September 10, 2015
On 6 September, the Peoples Republic of China’s government issued yet another white paper on so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (which does not include all areas of the traditional Tibet). The white paper comes in the run up to the “celebration of the 50th anniversary of the so-called Tibet Autonomous region” claiming Tibet has entered its “golden age” citing numerous questionable statistics. Such report in addition to presenting a distorted interpretation of Sino-Tibetan relations is a vain attempt to whitewash its repressive occupation so long as independent journalists and rights groups are not given free access to Tibetan areas to judge for themselves.
Contrary to Chinese claims, the ground reality offers a drastically different situation with a complete lockdown and extreme security measures taken to orchestrate the anniversary celebration in Lhasa. In addition to massive deployment of security personnel, on 11th August 2015, the Chinese government issued another circular directing all postal departments to intercept all communications to and from so-called ‘TAR’ within 20 August to 5 September.
Despite the infrastructural investments and various socio-cultural projects cited in the latest paper, the fact remains that Tibetans are not free to fully exercise their rights, religious and otherwise. For example, movements by Tibetans, within the Tibetan plateau, are more than ever restricted with endless requirements for permits; monasteries are run by the Communist Party, nomads are forcefully removed from their traditional pasture, mining and dam building projects are carried out without local consultation and participation. Since 2009, at least 142 Tibetans are known to have self-immolated as an act of protest against Beijing’s misrule in Tibetan areas. The latest one being, Tashi Kyi, a mother of five from Labrang (Eastern Tibet) who set herself on fire on 28 August 2015.
The Central Chinese government’s genuine concern for the welfare and happiness of the Tibetan people is questionable so long as it does not fulfil their aspirations for freedom and the return of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to his homeland. This, for the Tibetan people, will truly be a ‘golden age’.
The Central Tibetan Administration has reiterated the Middle Way Approach as a viable solution through its response to China’s white paper.