CHINA> Regional
Ulterior motives behind Dalai's 'Memorandum'
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-22 09:50

Trying to stop promotion and use of Putonghua

The "Memorandum" says, "Tibetan must be respected as the main spoken and written language. Similarly, the principal language of the Tibetan autonomous areas needs to be Tibetan."

The fourth article of China's Constitution is, "The people of all nationalities have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages." The Tibet autonomous region also issued a regulation on learning, using and developing the Tibetan language.

In addition, the 19th article of the Constitution is, "The State promotes the nationwide use of Putonghua (standard Chinese)." The law on regional autonomy of ethnic minorities says in its 49th article, "In autonomous regions of ethnic minorities, authorities shall educate and encourage officials to learn languages of different ethnic groups. Officials of Han nationality shall learn languages of local ethnic minorities. Officials of ethnic minorities shall learn to speak and write commonly-used Putonghua while learning and using their own languages."

Based on these laws, all decisions, regulations, circulars and other documents of the People's Congress (local legislature) and governments of all levels in the Tibet autonomous region are written in both Chinese and Tibetan languages. So are official seals, certification papers, letterheads, logos and traffic signs. This has greatly improved the capability of Tibetans and other ethnic groups to learn from each other and communicate.

The memorandum talks a lot about the Tibetan language, but does not mention a word about the promotion and use of Putonghua. This actually echoes the so-called "extinction of Tibetan culture", which has been repeatedly elaborated by the Dalai Lama in recent years, as well as his accusations that the Chinese government is restricting the use of Tibetan. It intends to create a false impression that no one but they care about the fate of Tibetan culture and language.

Strongly opposing government's management of religious affairs in line with laws

The "Memorandum" says, "Religion is fundamental to Tibetans"; "The freedom covers the right of monasteries to be organized and run according to Buddhist monastic tradition, to engage in teachings and studies, and to enroll any number of monks and nuns or age group in accordance with these rules. The normal practice to hold public teachings and the empowerment of large gatherings is covered by this freedom"; "The state should not interfere in religious practice and traditions, such as the relationship between a teacher and his disciple, management of monastic institutions, and the recognition of reincarnations."

Religion not only is ideology, but also involves social activities and institutions. It definitely involves public and state interests. Any country may manage religious affairs in line with laws as no religion enjoys a privilege higher than the Constitution and laws.

The 36th article in the Constitution is, "Citizens of the PRC enjoy freedom of religious belief.... The state protects normal religious activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state." The 46th article also says, "Citizens of the PRC have the duty as well as the right to receive education."

A regulation on religious affairs, issued by the State Council, says in its third article that religious organizations, religious practice and believers should abide by the Constitution, laws, regulations and rules.

Despite clear laws and regulations, the Dalai Lama insists that the religion is supreme. This is not surprising because before his exile, the Dalai Lama was in fact the chief of the feudal slavery system by which the old theocratic Tibet was governed. Even now he is the "political and religious leader" of his group-in-exile. So it is not surprising that he still dreams of restoring such a "wonderful system".

Completely ignoring fact that Tibet is always part of China

The "Memorandum" has said nothing about the ownership of the sovereignty of Tibet and completely ignored the fact that Tibet has been part of China since ancient times. Tibet has always been an inalienable part of Chinese territory. Since the central authorities formally administered Tibet in the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-1368 ), China has exercised unquestionable sovereignty over Tibet. The fact that Tibet is part of China has been widely recognized in the world.

This issue cannot be ignored because it is fundamental to the improvement of the relationship between the Dalai Lama and the central government.

In its preamble, the Constitution says, "The PRC is a unitary multi-national state built jointly by the people of all its nationalities." The fourth article is, "All the national autonomous areas are inalienable parts of the PRC."