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10-thnovember-2011-envoysCalifornia, USA: - Communists believe that religion is poison, as Mao Zedong himself told the spiritual leader of Tibet,His Holiness the Dalai Lama, sometime between 1954 and 1955. But to us Tibetans, religion is the soul and foundation of our lives.

As we have learned from our own past experience, communists also consider agreements and treaties to be like paper tigers - they tear them up or deploy them as predators as and when it suits them.

For these two reasons alone, I firmly believe it is unwise to enter into any agreement with communists.

I believe in His Holiness the Dalai Lama's endeavours to achieve genuine autonomy for Tibet. However, I also feel these should wait until China becomes a true and meaningful democracy.

If we had genuine autonomy within a truly democratic China, we could enjoy a large degree of political leverage and people power, whilst benefiting from China's wealth. We could then use autonomy as a stepping stone to regaining complete independence, which is our ultimate goal.

How likely is it that China will become a democratic country? I believe it won't be too long.

Intellectuals and students in China are clamoring for democracy. The millions of Chinese overseas who fled communism are demanding democracy so that they can return to their homeland to enrich themselves and their country.

There is a wide economic gap between the urban rich and rural poor in China, which is likely to flare up. China is no longer ruled by one man. She is ruled by consensus, within which there are powerful elements seriously considering some form of democracy.

Ethnic minorities in China, which make up ten per cent of the overall population, are totally dissatisfied with tyrannical communist rule and, as in the case of Tibet, defiantly demonstrate against it.

The practice of capitalism with dictatorial communist characteristics is proving to be an eyesore, as demonstrated by the Google case, as well as an impediment to transparency and intellectual property protection.

Such practices generally benefit only loyal communist party cadres, rather than the general public, thus creating another significant economic gap.

Restrictive communist rules cannot, by virtue of logic and practicality, sit beside China's thirst and appetite for capitalism, which calls for free enterprise.

China is also torn between the evils of inflation and deflation. Increasing inflation is ravaging the economy but, if China deflates the economy, she will be faced with millions of unemployed and dissatisfied workers, who are likely to bring about a major political upheaval. She is walking a tightrope from which she might any day fall.

Additionally, modern technology has resulted in social media raising an epochal voice for freedom and revolution, which China will not be able to suppress for long. And, finally, powerful North American and European countries are putting the screws on China to turn it into a democracy

Tsoltim N Shakabpa is the son of the late Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa - the eminent Tibetan historian, scholar, statesman, freedom fighter and former Finance Minister for Independent Tibet. Tsoltim N Shakabpa is popularly known as 'TN', which are his initials and also stand for 'Tibetan National'.

The views expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of The Tibet Post International (TPI).

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