All Tibetans should embrace the rule of the Communist Party and share the “symbols and cultural images of the Chinese nation,” said a senior Chinese official at an event celebrating 70 years since the People’s Liberation Army invaded Tibet.
Wang Yang, a member of the standing committee of the Politburo, China’s most powerful political body, made the remarks during a lavish ceremony in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the holy home of Tibet’s traditional Buddhist leaders.
It comes amid an offensive against border regions that are home to ethnic minorities, such as Tibet, and the practice of non-Han cultures and religions.
According to the official state media Xinhua News Agency, Wang called for greater efforts to ensure that all religions in China are “Chinese-oriented,” saying that Tibetan Buddhism needs guidance to adapt to socialist society. He said that Chinese culture was a bond that fostered unity.
“Just following the [Chinese Communist party] leadership and follow the path of socialism, can Tibet achieve development and prosperity, “said Wang, according to Xinhua.
Wang’s comments mirror those he made in 2018 and align with the Chinese government’s ongoing assimilation policies in ethnic minority regions such as Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, where punitive measures have sought to reduce the presence of languages and cultures. premises that are often combined with the repression of suspected separatists. exercise.
In Tibet, authorities jailed and allegedly beat monks and nuns, subjected villages to political education sessions, imprisoned people who promoted local languages, established mass surveillance, restrictions on daily life and education, and work programs. .
Authorities have promoted Mandarin in Tibet in what critics say is an attempt to erase the culture. Mandarin is used in most Tibetan schools, while the Tibetan language is taught as a subject. Similar efforts are underway in Inner Mongolia.
Thursday’s ceremony involved some 10,000 selected attendees, and marked 70 years since the invasion. and subsequent establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The CCP maintains that the invasion was a peaceful liberation of Tibetans from an oppressive theocracy.
In 1959, the Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, and his supporters have continued to document human rights abuses.
The region received about 160 million tourists last year, according to Xinhua. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, China limited foreigners from entering Tibet.
Yaqiu Wang, a researcher at Human Rights Watch China, said there was no “70 years of peaceful liberation” in Tibet, only “an ever-increasing brutal repression.”
“Seventy years after the so-called ‘liberation’, the apparently all-powerful Chinese Communist Party still views the beliefs and attitudes of ordinary Tibetans as a threat to their rule,” Yaqiu Wang told The Guardian.
“The Chinese government must understand that forced assimilation is not a solution for the government of ethnic minority regions. The denial of the right to freedom of expression and assembly, and the denial of religious, linguistic and cultural rights constitute a violation of the international legal obligations of the Chinese government. “
The event was heavily choreographed and packed with images from the Communist Party, including a four-story portrait of Xi Jinping, a propaganda practice that fell out of fashion after Mao Zedong’s rule but has begun to make a comeback under Xi.
The ceremony was widely covered by state media, including a nationwide broadcast and an international live broadcast, where hosts praised the region’s economic and infrastructure development and “seven decades of miraculous progress.”
In his speech, Wang Yang said that all officials and members of ethnic groups should mobilize “to forge a fierce defense against separatist activities.”
“No one outside of China has the right to point the finger at us when it comes to Tibetan issues,” Wang said. “Any attempt or maneuver designed to separate Tibet from China is doomed.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism