Traditionally, the greatest dependence of corporations on the state has been in the area of security, Above all, global corporations need stability – what some corporate planners like to call a “surprise-free world.” It is possible to put up with less-than-satisfactory political ground rules if you can count on some continuity, but it is not possible to do the kind of efficient planning that is the raison d’être of the global corporation when the rules are subject to precipitous change. Thus the World Managers are prepared to do business with “revolutionary” governments when they are firmly in the saddle. (Indeed, as one corporate strategist told us, socialism, far from being the “end of the world,” is actually a “big help” because it ensures “stability” in large areas of the world…” Richard J Barnet and Ronald Müller.[1]

TibetThe above observation by Barnet and Müller, written in 1974 and largely based on interviews with the “World Managers” and their “corporate planners” cogently describes the situation that exists in regard to China and China’s control over Tibet; and why in this writer’s opinion it is unlikely that their will be a determined effort to free Tibet in the foreseeable future.

Green Party co-leader and Member of Parliament Russell Norman made world headlines on June 18 from backwater New Zealand when he held up the Tibetan flag before China’s Vice President Xi Jinping, as t he Vice President approached Parliament House. Although Norman’s predecessor the late Rod Donald had made a habit of such protests, what was different about this occasion was that Chinese security scuffled with Norman, snatched the Tibetan flag and trampled upon it[2] causing many New Zealanders to question the position of their country vis-à-vis China, despite the enthusiastic way this relationship has been marketed by political and business interests as a panacea for New Zealand economy.

While this action again drew attention to the plight of Tibet under Chinese domination, despite the enormous goodwill that exists among people the world over for that hapless ancient nation and culture, little action has been taken in practical terms to support the Tibetans and censure China, in sharp contrast to subversive actions if not outright military confrontation, that have been taken both during and after the Cold War to destroy the Soviet bloc, Serbia, Iraq, etc., for the benefit of global capital. This essay suggests that similar actions to rid Tibet of the Chinese are unlikely to take place in any meaningful way, other than as occasional platitudes by some politicians.

CIA Sabotage

While it is being claimed that there has been a long association between the Dalai Lama and his supporters and the CIA,[3] as is generally the case such a relationship has been duplicitous. In a scenario that seems to be analogous to the CIA relationship with anti-Castro Cubans[4] leading up to the “Bay of Pigs” fiasco, and indeed the manner by which the USA betrayed Chiang Kai Shek to the Maoists (ironically, despite Stalin’s best efforts to the contrary)[5], the CIA backed the Tibetan resistance in the early years of China’s occupation for what seems to have been the purpose of scuttle. From 1958 the CIA began training Tibetans in Virginia and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, where 259 Tibetans were trained in Camp Hale over the next five years. Lhamo Tsering, a senior resistance leader and the CIA’s chief coordinator documented this fateful saga with the Tibetans, which was the subject of a BBC documentary produced by his son Tenzing Sonam and the latter’s wife Ritu Sarin.

In a review of the BBC documentary The Shadow Circus: The CIA in Tibet, R. Sengupta cites some of those involved as stating:

“We had great expectations when we went to America. We thought perhaps they would even give us an atom bomb to take back,” says Tenzin Tsultrim. “In the training period, we learned that the objective was to gain our independence,” adds another grizzled veteran. But the Americans had other ideas. “The whole idea was to keep the Chinese occupied, keep them annoyed, keep them disturbed. Nobody wanted to go to war over Tibet…It was a nuisance operation. Basically, nothing more,” says former CIA agent Sam Halpern.[6]

In 1959, following a revolt, where Tibetans held control over large areas of the south, the USA assisted with the Dalai Lama’s entry into India when arrest by the Chinese seemed likely. There followed a mass exodus, leaving few resistance fighters.

Undeterred, the CIA parachuted four groups of Camp Hale trainees inside Tibet between 1959 and 1960 to contact the remaining resistance groups. But the missions resulted in the massacre of all but a few of the team members.[7]

A familiar scenario for anti-communists backed by the USA and/or CIA follows:

The CIA cooked up a fresh operation in Mustang, a remote corner of Nepal that juts into Tibet. Nearly two thousand Tibetans gathered here to continue their fight for freedom. A year later, the CIA made its first arms drop in Mustang. Organised on the lines of a modern army, the guerrillas were led by Bapa Yeshe, a former monk.

“As soon as we received the aid, the Americans started scolding us like children. They said that we had to go into Tibet immediately. Sometimes I wished they hadn’t sent us the arms at all,” says Yeshe. The Mustang guerrillas conducted cross-border raids into Tibet. The CIA made two more arms drops to the Mustang force, the last in May 1965. Then, in early 1969, the agency abruptly cut off all support.[8] The CIA explained that one of the main conditions the Chinese had set for establishing diplomatic relations with the US was to stop all connections and all assistance to the Tibetans. Says Roger McCarthy, an ex-CIA man, “It still smarts that we pulled out in the manner we did.”

Thinley Paljor, a surviving resistance fighter, was among the thousands shattered by this volte-face. “We felt deceived, we felt our usefulness to the CIA is finished. They were only thinking short-term for their own personal gain, not for the long-term interests of the Tibetan people.” In 1974, arm twisted by the Chinese, the Nepalese government sent troops to Mustang to demand the surrender of the guerrillas. Fearing a bloody confrontation, the Dalai Lama sent the resistance fighters a taped message, asking them to surrender. They did so, reluctantly. Some committed suicide soon afterwards.

“The film is for the younger Tibetans, who are unaware of the resistance, as well as for Americans, who don’t know how their own government used and betrayed the resistance,” says Tenzing. “Though it was a story begging to be told, funding it was almost impossible,” adds Ritu.[9]

Hence if certain American-based interests can be seen as being involved in certain pro-Tibet lobbies, this does not mean that one can expect there to be a consistent and effective pro-Tibet policy from the USA, nor that global capital is in accord with a position toward China vis-à-vis Tibet. More likely, any such feigned friendship emanating form the USA will be poison, as in the case of CIA “support.”

Soros

Soros interests in Tibet are not quite the same as the actions of his network towards a myriad of other states that have suffered his “color revolutions.” For example, Soros’ daughter Andrea established the Trace Foundation in 1993 to work in the Tibetan plateau, after having taught as an English teacher in the region. The Trace Foundation clearly works with the Chinese authorities, and would not last five minutes if it did not. While there is every reason to believe that this humanitarian effort is designed to encourage economic development in Tibet according to the Soros agenda of the “open society”[10] this does not appear to equate with Soros’ agenda in other states where he has been responsible for “regime change,” often preceded with violence. The Trace foundation would more likely be a means of partnership rather than that of subversion.

It can of course be argued that a “color revolution” in China or in Tibet is impossible, nonetheless are there tangible reasons as to why global capital would actually desire “regime change” in either place?

As is known Rockefeller and Soros, Goldman Sachs, and others, have intimate business connections with China. Soros and Rockefeller believe that China can be integrated within the world economic system without the need for “regime change.” Indeed, such change would undoubtedly cause wholesale disruption from which China, like the fiasco of American intervention in Iraq, might never recover, and in the instance of China particularly, the world economic system being cultivated by such globalist interests would stand in danger of irredeemable collapse. Soros’ own attitudes toward China is in accord with that of the Rockefellers. Asked by the London Financial Times what Obama should discuss when he visited China in November 2009, Soros made it clear that he sees China not as a rival (neo-con style) but as a world leader that would supplant the USA economically, which from the perspective of a globalist who does not owe loyalty to any particular nation-state, Soros does not see as a worrying prospect. Soros stated:

This would be the time because I think you really need to bring China into the creation of a new world order, financial world order…  I think you need a new world order that China has to be part of the process of creating it and they have to buy in, they have to own it in the same way as the United States owns…the current order.[11]

Clearly, Soros and other globalist interests have no interest in undermining the stability of China, nor in freeing Tibet from Chinese control. Indeed, what other regime would guarantee the stability and order necessary for international capitalism to operate? Certainly from the viewpoint of Soros, Rockefeller, et al, China does indeed need to be more “open”, and this is indeed inexorably taking place. While the investment and opportunities of international capital in China are well known enough or easy enough to discover, not so obvious is the position in regard to Tibet, and why the elimination of Chinese authority over Tibet would not serve the interests of global capital.

Tibet Under Communo-Capitalist Exploitation

Tibet is China’s tenth Special Economic Zone.[12] This means that the Tibetan Autonomous Region has been granted “special” status in being opened up to foreign capital for exploitation in partnership with the Chinese administration. China ensures order and stability and Western-style economic development in Tibet. It does not seem plausible that Western-based business interests would want that situation to change in favor of one that returns Tibet to a feudal state. Such regimes are seen as outmoded hindrances to maximum profits by international capital, one example having been the Afrikaner remnant whose traditional system, however flawed, did not slot into a world economic system, the post-Afrikaner regime now pursuing a policy of privatization.[13] A sovereign, traditional Tibet is precisely the type of regime that Soros and the NED have sought to depose in the post-Soviet bloc states, attempting to halt any shift towards tradition.

Tibet is heavily endowed with mineral resources. While the hapless Milosevic was a target of NATO because of the mineral wealth of Kosovo,[14] the present regime in Tibet is ideal for the exploitation of the region by Big Business.

A recent announcement to “leapfrog” Tibet’s economic development was announced by the Chinese, veiled as being in the interests of the Tibetan people, of course:

“Rational and orderly exploitation of Tibet’s mineral resources will power the region’s ‘leapfrog development’,” said Dorje (many Tibetans go by a single name). The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee announced plans to achieve “leapfrog development” in Tibet at the fifth meeting on the work of Tibet in January, including building the region into a “strategic reserve of natural resources” with an aim to reduce poverty among the Tibetan people.

Over the last eight years, Tibet has witnessed over 12 percent economic growth annually as 180 billion yuan ($26 billion) was poured into infrastructure in the region, mostly by the central government, he said.

The central government would continue to pour investment into Tibet in an effort to develop the economy of the remote, impoverished region and raise the living standards of its people, said Zhang Qingli, the region’s Communist Party secretary.

Tibet has more than 3,000 proven mineral reserves containing 102 varieties of resources. It has China’s biggest proven chromium and copper reserves, according to figures from the regional land and resources department….

“But Tibet’s mineral industry is still fledgling, contributing about 3 percent to the local economy,” Dorje told Xinhua.

…Tibet has marked nine special zones for mineral industries, including a special economic zone centered on the Yulong Copper Mine, one of China’s biggest copper mines in the eastern Qamdo Prefecture, and a salt lake area in the northwest that is expected to become a major base for saline minerals and lithium….[15]

While the monopoly-capitalism of yesteryear relied on the weapons and administrations of the old European empires under which they exploited the resources of colonies until capital truly globalized and the empires became too restrictive, today international capital has the military and administrative structures of the USA and in this instance of China. It is unlikely to be a situation that international capital wants changing for the sake of Tibetan freedom and civilization, while China is providing the infrastructure, administration and policing.

The following extracts from a submission to the UN by a consultative NGO are instructive in regard to the capitalist-Chinese axis exploiting Tibet:

2. The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) policy and practice of population transfer into Tibet, in aid of its efforts to develop Tibet economically and exploit its resources, has been well-documented. In June 1999, President Jiang Zemin announced the PRC’s “Western Development” campaign. In theory, this refers to a policy of developing western China by improving its economic infrastructure and providing more funds for education, the environment and technological development. In practice, it represents a systematic escalation of the long-standing policy of exploiting natural resources in Tibet and Xinjiang for export to China. In aid of its exploitation of Tibet, the PRC has received, and is seeking, the assistance of transnational corporations.

3. With the support of international corporations, mining operations in Tibet threaten to violate the Tibetans’ right to self-determination; that is, their right to freely determine their economic, social and cultural development. For example, Australian-owned Sino Mining International (SMI) and other foreign investors plan to develop the Tanjiashan gold deposit in northern Tibet. Tibetans, however, are not participating in the decisions to exploit their natural resources. They will not enjoy the economic benefits these activities bring, as the resources are mined for export. Moreover, evidence indicates that such projects are pursued in an environmentally destructive manner, polluting Tibet’s lands, forests and waters. Tibetan communities will bear the long-term social and environmental costs of destructive mining practices.

4. Significant reserves of oil, gas and hydropower are also located in Xinjiang and Qinghai (Tibetan: Amdo) Provinces. China’s oil and gas reserves already have lured foreign investment. BP Amoco invested $578 million in the Chinese oil company, PetroChina, to help complete the “Sebei-Lanzhou” pipeline, which now runs 2500 km from Tibet’s Tsaidam Basin to Lanzhou. Italian ENI/Agip also assisted in the construction of this pipeline across the Tibetan plateau. This internationally-financed energy project was developed without consulting Tibetans, without providing any compensation to the Tibetans for their natural resources, and without assessing its dramatic environmental and social impact.

5. China’s plan to construct a 4000 km oil pipeline from Xinjiang to Shanghai, known as the “West-East Pipeline” project, similarly exploits the people’s resources without their participation or benefit. This pipeline will eventually connect with the Sebei-Lanzhou pipeline. To finance this estimated $18 billion project, the PRC is entering into partnerships with Shell, Exxon/Mobil and other transnational corporations. Without their financial backing, the PRC simply could not guarantee the success of this unprecedented project. According to Business Week, because China views this project as the backbone of its national energy plan and a springboard for future foreign investments, China initially has been willing to pay lip service to examining the project’s social and environmental impacts. Nevertheless, the construction of this pipeline raises grave concerns about the importation of Chinese laborers to work on the pipeline, long-term environmental degradation, lack of compensation to Tibetans and Uighurs for their land, and long-term economic control over the region.

6. Virtually all of the natural resources and material wealth extracted from Tibet are channeled back to enrich China’s eastern regions. The proposed Qinghai-Tibet railway will also serve to accelerate the extraction of minerals and other natural resources, as well as promote the “assimilation of Tibet into the motherland” by increasing Chinese migration. The purpose of such large-scale infrastructure projects, according to Tibet Information Network, is to facilitate the extraction of raw materials and goods out of Tibet and into the wealthier, more industrialized eastern Chinese regions. The People’s Daily acknowledged that this project will bring an “unprecedented mammoth transfer of resources.”…

7. Another example of transnational corporations participating in violations of the Tibetans’ rights to self-determination, to religious and cultural freedom, and to a protected environment, is the Yamdrok Tso hydroelectric project. This project was built over the strong objections of many Tibetans (some of whom were jailed for objecting) as it threatens the environment surrounding a lake considered sacred by the Tibetan people. Without substantial participation by transnational corporations, which supplied equipment and expertise, this project could not have been built. Moreover, the primary purpose of the project is to supply additional electric power to the Lhasa area in order to support the transfer of more Chinese settlers into this region.[16]

In 2003 the official Chinese media reported on the growth of foreign investment in Tibet:

Improving investment environment has attracted increasing overseas capital to the Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China, an official said in Lhasa, Tibet on Sep.16.

Tibet has approved 14 joint ventures with contractual overseas investment amounting to 4.31 million US dollars since 2001, with 2.16 million US dollars of it already materialized, said Dopuje, deputy head of the investment promotion bureau with the regional development and reform commission….

Dopuje attributed the growing overseas investment to China’s campaign to open up the vast western regions and a range of preferential policies Tibet has introduced for investors.

The regional government revoked more than 60 articles of regulations that restricted economic development, and improved the investment environment by simplifying approval procedures in 2001, said the official.[17]

A 2008 report cited the enormous increase in foreign investment into Tibet, particularly in regard to mineral prospecting:

LHASA– Lhasa, the capital of west China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, received 455.5 million US dollars of overseas investment in the first seven months of 2008, up 33 percent year-on-year.

The majority of the investment, or 95.3 percent of the total, went into the industrial sector, which includes non-ferrous metal smelting, the manufacturing of machinery and chemical products, food processing and geological prospecting, according to figures from the city’s statistics bureau on Monday…[18]

In 2010 China initiated a further programme to encourage investment, stating that, “It was known that the foreign-invested enterprises approved by governmental sectors shall enjoy related preferential polices of the state and the autonomous region.”[19]

The Chinese regime over Tibet represents the ideal capitalist scenario: a police state protecting and encouraging foreign investment. Why would the business coteries that are generally in control of the USA – and no less so under Obama – want this situation to change? Any statement to the contrary is likely to be meaningless rhetoric.


[1] Richard J Barnet and Ronald Müller, Global Reach: The Power of the Multinational Corporations (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), 73.

[2] Michael Fox, et al, “MP’s Tibet protest flag removed,” Stuff.co.nz, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3825646/MPs-Tibet-protest-flag-removed

[3] For example: “The Dalai Lama and the CIA,” a typically superficial Maoist analysis from Revolutionary Worker #765, July 17, 1994, http://revcom.us/a/firstvol/tibet/cia5.htm

[4] Mario Lazo, Dagger in the Heart: American Policy Failures in Cuba (New York: Twin Circle Publishing Co., 1968).

[5] Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (London: Jonathan Cape, 2005), “Saved by Washington,” 304-311.

[6] R Sengupta, “The CIA Circus: Tibet’s Forgotten Army”, Friends of Tibet (India), February 15, 1999, http://www.friendsoftibet.org/databank/usdefence/usd7.html

[7] Ibid.

[8] The “abrupt cutting off” of arms supplies in such circumstances seems to be a constant of US policy. Chiang, and Samoza of Nicaragua were dealt deathblows in similar situations. For the latter’s predicament see: Anastasio Samoza and Jack Cox, Nicagarua Betrayed (Boston: Western Island Publishers, 1980).

[9] R Sengupta, op.cit.

[10] Andrea Soros, “President’s Message,” Trace Foundation, http://www.trace.org/about/about.html

[11] Daniel Tencer, “Soros: ‘China should lead New World Order’,” October 28, 2009, http://rawstory.com/2009/2009/10/soros-china-world-order/

[12] “China’s Economic Zones and STIPS,”www.chinaculture.org/library/2008-02/07/content_69814_3.htm

[13] “No shift in privatisation policy, ANC confirms after top-level meeting,” June 12, 2009, Creamer Media’s Engineering News, http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/no-shift-in-privatisation-policy-anc-confirms-after-top-level-meeting-2009-06-12

[14] That is, the Trepca mining complex, with the riches lead and zinc mines in Europe, and lignite. Sara Flounders, “Kosovo: ‘the War is about the mines’,” July 30, 1998, http://www.iacenter.org/folder04/kosovo_mines.htm

[15] “Tibet to step up exploitation of mineral resources,” China Daily, March 13, 2010, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-03/13/content_9584983.htm

[16] “Transnational Corporations And Human Rights,” International League for Human Rights, July 3, 2002, Tibet Justice Center, http://www.tibetjustice.org/reports/un/unint10.html

[17] “Overseas investment in Tibet increasing,” Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, December 24, 2003, http://www.chinaconsulatesf.org/eng/zhuanti/xz/t56913.htm

[18] “Tibet reports double-digit growth in overseas investment,” China Daily, August 19, 2008, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-08/19/content_6951483.htm

[19] “Tibet Guides Foreign Investment to Characteristic and Dominant Industries,” Invest in China, April 13, 2010, http://fdi.gov.cn/pub/FDI_EN/News/Investmentupdates/t20100413_120314.htm