The Red Dragon celebrated its 73rd birthday but along the way it has burned, raged and continues to extend its reach?


It was on 1st October, 1949 on the grounds of the now infamous Tiananmen Square that Mao Zedong ushered his famous speech “The Chinese People have stood up…”. This ushered in the People’s Republic of China into being but simultaneously began the annexation of the Tibet, East Turkistan, Southern Mongolia and many other territories as well. What I would like to do here is bring forth very important and landmarks event since 1949 which illustrates how the ruthlessness of the PRC under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been on the ascendency when it comes to repressing those under their rule and its impact are now being felt throughout the world.

The year 1959 is marked as a dark day as this saw Tibetans and their leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama forced to leave their own country and seek refuge to India. Many people are aware of this story but what I would like to highlight here is from the book by Chinese historian and dissident Jianglin Li titled as “When the Iron Bird Flies: China’s Secret War in Tibet” where the author mentions the nuances of the Chinese forces and tactics implemented during the period between 1949-1959 when Tibet was being annexed. Here the author highlights how the troops used in invading Tibet were those veterans from the Korean war and those who had been fighting with the Nationalist forces. This indicated how China was planning ahead and that was of putting pressure into India by already making these battle-hardened regiments and battalions familiar with Tibet’s geography. Eventually one saw the 1962 Sino-Indo war whereby the latter suffered greatly and continues to do so. The border escalation between China and India at the LoC is one due to such careful and meticulous planning then.

1989 is and continues to be seen as the darkest day in modern Chinese history, the reason being the Tiananmen Square Massacre. It is horrible to think how it was on this very sacred ground where the PRC established itself that violence of a level unseen in the world till then took place. However, hidden among this narrative was how Tibet and Tibetans played a pivotal role in inspiring the Chinese students who came in numbers in the Tiananmen Square and started questioning the CCP. It was the 1987 Lhasa riots which saw Tibetans for the first time in several years since it got annexed rebelled and revolted against the CCP. Their bold acts in openly questioning the Chinese government which was unseen since its establishment kindled the Chinese especially the students and though the Tiananmen Square incident saw bloodshed and no less a massacre it continues to highlight how the Chinese like all people yearn for freedom and liberty which continues to be denied by the CCP. Though China celebrates its 73rd founding anniversary this year, the Tiananmen Square massacre continues to be hidden from Chinese official history.

The Panchen Lama incident of 1995 showcased to the world a practice which the CCP will continue to adhere to even now. The Panchen Lama which is the 2nd highest lama in Tibet was abducted along with his family in 1995 by Beijing and continues to remain in incognito with him barring the unwanted tag of the world’s youngest political prisoner. This tactic of state abduction was one practiced during the height of the Cultural Revolution in China but was banished when Deng Xiaoping came to power and opened up China to the world. However, since the abduction of the young Panchen Lama who was only 6 years old then, the PRC has continued this activity with the most prominent individual of recent times being businessman Jack Ma and tennis player Peng Shuai. The former continues to shun the public eye with the latter forced to come out due to mounting pressure from the world under which the PRC with the preset of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics had to buckle under. The usage of citizen collateral also is similar to such abduction and though China had been using it time and time none was more prominent when the daughter of Chinese tech giant Huawei’s CEO instead of facing extradition to the USA for her crimes was sent back to China in exchange of Canadian citizen held by Beijing for supposed illegal intelligence activities in 2021.

Biological warfare within and outside China is a contemporary activity which has impacted the world first and now the people under Chinese governance. The Chinese originated Wuhan virus which due to Chinese pressure is now commonly known as the Corona virus took the world by storm and for 1 whole year, the world stood still. Yet even now there is no issue of accountability to China and Beijing who released a virus so potent that it continues to spread even today. With the world being and acting oblivious to the Chinese might due to their economical might, Beijing was given a free rein and to do what they want in their own territory which includes the occupied regions as well. The current zero-covid policy has seen a surge of unrest in China but what has really shaken the people is the sheer discriminatory nature of this policy and in Tibet this had instigated and pushed Tibetans to forfeit their life. Recent video clips show how even Chinese in Tibet are feeling this discriminatory nature that a Chinese vowed to take his own life if the Chinese government does not manage this zero-covid policy properly in Tibet.

Tibetans in exile not only protested Beijing’s handling of the Covid pandemic by storming and demonstrating in front of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi during its founding anniversary on 1st October. This was followed up by the large demonstration by Tibetans in Dhramshala in light of the 20th National Party Congress taking place in Beijing from 16th October this year.

The one who rides and steers the red dragon, president Xi Jinping is more likely to secure his unprecedented 3rd term as president in the coming days but witnessing how a banner in Beijing protesting against his handling of the dragon stating “we need to vote: we don’t want to be slaves” shows how Chinese people are still frustrated even though they celebrate their 73rd day of founding.

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