(TibetanReview.net, May21’21) – Ahead of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of its annexation of Tibet on May 23, China released on May 21 a white paper to highlight its sovereign claim and so-called achievements during the period. And it has reiterated its presumable, imperially-inherited right to appoint the reincarnation of the current Dalai Lama.
Issued by the Information Office of China’s State Council, or cabinet, the paper claims to have peacefully liberated Tibet on that day in 1951. However, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the Tibetan government in exile, says the so-called 17-point agreement was signed on that between the two sides under threats of overwhelming use of force in an armed invasion of Tibet.
Despite the agreement, however, armed invasion did follow. CTA says the invasion and the occupation rule claimed more than 1.2 million Tibetan lives, a fifth of Tibet’s population, belying China’s claim about having peacefully liberated the territory.
A white paper is not a statement of proven fact or truth but merely a position paper. And when China issues one, it is invariably seen to be worth nothing more than false propaganda.
The white paper, titled as “Tibet Since 1951: Liberation, Development and Prosperity,” claims to have “reviewed Tibet’s history and achievements, and presented a true and panoramic picture of the new socialist Tibet.”
Apart from the foreword and a conclusion, the white paper encapsulates the Chinese party-state government’s propaganda claims with regard to Tibet over the past 70 years in ten sections: “Tibet Before the Peaceful Liberation,” “Peaceful Liberation,” “Historic Changes in Society,” “Rapid Development of Various Undertakings,” “A Complete Victory over Poverty,” “Protection and Development of Traditional Culture,” “Remarkable Results in Ethnic and Religious Work,” “Solid Environmental Safety Barriers,” “Resolutely Safeguarding National Unity and Social Stability,” and “Embarking on a New Journey in the New Era.”
The white paper’s claim that “reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other grand Living Buddhas has been subject to approval by the central government since Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)” is simply false history and at best a gross exaggeration.
There was only an attempt by a Qing emperor in 1783 to suggest or, rather, facilitate a method in the process for the recognition of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama with the presentation of a golden urn from which to carry out lot-drawing from amongst the shortlisted candidates.
And there was certainly no question of the finally recognized Dalai Lama reincarnation being required to be approved by China as claimed in the white paper. It was certainly customary for the Tibetan government of the time to inform the recognition to countries with which it had diplomatic ties, which include China.