10 March 2010

Tibetan-Uighur Alliance?

The Dalai Lama has come out in support of Uighur autonomy as well, and blasted China for the violence there. I'm not sure that Tibet has the forces to contribute to a Uighur-style insurgency, nor do I believe that the Dalai Lama was advocating that kind of violence.

But, we saw in 2008 that the Tibetans themselves are not opposed to the use of violence. If someone could organize them, China would have a two-front insurgency on its hands. The violence of '08 would be a potent rallying cry too.

The Dalai Lama has also claimed that China is trying to "exterminate Buddhism." This claim is wildly off the mark (the Chinese government actually subsidizes Buddhist temples and monasteries, as long as they toe the Chinese line.) It does, however, give theological cover to any Tibetans who take up arms against China. The Dalai Lama has long held that violence is unacceptable, except to defend Buddhism from existential threat. Now, he normally framed that as to prevent the death of the last Buddhist on earth, but if a Tibetan thinks that without action China will destroy the last bastion of "true" (meaning: Tibetan) Buddhism? I think they have justification now for rising up.

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