CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Dalai Lama"

The Dalai Lama’s Self-Immolation Dilemma

by Yanzhong Huang
Portraits of Tibetans who killed themselves in self-immolation are seen behind candles in a candlelight vigil. Portraits of Tibetans who killed themselves in self-immolation are seen behind candles in a candlelight vigil. (Pichi Chuang/Reuters)

Beginning in February 2009, a number of self-immolation incidents have occurred in the greater Tibetan region in China. Since then, at least 116 Tibetan monks and farmers have chosen to set themselves on fire. Read more »

India’s Message to China and the United States: We’ll Go It Alone

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh on November 11, 2009

A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh on November 11, 2009. (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters)

Last week, I joined my colleagues Paul Stares, Dan Markey, and Micah Zenko in Delhi for a few days of discussions with senior Indian officials, experts, and journalists. We covered a fair amount of the U.S.-India political waterfront, including bilateral relations, China, Pakistan, and broader Asia. The discussions were quite lively: a great thing about foreign policy experts in India is that there are as many opinions expressed as there are people—a breath of fresh air after more constrained or sometimes just strained discussions with Chinese counterparts. While the variety of views we heard makes it hard to generalize, some common themes emerged. Put in rather stark terms, they boil down to:

Beijing is not trustworthy

An overarching theme was China’s growing “confidence, hubris, and economic ascension.” Some Indians argued that China is challenging the existing power equation and trying to limit the extent of any other power in the region, particularly the United States and India. Not surprisingly, worry over China’s intentions in South and Southeast Asia was paramount—and continued Chinese territorial claims to Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India were a central source of concern. (India has reportedly just sited missiles in the region.)

At the same time, the Indians with whom we met generally admired China’s ability to get things done, particularly in terms of modernizing the country and developing the infrastructure. Read more »

The U.S. and China—Dialogue or Diatribe?

by Elizabeth C. Economy

President Barack Obama meets with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama in the Map Room of the White House on July 16, 2011. (Pete Souza/Courtesy The White House)

Is it ritualized noise or does China really mean it?

Here is what the Chinese Foreign Ministry had to say about President Obama’s July 16 meeting with the Dalai Lama: “We demand that the U.S. side seriously consider China’s stance, immediately adopt measures to wipe out the baneful impact, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and cease to connive and support anti-China separatist forces…such an act has grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and damaged Sino-American relations.”

Did President Obama’s meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader really “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people”? The reports of the meeting suggest two primary outcomes: President Obama telling the Dalai Lama that the United States does not support Tibetan independence, and President Obama reiterating his support for the maintenance of Tibetan culture. Both of these are supported by Beijing.

Read more »

The U.S. and China Have at it Again; but it’s much ado about nothing

by Elizabeth C. Economy

Everyone is in a tizzy over the supposed downturn in U.S.-China relations. (See here, here, and here.) The rhetoric is heating up on both sides, and new issues of contention appear to pop up daily. Our disputes over Copenhagen, Google, Taiwan arms sales, the Dalai Lama and Iran are all front page headlines. Are we indeed headed for an open rift in the relationship that could imperil future cooperation on a range of important, pressing global matters? Read more »

Playing in the Global Sandbox

by Elizabeth C. Economy

When I first heard the news that Google had outed the Chinese for their widescale cyberattacks and would no longer operate its service in China if subjected to government censorship, I gave a cheer. Score one for standing up and shouting from the rooftops—we won’t take this anymore. On both human rights and business principles, Google gave voice to what many people working in and on China have been feeling for a long time but only rarely articulating. Read more »