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Historical records defy claims of lack of religious freedom in Tibet
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Two telegraphs sent by the 14th Dalai Lama to Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1956 and 1957 defied proclamations that "Tibet is lacking in freedom of religious belief", an official with the State Archives Administration (SAA) said in Beijing on Sunday.

The two telegraphs, published by the SAA on its website, praised efforts of the communist Party of China in protecting religious freedom in Tibet, said SAA director Yang Dongquan.

"The Communist Party of China (CPC) represents the interests of all ethnic groups in China. It has resolutely implemented the policy of freedom of religious belief since its birth," the Dalai Lama wrote in his telegraph to CPC Central Committee Chairman Mao Zedong on July 1, 1956, congratulating the 35th anniversary of the founding of the CPC.

On April 1, 1957, the Dalai Lama wrote to Chairman Mao in his telegraph upon his return from India after taking part in a Buddhism conference, "Through participating in the Buddhist meeting in India we have not only strengthened the friendly relations between China and India, but also made the world see that the policy of freedom of religious belief has been and is being implemented thoroughly in China."

"From what the Dalai said in his telegraphs, it is reasonable to conclude that China has maintained religious freedom in Tibet after the region's peaceful liberation," Yang Dongquan said.

He said records of conversations between Mao Zedong and Lhalu, head of a visiting delegation of Tibetan youths, and Kashod Choskyi Nyima, personal representative of the Dalai Lama to the founding meeting of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in 1955 also revealed that religious freedom is well respected and preserved in Tibet.

"In the past, we were a bit afraid to hear that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was coming. And when it had actually arrived we saw that the PLA respected religious belief, protected lamaseries, helped people solve their difficulties, our misgivings were dispelled," Lhalu, who was born a noble in Tibet, was quoted as saying in the 1955 records.

Kashod Choskyi Nyima also hailed PLA's adherence to religious freedom according to the records.

"The Tibetan people generally have religious belief. Because the PLA has implemented the policy of equality among different ethnic groups, the policy of freedom of religious belief, the previous doubts of the Tibetan people have been largely dispelled and the Tibetan people and the PLA are better united," he said, over 50 years ago.

"From these words of the Dalai Lama and top officials of Tibet back then, we can see that China has fully implemented the policy of religious freedom after the peaceful liberation of Tibet," Yang Dongquan said.

However, in 1959 the Dalai Lama and the reactionary clique of the upper strata of Tibet instigated an armed rebellion in Tibet and went into exile abroad. They have since continuously claimed that "Tibet is lacking in the freedom of religious belief", Yang said.

"We can deduct from the contradiction of Dalai's own words that the essence of the Tibet issue is fundamentally not a religious one. Religious freedom is only an excuse employed by the Dalai clique to split China," Yang said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2008)

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