Recent Comments on Speaking Tibetan

A top Chinese official recently made comments showing how the Chinese government is continuing the religious persecution documented in our book, according to an article in the London-based Independent newspaper. The severe religious persecution that followed the 1959 uprising in Lhasa forced the characters in our book to flee Tibet and reestablish the hub of their religion in India.

The Tibetan people have remained surprisingly resistant to the continual grinding away of the culture by the Communist government over the last six decades. Wang Yang, a member of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee, made his remarks before a hand-picked audience in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Tibet’s absorption by China.

Wang told his audience that “all-round efforts” should be made to force Tibetans to speak standard spoken and written Chinese and to ensure that they adopt the “cultural symbols of the Chinese nation.” The remarks are in line with government’s view that traditional Tibetan religions are a threat to the state.

The Chinese Communist Party’s official position is that it has “peacefully liberated” Tibetans from an oppressive theocracy, a view that a majority of Tibetans vehemently reject. Most Tibetans continue practice Bon and Buddhism and revere the Dalai Lama, reviled as a separatist by the Chinese government. “Separatist and sabotage activities committed by the Dalai (Lama) group and hostile external forces have been crushed,” Wang is quoted as saying.

“Only by following the CPC (Communist Party of China) leadership and pursuing the path of socialism can Tibet achieve development and prosperity,” Wang was quoted as saying.

A more dismal evaluation of the Tibetan people’s situation comes from the International Campaign for Tibet. “Judging by developments in Tibet over the past 70 years, the Tibetan people have no cause for jubilation, as Chinese policies have turned Tibet itself into an open-air prison with restrictions on all aspects of Tibetan life,” the organization said in a statement quoted by the Independent. “After 70 years of oppression, the only thing the Tibetan people need ‘peaceful liberation’ from today is China’s brutality.”

 

Image: Hand-picked crowd attends an anniversary event celebrating China’s annexation of Tibet. Photo/Helsinki News.

 

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