World View: China Reacts as Tibetan Self-Immolations Escalate

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 theoccasion for a sharp escalation in the number of Buddhists in farawayTibet to self-immolate, or set themselves on fire, as protests againstChina’s government. There were five self-immolations on Wednesday,including a 23-year-old single mother of 2 and three teenage Buddhistmonks. On Thursday, an 18-year-old former monk held up a white bannercalling for the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet, drawing a crowd ofthousands, and then set himself on fire. According to the director ofFree Tibet:

“As Congress opens, China must be held accountable forits actions in Tibet. These protests are aimed at sending thenext generation of China’s unelected regime a clear signal thatTibetans will continue to fight for their freedom despite China’sefforts 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 theself-immolations and warned Tibetans that:

“[Chinese security forces] will be ready to dowhatever it takes to crush those who are destroying stability inthe region to ensure that the 18th Party Congress is notdisrupted.”

Tibetans are expressing optimism that China’s new president, expectedto be Xi Jinping, will be more sympathetic to the Tibetans. Xi is theLama 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 18thParty Congress that that China must continue to “firmly march on thepath of Socialism” and he insisted that “public ownership is themainstay of the economic system” and warned that the party mustshould “steadily enhance the vitality of the state-owned sector andits capacity to leverage and influence the economy.” This is aturnabout for Hu, who in the past has called for economic reforms toreduce the amount of corruption. The turnabout reflects thebitterness of the ideological struggle going on as China’s the last ofthe survivors of Mao’s Communist Revolution civil war turn power overto younger generations who grew up after that war. The ideologicalmaneuvering has profound implications as 70% of top cadres in theparty and the Chinese military retire, the most sweeping hand-over ofpower 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 MinisterAnatoly Serdyukov. Serdyukov was neck deep in corruption, havingchanneled a chunk of the multi-billion dollar military budget intohis own bank accounts. But that kind of corruption isn’t what getsyou fired in Putin’s Russia. What got Serdyukov was the opposite ofwhat got him the job in the first place. In 2007, Serdyukov marriedYulia, the daughter of close Putin friend and associate Viktor Zubkov.With that family connection, Serdyukov rose quickly to the top. Lastmonth, the police launched an early morning raid on the apartment of33 year old Eugenia Vasilyeva, the lovely assistant of 50 year oldSerdyukov. Serdyukov answered the door in his bathrobe, and theinvestigators 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 thepeople in his own organization. This will paralyze decision-making inthe defense ministry, at a time when reform has been progressing underSerdyukov’s leadership. However, Serdyukov’s reforms have made himmany enemies, so few people are sorry to see him go. Jamestown and Reuters

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