China issues white paper to mark 50-year Tibet ‘autonomous’ rule

View of Lhasa from Jokhang Temple.
View of Lhasa from Jokhang Temple.

(, Sep07, 2015) – Marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region, China has on Sep 6 released yet another white paper, reiterating that it had ‘liberated’ Tibet, made its people ‘masters of the country’, and of having provided 648 billion yuan to meet 92.8 percent of the region’s public financial expenditure from 1952 to 2014 to ensure its historic development and modernization.

Reporting on the white paper’s release, China’s official Xinhua news agency said Sep 6 that the government had made improving people’s livelihood the ultimate goal for its Tibet policies. Given China’s special focus on ethnic integration and national unity, with all its insidious implications, ‘people’ especially includes the Chinese migrants who dominate by huge majorities the region’s urban population. The Chinese government seeks to strength ethnic unity in Tibet to ensure stability, the foundation for development in the region, the report noted.

The report also cited a Political Bureau of CPC’s Central Committee meeting in July this year to point out that the government will prioritize ethnic unity and fight against secessionism and promote exchange and prosperity among different ethnic groups in Tibet. Underlying it, of course, is the suggestion that China will crackdown with brutal violence on all forms of Tibetan criticism of the Chinese rule and policies.

Many of the claims about the Chinese government having done good things for Tibet are subject to interpretations that show them to be designed mainly to strengthen the region’s assimilation with China and therefore in violation of the Tibetan people’s rights to preserve their ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious and socio-economic identity.

However, many of the other claims such as the Tibetan culture and religion as well as Tibet’s environment being protected and Tibet being under autonomous rule – with the people in Tibet having become ‘masters of the country’ – obviously cannot stand in the face of overwhelming evidences otherwise replete in the numerous yearly and other reports by UN bodies, parliaments, governments and international human rights groups.

As before, the white paper begins by reiterating that old Tibet was ‘dark and backward’, supposedly to justify the current occupation rule.

These are the contexts in which one has to examine China’s latest policy-position paper on Tibet, titled as ‘Successful Practice of Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet’, and which is in eight chapters, namely: Old Tibet: Dark and Backward; Embarking on the Road to Development and Progress; The Political System Suited to China’s Actual Conditions; The People as Masters of the Country; Improving People’s Welfare; Protecting and Carrying Forward the Excellent Traditional Culture; Respecting and Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief; and Promoting Ecological Progress.

For the 50th anniversary celebrations, Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, led a 65-member delegation from the Chinese central government. The date for the anniversary celebrations was never announced but only reported after the delegation arrived in Tibet’s capital Lhasa.


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