May 24, 2004
BEIJING - China issued a policy paper on Tibet Sunday, dismissing the Dalai Lama's call for greater Tibetan autonomy as untenable.
In the last two years, the Tibetan government-in-exile has sent two delegations to Beijing, hoping to convince Chinese authorities to give Tibet greater autonomy.
As the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama has travelled the world, speaking out on the issue.
To the dismay of many younger, more radical Tibetans, the Dalai Lama long ago gave up claims to Tibetan independence even though Tibet was never directly controlled by Beijing until the Communist invasion in 1950.
His aim was to gain greater practical autonomy for Tibet similar to that enjoyed by former British colony Hong Kong.
But the Chinese government, in a white paper, or policy paper, said that's not going to happen. It claims Tibet has always been part of China, so doesn't deserve the kind of autonomy Hong Kong has.
The paper also says that Tibet, before direct Chinese rule, was "even darker and more backward than medieval Europe," and has only benefited from being more integrated into China.
Many Tibetans disagree. They say decades of Chinese repression of Tibetan culture, language and religion, along with Han-Chinese migration into Tibet, is threatening to extinguish their culture.
The policy paper says a number of Tibetan and other ethnic-minority citizens
in Tibet directly participate in the administration of state affairs, and some
serve in leading positions.
The policy paper on Tibet can be found here
Source: CBC News