Sunday, 23 January 2022

China defends Tibet policies after Dalai Lama fled

BEIJING: China is defending its often-criticized rule in Tibet 60 years after the Dalai Lama fled into exile amid an abortive uprising against Chinese control, saying those who question its policies are merely showing their anti-Chinese bias. The statements in official media came as Tibetans and their supporters marked the anniversary Sunday and called for greater international support. Despite decades of such calls, however, the Himalayan region appears no closer to gaining greater autonomy, particularly as China’s global influence grows.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said in an editorial dated Saturday that economic growth, increases in lifespan and better education in the region refute the claims of critics that Tibetans suffer oppression from Beijing.

On Sunday, an editorial in the Communist Party-run Tibet Daily attacked the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s traditional Buddhist leader, for what it said are his efforts to “sow chaos in Tibet.”

His “separatist plots are doomed to total failure,” the paper said.

The Dalai Lama has been living in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala since he fled from Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Beijing accuses him of seeking to separate Tibet from China, which he denies.

Tibet is enveloped in smothering layers of Chinese security and many Tibetans abroad say the Himalayan region’s resources are being exploited for Beijing’s benefit while Tibet’s language and unique Buddhist culture is gradually being destroyed.

In India’s capital, New Delhi, at least 3,000 Tibetans marched about 3 kilometers (2 miles) through the center of the city on Sunday carrying Tibetan and Indian flags. Invoking India’s concerns over China’s expansive power in Asia and beyond, the marchers shouted slogans including “Tibet’s freedom is India’s security” and “India-China friendship is a sham.” They also carried a portrait of the Dalai Lama while occasionally chanting slogans wishing him a long life and calling for freedom for Tibet.

“We have come here to remind the new generation that China snatched our country … that’s why we got together and started this movement,” said one marcher, Sonam Yougyal, 52.

Hundreds of Tibetans and Taiwanese rallied in Taipei, the capital of the self-governing island democracy that China also claims as its territory.

Tashi Tsering, chair of the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, recalled what he called China’s history of reneging on agreements to Tibetans and others.

“We should not trust the Communist Party of China whatever it says,” he said.

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