World View: China Reacts as Tibetan Self-Immolations Escalate

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • China reacts furiously as Tibetan self-immolations sharply escalate
  • China's Hu Jintao says Socialism will prevail in final speech as president
  • Putin fires Russia's defense minister, paralyzing the army

China reacts furiously as Tibetan self-immolations sharply escalate

Anti-government protester Tamdin Tso, 23-year-old mother of 2, burned herself to death on Wednesday
Anti-government protester Tamdin Tso, 23-year-old mother of 2, burned herself to death on Wednesday

The opening of China's 18th Party Congress in Beijing has been the occasion for a sharp escalation in the number of Buddhists in faraway Tibet to self-immolate, or set themselves on fire, as protests against China's government. There were five self-immolations on Wednesday, including a 23-year-old single mother of 2 and three teenage Buddhist monks. On Thursday, an 18-year-old former monk held up a white banner calling for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet, drawing a crowd of thousands, and then set himself on fire. According to the director of Free Tibet:

"As Congress opens, China must be held accountable for its actions in Tibet. These protests are aimed at sending the next generation of China’s unelected regime a clear signal that Tibetans will continue to fight for their freedom despite China’s efforts to suppress and intimidate them."

There have been at least 69 self-immolation protests since February, 2009, and in 54 cases, the protesters have died.

Chinese officials are extremely embarrassed and infuriated by the self-immolations and warned Tibetans that:

"[Chinese security forces] will be ready to do whatever it takes to crush those who are destroying stability in the region to ensure that the 18th Party Congress is not disrupted."

Tibetans are expressing optimism that China's new president, expected to be Xi Jinping, will be more sympathetic to the Tibetans. Xi is the "princeling" son of Xi Zhongxun, who met and came to know the Dalai Lama in Beijing in the early 1950s. Daily Mail and AFP

China's Hu Jintao says Socialism will prevail in final speech as president

In his final speech as president of China, Hu Jintao told the 18th Party Congress that that China must continue to "firmly march on the path of Socialism" and he insisted that "public ownership is the mainstay of the economic system" and warned that the party must "resolutely not follow Western political systems." he said the party should "steadily enhance the vitality of the state-owned sector and its capacity to leverage and influence the economy." This is a turnabout for Hu, who in the past has called for economic reforms to reduce the amount of corruption. The turnabout reflects the bitterness of the ideological struggle going on as China's the last of the survivors of Mao's Communist Revolution civil war turn power over to younger generations who grew up after that war. The ideological maneuvering has profound implications as 70% of top cadres in the party and the Chinese military retire, the most sweeping hand-over of power since the revolution in 1949. Telegraph (London)

Putin fires Russia's defense minister, paralyzing the army

On Tuesday, Russia's President Vladimir Putin fired Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Serdyukov was neck deep in corruption, having channeled a chunk of the multi-billion dollar military budget into his own bank accounts. But that kind of corruption isn't what gets you fired in Putin's Russia. What got Serdyukov was the opposite of what got him the job in the first place. In 2007, Serdyukov married Yulia, the daughter of close Putin friend and associate Viktor Zubkov. With that family connection, Serdyukov rose quickly to the top. Last month, the police launched an early morning raid on the apartment of 33 year old Eugenia Vasilyeva, the lovely assistant of 50 year old Serdyukov. Serdyukov answered the door in his bathrobe, and the investigators reported confiscated jewelry, paintings and cash worth $10 million. Serdyukov has been replaced by a new defense minister, who will fire many of Serdyukov's men and replace them with his own. That will create a domino effect, with each new official replacing the people in his own organization. This will paralyze decision-making in the defense ministry, at a time when reform has been progressing under Serdyukov's leadership. However, Serdyukov's reforms have made him many enemies, so few people are sorry to see him go. Jamestown and Reuters


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