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Misrepresenting Tibet a disingenuous strategy
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More and more young Chinese people have paid attention to the vast and sacred land of Tibet and its development over recent years as problems continue to haunt it.

Unblocked access to the Internet, television and newspaper coverage about the autonomous region has helped these open-minded young people see that the West has long played an important force behind the Dalai Lama clique's activities.

Having long thrown their weight behind the development of democracy and improvement of human rights in Tibet, China's young people had previously never expressed repugnance to the West-advocated slogans of democracy, liberty and human rights in Tibet.

However, an extensive browse of media reports have gradually hammered home the knowledge that certain Western countries lack a minimum understanding of the Himalayan region and that the West's unreserved support for the Dalai Lama clique derive from its strategic considerations.

It is known that Tibet has been an inalienable part of China's territory since ancient times. The local government of Tibet has been under jurisdiction of China's central government since the beginning of the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). The so-called "Greater Tibet" advocated by the Dalai Lama clique is only an imperialist illusion and has never existed in history.

The Dalai Lama has long vowed to establish a "Greater Tibet" in one-fourth of China's territory from which all ethnicities except those of Tibetan origin should be expelled.

If met, such a requirement, based on the premise that millions of non-Tibetan people are to be kicked out of Tibet, would result in the largest-ever ethnic purge in mankind's history and thus is completely unacceptable.

However, it is a surprise that the Western world has not even extended a bit of criticism to such an unreasonable requirement that not only lacks basic historical and legal foundation but also seriously contradicts Western conceptions of human rights.

It turns out the West has long turned a blind eye to the great achievements scored in Tibet over past decades and thrown support behind a resumption of feudal serfdom.

This makes young Chinese people particularly puzzled. In the old Tibet, just five percent of the upper-class groups enjoyed unchallenged privileges while the rest suffered untold repression and distress.

These pro-Dalai Lama Western strategists have also chosen to sympathize with his repressive religious-political system in Tibet while paying no respect to the progression of the times. Despite their long-trumpeted slogans for a liberal and democratic Tibet, these Western people have shown unrestrained sympathy to the Dalai Lama's plot to deprive non-Tibetan ethnicities of their rights to freedom of living, although it is an iron-clad fact that the land within its boundary has also been inhabited by a number of non-Tibetan ethnic groups whose freedom and rights should be guaranteed as well.

It is also ridiculous that the West has long embraced the Dalai Lama as a human rights guardian and conferred him with the Nobel Prize while ignoring his decades-long efforts to repress Tibetan people and instigate strife among different ethnic groups.

All high-sounding moves taken by the West on the Tibet issue only point to their underlying political motives. More and more Chinese young people have realized that the support the Western world has extended to the Dalai Lama clique does not reflect its real concern over Tibet's liberty, democracy and human rights. The Tibet issue has long been capitalized on as a card to divert China's concentration from building a socialist and moderately well-off society and to delay its peaceful development.

Via the Internet, an increasing number of Chinese people have expressed disappointment toward the West and shown their disgust for the support afforded to the Dalai Lama's separatist activities.

Western politicians have long utilized so-called public opinion to exert pressure on the Chinese government. However, with the increase of Chinese netizens, the political game played by these ill-conceived politicians could no longer continue.

By the end of February last year, China had surpassed the US and become the world's largest Internet user. By January's end, the country had developed a 300 million-strong army of netizens. Increasing access to the Internet has changed China's political landscape.

Thus, any talks about the Tibet issue should take their opinions into full consideration.

It is expected that any Western succor for the Dalai Lama will not only encounter opposition from the Chinese government, but will also run into resistance from the country's public opinion.

Western strategists should acknowledge China's peaceful rise as a world power as irresistible and adapt to this geopolitical trend. Any attempt to block China's peaceful development by playing the Tibet card is a miscalculation.

The author is a professor of international studies with the School of International Studies under Renmin University of China.

(China Daily March 17, 2009)

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