Tibet is a region in East Asia covering much of the Tibetan Plateau spanning about 2.5 million km2. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 5,000m and located in the Himalayas, the highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain, rising 8,848 m above sea level. Tibet has some of the world’s tallest mountains, with several of them making the top ten lists. Several major rivers have their source in the Tibetan Plateau. These include the Yangtze, Yellow River, Indus River, Mekong, Ganges, Salween and the Yarlung Tsangpo River (Brahmaputra River). Tibet has been called the “Water Tower” of Asia, and China is investing heavily in water projects in Tibet. The Indus and Brahmaputra rivers originate from the vicinities of Lake Mapam Yumco in Western Tibet, near Mount Kailash. The mountain is a holy pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Tibetans. The Hindus consider the mountain to be the abode of Lord Shiva.
The Tibetan Empire emerged in the 7th century, but with the fall of the empire the region soon divided into a variety of territories. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the 18th century.
Following the Xinhai Revolution against the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet Area. The region subsequently declared its independence in 1913 without recognition by the subsequent Chinese Republican government. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when Tibet was occupied and incorporated into the People’s Republic of China, and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising. Today, China governs Tibet. There are tensions regarding Tibet’s political status and dissident groups that are active in exile.
The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism has become a growing industry in recent decades. The dominant religion in Tibet is Tibetan Buddhism; and there are also Tibetan Muslims and Christian minorities. Tibetan architecture reflects Chinese and Indian influences.
After the Xinhai Revolution (1911–12) toppled the Qing dynasty and the last Qing troops were escorted out of Tibet, the new Republic of China apologized for the actions of the Qing and offered to restore the Dalai Lama’s title. The Dalai Lama refused any Chinese title and declared himself ruler of an independent Tibet. For the next 36 years, the 13th Dalai Lama and the regents who succeeded him governed Tibet. During this time, Tibet fought Chinese warlords for control of the ethnically Tibetan areas along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. In 1914 the Tibetan government signed the Simla Accord with Britain, ceding the South Tibet region to British India. The Chinese government denounced the agreement as illegal.
When in the 1930s and 1940s the regents displayed negligence in affairs, the Kuomintang Government of the Republic of China took advantage of this to expand its reach into the territory. America’s position as the world’s strongest country faces its greatest challenge today from China, as is widely acknowledged. Yet the United States-China power struggle is not merely a phenomenon of this century, but has been ongoing for at least 70 years.
Following China’s autumn 1949 communist revolution, the US has attempted in varying degrees to negate Beijing’s influence and regional control in areas like Xinjiang and Tibet. It may be important to note that Tibet itself lies within China’s official frontiers, and is located in the far south-west of the country.
From 1950 to present
Emerging with control over most of mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, the People’s Republic of China incorporated Tibet in 1950 and negotiated an agreement with the newly enthroned 14th Dalai Lama’s government, affirming the People’s Republic of China’s sovereignty but granting the area autonomy. Subsequently, on his journey into exile, the 14th Dalai Lama completely repudiated the agreement, which he has repeated on many occasions. The Dalai Lama had a strong following as many people from Tibet looked at him not just as their political leader, but as their spiritual leader. After the Dalai Lama’s government fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion, it established a rival government-in-exile. Afterwards, the Government in Beijing renounced the agreement and began implementation of the halted social and political reforms. During the Great Leap Forward, 200,000 Tibetans may have died and approximately 6,000 monasteries were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution—destroying the vast majority of historic Tibetan architecture.. In 1962 China and India fought a brief war over the disputed Arunachal Pradesh/South Tibet and Aksai Chin regions. Although China won the war, Chinese troops withdrew north of the McMahon Line, effectively ceding Arunachal Pradesh to India.
In 1980, General Secretary and reformist Hu Yaobang visited Tibet and ushered in a period of social, political, and economic liberalization. At the end of the decade, however, before the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, monks in the monasteries started protesting for independence. The government halted reforms and started an anti-separatist campaign.
In today’s world, interdependence has increased to such an extent that the future of any country could not be considered in an isolated manner. It is true of Tibet also. The future of Tibet is bound to affect the future of the world in general and the future of its immediate neighbors-China and India in particular. Tibet’s geopolitical situation is such that it is inseparable from the course of history of India and China. In political analysts’ view, civilizational conflict between these two most highly populated countries of the world will always position them as tough competitors or worst enemies. There is no potential of genuine friendship amongst these two neighbors. Therefore, the status of Tibet as a buffer state between India and China will be the determining factor for establishment of peace, stability, and security in Asia. “Geographically, also, Tibet being the Roof of the World, from where most of the large rivers of Asia originate, will be the decisive factor for the environmental and ecological balance of the world. The scientists of the world are concluding that the Tibetan Plateau will always have a role in global climatic changes.
The British Role
Those who know anything of the history of the past century will be reminded of the role that imperial geopoliticians have consistently assigned to Tibet. Halford Mackinder of the London School of Economics, who founded British imperial “geopolitics” at the tum of this century, and his German follower, Prof. Karl Haushofer, were fixated on the geopolitical “importance” of Tibet, and had the gall to add that “China lacks legal, moral, and political legitimacy to govern Tibet”.
The British oligarchy, working through British intelligence and its longstanding assets and dupes, has launched a series of provocations, aimed at triggering a new “Great Eurasian War” pitting the trans-Atlantic powers against China, Russia, India, and other leading Eurasian states. The drive for war is coming from the highest levels of the British oligarchy, and is aimed at preventing, at all costs, the kind of collaboration among the United States, Russia, India, and China to deal with the onrushing collapse of the post-Bretton Woods global financial system.
As in the 1920s and 1930s, the British oligarchy, today, is pressing for the imposition of fascism in Europe and the Americas, and for Malthusian wars across Eurasia, aimed at wiping out the nation-state system, and a vast majority of the population of the planet, to establish a London-run world empire. British Royal Consort Prince Philip would unleash the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: He has stated publicly that he would like to be “reincarnated as a particularly deadly virus” in order to drastically reduce the world’s population. London is now aggressively moving into the implementation phase of that genocidal scheme, just as it moved in an earlier period to engineer two world wars in Eurasia during the 20th Century.
It is from this standpoint, alone, that the assassinations and other destabilizations of the recent months, in Eurasia, can be understood. Do not look for local causes, or event-driven explanations for the near-simultaneous outbreak of chaos throughout Eurasia, Africa, and South America. We are witnessing a top-down, London-orchestrated global confrontation, aimed at spreading permanent chaos across much of the globe, as the British financier oligarchs seek to impose fascism in Europe, and also in the United States, through their corporatist schemes, and their Presidential manoeuvrings. London vows that under no circumstances will it permit another “Franklin Roosevelt reflex” in the United State(what Trump and the Rockefellers are doing, by making America great again or MAGA as part of the “Fortress America “plan), in response to the near-total collapse of the once-dominant American agro-industrial economy, and the onrushing evaporation of the global financial system. London would sooner kill, than see a revival of FDR anti-fascist policy from Washington.
And, while both various schemes are meeting with significant, mounting resistance, the war plans targeting the Middle East and Eurasia are moving forward with breathtaking speed, despite significant resistance from among the leading nations, themselves.
There is a dangerous, widespread belief today, even among leading policy-making circles in the Americas and Europe that the British Empire is a thing of the past. This dangerous delusion reflects a sorry lack of understanding of the Venetian method of financier oligarchical rule, and could, if not rectified, bring on a New Dark Age of horrible suffering.
Today’s generation of British oligarchs and their vast intelligence establishment operate on the same “Venetian” principles as their predecessors, from the 18th- and 19th-Century epoch of undisputed British global imperial domination, during the heyday of the British East India Company. They always play divide-and-conquer, manipulating religious, ethnic, racial, and cultural fault-lines, to rule by promoting perpetual chaos.
Talk to any well-informed senior intelligence official from a nation targeted for British destabilization. They will all tell the same story, about British junior officers, sometimes presenting themselves as “cultural anthropologists,” or even journalists, walking from one village to another, in the most remote, God-forsaken areas of the targeted country, updating the card-files on the local tribal sheikhs, religious leaders, and warriors; updating genealogical charts; and following clan disputes from generation to generation. It is this method, and this repository of in-depth profiles of targeted populations, that is key to the Anglo-Dutch “Venetian method.” Very often, the most senior British intelligence operatives deploy from major British universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge; from so-called news organizations, such as The Economist and Reuters and BBC; and from the House of Lords.
The Case of Tibet, Now Considered
It is from this vantage point, alone, that the case of the onrushing destabilization of the Chinese province of Tibet—can be assessed. The target of this destabilization, as well as the soon-to-be unleashed destabilization of China’s Xinjiang Province, by Muslim Uighur separatists, is China. London intends to provoke a confrontation between China and the West, to be the opening phase of a larger Eurasian war, soon to target Russia, Iran and India as well.
Tibet has been a playground for British intelligence operations against China for more than a century, based on the initial British colonial-era interest in establishing a buffer state between its India colonies and China, and using that buffer state, on key occasions, to provoke actual war.
It was during the early 1930s, as Russia and China were being militarily challenged by Britain’s ally Japan that Britain trained and armed a separatist army, under the 13th Dalai Lama, to split Tibet out of China. At the same time, Britain trained and armed a Uighur Muslim uprising in southern Xinjiang Province in western China, which promoted then, and still does, to this day, an independent, mythical “East Turkestan.”
In May 1933, the Soviet news agency TASS reported on the Uighur uprising and its links to the British-led actions in Tibet, in terms that could easily describe the British plans being activated today: The Xinjiang uprising, TASS wrote “must be considered as definitely connected with the operations of Tibetan troops…. There is no doubt that interested imperialist countries are endeavoring to utilize the present moment to set up in Xinjiang, a Muslim state hostile to China, which would be dependent upon them and would serve as a buffer between the U.S.S.R. and China.”
One of the architects of those 1930s Tibetan and Xinjiang operations for British intelligence was Hugh Richardson (1905-2000), a third-generation veteran of the British Foreign Office’s India Office, who spent nine years in Tibet during the 1930s and 1940s, and became the British “handler” of the young 14th Dalai Lama, as well as the protector, after World War II, of the leading Nazi agents in Tibet, including Heinrich Harrer and Bruno Beger. A recipient of the Order of the British Empire, Richardson was the architect of the “independent” Tibet hoax, and recruited a next generation of British intelligence Tibet-handlers, including Michael Aris (the husband of Aung San Suu Kyi, the British intelligence-run Myanmar “opposition” leader). Upon his “retirement” in 1951, Richardson established the Tibet Society of the U.K., at the time the only non-governmental organization in the world that disputed Chinese sovereignty over Tibet; and later founded the Richardson Foundation, to recruit young Tibetans to British service.
Richardson, himself, had been recruited and trained by Basil Gould and Sir Charles Bell, two earlier Tibet handlers for the British secret services, who had worked on the original British invasion of Tibet in 1903, with Francis Younghusband, the military commander of that operation, which, in effect, sealed off Tibet from China. Richardson was the author of secret British intelligence profiles on Tibet, and a series of published works, profiling the culture and history of the Himalayan region.
U.S. Institutional Loss of Memory
During the 1920s and 1930s, the General Staff of the United States military maintained war plans, which included plans for a U.S. war against the Anglo-Japanese axis. The British targeting of China, described above, was well known among American intelligence specialists, and “War Plan Red-Orange,” the specific American plan to fight against Great Britain and Japan, was regularly updated, and considered a very real proposition. Today, the mere historical existence of U.S. war plans to fight Britain is almost unknown, except among a rare breed of military historians of the period.
The current Anglo-American campaign to break up China, as an opening shot in a Eurasian war, pitting Europe and the United States against China, Iran, and Russia, poses a grave danger.
The Dalai Lama
In the West the image of the Dalai Lama had been so heavily promoted that in many circles he was deemed almost a God. The Dalai Lama travels in arch-conservative political circles. During the 1930s the Nazis, including Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler and other top Nazi party leaders regarded Tibet as the holy site of the survivors of the lost “Atlantis” civilization, and the origin of the “Nordic pure race”. When he was 11, and already designated Dalai Lama, he was befriended by SS officer Heinrich Harrer, and became his tutor.
The Dalai Lama had been surrounded and financed by various US and Western intelligence services and their NGO’s. It was the agenda of his friends in Washington that was relevant. During the 1950s and 60s, the CIA actively backed the Tibetan cause with arms, military training, money, air support, and many other things.
The US-based American Society for a Free Asia, a CIA front, publicized the cause of Tibetan resistance with the Dalai Lama’s older brother, Thubtan Norbu, playing an active role in the setup. His other brother, Gyalo Thondup, established an intelligence operation with the CIA in 1951. It was later upgraded into a CIA-trained guerilla unit, whose recruits were parachuted back into Tibet.
Since China’s revolution seven decades ago, the most serious armed challenge to have faced Beijing’s authority came from Tibet. America’s influence in Tibet can, in fact, be traced to as early as the second half of 1942, when the CIA’s predecessor organisation – the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – dispatched two of its secret agents to Tibet while America was tightening the screws on Imperial Japan. The OSS operatives’ mission was to identify a corridor through Tibet from US ally India that would allow easy access for American forces into Chinese territory.
The American agents were successful in “establishing friendly relations with the Tibetan authorities
Beginning in 1956, the CIA instituted a remarkable program whereby it flew up to 300 “Tibetan freedom fighters” all the way to the western US state of Colorado. This top secret initiative was overseen by the Tibetan-speaking CIA officer, Bruce Walker.
Walker conducted lengthy training exercises of these Tibetan commandos at Camp Hale, the remote Colorado US Army facility. The CIA’s training of Tibet’s separatists continued at Camp Hale until it was closed in 1964.
In 1958 the CIA was also using its air bases in Thailand, south-east Asia, from where American aircraft flew northwards to Tibet. US planes air-dropped modern weaponry and ammunition to ethnic-Tibetan regions of Kham. Another CIA command centre was built in New Delhi, India, where intensive monitoring of guerrilla activities in Tibet was undertaken.
An unnamed, retired CIA agent, who was heavily involved in the operations, recalled that,
“The idea was to make Tibet very expensive for China. The Chinese had these long, vulnerable supply lines. The guerrillas were supposed to harass them. And for a while, they actually succeeded”.
Their specialty, led by CIA operatives, was in implementing ambushes on Chinese forces emanating from mountain-high bases in Nepal nearby to the south. By early 1960, the CIA had managed to amass about 14,000 Tibetan guerrillas, along with other fighters of ethnic minority background, in order to wage a de facto war on China. Tibet’s proxy forces were almost entirely dependent on the Americans, with the CIA providing all of their arms, equipment and sustenance.
Up to 10 CIA-run camps were erected in Nepal, directly bordering Tibet to the south. These CIA training facilities were situated less than 200 miles from Mount Everest, and close to the city of Pohkara in central Nepal. Other CIA bases were located within Tibet itself and also in India. US military aircraft were seen flying unhindered into Chinese territory, and towards Tibet where, as the Himalayan peaks came into view, American pilots air-dropped further supplies to Tibetan forces. The American airborne expeditions into Tibet enjoyed crucial direction from a CIA station positioned in eastern Pakistan.
One former Tibetan fighter, Nawang Gayltsen, outlined that, “None of us knew how to fight the Chinese the modern way. But the Americans taught us. We learned camouflage, spy photography, guns and radio operation”.
During the late spring of 1960, two CIA teams embedded in Tibet were forced to flee southwards over the Himalayas in horrendous conditions, but they somehow managed to navigate through the daunting mountain tops and reach India – such was their determination to avoid capture from communist soldiers. These occurrences, straight out of a James Bond film, are even today little known. Meanwhile, four CIA radio teams were wiped out altogether, while just six of almost 20 CIA-trained Tibetan agents survived the fighting. Yet the CIA’s funding of Tibetan independent causes was hardly what could be described as little. In the year 1964 alone, the CIA spent $1,735,000 on its program of subversion in Tibet, a sum now equivalent to $14 million.
With the help of the CIA, the Dalai Lama fled to Dharamshala in 1959, where he lives till today. He continues to receive millions from the CIA, and most recently, from CIA front organizations, funded by the US Congress, called the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
The NED has been instrumental in every US-backed Color Revolution and destabilization from Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, to Myanmar, Egypt, and other places. The funds go to support opposition media and global PR campaigns to popularize their pet opposition candidates. As in other recent Color Revolutions, Washington was fanning the flames of destabilization against China by funding opposition protest organizations inside and outside Tibet through its arm, the NED.
Bill Casey, Reagan’s head of the CIA in the 1980s, was the brains behind the NED – as per his instructions from David Rockefeller – the true owner and boss of the CIA. David became responsible for the CIA in 1979, after the death of his brother Nelson. This was done following a series of high-publicity exposures of CIA assassinations and destabilization of unfriendly regimes. The NED was designed to pose as an independent NGO, one step removed from the CIA, so as to be less conspicuous. The first head of the NED was Allan Weinstein, who made a comment to the Washington Post that; “A lot of what we do today was done covertly by the CIA 25 years ago”.
Following this, many pro-Dalai Lama Tibet independence organizations were found and funded by the US. In short, US State Department and US intelligence community fingerprints were all over the upsurge around the Free Tibet movement and the anti-Chinese attacks, beginning in early 2008.The question was why, and especially why in 2008?
Washington decided on an ultra-high-risk geopolitical game by fanning the flames of violence inside China itself, in Tibet, in March 2008. The 2008 Tibet operation got a green light in October 2007, when Bush met publicly for the first time in Washington. Bush was aware of the high stakes of such an insult to Beijing.
The 2008 Tibetan unrest was a series of protests and demonstrations against the Chinese government’s persecution of Tibetans. The scheduled 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing was a rallying point before 2008, and a marching protest in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa by monastery monks on 10 March is credited with beginning the movement. Numerous peaceful protests and demonstrations began commemorating the 49th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when the 14th Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet. In response, international diplomatic condemnations and concerns were expressed by numerous countries. International protests supporting Tibetans were also held in cities in North America and Europe, as well as in Beijing, Australia, India, and Nepal. Many of the international protests also called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. On 24 March, the torch lighting ceremony in Greece was disrupted by activists, including some from Reporters Without Borders – a British Intelligence front.
At Chinese embassies, protests ranged from pelting the embassies with eggs and rocks to protestors entering the premises and raising the flag of Tibet, which was outlawed in Tibet by the Chinese government in 1959.
The Beijing Olympics were an event seen in China as a major acknowledgement of the arrival of a prosperous new China on the world stage. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the unrest to sabotage the Olympic Games in order to achieve Tibetan independence.
Not long after this, the US trained its sights on China’s oil resources by an attempt at fomenting unrest in China’s oil-rich and strategic province, Xinjiang (a Muslim majority province). Washington’s intervention was about the strategic geopolitical location of Xinjiang on the Eurasian landmass, and its strategic importance for China’s future economic and energy cooperation with Russia and Kazakhstan.
Then, in 2005, Washington recruited India into a strategic alliance to counter China.
Non-violence as a Form of Warfare
The March 2008 events in Tibet and other regions of China were played in western media with little regard to accuracy or independent verification. The western media’s complicity simply further confirmed that the activities around Tibet were part of a well-orchestrated destabilization effort on Washington’s part. What few people realized was that the NED was also instrumental, along with Gene Sharp’s misnamed Albert Einstein Institute through Colonel Robert Helvey, in encouraging the student protests at Tiananmen Square in June 1989. This institution specializes in “non-violence as a form of warfare”.
With the emergence of the internet, cell phones, and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc., the Pentagon has devised, and refined, an entirely new form of regime change and political destabilization. As researcher Jonathan Mowat described the phenomenon behind the wave of color revolutions – – : “What we are seeing is the civilian application of the Pentagon’s “Revolution in Military Affairs” (or RMA as it is called in Pentagonese) doctrine, which depends on highly mobile small group deployments “enabled” by “real-time” intelligence and communications. Squads of soldiers taking over city blocks with the aid of “intelligence helmet” video screens that give them an instantaneous overview of their environment constitute the military side. Bands of youth converging on targeted intersections in constant dialogue on cell phones constitute the doctrine’s civilian application. This parallel should not be surprising since the US military and the NSA subsidized the development of the Internet, cell phones and software platforms. From their inception, these technologies were studied and experimented with in order to find the optimal use in a new kind of warfare. This “revolution” in warfare that such new instruments permit has been pushed to the extreme by several specialists in psychological warfare. These specialists have been working in high places (e.g., the RAND Corporation, and DARPA), to a large extent, they only took over some of the most important command structures of the Pentagon when Donald Rumsfeld took over the Pentagon.
Washington policy used and refined these techniques of “non-revolutionary violence”. NED operations embodied a series of “democratic” or soft coup projects as part of a larger strategy which would strategically cut China off from access to its vital external oil and gas reserves. It reminds us of Kissinger’s statement of the 1970s – : If you control the oil flows, you control the destinies of entire nations – – – “.
The destabilization attempt by Washington using Tibet with help from British Intelligence assets was part of a clear pattern. It included Washington’s “saffron revolution“ attempts to destabilize Myanmar. It included the effort to get NATO troops into Darfur to block China’s access to strategically vital oil resources there, and elsewhere in Africa. It included the formation of AFRICOM in 2010 to block access to Africa’s wealth by America’s economic rivals. It included attempts to foment problems in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and to disrupt China’s vital new pipelines to Central Asia. The earlier Silk Road trade routes went through Tashkent in Uzbekistan and Almaty in Kazakhstan for geographically obvious reasons in a region surrounded by major mountain ranges.
Geopolitical control of Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan would enable control of any pipeline routes between China and Central Asia, just as the encirclement of Russia controls pipeline ties between it and Europe, and the Middle East, where China depends on uninterrupted oil flows from Iran.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, a protégé of David Rockefeller, and a follower of the founder of British geopolitics, Sir Halford Mackinder, is worth quoting, from a 1997 book called “The Grand Chessboard “ : “ – – – Eurasia is home to most of the world’s politically assertive and dynamic states. All the historical pretenders to global power originated in Eurasia. The world’s most popular aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in Eurasia, as are all the potential political or economic challengers to American primacy. After the US, the next six largest economies and military spenders are there, as are all but one of the world’s nuclear powers. Eurasia accounts for 75% of the world’s population, 60% of its GNP, and 75% of its energy resources. Eurasia’s POTENTIAL POWER EVEN OVERSHADOWS even America.
Eurasia is the world’s axial continent. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world’s two of the world’s three most economically active regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy – – – “.
The statement was about global domination, not democracy. China was not convinced that giving America such overwhelming power was in its best interest, any more than Russia thinks that it would be a step towards peace to let NATO gobble up Ukraine and put US missiles on Russia’s doorstep.
The US destabilization in Tibet was part of a strategic shift of great significance. It comes at a time when the US economy and the US dollar, still the world’s reserve currency, are in a serious crisis. China had become the world’s largest holder of foreign currency reserves, most of which were invested in US Treasury bonds. China was America’s largest lender. Washington was “playing with fire”.
In order to increase tensions, Tibet’s neighbor, Nepal is going through a low-intensity turmoil. It has been deliberately kept on a boil, so as to provide a future “excuse” for western intervention into Nepal, thus moving western forces one step closer to Tibet.
When the British were forced to give independence, they cunningly left behind several future detonation points, such as Kashmir and Nepal. Amnesty International is a British-run operation. Meanwhile, Amnesty workers, along with a slew of nongovernmental organizations, are crawling all over rural Nepal, ostensibly keeping watch on “police atrocities” against the Maoists. The Amnesty championing of the Nepali terrorists, however, did not occur in a vacuum. The Nepali Congress, the dominant political party which took power in 1991 by weakening the monarchy in a long-drawn-out political campaign that led to many incidents of violence, failed miserably to unify the country behind one political leader. Intra-party conflict led to electoral erosion of the party and gave rise to a consolidated Nepali Communist Party (CPN), which wielded political power for nine months following its electoral victory in 1995. A few years later, the CPN split, creating an avowed group of terrorists under the banner of CPN. It is this group that British intelligence controls. British interest in Nepal is as old as the hills. The Nepali monarchy, which looks up to Buckingham Palace, is linked to the British monarchy in many ways, including through the World Wildlife Fund. Prince Gyanendra, elder son of King Birendra, is a member of the 1001 Club, run by Prince Philip of Britain and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. There are, in fact, a number of geopolitical reasons why Britain wants its paws on Nepal. To begin with, Nepal is very much part of the old drugs-and-guns trade route. Recent reports indicate that Nepal has become an important link in the scheme of things of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence—a search of whose family tree may lead one to the British MI6, Israeli Mossad, and Saudi intelligence. The ISI has furthered the drugs-and-guns trade to fund a number of terrorist groups operating in northeast India, including the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. In time, perhaps, this link could also supply arms to the Tibetan “refugees,” anti-monarch Nepalis in southern Bhutan, and even the Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang. The British geopoliticians need the entire northern belt along the Himalayas, stretching from Kashmir to Myanmar, to remain a no-man’s land where drug-traffickers, gun-runners, and spies are allowed to roam free, bringing in money and information to the oligarchs. It is for this reason that the porous boundaries of Kashmir have become a major transit route for guns and drugs, and it is also perhaps why Britain, and Israel, will do their best not to let the Kashmir issue be resolved. Strategically located huge game reserves all along the belt, ostensibly set up to protect endangered species such as the Tibetan antelope and snow leopard, fit into this scheme of things nicely. If China had not taken control, Tibet would have long been the kind of drug- and gun-running thoroughfare Nepal has become today. Failure of the democratic forces in Nepal to respond adequately to the basic requirements of the poor Nepalis, and a cynical monarchy’s plan to turn Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, into a tourist-oriented center for hot money, flesh, and drug traders, has created a highly volatile situation in Nepal, which borders India, China, and Bhutan. The objective is to keep Nepal undeveloped, and unstable. Attempts made earlier by the leaders of both India and Nepal to harness Nepal’s huge hydroelectric potential have been systematically uprooted by the violent communists, who now wear the label of Maoist. The World Bank, which at one point had committed funds for a feasibility study for one of the hydroelectric projects, danced to the British tune and left. The reason cited was Nepal’s political instability. As a result, the future portends breeding of new armed insurgents. Indian security forces, who are battling insurgents in the northeast states—will likely find things getting hotter. Bhutan and China should also take note. The Tibetans, linked to the Dalai Lama, are involved in the trade which gets them deep into China. There have already been reports that the Tibetans and Uighurs, both controlled top down by British and US intelligence, have joined hands to fight for Xinjiang’s and Tibet’s independence from China.
Tibet’s Raw Minerals Treasure
Tibet is of strategic importance to China not only for its geographical location astride the border with India, Washington’s newest anti-China ally in Asia, but also because Tibet is a treasure trove of minerals and oil.
It has some of the world’s largest uranium and borax deposits, 50% of the world’s lithium(think cell phones, laptops and electric car batteries), the largest copper deposits in Asia, enormous iron ore deposits, and over 80,000 gold mines. Tibet’s forests are the largest timber reserves at China’s disposal; as of 1980, an estimated $54 billion worth of trees had been cut and taken by China. Tibet also has some of the largest oil reserves in the region.
On Tibet’s’ border with Xingiang, is also a vast oil and mineral region in the Qaidam Basin, known as the “treasure basin”. The basin has 57 different types of mineral reserves including oil, gas, coal, salt, potassium, magnesium, lead, zinc and gold. These mineral resources have a potential economic value of some $3 trillion. And, situated as it is, on the “roof of the world,” Tibet is the world’s most valuable water source. Tibet is the source of seven of Asia’s greatest rivers. Whoever controls Tibet’s water has a powerful geopolitical lever over all of Asia.
It is these resources that have been promised to India in the event of India attacking China in this region. Washington’s prime interest in Tibet, however, was for its potential to act as a lever to destabilize and blackmail the Chinese government.
The Potential for Conflict: Implications of Chinese Control over Asia’s Major River Systems
Tibet is the epicentre of regional food and water security. The headwaters of six of Asia’s major rivers begin on the Tibetan Plateau. China, which requires water to meet the needs of 20 per cent of the world’s population, has harnessed freshwater from the plateau to meet its own food and water requirements by building dams, irrigation systems and creating water diversion projects. China is the largest and most technologically-advanced of all the countries in the region, enabling the Asian giant to hold an important position of power over downstream countries. Dwindling water sources in the Transboundary Rivers of the Tibetan Plateau threaten water security and create a high potential for geopolitical conflict in the region.
Forty-six per cent of the world’s population depends upon rivers originating in Tibet, including the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween and Mekong rivers. Rapid population growth, industrialisation and climate change, however, threaten water security across South and South-East Asia. With China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Myanmar/Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand all dependent on rivers that have their headwaters in Tibet, predicted water shortages threaten the livelihoods of millions of people living in countries downstream.
In 1950, Mao Zedong annexed Tibet, largely due to its strategic position and its water resources. China is, overall, an arid country and water security is regarded as an important national security issue. Building dams, irrigation systems and diversion projects is considered vital not just for providing water to its 1.3 billion people, but also for ensuring internal political stability. Any alteration to China’s control of Tibet and its water could alter the distribution of power between China and the countries downstream as well as cause heightened internal tensions, a notion that Beijing will be reluctant to countenance.
Chinese control in Tibet places China in a dominant position to control Asia’s water sources. Hydropower is a clean alternative to meeting China’s increasing energy needs. As a result of dam building, however, the countries downstream have been, and will remain, negatively affected through altered water flow and increased sedimentation. Industrial activities also threaten the quality of Tibetan freshwater. Previous deforestation has created erosion and siltation and mining and industrial development has contributed to pollution from heavy metals within Tibet. The potential for conflict between China and downstream countries is likely to increase as the volume of water downstream decreases.
India opposes the construction of dams along the Yarlung Tsangpo because of the effects it will have on India’s own hydropower projects. China’s plans to divert water would damage water flow, agriculture, ecology, lives and the livelihoods of 1.3 billion people downstream in India and Bangladesh. India’s and Bangladesh’s combined population is predicted to surpass that of China’s within a decade. Rapid population growth downstream is likely to contribute to increasing water demands which, in turn, could severely heighten Sino-Indian tension. Geopolitical tension between the two major powers of Asia greatly increases the potential for conflict in the region.
Bangladesh will experience a serious threat to its water supply by Chinese and Indian activities upstream. The Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers merge in Bangladesh and flow into the Bay of Bengal. India’s damming of the Ganges River has already reduced its flow downstream. Soil salinity in Bangladesh has increased as a result and seriously damaged agriculture. Thousands of Bangladeshis have been forced to relocate to north-east India causing, due to the demographic composition of the area, serious ethnic conflicts. China’s actions upstream, combined with the India’s, have had grim consequences downstream in Bangladesh, which has little capacity to challenge them. Further reductions in its water supply could continue to create grounds for internal conflict.
Chinese dam construction and water diversion projects in Tibet no doubt have, and will continue to have, significant detrimental effects downstream. Economic interaction between the countries through which a river flows complicates the issue of transboundary river negotiations and muddies the waters for future food and water security. Water is arguably the world’s most important and valued resource. It is predicted that seventy-five per cent of the world’s population will face freshwater scarcity by 2050. If Tibet’s precious resources continue to decline, future water scarcity may become the biggest transboundary challenge the region will need to address.
When Asia was hit with the Asian financial crisis in 1997-2000, Chinas’ export machine slowed. To counteract rising unemployment, a massive infrastructure program was rolled out. China went on to build highways and roads. Then, following the 2008 financial crash, China embarked on railways and high speed rail systems (HSR). It included Tibet in all of these programs, which resulted in binding Tibet more to China than anything else. Along with hard infrastructure, China also invested heavily on soft infrastructure, investing in education and health. If the people get educated, become smart, and see that their government is meeting all of their social needs, then the inclination of betrayal and treason will fall away.
The Tibet rail line (“rail in the sky”) is another demonstration of new technologies. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the first ever to connect the Tibet Autonomous Region, a land of extreme height and rough terrain, to anywhere else. Thus, the drive by China for advanced rail service is contributing to the connectivity on many fronts in Asia. China’s extensive and high-technology rail networks hearken back to the original nation-building railroad plan put forward at the beginning of the last century by the founding father of the Republic of China, Sun Yatsen. In 2006, the highest altitude railway in the world started operating between Qinghai and Tibet.
Thus, in 16 years, as of the beginning of 2020, the biggest HSR system in the world had been created, with a total length of 14,463 km, of which around 9,000 km is in the interior regions of China. As of early 2020, high-speed express trains are running on 40 dedicated HSR lines. Around 60% of the Chinese HSR network’s trains run at 200-250 km/h, while the rest have speeds of 300 km/h or more. HSR has substantially increased the mobility of the Chinese population: as of the beginning of 2020, around 25% of all passenger rail carriage is on high-speed lines.
Besides infrastructure, China is also investing heavily on cyber warfare and on its military as well. A showdown between the West and China is definitely on the cards. We shall do a more detailed study of this in our future articles. Hope you enjoyed this article, as it gives the reader a fresh perspective on the geopolitics of the region.
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