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China would benefit from becoming a peace-making nation under the leadership of President Xi Jinping

China would benefit from becoming a peace-making nation under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping

by Charles Markeaton-Mundy

When, on the 10th of March, Xi Jinping was confirmed as leader of China for a precedent-breaking third term after gaining the upper hand with key rivals and strengthening his political power. The reappointment of Xi, China's most potent and authoritarian leader in decades, was primarily seen as a formality after the 69-year-old secured a norm-shattering third term as head of the Chinese Communist Party last autumn. In China, the presidency -- or "state chairman"- is mainly ceremonial. Real power resides in the positions of head of the party and military, two key roles Xi also holds. By stacking China's most potent bodies with his allies, Xi has ensured he'll be around possibly for at least another decade after he appointed no obvious potential successors.

Nevertheless, his reappointment as head of state officially completes his transition into a second decade in power. And it comes amid a broader reshuffle of leadership roles in the central government, the State Council, and other state organisations that further increase Xi's already firm grasp on the levers of power. In other words, he has become the most powerful leader in China's long history.

The government exercises a form of power that is as fine-tuned as it is total. China's government is no brute-force authoritarian regime. It is the inventor of a new 21st-century techno-totalitarianism. It possesses all the tools of classic totalitarianism—and many new ones of its own invention.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

All World leaders desire prosperity, stability and international respect but sometimes seem bent on taking steps that undermine these worthy goals. China's leaders are a case in point. Now with his absolute power President Xi has two choices. He can follow the North Korean option or use his unlimited power to transform China from a threatening force to a peace-making nation and in the process become a benevolent, respected, and admired leader both at home as internationally. Since becoming the most powerful leader in the history of China, having adopted the sagacious sound advice of a certain well-wisher of China, he seems to have chosen the latter.

The first step in the right direction has been to broker peace talks between Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On the 10th of March, after four days of talks in Beijing, Tehran and Riyadh agreed to re-establish relations and open embassies in their respective countries following seven years of hostilities. The second step was President Xi's surprise visit to Moscow, where he presented a proposal - a 12-point paper calling for de-escalation and eventual ceasefire in Ukraine, which was welcomed by President Putin as a basis to end the war. Despite concerns from the US and the Western powers, these gestures are vital for China if it is to change its image in the World as it is now seen as an aggressive and autocratic country that has problems with India on border issues, Tibet, Xinjiang with the Ughyurs, Japan, the ASEAN countries, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

President Xi needs to take three bold actions:

1. To guarantee its economic prosperity, China needs a creative, mutually beneficial relationship with Taiwan.

2. To maintain its stability among the Chinese, spiritual practices that teach inner well-being that even economic prosperity will not buy must be permitted. This means freedom of worship.

3. To maintain harmonious relations with its neighbours and respect in the world community Xi must solve the Tibet "problem" in a realistic and enlightened way that would be an example of responsible world leadership. President Xi must realise that their previous actions are creating and not solving their problems and that their strategies are based on outmoded ideas about colonisation and ecological exploitation. Also, as Western nations have already learned, they will understand that military force is ultimately not cost-effective. His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, before he retired from political activity, passing the legislative power to the democratically elected Tibetan Central Administration headed by the Sikyong (Prime Minister) Penpa Tsering, accepted the principle of Tibet with a genuine and meaningful autonomy within China. This policy is maintained by the current Tibetan government and is an opportunity that President Xi should not waste.

Sikyong (Prime Minister) Penpa Tsering

In the novel co-authored with my sister Charis, The Twilight of the Fourth World, we foresaw the solution: "The events that led to the end of China's colonisation of Tibet since it had invaded the country in 1950 had astonished the World. President Xi Jinping had secured an unprecedented third term as China's president and, at the time, had been officially endorsed by the country's political elite, solidifying his control, and making him the longest-serving head of state of Communist China since its founding in 1949. He had become the most potent and authoritarian leader in its millenary history, surpassing the power of any emperor or even Chairman Mao. After being in total control, he immediately positioned his closest allies in power to the concern of the world leaders who foresaw the worst possible outcome. Still, they were to be surprised and astonished when he used these unprecedented absolute powers to transform himself from a feared and tyrannical autocrat into a benevolent and beloved leader within. No one knew what had inspired this transformation. Still, it was evident to all that he must have realised that he had become a victim of his unchecked ego that had, in self-defence, entertained him with an uncontrolled thirst for total power. Whatever had motivated this radical change from the moment he had become absolute dictator, he used his powers to invert the course of his and his predecessors' actions and brought much-needed peace and harmony to the planet, being granted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2026. So, finally, President Xi Jinping's loosened his grip on power to hold on to power.

The first and most dramatic gesture took the World by surprise. In a genius decision in 2024, he apologised to the Tibetan people for past errors. He invited His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, to return to his homeland. It had been a day of rejoicing when the doors of the internment camps and prisons opened to free the political prisoners. As their beloved leader landed in Lhasa airport after sixty-five years of exile, the people exulted at their regained freedom. The Dalai Lama returned as a simple monk, as he liked to call himself, and the elected government led by the Sikyong Penpa Tsering oversaw the country's internal affairs. King Namgyal Wangchuk had also returned and taken the ceremonial role of Custodia, of the Heritage Nation. To everyone's surprise, the Tibetans decided in a historical referendum to remain an integral part of China as they were happy that their government had returned home with His Holiness and thousands of exiles scattered around the globe. Tibetans in large cities and small villages had wept with joy and celebrated, dancing and singing in the streets."

China would achieve many benefits from changing strategy and using the "one country, two systems," originally formulated for Hong Kong, offering a new policy allowing Tibetans self-rule in their homeland within China.

Among the most significant benefits:

  • Demilitarizing Tibet would save China the vast expense of arming and protecting a 2,000-mile frontier. The money saved could be used for upgrading the military or investing in economic growth.

  • Relations with bordering countries such as India, Nepal and Bhutan would become more relaxed, making way for economically beneficial partnerships, and the border conflicts would be resolved.

  • China would become an influential leader in world affairs with excellent diplomatic relations with the Western powers and a mediator in World conflicts.

  • It would be a great boost to international trade and the Chinese economy.

The lesson that Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore have learned is that it is cheaper and easier to invest economically in the resources of a region and let the locals have the headaches and expense of running their own government, dealing with their own problems, and delivering the goods at economically competitive prices.

The conquest of Tibet was the work of a previous generation. President Xi can go beyond it as a peaceful visionary, gaining worldwide the respect, credibility and acceptance China craves, which it will never achieve by bullying its neighbours. Then China could benefit from Tibet's extraordinary accomplishments as a sophisticated, spiritual culture. Tibet's greatest treasures are not the historical artefacts of a lost civilisation. Its priceless mind sciences promote individual and collective understanding and peace, which are more and more relevant today not only to the Tibetan people but to a world torn by prejudice and violence.

If President Xi should ceases to consider His Holiness, the Dalai Lama as an enemy he would realise what an excellent friend he could be. Together they could accomplish their nation's objectives easily. President Xi would gain great international respect -- and probably a Nobel Peace Prize -- by correcting the extremist measures and errors of Mao Zedong, and initiating a policy that would bring prosperity, stability, harmony and peace to China and Asia for generations to come. This must be done during the lifetime of the Dalai Lama, who will turn 88 in July. Though his health is good, the clock is ticking. Should he die before the Chinese government finds a solution, the conflict will undoubtedly fester in that case that President Xi makes the terrible political mistake of interfering in choosing the Dalai Lama's reincarnation. Time is of essence in the matter. It would be the beginning of China's renaissance as a peacemaker and the entrance of president Xi into the Olympus of the World’s most outstanding leaders.

HH The XIV Dala Lama, tenzin Gyatso

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