October 22, 2013

TIBET: China Says Tibet Policy "Correct", No Turning Back

The Hindustan Times
written by Reuters staff
Tuesday October 22, 2013

China has no intention of altering its "correct" policies in the restive region of Tibet as they have brought unprecedented achievements, a government white paper said on Tuesday, slamming the romanticised notion Tibet was once an idyllic fairyland.

China has long defended its iron-fisted rule in remote and mountainous Tibet, saying the region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation of serfs and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops "peacefully liberated" Tibet and introduced "democratic reforms" in 1959.

When President Xi Jinping took office earlier this year there had been expectations in some quarters he may take a softer line on Tibet, partly because his late father, a reformist vice premier, had a close bond with the Dalai Lama.

But Xi has shown no sign of changing course in Tibet. In a lengthy policy paper carried by the official Xinhua news agency, the government said that Tibet under Chinese rule had achieved a great deal.

"Today's Tibet is developing economically, making progress politically, has a flourishing culture, a harmonious society and a good environment; its people are happy and healthy," it said.

"Tibet's development cannot be separated from this correct path," the white paper added. Tibetan exiles and rights groups say that China tramples on Tibet's culture, religion, language and environment, and has committed grievous abuses to ensure Beijing's rule.

Tensions in China's Tibetan regions are at their highest in years after a spate of self-immolation protests by Tibetans, which have led to an intensified security crackdown.

More than 120 Tibetans have set themselves alight since 2009, mainly in heavily ethnic Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces rather than in what China terms the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Most have died.

The white paper rejected the criticism, saying that "any fair-minded person would be filled with amazement" at the advancements China has bought to Tibet.

"There are some others in the world who intentionally distort the past and present of Tibet due to their ideological bias or out of consideration for their self interests. They created a 'Shangri-La' myth, wishing to keep Tibet in a backward primitive state forever," the white paper added.

It repeated China's assertion that exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is intent on pushing for Tibet's independence to sabotage its development and stability.

The Dalai Lama, who fled China in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, is considered a violent separatist by Beijing. The India-based Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.


Dragon Attacks 1949-1959

Taking the first step toward what has become 50 years of oppression, China's People's Liberation Army invades Tibet, killing more than 10,000. Repeated attempts by The Dalai Lama to negotiate with China are dismissed. In 1950, the 15-year-old Dalai Lama is forced into full leadership of Tibet, while in 1951 a Tibetan Delegation is forced to sign the 17-Point Agreement, promising "Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet." During 1959, The Dalai Lama went to China to speak with Chairman Mao Zedong. Mao told him, "Religion is poison. ... Tibet and Mongolia have both been poisoned by it." Also during this year, the Chinese retaliate against the Tibetan resistance, killing more than 87,000. On March 17, 1959, The Dalai Lama escapes His sacred homeland, seeking political asylum in India. The Chinese declare martial law as thousands of Tibetan refugees begin pouring into India.

Smash the Four Olds 1958-1976

During Chairman Mao Zedong's "Great Leap Forward," Tibetans suffered through the Tibetan Cultural Revolution experiencing some of the worst human rights abuses ever known, under the slogan "Smash the Four Olds:" old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits. Before the Chinese occupation, there are 6,000 Tibetan monasteries in Tibet. After the Cultural Revolution, there are six. Hundreds of thousands of Monks, Nuns and civilians are imprisoned or killed for wearing traditional hairstyles and clothing, engaging in traditional song or dance, or voicing their religious beliefs. Rituals such as prostrations, mantras, prayer wheels, circumambulation, throwing tsampa and burning juniper or incense are strictly prohibited. Anything representing the cultural identity of the Tibetan people is eradicated.

A Prison State 1950-Present

More than 250,000 Tibetans die in prisons and labor camps. Tibetan women are raped, sterilized and forced to have abortions. Children are shut off from Tibetan culture and subjected to beatings by teachers and authority figures. Nun's accounts of their prison experiences indicate they are targeted by the Chinese. They are subjected to extreme methods of torture: Dogs are used to bite them; their faces and torsos are burned with cigarettes; and electric batons are used on their genitals. Tibetan refugee children report that teachers and other authority figures subject them to beatings using rubber clubs, whips, belts, chairs, electric wires and other instruments.

Environmental Apocalypse 1960s-Present

China has inflicted severe damage to Tibetยบs environment: Toxic waste is dumped into rivers; forests are clear-cut; endangered species are hunted for sport; and nuclear-testing facilities are built. Hundreds of thousands of Tibetans die from famine and disease. The Chinese begin building facilities for the development of nuclear weapons and begin nuclear testing in the Tibetan plateau. In just 30 years, 25 percent of Tibet's forests are clear-cut, putting $54 billion into Chinese pockets. In the 1980s, this rapid deforestation causes 5 billion tons of soil to be lost to erosion every year, making the Yellow River flood. China currently has at least 300 to 400 nuclear warheads, many of which are in the Tibetan plateau. China declares in 1991 the "Year of Tibet" and begins bulldozing historic Tibetan buildings and homes in the Barkhor, the central square of Lhasa, Tibet's capital.

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