William Dere


Tibet is the stick with which China is hammered again and again not only by allies of Dalai Lama but by all human rights activists why are dying to see Tibetans revive their feudal culture as they wish. India facilitated the exodus of Tibetans as can be seen in Dharamsala. But there is another reality to Tibet and in the life of Tibetans in the words of the Chinese Vice-President. What is it?


July 19, 2011 – Xi Jinping, Chinese Vice-President led a 59 member delegation of the Central Government to attend the 60th Anniversary celebration of the peaceful liberation of Tibet from feudalism. Xi spoke to 20,000 people at a rally in Potala Palace Square in Lhasa. Here are some excerpts from the speech.


“In 1951, the central people’s government signed in Beijing with the former local government of Tibet the Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, which declared Tibet’s peaceful liberation. This was a turning point of epoch-making significance in the history of Tibet. It was a major event in the cause of liberation and national unification of the Chinese people. The peaceful liberation of Tibet crushed the attempt of external forces to separate Tibet from China. It upheld national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguarded national unification and ethnic unity. It opened the path for the one million serfs in Tibet to stand up and become masters of their own fates and ushered in a bright prospect of prosperity and progress for Tibet.”

“In the past 60 years, fundamental changes have taken place on this ancient, miraculous land of Tibet.”


“Tibet has achieved a leap forward in the development of the social system. The dark, backward feudal serfdom was completely abolished. The one million serfs, who were denied even their basic right of living as a human being, have become masters of the country and society. They have come to enjoy extensive political, economic, cultural and social rights in accordance with the law. Their mindset and spiritual outlook have all changed profoundly. Through democratic reform and with the establishment of the autonomous region, people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have embarked on the bright path of socialism.”


“Tibet has achieved all-round economic and social development. The establishment of the socialist system and implementation of reform and opening-up policies have greatly unleashed and boosted social productivity in Tibet. The preferential polices introduced by the central government have lent a strong impetus to the economic and social development in Tibet. As a result, Tibet has enjoyed sustained rapid economic growth and achieved remarkable progress in infrastructure building. A host of advantageous industries with distinct local features are taking shape and the eco-environment is being well protected. The fine traditions of the Tibetan culture are preserved and promoted. The advanced socialist culture has become the dominant theme in the society, and sound progress is being made in various social undertakings. Like other regions in the country, Tibet is showing the dynamism of development that points to a prosperous future.”


“The living standards of the Tibetan people have markedly improved. The income of residents in cities and the countryside has continued to rise. The building of a new socialist countryside anchored on comfortable housing projects is making solid progress. The living environment of farmers and herdsmen and the conditions of farmland and pastoral areas have gone through notable changes. Education, health and other essential public service systems are being improved. The social safety net covering the entire Tibetan population in both cities and the countryside is being put in place. Average life expectancy in Tibet has almost doubled from the level of the early days of peaceful liberation (from 35 in 1950 to over 65 in 2000 – ed.). People of all ethnic groups in Tibet are now marching confidently towards the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.”


“The socialist ethnic relations featuring equality, unity, mutual support and harmony are being reinforced and strengthened. The religious beliefs of the people are fully respected and protected. And the patriotic united front is growing stronger. People of all ethnic groups in Tibet have stood firm in the fight against separatism. They have forestalled separatist and sabotage activities staged by the Dalai group and foreign hostile forces, and firmly safeguarded ethnic unity, social stability and national unification. Working in unity with their fellow countrymen, cadres and people of all ethnic groups in Tibet are fully confident and capable of upholding and strengthening social stability and unity in Tibet.”


“The extraordinary development of Tibet over the past 60 years points to an irrefutable truth: without the CPC, there would have been no new China, and no new Tibet. As long as we stick to the CPC leadership, the socialist system, the system of regional ethnic autonomy and the development path with Chinese and local Tibetan features, Tibet will enjoy greater prosperity and progress and embrace a brighter future.”


“For our country, Tibet serves as an important national security screen. It also constitutes an important ecological security screen, a major base of strategic resources reserve and a major production area of special highland agro-produce. It is home for the preservation of a unique culture of the Chinese nation and a major international tourism destination. To do a good job in Tibet facilitates our efforts to thoroughly apply the Scientific Outlook on Development and build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. It serves the need of sustainable development, and the maintenance of ethnic unity and social stability as well as overall unity and national security of the motherland. To accelerate development and maintain stability in Tibet is the strategic decision and explicit requirement of the central government. It also is the strong aspiration and shared responsibility of cadres and people of all ethnic groups in Tibet.”


“At the fifth central working conference on Tibet in January last year, all-round arrangements were made to promote leapfrog development and long-term peace and stability in Tibet, charting the course of future work in Tibet.”


“The grand goal is to build a new, socialist Tibet that is united, democratic, prosperous, culturally advanced and harmonious. Efforts must be made to promote leapfrog development and long-term peace and stability, bring about moderate prosperity in all respects by 2020 and deliver a new life of greater happiness for people of all ethnic groups in Tibet.”


“The economic and social development of Tibet should always aim at safeguarding and improving people’s well-being. Our objective is to ensure that people of all ethnic groups in the autonomous region have access to education, employment, medical and old-age care and housing. We should speed up social development on the basis of economic growth, focusing on safeguarding and improving people’s well-being, and continue to build a new socialist countryside. We should implement the policy measures prioritizing education, vigorously develop public health and medical services, speed up the building and improvement of a social security system that covers both cities and the countryside, and intensify our efforts to alleviate poverty. All in all, we will work to properly address issues that are cared about most and that concern the immediate interest of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet.”


“To carry forward the advanced socialist culture is an integral part of the process of fostering the sense of common identity of all ethnic groups in Tibet. We will rally the people around the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We will inspire cadres and people in the region with a patriotic national spirit, with the spirit of our times focusing on reform and innovation and the spirit of “older-generation of Tibet” featuring dedication and hard work. We will guide social ethos with the socialist maxims of honor and disgrace, so that the system of socialist core values will be driven home and pursued by the people in the region of their own accord. We should build on and develop the fine traditions of Tibetan culture, following the principle of inheriting through preservation and developing through innovation, in an effort to continue to promote cultural progress in Tibet.”


“Social stability provides the very basis for leapfrog development and a prosperous life for people of all ethnic groups in Tibet. We should fully implement the Party’s ethnicity-related policies, adhere to the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and uphold the theme of all ethnic groups working together in unity for common prosperity. We should stick to the idea that “Han and ethnic minorities cannot live without each other, and different ethnic minorities are inter-dependent on each other”, and consolidate and develop the harmony and stability in Tibet, so as to make Tibet a shining example of ethnic unity. We should uphold, consolidate and expand the patriotic united front, and unite people’s wisdom and strength to the widest extent possible. We should adhere to the Party’s basic religion-related policies, administrate religious affairs in accordance with law, and uphold normal order of Tibetan Buddhism. We should fight against separatist activities by the Dalai group, rely on cadres and people of all ethnic groups, seek long-term policies and take measures that address the root cause, and completely destroy any attempt to undermine stability in Tibet and national unity of the motherland.”


“Tashi Delek!”


Xi Jinping is seen as the next president of China when Hu Jintao’s term ends in 2012. He is considered as part of the 5th generation of leaders, many of whom are off springs of the 1st generation of revolutionary leaders in the “Long March” heritage of the Chinese Communist Party. Xi is the youngest son of Xi Zhongxun, a leader in the People’s Liberation Army. The elder Xi was stationed in Tibet and developed a rapport with the Dalai Lama. Xi Zhongxun criticised Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” and the crack down at Tiananmen in 1989.


Xi Jinping has supported the latest campaigns to bring back the Thoughts of Mao Zedong, notably in Chongqing. The jury is out whether his ideology is Maoist or just using Mao’s thought to co-opt the leftist Maoist faction of the CPC. Xi is known for his undiplomatic criticism of foreigners during his trip to Latin America, “There are some bored foreigners, with full stomachs, who have nothing better to do than point fingers at us. First, China doesn’t export Revolution; second, China doesn’t export hunger and poverty; third, China doesn’t come and cause you headaches, what more is there to be said?” It is quite insulting to use the Chinese expression to describe people with “full stomachs with nothing to do.” Xi is also known for another quote situating China in the world. “The greatest contribution towards humanity, made by China, is to prevent its 1.3 billion people from hunger”.


(William Dere [gwdere@hotmail.com] is a Canadian of Chinese origin based in Montreal. He has been a supporter of progressive South Asian organizations among other things.)

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