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Special> China's Tibet: Facts & Figures> Beijing Review Archives> 1989
UPDATED: May 7, 2008 No. 10, 1989
China's Policy Towards The Dalai Lama

In our third installment from "100 Questions About Tibet," recently published by Beijing Review Press, the diverging views of the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama are scrutinized. His "New Proposal," outlined last year in Strasbourg, and the notion of a "greater Tibetan autonomous region" are also analysed-Ed.

Q: What is the basic divergence of views between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government and people?

A: It is whether we should uphold China's territorial integrity and the unity of all its nationalities.

At the instigation of certain separatists, the Dalai Lama has attempted to undermine the unity of the Chinese nation and to split Tibet from China by counting on some foreign powers. This is what the Chinese government and people, including Tibetans, can never accept. However, the Dalai Lama will not be forgotten for his contributions made in upholding the national unity in the 1950s.

Although the Chinese people regret and resent the fact that the Dalai Lama utilized some separatist slogans, such as "Tibetan independence" and "China is only Tibets suzerain," which were concocted by some imperialists early at the beginning of this century, they still hope he can have a clear understanding of the situation, stop his separatist activities and return perceptively to the stand of upholding the national unity.

Q: How does the Chinese government view the Dalai Lama's "New proposal" on Tibet he put forward in Strasbourg, France, in June 1988?

A: In June this year, the Dalai Lama held a press conference in Strasbourg, France, at which he distributed copies of a speech containing a so-called "new proposal" on Tibet.

The Chinese government holds that this "new proposal" varies in detail from the "five-point plan" he raised at a Human Rights Subcommittee Meeting of the US House of Representatives in September last year. But there are no substantial differences. Both attempt to deny Tibet's status as an inalienable part of China's territory, and deny the Chinese government's sovereignty over Tibet. Their aim is to internationalize the Tibet question. The Chinese government and people will never accept this "new proposal" or other similar suggestions. On the question of sovereignty, the People's Republic of China will neither yield nor make any concessions to any external force. The Chinese government has solemnly declared that neither independence nor semi-independence or disguised independence of Tibet will do. The attempt to internationalize the Tibet issue and to rely on the support of external forces to achieve the aim of splitting China will never succeed.

The Dalai Lama mentioned in his "new proposal" that he was prepared to send his representatives to hold discussions with China's central government. As a matter of fact, the channel is always open for dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the central government. So long as the Dalai Lama has a sincere desire to improve relations with the central government and wishes to contribute to safeguarding the unification of the motherland, to promoting unity between Tibetans and Hans and to Tibet's development and prosperity, the central government is ready at all times to welcome him or his representatives to discuss matters in China or at any Chinese embassy abroad. If the Dalai Lama thinks these places are not convenient, he may choose another place. But no foreigners can be allowed to attend. Any issue is open for discussion except the question of "Tibetan independence."

Q: How does the Chinese government value the idea of a "greater Tibetan autonomous region" suggested by some people around the Dalai Lama?

A: It is an unrealistic idea.

As it is known to many, the Tibetan ethnic group in China inhabits part of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces, as well as the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Being separated by mountains and rivers, these areas have never been a unified administrative region. Nor have they formed an economic unity because of their uneven development, both economically and culturally.

When the Chinese government delimited its autonomous regions, it took into account the equal rights of the minority nationalities, their economic and cultural development and the regions' administration.

The Tibet Autonomous Region boasts a total area of 1.2million square kilometres. It has proved a hard enough task for an autonomous government to administer affairs in such a vast area. Therefore, the idea of a "greater Tibetan autonomous region" is neither realistic nor scientific, regarding the formation of administrative divisions in history and future development of these areas.

Q: Why doesn't China agree to apply the "one country, two systems" concept to Tibet?

A: The "one country, two systems" concept is a principle China designed for tackling the Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan issues to bring about the reunification of the motherland. The question of Tibet is completely different from the Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan issues. Therefore, they should not be mentioned in the same breath. The Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet reached between the Central People's Government and the Tibetan local government in 1951 states clearly that Tibet should exercise regional national autonomy under the unified leadership of the Central People's Government. Tibet abrogated the feudal serfdom through democratic reforms in the late 1950s and early 1960s,and in 1965 the Tibet Autonomous Region was set up.

The introduction of regional national autonomy for Tibet and other areas inhabited by minority ethnic groups within China has helped these regions, under the unified leadership of the Central People's Government and in line with their own characteristics, to adopt policies and measures to mobilize the initiative and creativity of their people and to accelerate their political, economic, social and cultural development in an all-round way. The aim has always been to realize the goal of common development and prosperity of all the nationalities.

(This article appears on page 26, No. 10, 1989)

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