07/12/2011, 00.00
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Beijing’s releases white paper on ‘Sixty Years Since the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet’

by Nirmala Carvalho
Beijing commemorates 60 years of Tibet’s occupation with a white paper that claims that Tibet was always part of China. Tibetans slam this attempt to justify the genocide underway against their people, language, religion and traditions.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – “It is false to say that Tibet was historically always part of China;” however, what is true is that Beijing is engaged in a virtual “genocide against the religion, language and traditions of the Tibetan people,” said Urgen Tenzin, executive director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), in response to Chinese claims that Tibet was never culturally and politically separate from China.

"No country or government in the world has ever acknowledged the independence of Tibet," says a white paper titled Sixty Years Since the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet the Chinese government released yesterday. Indeed, for Beijing, the military occupation of Tibet and the thousands of dead it caused was an act of “peaceful liberation”.

"China is a unified, multi-ethnic country, and the Tibetan people are important members of the family of the Chinese nation,” the paper claims. Since ancient times, the Tibetan people have been "closely connected with the Han (main Chinese ethnic group) and other ethnic groups in blood relationship, language, culture and other aspects”.

The book slams calls for Tibetan independence, claiming that they are part of a Western imperialist plot to divide the country.

Chinese rule in Tibet is said to have begun in the 13th century when the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) formally incorporated the country into China’s central administration. The book goes further, saying that China established the titles of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Erdeni, and their political and religious status in Tibet.

On 11 March 1912, when the Republic of China issued its first constitution, it recognised that "the Han, Manchu, Mongol, Hui and Tibetan peoples are of one, and the five ethnic groups will be of one republic,"

For Urgen Tenzin, what counts is “the future of Tibet”. Speaking to AsiaNews, he said that Tibet does not want independence but greater autonomy “under the framework of the Chinese constitution”.

At the same time though, Tibet, in his view, was an independent state before China’s invasion 60 years ago. “Its culture and language are unique, very different from those of China,” he added.

He is particularly concerned about Beijing’s attempt to “conceal what is going on right now in Tibet. Every day, the Chinese government detains, tortures and kills Tibetans.” Its policies of “religious and cultural persecution do not stop, above all against monks and nuns in their convents.” For him, the Chinese state is involved in a policy of systematic cultural genocide that is hidden by its propaganda against “old and new imperialists”.

What is more, Beijing is also trying to hide the historic fact that “the Dalai Lama transferred his political powers to a democratically-elected Tibetan government.”

“The Tibetan question is now a global issue. The whole world now knows about Tibetan suffering and has come to realise that it is important to preserve Tibet’s culture, which is part of humanity’s heritage.”
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