By Xiong Kunxin
In an open-door discussion by the Tibetan delegation to the 13th National People’s Congress, Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Tibet Autonomous Region Wu Yingjie came down heavily on the Dalai Lama. According to Hong Kong-based English daily South China Morning Post, Wu said, “The Tibetan people have more affection for the government. The Dalai Lama has not done a ‘single good thing’ for Tibet since he left.” The paper also quoted Go Khok, deputy Party chief and mayor of Lhasa, as saying that maintaining stability would be a key task for the city government this year, which marks the 60th anniversary of the democratic reform in Tibet.
Since the epoch-making democratic reforms of 1959, Tibet has made huge progress. The central government has given enormous support to the autonomous region by aiding it in a huge number of projects. Achievements made by Tibet autonomous regional government today in the field of transportation, health care and improving people’s living standard can hardly be imagined in the old Tibet. The Xinhua News Agency reported that Tibet’s GDP grew by 9.1 percent in 2018, “down from the estimate of 10 percent but still among the nation’s fastest-growing regions.” Official statistics show that Tibet’s poverty-stricken population has come down by over 80 percent from 860,000 to 150,000 over the past six years.
Tibet still has a development deficit compared with other provinces and regions, especially the coastal ones. But compared to 60 years ago, progress has been stellar.
Based on my experience, Tibetans – especially the 1 million serfs who were freed in 1959 – are satisfied with what they have achieved over the past six decades, for which they are grateful to the government.
The central government has played a vital role in the remarkable development of Tibet. A merit of one-party rule in China – high administrative efficiency and policy continuity – has benefited Tibet. The Party has been working efficiently in uniting different ethnicities, focusing on development and exposing the real face of the Dalai Lama. The CPC’s main aim has been clear-cut: To serve the people and put the people’s interests above all else, which is different from political parties in Western democracies which often seek their own interests.
The major security challenge in Tibet stems from the separatist activities of the Dalai group, which incited a handful of Tibetans against the country, leading to acts like self-immolation by monks.
Just as what Wu said, the Dalai Lama has not done anything good for Tibet since he left. In fact, he uses religion to achieve political ends. Tibetan Buddhism cherishes life, preaching against harm to living beings including plants and animals.
Tibetan Buddhism regards the Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion and mercy. His encouragement to suicide in such a ghastly manner is therefore blasphemous.
Politicians in some Western countries turned a blind eye to the brutal self-immolation tragedy, which took place on incitement by the Dalai Lama. This proves that their advocacy of the separatist leader did not come about as a convergence of values, but was an attempt to score political points.
With political goals in mind, some Western forces often badmouth the Chinese government over the Tibet question. The separatists know the West’s mentality well, working with them to incite the Tibetan people and trying to disrupt the social order in the region with the aim of internationalizing the Tibet question.
The Dalai Lama and the separatists he leads are the scourge of unrest in Tibet, posing a risk to security in the region. We must firmly fight against them.
Any attempt to separate Tibet from China is doomed to fail. It’s noticeable that the influence of the Dalai Lama in the West is declining. As China becomes increasingly powerful, a growing number of Western countries are wary of the country’s ability to retaliate if they maintain contacts with and offer support to the Dalai Lama.
(The author is an ethnic studies expert and professor at Tibet University in Lhasa. [email protected])