I'll concede that, Robert. Officially he is referred to as a "splittist" influence on the Chinese nation. I think it could be argued, though, that they don't accept his legitimacy as a legitimate representative of the Tibetans.
As an irrelevant aside "splittist" is a good example of why Chinese diplomacy isn't that great. They, and North Korea, use really awkward translations that just make them look stupid.
Anywho, I do agree that they don't see him as a legitimate representative of Tibetans, or at least that they want to do as much as they can to minimize his legitimacy. But there's a couple decades of mistrust here, the separatist movement was a proxy of the US for a while (trained and funded by the CIA) and I don't think this deep mistrust is going to go away while he's alive.
Nor do they readily accept any criticism of Chinese rule in Tibet, no matter who or where it's coming from. I support his activities because he's the most vocal spokesperson for Tibetan Buddhists. They have genuine grievances which should be heard.
Chinese are hyper-sensitive to any criticism, about anything
. They are actually pretty good about not meddling in other countries though (except, of course, when it comes to incessantly telling others not to meddle in their country), and it's a bit of a cultural difference between China and much of the rest of the world.
China is pretty consistent about each nation being left to themselves, it's not something I agree with but just a reality I want my diplomats to recognize. There are already reluctant to support our measures on other countries like Iraq, and no amount of external pressure (that we can realistically muster) is going to get the Tibetans what they want. So I don't want the US to make counter-productive principled stands. Recognition of the political realities means recognition of the need to make these compromises, and to avoid inflexible options that lack nuance. Delaying a meeting with the Dalai Lama is not the end of our principles, it's a smart step towards their realization.
I don't condone the violence toward the Han Chinese & I'm certainly not denying it happened. However, given the tensions at the time, say nothing of the frustrations of the Tibetans for decades, I'm not at all surprised at what did occur. Here's another account of the violence, & an assessment of the reasons behind it, from a group of Chinese scholar & academics. :
I agree with that assessment for the most part. The knee-jerk Chinese claim that the Dalai Lama was inciting these riots was a very dubious one. I think the rioting was motivated by ethnic hatred on both sides and the timing was motivated by exploitation of the Olympic spotlight.
But what I was highlighting is that the Chinese really aren't out there killing Tibetans who are peacefully protesting like they might have in the past. I was highlighting that their crackdown on the Tibetans in recent years was a necessary response to race riots that the Tibetans started.
It's true that the Chinese were restricting protests, they didn't want their Olympics to be used politically against them, and yes the Tibetans have a lot of legitimate things to protest under Chinese rule, but the most severe human rights violations in recent years started with the Tibetans and the Chinese response has been much less draconian than it would have been in the past.
The Dalai Lama said in an interview last week that migration by ethnic Han Chinese to the Tibetan plateau was one of the main threats to the future of Tibet, and he contended that the government in Beijing should allow a regional autonomous authority run by Tibetans to limit future migration as well as make policy on education, language and use of natural resources.
“Whether intentionally or unintentionally, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place,” he said.
This is a legitimate qualm. China is systematically settling Tibet and changing the demographic facts on the ground. It's not a very wise policy in my opinion, and they'd have a lot less in way of ethnic conflict if they didn't insist on doing this to all their minority enclaves, but as far as a human rights violation it's a pretty mild one more along the lines of political redistricting than an acute human rights disaster.
The human rights issues in Tibet largely boil down to this, the lack of religious freedom, and the basic conflict of Tibetans wanting to secede. They aren't going to get their wish to secede, that much is pretty clear. So we are mainly left with the Chinese immigration policy and the lack of personal freedoms (religion, press, etc) that all
Chinese are subject to.
Given the texture of Chinese culture, and their hyper-sensitivity to criticism I really do agree with diplomatically tactful approaches. The growing capitalism in their country, the growing internet population, and the passing of the old guard is making steady progress.
This is a country that is opening up slowly to the rest of the world, and the closer we get (in terms of economic contagion etc) the most influence we have on them. I like the kid gloves approach, the more they are lured out of the cocoon the better life will be for their citizens, including the Tibetans.
Tibet's not going to get independence, and they aren't going to become an autonomous enclave like the "middle way" either. But I bet that within my lifetime they will get more personal freedoms and I think the best we can do to accelerate that is to bring them closer instead of pushing them away.