By Thubten Samphel
The Chinese government has convinced itself that it has “liberated” Tibet. To drive home this conviction to the rest of the world it has bought advertisements in newspapers from Malawi to India to declare the happy news of Tibet’s serf liberation day. In Tibet, the authorities tried outright bribery so that the “liberated” serfs willingly join in the celebration. How successful the authorities were in this effort is captured by The Economist’s headline on this event: “Damn You, Rejoice.”
Unlike the rest of the world which is going through a period of belt-tightening because of the ongoing financial tsunami, China is awash in cash. Like any nouveau riche, China throws its weight around the world and in the neighbourhood block. In Arunachal Pradesh, China stops a $60 million development project to be financed by the Asian Development Bank. In New Delhi it buys a four-page spread in The Hindustan Times to say that the “serfs” on the other side consider themselves “liberated.” Like America from a different era, China thinks any problem will solve itself by withdrawing or throwing money at it.