China packages its Tibet propaganda in yet another white paper


(, Mar 04, 2009) — Amid reports that it had unleashed a new wave of repression across the Tibetan Plateau, with a ban on foreign visitors, massive deployment of troops, and strict control on monasteries and people’s movement, China has issued yet another self-congratulatory white paper on Tibet. The paper, titled as “Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet”, praises sky-high its own direct occupation rule there since 1959 and entirely condemns what it calls the oppression and exploitation of feudal serfdom system there before that.

The paper, issued Mar 2 by the State Council Information Office, claims that the Tibetans had nothing but democracy and socio-economic paradise on earth under Chinese rule though comments even by some if its top officials, including the late former party secretary Hu Yaobang and the 10th Panchen Lama, show that China had much to answer for regarding its conduct in Tibet.

And although the Dalai Lama is only calling for meaningful autonomy for Tibet in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the white paper again accuses him of seeking to restore the old order, including Tibet’s independence.

Apparently meaning to sound reasonable despite all that, the paper says, “The central government has opened and will always keep its door open for the 14th Dalai Lama to return to a patriotic stand.” It is not clear why China says it is keeping its door open for the Dalai Lama, whom it condemns for being allegedly guilty of almost every imaginable crime on earth and who, in its view, enjoys only negligible support, if at all, among Tibetans.

The white paper also blames the West, rather than its own repression, for the trouble in Tibet. “It is thus clear that the so-called ‘Tibet issue’ is by no means an ethnic, religious and human rights issue; rather, it is the Western anti-China forces attempt to restrain, split and demonize China,” the paper says.

This was reiterated in a front-page commentary in the party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, which said in its Mar 2 edition, “In recent years, China’s overall strength has constantly grown…and this has aroused the anxiety and disquiet of some Westerners. The provocative actions around the so-called ‘Tibet issue’ in 2008 were by no means a coincidence,” noted Reuters Mar 2.

Such an allegation seems to be designed to shore up Chinese public support against Western criticism or renewed Tibetan protests, Reuters cited Nicholas Bequelin of New York-based Human Rights Watch as saying. The paper was also reported to have made the fantastic claim that some Western politicians had declared, “to control Tibet is to control China.”


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