Full Text: Tibet's Path of Development Is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide

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The State Council Information Office, China's cabinet, on Wednesday published a white paper on the development path of Tibet.

Following is the full text:

Tibet's Path of Development Is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide

The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China

April 2015, Beijing




I. The End of the Old System Was a Historical Inevitability

II. New Tibet Follows a Sound Path of Development

III. The Essential Intent of the "Middle Way" Is to Split China

IV. A Veneer of Peace and Non-violence

V. The Central Government's Policy Towards the 14th Dalai Lama



The People's Republic of China is a united multi-ethnic country created through the joined efforts of the peoples of all the ethnic groups in China. Over the long course of history, these ethnic groups have grown into a single community that responds to each and every challenge under the single name of the Chinese nation. Tibet has been a part of China's territory since ancient times, and the Tibetans have been one communal member of the Chinese nation. The destiny of Tibet has always been closely connected with the destiny of the great motherland and the Chinese nation.

Down through the ages, the Tibetan people have created a brilliant history and culture, and contributed to the enrichment and development of Chinese overall history and culture. However, the social system of Tibet remained one of theocratic feudal serfdom until the mid-20th century, with an economy that was extremely underdeveloped, and a society that was conservative, closed and backward.

Tibet first began to embrace modern civilization only after the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. Having going through such important phases as peaceful liberation, democratic reform, establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and introduction of reform and opening up, Tibet has not only established a new social system, but also witnessed great historical leap forward in its economy and embarked on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Tibet's continual progress on its present path of development is one of the objective requirements of modern civilization. It accords with the progressive trend of human society, the prevailing conditions and the current reality in China, and the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups in Tibet. While following this path, the people of the numerous ethnic groups in Tibet have become masters of their country and their society, and critically, masters of their own destiny. Along the way, Tibet has been transformed from a poor and backward society to one that is advanced in both economy and culture. Along the way, the people of Tibet have found harmony and the means of working together with the people of other parts of China to create a better and happier life. And along the way, Tibet has opened to the rest of the world and begun to absorb the outstanding achievements of human civilization.

Tibet's tremendous progress in its development serves as eloquent evidence that the path it is now following is the correct one. However, there is a party who cluster around the 14th Dalai Lama, representatives of the remnants of the feudal serf owners who have long lived in exile, driven by a political goal of "Tibetan independence" and a sentimental attachment to the old theocratic feudal serfdom. In recent years, having seen the failure of their attempts to instigate violence in support of their cause, they have turned to preaching a "middle way." This "middle way" purports to advocate "compromise," "concession," "peace" and "non-violence"; in reality it negates the sound path of development that Tibet has followed since the founding of the People's Republic, and attempts to create a "state within a state" on Chinese territory, to be ruled by the 14th Dalai Lama and his supporters, as an interim step towards the ultimate goal of full independence.

I. The End of the Old System Was a Historical Inevitability

In the 1950s, when slavery and serfdom had long since been abandoned by modern civilization, Tibet still remained a society of theocratic feudal serfdom. This system trampled on human dignity, infringed upon human rights, and impeded development in Tibet, all of which went completely against the progressive trend in China and the rest of the world.

- Political and religious powers combined, with absolute supremacy held by religious power - a typical manifestation of theocracy

In old Tibet, religious power enjoyed absolute supremacy. Religious power prevailed over political power while the latter protected the former. The two combined to defend the interests of the three major stakeholders: local officials, aristocrats and higher-ranking lamas in the monasteries. Before Democratic Reform in 1959, there were 2,676 monasteries and almost 115,000 Buddhist monks and their acolytes in Tibet. Active monks accounted for one quarter of the local male population, a total that far exceeded the proportion of clergy in Medieval Europe, and was highly unusual throughout the world.

In this theocratic society religion had been distorted by feudal serfdom, and monasteries were no longer places of purity to study Buddhism and worship the Buddha, but fortresses from which the local rulers organized religious activities, exercised administration and exploitation, built up their armed forces, and passed judicial adjudication. Some monasteries even had private jails, with instruments of torture used for eye gouging and hamstringing, in addition to handcuffs, chains and clubs. A letter from the Tibetan local government department to the head of a Rabden (a theocratic and administrative organization at a lower level) in the early 1950s contains instructions in relation to the celebration of the 14th Dalai Lama's birthday, which said that all the staff of Lower Tantric College would chant the sutra on the occasion, and "during the service, food will be offered to the hungry ghosts, for which a corpus of fresh intestines, two skulls, some mixed blood and a whole human skin are urgently needed. Please have these delivered without delay." Among the three major stakeholders, the upper-ranking lamas were the biggest money-lenders, controlling 80 percent of all loans.

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