Stop the War Coalition retracts reactionary Tibet statements

The following is correspondence between the CPGB-ML and the Stop the War Coalition on the matter of reactionary support for splitting Tibet from China.

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Letter sent by CPGB-ML to Stop The War Coalition

By email on 11 April 2008

Dear Officers

The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) Newsletter No 1039 of 7 April 2008 contained the following inexcusable statements in the section on the National Demonstration for Palestine:

“While the absolute right of the Tibetans (sic) people to be free of Chinese occupation — which we should all support — gets acres of media coverage and is openly supported by George Bush, Gordon Brown and government leaders across the world because it fits their political agenda, the plight of the Palestinian people continues, largely un-recorded and un-opposed by the very same politicians.”

It goes on further to complain “the world leaders so quick protest (sic) against China in support of the Tibetan’s [u]just cause[/u], turn a blind eye to Israel’s crimes”. (Our emphasis)

The CPGB-ML, as an affiliate of the StWC, objects most strongly to the sneaky way in which this reactionary propaganda has been introduced into StWC publicity material.

There is no “just cause” of Tibet against China. Tibet is not under “Chinese occupation” and even to imply the remotest similarity with the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq by Anglo-American imperialism, and zionist crimes against the Palestinian people, as the context of the StWC newsletter inevitably does, is to undermine the whole opposition to imperialism’s wars of aggression. And it is those wars of aggression that StWC has the stated aim of opposing.

Western imperialism, led first by Britain and then by the United States, has for over a century dreamt of splitting Tibet away from China, even more so after the Chinese revolution of 1949, in order to dominate the region and use it as a garrison from which to control both China and India.

The Chinese hosting of the Olympic Games this year has been seized on by western imperialism and reactionaries of Tibetan descent for yet another effort to destabilise Tibet. Imperialism has instigated the riots that broke out in Tibet on 14 March, perpetrated by saboteurs and wreckers. Supposedly committed to non-violence hypocritically preached by the Dalai Llama, they attacked and set fire to schools, public buildings and shops owned by defenceless Chinese and muslims. On the first day they injured 623 people, including 241 police, and killed 18.

The Tibetan popular masses do not support any attempts to force secession on Tibet; they want to remain part of China so that they can continue to enjoy ever improving living and cultural standards. They do not want to be plunged back into poverty and feudal domination for the benefit of imperialism.

China has only used force in defence of the people of Tibet to counter the violence of the imperialist-backed wreckers and saboteurs.

In this context it is completely reactionary to support any attempts to separate Tibet from China. We expect SWP to do so; it is part of its inability to take a thoroughgoing stand against imperialism and wholeheartedly call for its defeat. It is, however, completely out of order that StWC should distribute these pro-imperialist policies of the SWP in its newsletter.

StWC should urgently and publicly retract, and renounce support for imperialism’s predatory designs on Tibet.

Reply from Andrew Murray, National Chair, StWC

By email on 11 April 2008

Thank you for your letter re Tibet. The text of which you complain was included in our newsletter in error. StWC has not discussed the issue of Tibet and we are not going to take a position on the matter since it does not form part of our objective of challenging the aggressive policies of the British and US governments in respect of the so-called “war on terror”. There will be different views on Tibet among Coalition affiliates, but it is not something for the Coalition itself to get involved with.

The appearance of the item in the newsletter was a political misjudgement which the officers of the Coalition had already addressed. In my view the original wording was aimed at exposing the hypocrisy of the British government but, nevertheless, the statements to which you object should never have appeared and will not be repeated.

CPGB-ML reply

By email on 12 April 2008

Dear Andrew

Thank you for your prompt reply, which is much appreciated.