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Commentary: Don't see Tibet through tainted glasses
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By Guo Likun, Qin Dajun, He Wei

For long, some westerners have been observing Tibet through tainted glassed and applying double standards in assessing the so-called human rights issue in Tibet.

They insisted on doing so even after the March 14 incident in Lhasa, spreading irresponsible opinions that confounded right and wrong.

Ample facts showed that the Lhasa riots were violent crimes of beating, smashing, looting and burning. The riots seriously infringed on human rights, endangered life and property and sabotaged the social order.

Turning a blind eye to the atrocities, some people purposely distorted the facts and described these events as "peaceful demonstrations" to slander the Chinese government's legitimate efforts to maintain social stability as "suppression".

Do these people really care about Tibet's human rights?

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security, which together are essential to human rights. But the riot caused many deaths and serious injuries to hundreds of innocent civilians. The victims included an 8-month-old boy, who was burned to death by rioters in his home.

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948.

In face of these atrocities, we can't help asking whether this article of the declaration rang a bell for some westerners who used "human rights" as a platitude for all occasions.

The right to development, along with the right to life, are two fundamental rights commonly regarded by the international community as inalienable human rights.

Some people, however, have long looked at Tibetans' development through rose-colored glasses. They intentionally distorted facts and denied that Tibet was experiencing its best era of development and stability and Tibetans were enjoying the broadest human rights ever.

Under centuries-long feudal serfdom, the Tibetan serfs were politically oppressed, economically exploited and frequently persecuted.

A saying circulated among serfs: "All a serf can carry away is his own shadow, and all he can leave behind is his footprints." It is perhaps safe to say that Tibet's serf system represents the worst systematic abuse of human rights in human history.

Today's Tibet, however, has achieved unprecedented progress. Economic output has exceeded 30 billion yuan (about 4.3 billion U.S. dollars) and maintained an annual growth rate of more than 12 percent for seven consecutive years.

The per capita net income of farmers and nomads has been growing at a double-digit rate for five consecutive years. It reached 2,788 yuan last year, up 14.5 percent year-on-year, which was 7 percentage points higher than the national average.

Tibetans have remained the majority in China's Tibet Autonomous Region, the Tibetan language has remained the common spoken language, and Tibet's written language has remained the region's main written language.

Monasteries and religious sites can be seen virtually everywhere, there are more monks, and even computers and mobile phones have been equipped with input software in Tibetan.

"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms," read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Dalai clique, however, are still seeking to restore the old theocracy in Tibet, featured by the dictatorship by monks and the noble.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the release of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, in this historic year, the Dalai clique has plotted and incited the Lhasa violence. It is an unabashed challenge to the world's human rights cause, as well as to peace-loving people around the world.

History has witnessed the great progress of human rights in Tibet. It will also witness the ultimate failure of the Dalai clique's separatist scheme.

(Xinhua News Agency April 2, 2008)

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