But as in the case of Russia, entrenched assumptions can be proven wrong, and as in the case of Russia—and many are already doing so—we must grapple with the question of what comes after the autocrat. Will a peaceful transformation of China be possible—and what role will the many peoples colonized by Beijing, the Tibetans, the Uyghurs, the Mongols, play in this? Are there blueprints, ideas, suggestions for a way out of a potentially explosive situation?
The current protests should give reason to think about this as well, they may even force one to do so. And one would get answers and leads right away. There is the Charter 08 by the late Liu Xiaobo, and there are the Tibetans who have made many constructive suggestions as to what peaceful coexistence could look like. The 1987 Five Point Peace Plan, the 2008 Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People and the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way Approach. And these proposals do not only refer to Tibet but could be an inspiration for a fair balance of interests between all parties involved. China policy and strategy development should deal intensively with these scenarios. We have to think the unthinkable.