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Should India grant asylum to the boy lama?

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    Should India grant asylum to the boy lama?

    Should India grant asylum to the boy lama?

    The dramatic flight of the 14-year old Karmapa Lama from Chinese-ruled Tibet to India has put the government in Delhi on the spot.

    India says no request for asylum has been received from the Karmapa Lama after his eight-day trek across the Himalayas, and is still studying the circumstances of his arrival.

    The Tibetan government-in-exile wants India to respond favourably to any asylum request. But China has warned India that any move to grant the "living Buddha" asylum could jeopardise ties between the two Asian giants.

    What do you think India should do? Should it grant asylum to the boy lama whom Tibetans say is fleeing Chinese repression? Or should India refrain from doing anything to risk its often troubled relationship with Peking?

    Why not?


      It seems they wont. US wants India to give him asylum, looking at several statements coming from Washington. But let US fight its battles. We need not get in.


        isn't a llama a sort of south american camel


          India must decide how to deal with Karmapa who fled Tibet
          By MARION LLOYD
          Copyright 2000 Special to the Chronicle

          NEW DELHI, India -- Already battling a terrorist war that it blames on rival Pakistan, India now is embroiled in a hostile standoff with China -- its other uneasy neighbor -- over the arrival of a revered Tibetan monk.

          The surprise escape of the 17th Karmapa, who arrived in India Jan. 5, has put the spotlight on New Delhi's de facto support for Tibetan autonomy. India's stance on Tibet has long been a source of tension with China.

          The 14-year-old monk is the third-highest member of Tibet's Buddhist hierarchy and was considered a key pawn in China's campaign to legitimize its control over the territory.

          The Indian government must now decide whether to offer the Karmapa political asylum, a status it granted to China's archrival, the Dalai Lama, in 1959. While India is wary of angering Beijing, it is also under pressure from the 130,000 Tibetans living here and Western nations sympathetic to the Tibetan cause.

          "The (Indian) government is going to have to think very deeply about this. They cannot appear to be cruel, nor can they appear to be cowing to the Chinese by returning" the Karmapa to Tibet, said Vikram Chand, an expert in international relations at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi. "They will have to let him (remain in India) but at the same time engage in damage control."

          China on Tuesday warned India against offering political asylum to the Karmapa, saying such a move would violate a 1954 treaty in which India recognized China's sovereignty over Tibet.

          India should be reminded of "the five principles of peaceful coexistence" which form the basis of bilateral relations between India and China, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhu Bangzao, told reporters in Beijing.

          Indian officials reiterated Wednesday that New Delhi had not yet received a formal request on behalf of the Karmapa.

          The Tibetan group in Dharamsala said it hoped India would "respond favorably" if asylum were sought. The group said the monk fled to avoid religious repression and human rights abuses.

          India also must decide whether to allow the Karmapa to travel to Sikkim, the eastern Indian state where his Kagyu sect has its own headquarters-in-exile. China still does not recognize India's 1975 annexation of Sikkim, a former Buddhist kingdom, and any attention on the region could revive other lingering border disputes between India and China.

          The debate has revived memories of the flight of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, after a failed rebellion against Chinese rule in 1959. The decision of then-Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to grant political asylum unleashed half a century of hostilities, with China accusing India of meddling in its internal affairs.

          Nehru then went a step further in allowing the Dalai Lama to set up a government-in-exile in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, though he stopped short of giving it official status.

          India's perceived pro-Tibetan stance was a factor in the 1962 border war between India and China, in which Indian troops suffered a humiliating defeat.

          The loss was shattering for New Delhi, which had hopes of forging close ties with Beijing or at least projecting itself as a leading force in the region.

          The monk's escape was seen as an embarrassment for China, which had been projecting him as proof of Beijing's respect for Tibetan religious traditions since presiding over his swearing-in at Lhasa in 1992.

          That claim was further challenged on Wednesday by a statement from Washington accusing Beijing of increasing human rights violations.

          The U.S. government plans to file a petition before the U.N. Human Rights Commission, demanding China be censored for its increasing crackdown on dissenters and "repression of minority groups, particularly the Tibetans," State Department spokesman James Rubin said.

          However, analysts said India would likely refrain from going too far in angering Beijing, for fear China could increase its longtime support for Pakistan.

          "They've got lots of calculations to worry about," said Roderick MacFarquhar, chairman of the government department at Harvard University and an expert on China. "The most important one would be what will be the impact on Sino-Pakistani relations (and) would China do things for Pakistan's weapons development."

          India, whose May 1998 nuclear tests prompted a copycat response from Pakistan, accuses China of aiding Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. The tests marked a low point in Indo-Chinese relations, with India's defense minister claiming India needed nuclear weapons primarily to protect itself against China.

          Still, MacFarquhar said Beijing would be constrained by its reluctance to sour ties with the United States and risk making its human rights record a major issue in the U.S. presidential debate. China also is indebted to Washington for backing its bid to join the World Trade Organization.

          Other experts said China had little intention of punishing India, regardless of its decision on the Karmapa. But they said New Delhi also had little to gain taking a radical stand on Tibet.

          "We can't upset the Chinese so much that it may be a matter of losing face. It's a very important factor that you have to consider in Asia," said Dawa Norbu, a professor of Central Asian studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Norbu said the Karmapa's case was distinct from that of the Dalai Lama, who held the dual role of political and spiritual leader of Tibet before China's invasion in 1950. He said the Karmapa has more of a following outside Tibet, primarily in Nepal, Bhutan and eastern India, and as such is not as great a threat to Chinese rule in Tibet.

          "China will only get upset if India gives the Karmapa official recognition," he said. "But if it treats him as a visitor who will stay here for a long time, China cannot really object."



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              Ah...just grant the poor boy a little asylum, who cares! LOL

              Fata Morgana