- The Guardian
- Issue #1976
The Tibet Autonomous Region celebrates the 70th anniversary of its peaceful liberation this year, a triumphant moment for its socialist system and governance that delivers a powerful message to Western politicians who fail to acknowledge its enormous progress.
In 1951, the Agreement of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, known as the 17-Article Agreement officially proclaimed the peaceful liberation of Tibet.
That liberation, together with the epochal democratic reform in 1959, has helped Tibet cast away its regressive, autocratic, and isolated past to embrace prosperity and an open future.
Nearly 3.65 million people live in the region, up 21.52 percent from 2010. Over 86 percent of the population is Tibetan.
Tibet’s average life expectancy increased from 35.5 years in 1951 to 71.1 years in 2019.
The region has more than 1,700 sites for Tibetan Buddhist activities with 46,000 monks and nuns. In an effort to preserve traditional Tibetan culture, the state and the region have invested over 5 billion yuan (770 million US dollars) in the renovation of cultural relics. Tibetan opera, Gesar, Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa have been included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Having eradicated absolute poverty, Tibet is in an accelerated drive of economic development with modernised infrastructure.
Tibet’s achievements should be sufficient to prompt certain individuals in the West to drop their fixation on the Shangri-La myth, which idealizes eternal theocratic rule and a spiritual world, and sees any modern development as worthy of condemnation.
Over the past 70 years, leaving the dark ages behind, Tibet has replaced the cruel, feudal serfdom system with a socialist system, exercised regional ethnic autonomy, and carried out reform and opening-up along with the rest of the nation.
As a region that occupies an important place in the nation’s security paradigm, Tibet receives significant attention from the central authorities, and massive assistance from other provinces to boost its development. The central budget has funded key infrastructure projects in the region, including railways and airports.
In order to maintain lasting stability and sustain development, Tibet steadfastly opposes secessionist plotting. The 14th Dalai Lama and his followers, supported by Western anti-China forces, have over the years continued attempting to promote “Tibetan independence” by provoking incidents that jeopardize peace and stability in Tibet.
These political exiles, as well as certain Western politicians and organizations, have launched a misinformation campaign targeting Tibet. They call liberation “repression” and demonise China’s policy in the region. Their cries of “cultural destruction” and “genocide” do not carry a shred of truth. Their frequent accusations regarding ethnic, religious, democratic and human rights issues are in fact driven by the idea of “Tibetan independence” to meddle in China’s domestic affairs.
These narratives concerning Tibet reflect either sheer ignorance or hegemonistic thinking tied to imperialist aggressions in the region in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Since the 1980s, Western forces have played an active role in the outbreaks of unrest that have taken place in Tibet.
China, with its ironclad resolve to safeguard national sovereignty and ethnic unity, will never allow the meddling hands attempting to play the “Tibet card” to turn the tables. And any secessionist attempts, which go against history and the common will of various ethnic groups in the region and the whole country, are doomed to failure.
Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, people in Tibet now live moderately prosperous lives, which would have been unimaginable before the region’s peaceful liberation. They are sure to create an even brighter future through unity, a modernisation drive and continued support from the central authorities.