Bangladesh and the One China Policy

When Students For Free Tibet- Bangladesh’s pro-Tibet movement in Dhaka was blogged in the Unheard Voice, a number of comments were posted for and against such movement. While the opponents argued that Bangladesh should mind its own business, others argued that Tibet issue is not that unrelated to Bangladesh’s interest.

I think Bangladesh can respond to Tibet issue in two ways- informal public campaigns in solidarity of international human rights, and through formal policy stance.

Though Bangladesh’s formal (foreign) policy stance can be influential to or separate from the public campaign, it needs to take into account a number of critical issues (when there are two elephants -China and India- in the room, one better be careful while dancing around them).

First, Bangladesh already had a bitter experience with One China Policy, something China insists very strictly. When Taiwan opened an unofficial Trade liaison office in Dhaka in 2004 (which in now inoperative), China’s response was furious (many argued that the discharge of Bangladesh’s Trade Minister was a result of this).

Second, Bangladesh is trying to play China-Card to counter balance India’s dominance in the South Asian regional order. Not only Bangladesh’s trade volume has shifted significantly from India to China, Bangladesh is actively supporting China’s engagement in SAARC while China supported Bangladesh’s membership in the ASEAN regional forum.

Third, China has gradually switched its foreign aid and trade focus towards Africa which is by default reducing Bangladesh’s dependence on Chinese aid. This may on the other hand help Bangladesh to take a more unqualified approach towards the Tibet issue.

Forth, Bangladesh may have to take a cohesive approach towards Tibet and Uighur. Yes, Tibet and Uighur has their respective reasons which are separate from each other. But from Bangladesh’s perspective, the historical, ethnic and religious aspects of both issues are the same only Tibet being the Buddhist majority, and Uighur being the Muslim majority within the respective regions.

We could probably have a more informed debate if Bangladesh had a clear foreign policy. Nevertheless, a citizens’ movement is not always limited by formal foreign policy (that is why citizens in USA campaigned against the war in Iraq during Bush era). At the same time, it is also not limited by self-interest (that is why George Harrison organized Concert for Bangladesh which went against USA’s formal national interest).

Unfortunately, many bloggers assume that one would have to “neglect the problems at home” to help others? But I guess they misunderstand the capacity of Bangladeshis. There are many young Bangladeshis who are spending the best of their times for the betterment of the disadvantaged people at home, while at the same time raising concerns for international human right issues. You don’t need to find a Che Guevara for that.

When it came to the sufferings of general citizen, even Bangladesh and Pakistan helped each other in spite the historical bitter bi-lateral relation. Bangladesh sent relief to the 2005 earthquake victims of Pakistan. Later on, when needed, Pakistan helped the 2007 cyclone victims in Bangladesh.

In 2005, Bangladesh offered $1 million in aid for USA’s Katrina victims (yes, you read it right, Bangladesh helped USA). When Bangladesh needed the support back, well, we all know how USA responded.

One can make a longer list of such instances which will only prove that helping others is not limited by “self-interest”; rather it is determined by one’s morale and rational stance.


7 Responses to Bangladesh and the One China Policy

  1. putool says:


    i find nowhere the tibetans running away from the chinese rule, apparently they are better off then when they were under the deceptive successive reigns of the dalailama/s over the centuries, for generations. working their butt offs now seeing the railways on the highest point in the world with other similar chinese technologies flowing in and enjoying themselves.
    unlike the rohingyas who are scaling the highseas in rickety boats for reaching,malaysia,mid-east or across the land borders into bangladesh, thailand etc., drowning in thousands. many have settled down in saudiarabia remitting in millions of u.s.dollars flowing into bangladesh. tune into cnn,aljazeera &/or bbc one will frequently find such heart rending plight of the rohingyas. seldom in fact never of such plights of the tibetans except the well fed,well bred english fluent dalai lama conversing &/or dining with the western leaders in grand style. bereft of democracy &/or his language of compromise with the chinese, not much to write home about. knowing well his people under chinese are now better off!!! so mr. syeed do hv sympathy lso on these unfortunate people!!!
    hv nice weekends, take care!!!

  2. chorjapod says:

    If sympathy is what you are asking for, then sure, why not? Like knowledge, sympathy also grows when you share it 🙂

    So, sympathy for everyone!

  3. putool says:


    coupla hours ago i posted my comments comparing the frightful, bloody plights of the rohingyas for ages dieing in thousands across the seas & borders of b’desh,t’land’etc.,with the apparent birthday party like ease and comforts the tibetans are passing under the chinese leadership!!!

    how come this abrupt vanishing act of my comment??? apparently triggered perhaps, when you found not to your liking??? what precisely you want to hear only shedding crocodile tears for the tibetans.
    no other factual comparisons with other tragedy you will entertain!!! lets call a spade a spade and refrain from such tibetan feudal like attitude of do what i say only & never,ever do what i do &/or say??? regardless of whatever tibetans contributions to our war of liberation, why shud we drag them back to their pre-chinese occupation days as were those not medieval like ancient days existence???

    • chorjapod says:

      My sincere apologies for failing to understand your point! What do you mean by “abrupt vanishing act”?

      You have very correctly pointed out that “the tibetans are not running away from the chinese rule”, and not disrupting Bangladesh which made it easier for Bangladeshis to show sympathy. Besides, its a historical issue of sovereignty, not a religious issue. Most of the Chinese occupants are also Buddhist.

      But Rohingyas on the other hand are not asking for a free land. They were tortured by the military junta for ethnic and religious reasons. While Bangladesh should definitely stand up for their human rights, Bangladesh is possibly also not is a position to carry the burden of such a huge population.

      Migration is a very complex issue and I am really not an expert on that.

  4. putool says:

    tks for the re-emergence of my comments alongwith your comments regardless of whoever is responsible for this vanishing acts!!!
    insofar as bearing the burden of the rohingyas or not by bangladesh or any other country, i never,ever raised or implied for this bcoz i don’t hold their brief. my only fault is that, for the past few years they hv been my pretty decent neighbors. with their diaspora connections spread out all over the world. so, i don’t find any reasons whatsoever for anyone in this wide world to bear their burden regardless of whether tibetans’ burdens are shared by b’desh or not!!!
    as for migration as a housewife i don’t know even the “m” of it so, at the end of the day we are in the same boat!!!

    hv a nice weekend, t.c.

  5. chorjapod says:

    oh! you meant why your first comment was not visible? well, in order to block spam and unsocial comments, I have a filter for the comments where all the first time commenters need to be approved by me. So your first comment was not disappeared, it was waiting for filter approval which took few hours. Nothing unusual.

  6. putool says:

    so, thats the deal!!! well unfortunately, in uv this is a pretty frequent, regular syndrome hence, its pretty hard to bear with these nuisances in good humour!!!

    regardless of whether one is a frequent, regular, blogger/participant or not. in fact practically any post written i, commence with my comment and i personally feel attract interactions. if you check into some blogs you will find even 100 but as said earlier, these vanishing acts are pretty insulting so i personally feel discouraged!!!

    hv a nice day,t.c.

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