(TibetanReview.net, Dec 12) — The best answer China has come up with so far to “prove” that Tibetans enjoy regional ethnic autonomy is that “Tibetans and other ethnic groups hold 94 percent of the seats in local legislatures” in the Tibet Autonomous Region. While this would, indeed, be a powerful argument in any real democracy, in China the legislatures do nothing more than rubberstamp party decisions. And no one is saying yet that the Communist Party of China is a democratic set up.
“There are more than 34,000 delegates from Tibet to People’s Congress at region, city, county and town levels,” reported the party mouthpiece People’s Daily Online Dec 10, citing Adain, vice chairman of the standing committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People’s Congress.
The report said 96.4 percent of voters voted last year to elect members of the legislatures, up from 93.1 percent in 2002 and 91.6 percent in 1991. However, the voters have no choice of candidates, and neither is there any right to stand for election.
The report said Adain dismissed what he had called the Dalai’s “Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People” as merely a promotion of the concept of “Tibet independence”, adding it would never be accepted by the people in Tibet. However, no one has asked that to the Tibetan people themselves, and neither is there the atmosphere of freedom to garner and honest Tibetan electoral answer to it.
The report said there were, as of 2007, 155 ethnic autonomous areas in the PRC, including five autonomous regions, 30 autonomous prefectures and 120 autonomous counties. It said 44 of the 55 ethnic minorities, covering 75 percent of the total ethnic minority population, had their own autonomous area. Among those not having their own autonomous areas would be Sherpas, Tengpas, Lhopas and Moenpas – all Tibetans classified for the first time in history by the Chinese as separate ethnic groups.