A senior Tibetan official said on Sunday that his region welcomes visitors and investors but opposes any interference in China's internal affairs by supporters of the Dalai's separatist activities.
Legqog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region government, was responding to statements made at a United States congressional hearing in Washington DC on Thursday by Paula Dobriansky, the "Tibet coordinator" for the US State Department.
Dobriansky said: "If the Chinese Government fails to engage with the Dalai Lama ... Tibetan resistance could intensify and the potential for political upheaval could grow."
She also referred to what she called a "grave" human rights climate in Tibet and claimed that the Dalai was "an asset to the difficult challenge of regional and national stability."
In an exclusive interview, Legqog told China Daily: "Tibet has now entered its fastest and best development period. We have full confidence to safeguard prosperity and further progress in Tibet."
Legqog - who is in Beijing to attend the ongoing Fifth Session of the Ninth National People's Congress - expressed anger at Dobriansky's conclusions. He claimed that they were not based on the facts.
"The Tibetan people, who now know the separatist nature of the Dalai's clique inside out, will never allow their happy lives to be marred by any disturbances," said Legqog.
He maintains that the Dalai did nothing to help Tibetans while he was in office and has never stopped his efforts to split the motherland since he fled Tibet in 1959.
The Dalai has already lost popularity in Tibet and has become an obedient tool manipulated by anti-China forces outside China, said Legqog.
The Dalai and his followers have no authority to represent the Tibetan people, he added.
The regional government will never relax its fight against separatism, he said.
Expressing his strong indignation at what he branded Dobriansky's "indiscreet remarks and blind judgment" about Tibet, Legqog said the central government's door has always been open for talks with the Dalai, but the Dalai's insincerity has resulted in the lack of progress on contact and talks.
He said the central government's policy has been clear and consistent: The Dalai must give up his pro-independence position, stop his separatist activities and make a public announcement agreeing that Tibet is an inalienable part of China, that Taiwan is part of China and that the People's Republic of China is the country's sole legal government.
"But the Dalai has neither abandoned his separatist activities nor given up his pro-independence stance. Instead, he has exploited the negotiation issue to serve his own purposes," Legqog said.
When the Dalai believes the international situation is unfavorable to him, he will agree to talks, but as long as he thinks the world situation is favorable for him, he will refuse to come to the table, added Legqog.
An avid international traveler, the Dalai has engaged in propaganda aimed at misleading world opinion.
The Tibet chairman added: "Anyone who keeps their eyes open and looks without prejudice will see that Tibet has had the best human rights record in its history since democratic reforms were introduced in 1959."
When the Dalai was in office in Tibet, a feudal serfdom was in place, which combined religion and politics, Legqog said.
Up to 95 per cent of the Tibetan population at that time were serfs or slaves with no personal freedom, and their children were deprived of the right to education. Only 2 per cent of school-age children could actually go to school, Legqog said.
After the democratic reforms, feudal serfdom was abolished, all the serfs and slaves were emancipated and the Tibetan people have become masters of their own destiny, he said.
Former Tibetan serf Lobsang, 63, started to drive a donkey-drawn wagon for a feudal lord at the age of 15. He said his father was beaten to death by the feudal lord, simply because he could not repay 36 kilograms of grain owed to the lord.
Currently a deputy to the National People's Congress from Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Lobsang said he is content with his life now, and it has been getting better day after day since the democratic reforms.
Lobsang said the people in his neighborhood - a residential quarter at the foot of the Potala Palace in Lhasa - are disgusted with the Dalai's claim that life is not good in Tibet today.
Tibet last year registered 12.2 per cent growth in gross domestic product year on year, far in excess of the national average of 7.3 per cent. More than 87 per cent of school-age children have enrolled at school, according to the regional government's latest statistics.
Legqog said many foreigners were impressed when they came to Tibet and saw the region with their own eyes.
"We cordially welcome anyone who cares about Tibet to go for treks to discover the truth or to invest there and seek common development," he said.
As an NPC deputy, Legqog said he opposed the adoption of double standards on the human rights issue and attempts by others to willfully impose their own human rights standards on China.
Zhou Jue, president of the China Society for Human-Rights Studies, yesterday told China Daily that China has long held that a nation's rights to subsistence and development are key to human rights.
"When the people cannot feed and clothe themselves, it is impossible for them to develop any human rights," Zhou said.
Now Tibet has entered its prime stage of development and its culture and religion have been well preserved, he said. It was either because of ulterior motives or ignorance that some people have made irresponsible remarks about human rights in Tibet, added Zhou.
(People's Daily March 11, 2002)