www.TibetanReview.net, Mar 31’08
Tibet’s Chinese boss Mr Zhang Qingli and his Tibetan deputy Mr Qiangba Puncog (Jampa Phuntsok) severely denounced the exile Tibetans’ clamour for independence, giving no quarters to those who only seek meaningful autonomy under Chinese rule.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the First Session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC), to which he was a delegate, Qiangba Puncog, the chairman of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government, said the alleged fallacy of “Tibet Independence” had “no prospect and historical base”, reported China’s online Tibet news service en.Tibet.cn Mar 5. And China’s official Xinhua news agency Mar 6 quoted him as saying, “The overseas sayings of ‘Tibet independence’ are groundless nonsense and secessionist activities are doomed to fail”.
Likewise, the Times of India Mar 7 quoted the regional party secretary, Mr Zhang Qingli, as claiming the Dalai Lama never refrains from splitting Tibet from China. “We never tolerate those who are deadest on splitting activities”, it quoted the TAR party secretary as saying on the sidelines of the NPC, China’s parliament. He has repeated Qiangba’s earlier comment, saying the instigation for “Tibetan independence” was doomed to fail.
Although both have not referred to the Dalai Lama’s middle way proposal, which seeks meaningful autonomy for a “greater” Tibet, not independence, and the exile Tibetan government’s steadfast promotion of this approach, China’s declared position is that this is just a multistage approach that hides an independence goal.
Qiangba has also dismissed as groundless western criticisms of Tibet’s human rights situation. “Seeing is believing. They should go to Tibet themselves to feel the improvements,” the Xinhua report quoted him as saying.
But, in reality, Tibet remains open only for tourism while being an exception to the opening of the whole of China for foreign media in the run up to the holding of the Beijing Olympics 2008 this coming August.