Home / China / View

Dalai clique's disingenuous claims

By China Forum | | China Daily | Updated: 2014-01-28 07:53

Editor's note: Zhu Weiqun, director of the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, led a delegation to the headquarters of the European Union in October. The following is based on an interview with Belgian, Swiss and Italian journalists:

Tibet has been of great significance to China, economically, strategically or in other aspects, and this is based on the precondition that Tibet is part of China's territory. Given that whether from a historical or from a de jure perspective the vast plateau region is China's territory and we will in no case allow its separation from the country. Our determination in opposing "Tibetan independence" is by no means based on what some Westerners have claimed is China's need for the resources in the region.

Tibet was a feudal serfdom for centuries before the launch of its democratic reforms in 1959. This meant Tibet would undoubtedly encounter huge difficulties in the process of modernization, especially renewed resistance from the former ruling clique. However, with the joint efforts of Tibetans and the people in the rest of the country, Tibet has managed to make fairly good achievements. The region's gross domestic product grew by 13 percent year-on-year in 2012, a two-digit growth for the 20th consecutive year. The disposable income of farmers and herdsmen in the region grew by 17 percent from a year earlier, a two-digit increase for the 10th consecutive year. Even the intentional acts of sabotage plotted by the Dalai Lama clique, including the self-immolation incidents they have instigated in recent years, have failed to interrupt Tibet's progress. We have full confidence in the region's future.

Tibet has also witnessed a year-on-year rise in the number of inbound tourists, with the number exceeding 11 million in 2012, of which tens of thousands were foreigners. Without a stable political and social situation, it would be impossible for Tibet to develop such a booming tourism sector.

The "high degree of autonomy" for Tibet trumpeted by the Dalai Lama clique is not the same as the regional autonomy system the Chinese central government has adopted for a variety of ethnic groups. What the Dalai Lama is really doing is using "self-autonomy" as a pretext to pursue Tibet's separation from China. China's Constitution and its Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy do not allow any separatist moves under the disguised pursuit of a "high degree of autonomy" and the Chinese central government will observe the law.

In an interview with an Indian magazine in 2011, Lobsang Sangay, who was elected as "chief minister" of the "Tibetan government in exile", argued that "Tibet's autonomy" and "Tibet's independence" are not mutually contradictory. "Independence" remains Tibet's principled goal while "autonomy" is only a realistic goal, he said. However, the kind of "autonomy" asked for by the Dalai Lama clique completely contravenes China's Constitution and the Law on Regional Ethic Autonomy, and it is also against the interests of the Chinese people of all ethnicities and thus absolutely unviable. The so-called high degree of autonomy in the mouth of the Dalai Lama is in essence a two-step pursuit of "Tibet's independence".

The accusation made by the Dalai Lama clique that the Chinese national flag is forced to fly over Tibet's territory goes against facts and needs to be refuted. As a national symbol, it is natural for China's national flag to fly over its own territory. As an ethnic group that loves its own motherland, it is very common for some Tibetans to hang the Chinese national flag beside their homes during major festivals. At the same time, there have never been any Tibetans detained or punished by the authorities because they did not do the same. However, the Chinese government is entitled to mete out deserved punishments to those who intentionally damage, burn and insult the national flag in accordance with the country's National Flag Law no matter who the perpetrators are or whatever ethnicities they are from. This is a universally recognized practice across the world.

As a sovereign territory of China, Tibet has never had its own "national flag" as the Dalai Lama has claimed. The Dalai Lama clique regards the "snow lion flag" as the "national flag" of an "independent Tibetan state" and thus the flag is an emblem of his separatist moves. Hanging it across Tibet's territory is a separatist gesture and should be banned by the authorities.

The self-immolations that have taken place in some Tibetan-inhabited areas in recent years do not mean "the whole of Tibet is burning" as the Dalai Lama clique claims. In fact, these self-immolations have mainly happened in limited areas where the Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces meet, especially in the Kirti Monastery in Sichuan's Aba Tibetan-Qiang autonomous prefecture. Kirti Rinpoche, the monastery's head lama, who fled Tibet with the Dalai Lama after the failed 1959 rebellion, said in March 2013 that these self-immolations are a dedication to the well-being and interests of Tibetan people and thus do not constitute a violation of Buddhist doctrines at all. He has also argued that the invisible power of Tibetans comes from such self-immolations. His words reveal the real cause of these violent acts in recent years.

All Chinese people, including Tibetans, oppose the self-immolations and such acts have drawn harsh criticism from the international community. The clique of the 14th Dalai Lama cannot continue with its dissembling after its ulterior purpose has been laid bare. The facts prove that, by plotting such self-immolations among innocent Tibetans, the Dalai Lama and his clique are attempting to force the Chinese government into political concessions and even ignite a reenactment of the "Arab Spring" in Tibet.

In an interview with the BBC on Nov 18, 2011, the 14th Dalai Lama said that why some Tibetans have committed suicide by self-immolation is because they know Western countries are supportive of an "Arab Spring" style uprising in Tibet sparked by a self-immolation. But at the same time, he complained of the "soft tone" Western countries adopt for dialogue with China. Lobsang Sangay, a leading figure in Dalai Lama clique, also expressed disappointment that "self-immolations by some Tibetans have not received the same world attention as the similar suicide of a Tunisian man that sparked the Arab Spring".

The 14th Dalai Lama has tried to make use of his religious influence and offers spiritual support to innocent young Tibetans contemplating self-immolation. In an interview with NBC on Oct 8, 2012, he said that "these self-immolators have chosen to sacrifice their lives with a sincere motive and they did this for the sake of Buddhist doctrines and human beings". In a statement issued on Nov 7 of the same year, the parliament of the so-called "Tibetan government in exile" said "self-immolation is a peaceful and non-violent action in the highest realm". But if that's the case, it is strange that all the self-immolators are young and poor and why no older and wealthy lama has done the same.

The 14th Dalai Lama's argument that the migration of Han people to Tibet to live or work will threaten the survival and development of Tibetans is also groundless. There is no law in China that imposes a ban on the free movement of its residents from one place to another. It has long been the central government's policy to dispatch experienced and skilled people to the Tibet, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions and other less-developed regions to help them with their economic construction and development. China has never denied or concealed the existence of such a national policy.

With the gradual loosening of the hukou, or household registration system since reform and opening-up, an increasing number of Han people have moved to Tibet and other frontier regions for business. At the same time, more Tibetans or people of other ethnic minorities have also left their hometowns and moved to other regions to make a living. Such kind of cross-regional demographic movement is very normal during fast economic development and no one is empowered to stop the trend. Despite the fact that some Han people have moved to Tibet, Tibetans still account for more than 90 percent of the region's total population and such a demographic pattern is not expected to experience any major change in the foreseeable future.

The Dalai Lama asserts that the movement of Han people to Tibet should be stopped and all Han people living or working in the region should be driven out of it for the "survival" of Tibetans. What an absurd argument! As a part of China's territory, all Chinese citizens are entitled to freely move among different regions, including the Tibet autonomous region.

It is also absurd to believe the central government's efforts to help local Tibetan farmers and herdsmen build homes will result in them losing their nomadic culture and traditions. It is against human rights if some people enjoy a modern urban life while insisting others should live in a backward condition that lacks schools, hospitals and other basic facilities.

There have been no talks between the central government and the Dalai Lama in recent years because the latter has been harboring the unrealistic illusion that talks are based on the central government's recognition of the legitimacy of the "Tibetan government in exile". Such a precondition is absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese central government. Talks can be held only after the Dalai Lama clique stops its separatist activities and returns to a correct position. Also, any "middle road" advocated by the clique, which is in essence aimed at pursuing "Tibet's independence", will also make any talks with the central government impossible.

The 14th Dalai Lama should be aware that his separatist moves will lead nowhere and the fate and future of the region are in the hands of all Chinese people, including Tibetans, rather than a handful of separatists.


Editor's picks
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349