Monday, April 07, 2008

Whether or not we choose to use the 2008 Beijing Olympics to leverage Chinese politics with respect to Tibet, it is quite clear that the opportunity to do so exists and it does so in a way and to an extent we have not seen since Nixon used the Sino-Soviet split as leverage to open China to the world. The same kind of leverage exists today because the Communist Party of China has oversold and over hyped the Olympics to the Chinese people with the expectation that its grand success on the world stage will legitimize its rule and solidify its "Mandate from Heaven" as benevolent dictators. By having done so they now face the risk that if things do not go well in the Olympics, they may lose face and along with that, their mandate from heaven. The all-out assault by the CPC propaganda machine to vilify the Dalai Lama and his sympathizers in the West as evil and hypocritical should serve as sufficient evidence of the Party's tenuous position. The level of fear and loathing in the Party that has been generated by the Tibet issue is unprecedented in the post-Mao era. It appears to me that they are in disarray. To strike or not to strike is a separate question but there is no question that the iron is hot.

Cha-am Jamal

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