China And SAARC
|English: The Seventh Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|Xi Jinping 习近平 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
China has had an impressive economic track record from 1990 to 2010. But the days of double digit growth rates are over. Xi Jinping is a good guy, but if he wants to take his country back to double digit growth rates his one option is bold political reforms leading all the way to plurality. And the best way to make those moves might be from the very top.
Yes, it is about Tibet. Tibet is an integral part of South Asia. It is by way of Tibet that China has any currency in South Asia. The ties go back thousands of years. Buddha was born in Nepal but it is in Tibet that Buddhism has its deepest roots. Those bonds are strong. A Lhasa to Lumbini railway track would symbolize that.
No one wants to go back to the way things were. The Dalai Lama himself does not. The idea of the same person being head of state and head of religion are outdated. Tibet wants and deserves its prosperity. Tibetans don't want a separate country. But their religious freedom will not be denied forever. Their human rights are as sacrosanct as that of anyone else.
And to that end many options are available. If a larger global alliance of democracies - America, India, Japan - will have to be forged, so be it. And that would be sad. Because this is not a geopolitical struggle to put China down. China is a proud country with a proud heritage. About 800 years ago China was the leading country on the planet, and it might still become that. And China has a lot to teach. China could teach campaign finance reform to America and India. That is there. China has lifted more people out of poverty than any other power. That is exemplary and India should learn. When the 2008 recession hit, if it were not for the strength of the Chinese economy, the world might have gone into a deep Depression.
The Chinese are a proud people and they deserve their rightful place under the sun. They have so much to give, they have so much to teach. I would like to see a day when you can get on the train in any part of the world and end up in Beijing. Why not? The sound finances of the Chinese government might help fund much needed infrastructure projects all across the world.
But there is no fighting the inevitable. China owes itself bold political reforms. I want Taiwan to be part of China, but that will not happen unless China steers itself to political pluralism.
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