Tibet and the Belt and Road Initiative: Lessons Learned From the Tibetan Experience With Chinese Infrastructure Projects

November 13, 2018
09:00 am - 10:30 am

About the event

China’s Communist Party (CCP) has heralded the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a global economic stimulus project that will provide great benefits to BRI partners. What has been masked, however, is the considerable social, political, and economic leverage that BRI gives to the CCP, and the threat such leverage may pose to countries in the region and beyond.

The case of Tibet foreshadows the potential risks that BRI partners face. By examining the policies, techniques, and infrastructure initiatives carried out in Tibet by the CCP for the past sixty years, BRI partners can better understand the CCP’s long-term objectives and the risks associated with the BRI.

In this panel discussion, Lobsang SangayShanthi Kalathil, and John Knaus discussed China’s growing authoritarian influence and why Tibet should serve as a cautionary warning to the world.

about the speakers

Lobsang Sangay is the President of the Central Tibetan Administration. He is the first democratically elected head of the Tibetan government-in-exile following His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s devolution of political authority in 2011. Mr. Sangay completed his B.A. (Honors) and LL.B. from Delhi University. As a Fulbright scholar, he obtained his S.J.D. from Harvard Law School. Mr. Sangay is an expert on International Human Rights Law, Democratic Constitutionalism, and Conflict Resolution and has spoken in hundreds of seminars around the world.

Shanthi Kalathil is Senior Director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies. Previously a senior democracy fellow at the US Agency for International Development and a regular consultant for the World Bank, the Aspen Institute and others, she has authored or edited numerous policy and scholarly publications. A former Hong Kong-based staff reporter for The Asian Wall Street Journal, Ms. Kalathil was also an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, and has taught courses on international relations in the information age at Georgetown University and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

John Knaus is Senior Director for Asia at the National Endowment for Democracy, where he has worked since 1997. Mr. Knaus oversees the NED’s program designed to promote democracy throughout the region, which includes over 240 projects totaling approximately $28 million. His writings on Asia have appeared in the Korea Times, the Nation (Bangkok), the Huffington Post, and the Journal of Democracy and he represents the NED publicly at conferences, panels, and other public events. Mr. Knaus earned his B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University and his M.A. with distinction in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.