China will continue its fight against the spiritual head of the Tibetans, the India-based Dalai Lama, to ensure national and ethnic unity and social stability in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, President Xi Jinping said in Beijing.
Speaking at the meeting attended by the entire top leadership of China, Xi said the country has to “firmly take the initiative” in the fight against “separatism”.
He was addressing a two-day meeting in Beijing focused on TAR and the four other provinces in China -- Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai -- where Tibetans live.
“We should fight against separatist activities by the Dalai (Lama) group, rely on cadres and people of all ethnic groups, seek long-term policies and take measures that address the root cause,” Xi was quoted as saying at the meeting attended by the six other members of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Politburo, the country’s top decision-making body.
The Dalai Lama has been living in India since 1959 and the issue has remained a diplomatic thorn in bilateral relations although neither New Delhi nor Beijing make much public mention of it.
The Chinese government frequently claims that the Dalai Lama, revered by many Tibetans in China, and his followers are spreading separatism in China, inciting the Tibetans to self-immolate. More than 130 Tibetans have died setting themselves afire in recent years, demanding freedom and the return of Dalai Lama to the region.
Rights groups based abroad said the Chinese government’s hard-line policies have alienated the community, driving them to protest.
Access to and information flowing out of TAR is tightly controlled by the government making independent verification of news difficult.
The picture usually painted by the Chinese government is that TAR is developing rapidly and the livelihood of people has improved vastly.
Xi for example told the closed door meeting that “social stability provides the basis for advancing development and prosperity for people from all ethnic groups in Tibet.” The President’s speech however indicated much work needs to be done in TAR.
He urged for “bettering basic public service and adopting targeted measures to alleviate poverty, solve key problems which lead to poverty and improve living conditions for the impoverished as soon as possible.”
“More active employment policies should be carried out to help residents of all ethnic groups to walk out of their farms and pastors to work in towns and companies and start businesses,” he said.