BEIJING: Grappling to deal with recurring suicides by Tibetans at home and abroad calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, China today celebrated the Liberation of Tibet, marking 53 years of Communist rule in the Himalayan region.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures towards Tibetans waiting to greet him on his way to deliver spiritual teachings to a gathering, in New Delhi, India, Friday, March 23, 2012.Photo/ Manish Swarup)
“I want to point out that today is the Liberation Day of hundreds of thousands of serfs in Tibet,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Hong Lei told a media briefing here when asked about China’s reaction to calls from the Tibetan government-in-exile to resume talks with Dalai Lama.
China claims that it liberated Tibet in 1959 from dark ages where people lived as serfs in conditions resembling medieval slavery under the theocratic rule and brought prosperity to its people.
The day was marked with celebrations in Lhasa, the provincial capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, (TAR).
In a televised address to mark the occasion, Padma Choling, Chairman of TAR said continuous attempts by the Dalai Lama and the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile to restore Tibet’s feudal serfdom and split the autonomous region from China will never succeed.
“Those people who represent the old Tibet, with the Dalai Lama as their leader, and the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile, have been encouraging all kinds of extreme, violent behaviours to disrupt the peaceful life of the Tibetan people,” he said apparently referring to 30-odd self immolations including the one in Delhi yesterday by Tibetans.
“Their attempts, with the aim to separate Tibet from China, are not supported by the people and will end in vain,” he said.
“Tibet needs social stability, unity, harmony and we believe, tomorrow is even better for Tibet,” he said while side-stepping the question about the resumption of the talks with the Dalai Lama.
China has held few rounds of talks in the past with Dalai Lama representatives but the dialogue has not made any headway even after the Tibetan spiritual leader’s repeated assertions that he regarded Tibet was part of China and wants to look for a solution within the broader parameters of autonomy.
Chinese officials say that talks broke down over “unacceptable demands” by the Dalai Lama including that Chinese army and police should be withdrawn from TAR and four other provinces around it.