March 29, 2008

Tibet: Demographic Aggression Continues

Active ImageA Chinese government policy of "demographic aggression" is threatening Tibetan culture as increasing numbers of non-Tibetan Chinese move into the region.

Below is an article published by the Associated Press:

A Chinese government policy of "demographic aggression" is threatening Tibetan culture as increasing numbers of non-Tibetan Chinese move into the region, the Dalai Lama said Saturday [29 March 2008].

He also told reporters that China risks instability because of its human rights record.

In Lhasa, the region's ancient capital, there are now 100,000 Tibetans but twice as many outsiders, the Tibetan spiritual leader said. The majority of those are Han Chinese, the country's ethnic majority.

"There is evidence the Chinese people in Tibet are increasing month by month," he told reporters, calling the population shift a "form of cultural genocide."

He also said that a million more people are expected to be settled in Tibet after this summer's Olympics. He did not say how he received that information.

The comments from the Dalai Lama, who has been based in India since fleeing his homeland decades ago, came as diplomats were preparing to leave the Tibetan capital after a quick overnight visit. The visit was the latest move by China to show it is in control of the region after deadly anti-government protests more than two weeks ago.

Beijing blames the unrest on the Dalai Lama and his supporters.

The Dalai Lama also warned that China risks instability because of its human rights record and he worried about his "Middle Way" dialogue with Beijing, which calls for autonomy for Tibetans under Chinese rule.

"China looks stable, but underneath a lot of resentment," he told reporters, calling Beijing a police state with a "rule of terror."

The protests in Tibet and other regions with large Tibetan populations have brought immense unwanted attention to China and its human rights record ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

China wants to use the games to showcase itself as an emerging international power and an important player in the international community.

The Tibet protests, led by monks, began peacefully March 10 [2008] on the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Tibet had been effectively independent for decades before Chinese communist troops entered in 1950.

Tibetan exiles say almost 140 people have died in the recent protests. Beijing puts that number at 22.