The Himalayan region of Tibet is peaceful and stable, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday at the end of a week that marked the 50th anniversary of an uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule. "The situation in Tibet is on the whole peaceful and stable," Wen told reporters in Beijing at the end of China's annual parliamentary session.
Wen defended China's policies in the Himalayan region, saying they had maintained stability and improved the lives of Tibetans. "Over the past few years, the government has increased its fiscal input in Tibet to accelerate the pace of economic development and worked to improve the living standards of the Tibetan farmers and herdsmen," he said.
"It is a fact that Tibet's peace and stability and continued progress have proven that the policies we have adopted are correct."
China has sealed off vast Tibetan regions to prevent unrest during this week's anniversary of the failed uprising, which forced spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to flee into exile and cemented Chinese control.
Armed security forces have been deployed throughout the Tibet Autonomous Region and the neighbouring areas of western China with Tibetan populations, to ensure no unrest this week.
Speaking on the occasion of the uprising's anniversary from his exiled base in Dharamshala,India, on Tuesday, the Dalai Lama said that the Chinese rule had made his homeland a "hell on earth".
Wen said Tibet would continue to follow a policy of opening up, indicating the government would push ahead with its controversial plan of pouring billions of dollars into the region to develop it. "Tibet will remain committed firmly to the policy of opening up because this meets the needs of Tibet's own development."
The Dalai Lama and other critics of China's rule in Tibet say that the so-called development has brought in a massive influx of Han Chinese people, eroded Tibetan culture and damaged the region's environment.