On Tuesday thousands of Tibet supporters across the world will take to the streets; however, in a break from the norm, they will be converging on Nepalese embassies rather than Chinese ones. Their reason -captured in shocking footage by Radio Free Asia -is the confiscation of numerous ballot boxes for the election of the new Tibetan Prime Minister and Parliament in Exile, by armed Nepalese riot police in Kathmandu.
The order for the raids undoubtedly originated from Beijing and reflects two major political trends. Firstly, is the Chinese Government’s determination to disrupt this election, something that was already widely anticipated. In endorsing and encouraging the ballot, the Dalai Lama has shown himself to be the exact opposite of the despotic tyrant that the CCP portray him to be, so it is only natural they would want to scupper it. Furthermore, a democratically elected PM and Parliament with the unified support of the Tibetan community in exile will provide a legitimate and viable rallying point for the movement when the Dalai Lama is no longer here to provide his leadership and guidance. This too is a prospect that terrifies Hu Jintao and his fellow thugs.
The second and perhaps the wider reaching issue highlighted, is the level of China’s influence across South East Asia. The theft of the ballot boxes is merely the latest action of Nepal’s government in its role as China’s lapdog; following the suppression of Tibetan protests and the closure of the Dalai Lama’s Kathmandu office. Naturally, given that it is home to the second largest exile Tibetan population in the world, China has invested considerable resources in courting and coercing successive Nepalese leaderships both before and after the collapse of its dictatorial monarchy.
Yet such behaviour extends far wider. The Chinese government’s support of the Burmese junta prevents democracy and human rights from taking root on their doorstep; whilst their propping up of the North Korean regime (though partly for the practical reason of preventing the inevitable refugee influx should it collapse) allows further projection of their military and political muscle. Similarly a considerable degree of influence is held over Cambodia, from where China was able to successfully demand the return of twenty political asylum seekers last year, not to mention the communist-led states of Laos and Vietnam (both virtual black holes for human rights and civil liberties).
Ultimately, from the slaughter of protestors on the streets of Rangoon in 2007 (the bullets coming from Chinese guns), to the raid of polling stations in Kathmandu on Sunday (the orders coming from Chinese officials) – Beijing has exported its terror, tyranny and control across a huge swathe of South East Asia region in what now resembles something of a quasi-empire; bolstered further by its direct occupation of countries such as Tibet and East Turkestan.
However, every empire falls and one day -through the resistance of those in the region and their supporters across the globe- so too will this one.