Tibet, once regarded as a mysterious snow plateau, has received more and more foreign friends in recent years along with the quickening of the process of opening up. They called on herdsmen, toured scenic spots and visited monasteries and temples. Based on their personal experiences, they have made enthusiastic, friendly, just and objective judgments, they have "seen the real Tibet under sunshine".
Ms Soi'nam, head of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Tibet Autonomous Region, has revealed that Tibet has hosted the largest number of foreign guests this year. By the end of October, 467 people in 96 groups of foreign government officials, parliament members, diplomats and correspondents had visited Tibet. At the same time, foreign experts, scholars and project officials coming to Tibet for exchange or project assistance in the fields of culture, education, public health, science and technology had numbered 847 in 284 groups.
Having seen with his own eyes the changes taken place in the "Roof of the World", Carry Nehl, a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives of Australia, who has visited Tibet three times, said emotionally: Since the late 1950s, Tibet has experienced incredible changes, changes which are really peerless worldwide.
He said that in 1992, the main means of communications in Lhasa were the limited number of rickshaws, but now taxis can be seen everywhere. "On my way from Lhasa to Xigaze, I saw electric wires linking to some small mountain villages, and many new-style buildings have appeared in Lhasa and Xigaze. These facts show that the living standards of the Tibetan people have been improved."
Lam, an editor with the Indian journal Frontline, published a cover article entitled "Tibet-An Examination of Reality", after covering news in Tibet, he gave an introduction to locality from six aspects including economy, population, religious freedom, and human rights.
The article points out: Tibet enjoys prosperous economy, vigorous development of various undertakings, many preferential policies granted by the central government to Tibet, which have greatly benefited the region; The "two long-term unchanged" policies on recuperation and building up strength laid down by the central government in the 1980s are well received by farmers and herdsmen; freedom of religious belief is guaranteed in Tibet; governments at all levels have enacted strict laws and regulations, put in huge sums of funds for the protection of cultural relics, and collected, collated and published some famous literary and Buddhist classics, with fruitful results.
After covering news in Tibet, Tullaya, chief editor of the Thai magazine Manager Media Group, and head of the Thailand Journalist Delegation, said, the aim of the Dalai Lama is attempting to return Tibet to the serf society, and this goes against the historical trend. "Through our visit in Tibet, we have found that the report we previously heard from Western media about 'Tibet being a dreadful place without freedom and human rights' is inconsistent with reality. What we have actually seen is that Tibet is a beautiful place. After we return home, we will objectively introduce to the Thai people the actual conditions of Tibet we have seen."
None of those who have been to Tibet will deny the changes that have taken place in this beautiful land. Joseph Prueher, US Ambassador to China, said interestingly after visiting Tibet, "We can't see the changes when we are high above the clouds, but on the land of Tibet, we have witnessed changes here."
Along with the implementation of the strategy for the large-scale development of China's western regions, foreign delegations coming to visit Tibet this year have paid attention not only to Tibet's human rights, religion, traditional culture and nationality policies, but all the more to the region's economic and social development. Soi'nam said that in its foreign contacts, Tibet gives closer attention to publicizing itself at opportune time, so that the world will have a better understanding of Tibet.
"Facts are the best weapon for exposing lies", said Soi'nam. She added, "The open Tibet welcomes all those who want to have a true picture of Tibet. As the saying goes, 'Seeing is believing'. We hope more people can come to Tibet to see for themselves, so that they can have a correct understanding and make an objective appraisal of all the lies spread by the Dalai Lama."
(People's Daily 11/28/2000)