Cultural symbols

China encourages adoption of language, cultural symbols in Tibet

BEIJING (AP) — A senior Chinese official said Thursday that “comprehensive efforts” are needed to ensure Tibetans speak standard spoken and written Chinese and share “cultural symbols and images of the Chinese nation.”

Wang Yang made the remarks to a hand-picked audience outside the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the home of Tibet’s traditional Buddhist rulers, at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of China’s invasion of the vast Himalayan region.

China’s ruling Communist Party claims to have “peacefully liberated” Tibetan peasants from an oppressive theocracy and restored Chinese rule over a region threatened by outside powers.

Critics say such moves towards cultural assimilation mean the demise of Tibet’s traditional Buddhist culture and that Tibet was effectively independent for most of its history.

China highlighted its efforts to boost the region’s economy and condemned the exiled Dalai Lama as a separatist.

Wang, who is a member of the Politburo Standing Committee – the party’s apex power – and oversees policy towards ethnic minorities, said that “separatist and sabotage activities committed by the Dalai Group (Lama) and outside forces hostiles have been crushed”.

Since 1951, Tibet has been “travelling on a path from darkness to light, backwardness to progress, poverty to prosperity, autocracy to democracy and closeness to openness”, he said. said Wang.

Wang said Tibetans have been included in representative bodies. The region welcomed nearly 160 million tourists last year, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, China restricted foreigners from entering Tibet.

“Only by following the leadership of the CPC and pursuing the path of socialism can Tibet achieve development and prosperity,” Wang said, as quoted by Xinhua.

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule and his supporters have documented human rights abuses in Tibet linked to an ongoing security crackdown.

“Judging by developments in Tibet over the past 70 years, the Tibetan people have no reason to rejoice, as Chinese policy has turned Tibet itself into an open-air prison with restrictions on all aspects of Tibetan life,” the US-based international campaign said. for Tibet said in a statement.

“After 70 years of oppression, the only thing the Tibetan people need today for ‘peaceful liberation’ is the brutality of China,” the group said.

As China tightens its grip on Tibet, questions arise about the future of its diaspora community. China has refused any contact with the self-declared Tibetan government in exile and the Dalai Lama has long since separated from politics.