationship with Tibet. Hello? Isabelle. Doing. Very. Well, thank you. Tell us what is this impregnable fortress. Well this is come out of the Communist Party Central Symposium on Tibet work, which is the you know the high level. It's the meeting that gathers together everyone who has anything to do with Tabet from security to economics to environment, and of course, the polit bureau is in attendance at the last one was five years ago. So it is quite important to understand the direction that things taking and I have to say it's not a particularly encouraging direction the the emphasis on a border security was not extensively publicized in China but I think that that is undoubtedly related to the continuing tensions with India, and we've seen a number of clashes along that border. But the other. Really important aspect of this statement is is really about hearts and minds, which has been a massive failure in terms of of Chinese occupation of Tibet and the the stress on patriotic education on the fact that monasteries must you know put put the party first and so on. All isses familiar but it's becoming more intense in terms of of of you know government propaganda and just simply failed over the years. So how does it intend to impose or bill this impregnable fortress to maintain not just stability but? Engage in those hearts and minds which which they find so important and what I think probably I'm sorry to say more repression it's. There is a relationship between what happens in Tibetan what happens in Xinjiang, which has lately had some more attention and but the body secretary who? Had A kinda panel up to consecutie system in Tibet then moved to Xinjiang to continue his work. So the security approach is very much the same and it is extremely tight security on on an absolute day to day level. So you know police boxes every few hundred yards kind of panopticon effect on on watching society for any kind of behavior that might be considered deviant. So that's one aspect of it and and the other oil done in the name of national security. and. Then the other aspect is the intense education and signification of Tibet. So it's been some years now since two Beden as a medium of instructions in schools was damaged and and you know there's heavy language pressure heavy cultural pressure on on Tibetans who are encouraged not to have a photographs of the delay in their homes but to her photographs of Xi. Jinping, instead to the the, it's really an an example of enhanced integration. Hitherto has been a policy in the People's Republic at least in name over SPEC for national minorities as they would call them. So Cultural Rights, language rights, and the idea that they could be in some sense autonomous and self governing. Now, that was never entirely implemented but at least it was official policy and that is now being abandoned really in favor of kind of. Han Chinese dominance in every aspect including culture and language, and how is that likely to be received in Tibet? Well. The evidence is that the more pressure the culture comes under in a way, the more people attached to it. So you know the most famous case was in nineteen eighty when when the reports from to bed to the center. Essentially said everyone's forgotten by the Dalai. Lama. They loved the Communist Party. It's all going swimmingly and it emboldened the central government to allow or to think about a visit from the delara sue the Dalai Lama sent. A representative. Group to inspect Tibet to see what conditions would like and as soon as rumors of these people's presence spread across to bet you thousands and thousands of people went to pay homage and his push notes into the hands and to weep and to go for the Dalai Lama. So you know the Chinese never been very good at reading. Tibetan sentiment and every time they criticized the Dalai Lama officially it sort of gives comfort to the Tibetans that. The Dalai Lama still matters and he still bad. So it's it's you know it's not a particularly helpful policy and the more that they cracked down on Tibet. The more Tibetan people feel more. They feel the difference and in a moment ago, you mentioned the fact that Tibet is stuck as well in terms of the relationship, the the very techy relationship that's being played out between India at the moment two degrees either side twenty used to bet. Well I think that this. That that's always I. Guess a problem you know the wasn't a border between India and China until the Chinese occupation of Tibet. So so now we have to Asian supervise and this border which is constantly disputed, which is unresolved and across which flow or manner of things including of course, people you know the flow of refugees to India from Tibet. has been a feature of the years the very large settlements of Tibetan refugees in India, which has given them pretty generous hospitality, the presence of the Dalai Lama in India. Then on the Indian side, you know there is anxiety about water supply because wall of. India's pretty much all of India's water supply comes from the Tibet Plateau, and there is constant fear in Indian security services that that the Chinese can somehow turn the top of which is unlikely but nevertheless it makes them deeply anxious. So there are any number of issues that that would need to be resolved in NFL comprehensive settlement. But at the moment you have to highly nationalistic governments each which is you postures vigorously over Tibet and I think that a settlement is not terribly likely Isabel. Indeed as ever for joining us on monocle twenty four, that was China dialogues is.