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Int’l community urged to reject China’s ‘Tibet’ name usage

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(TibetanReview.net, Oct21’23) – Sikyong Mr Penpa Tsering, the executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), has urged the international community not to follow China’s lead to use “Xizang” in place of “Tibet” while referring to Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) as it is meant to presuppose that historical Tibet no longer exists.

The reported Chinese decision followed a report in the news outlet United Front News Oct 10 in which the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) said there was “no more Tibet in the official documents of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.

China has hitherto used the term “Tibet” as the English rendition of the Chinese name “Xizang” which only refers to TAR. However, Tibet as a historically independent country also includes Qinghai Province and other areas of Tibet which China has merged with its Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in the post-1949 construct of the People’s Republic of China.

China wants to end this “confusion” and make it clear that the historical Tibet no longer exists.

Sikyong Penpa Tsering has sought to make it clear that China’s decision is meant to “reshape history” and urged the international community to reject it.

“I urge the international community not to compromise with the CCP’s efforts to reshape history and to stick to the established term ‘Tibet,’” Sikyong Penpa Tsering, has said in a Radio Free interview in Washington on Oct 19.

“By imposing its Chinese concept on the English one, the Chinese government wants to tell others that Tibet is just the ‘Tibet Autonomous Region,’” rfa.org Oct 20 quoted him as saying.

“The Chinese government cannot justify themselves by propagating propaganda to change the historical fact,” he has said, adding, “Many history books and documents that exist in the past refer to ‘Tibet’ as Tibet.”

Earlier, in Aug 2023, Chinese academics called on Beijing during a conference to ditch the term “Tibet” to help give Beijing an edge in the global discourse about the region.

The name change is supposed to prevent the Dalai Lama and the CTA at Dharamshala, India, from re-establishing the right to speak about Tibet and to promote the legitimacy of Chinese occupation and rule over the region.

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