The Dalai Lama and his followers were hatching a plan towards Tibetan independence, China said on Sunday, adding that had it not been for Beijing’s intervention in 1959 Tibetans would have remained in the “dark age” of medieval practices and slavery.
Since the formation of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in 1965, the region and its people have seen all around development and 281 times increases in GDP.
“Tibet is now in its golden age,” a white paper or policy document on Tibet, titled the “Successful Practice of Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet” said on Sunday.
It was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the TAR.
At a press conference in Beijing on Sunday, an official from TAR also made a rare reference to Gendun Choekyi Nyima, who was chosen by the Dalai Lama as the Panchen Lama 20 years ago and was taken away by Chinese authorities soon after.
“The reincarnated child Panchen Lama you mentioned is being educated, living a normal life, growing up healthily and does not wish to be disturbed,” Norbu Dunzhub, the TAR official told Reuters at the press conference.
“The identification was done without authorisation. It was illegal and invalid,” Norbu Dunzhub added.
In the white paper, the government continued to criticise the Dalai Lama’s political stand on the status of Tibet. He has been in exile in India since 1959 when he fled China with his followers.
The official news agency, Xinhua, quoted the paper as saying that over years the 14th Dalai Lama clique, in plotting towards “Tibetan independence,” has constantly preached the “middle way,” peddled the concept of a “Greater Tibet,” and lobbied for “a high degree of autonomy”.
“The 14th Dalai group's separatist activities violate the Constitution of China and its state system, and greatly damage the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups in Tibet, which is why they have met strong opposition from all Chinese people, including those of all ethnic groups in Tibet, and hence why they are doomed to fail,” the white paper said.
The portions of the paper officially quoted made no mention of the self-immolations committed by Tibetans in protest against, what critics say, are harsh government policies, suppression of rights and religious freedom.
According to the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, as my as 143 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009; 115 among them succumbed.
Beijing has consistently denied the allegations, saying, as per the new document: “Tibet's traditional culture is well protected and promoted, and freedom of religious belief in the Region is respected and protected, while its ecological environment is protected, too”.