Tibet an integral part of China since ancient times: Chinese white paper

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Beijing, May 21 (PTI) China on Friday claimed that Tibet has been an integral part of the country since ancient times and blamed British imperialists for cultivating the 'Tibet Independence' concept.

Justifying the Chinese troops taking over of the strategically vital Himalayan region in 1951, a white paper on Tibet released by the Chinese government said that with the 'peaceful liberation of Tibet' 70 years ago, the people of Tibet 'broke free from the fetters of invading imperialism for good and embarked on a bright road of unity, progress and development with all the other ethnic groups in China.

'Tibet has been an integral part of Chinese territory since ancient times, and one of the main Tibetan-inhabited areas in China,' the document said.

'In the aftermath of the Opium Wars in the middle of the 19th century, the UK-led imperialist powers began to cultivate the idea of “Tibet independence”, intentionally undermining China's sovereignty and territorial integrity', the white paper titled 'Tibet Since 1951: Liberation, Development and Prosperity' said.

It said China is a unified multi-ethnic country with a long history and the Tibet has developed through the combined efforts of all the ethnic groups in the country.

'Abundant archaeological and academic research shows that in times of remote antiquity, the ancestral people inhabiting the Tibetan Plateau had close ties with the Han and other ethnic groups in terms of blood, language, and culture.

The Tubo Kingdom established in Tibet in the 7th century contributed significantly to the exploration of China’s southwestern borders, it said and control over the Himalayan region by different Chinese emperors.

The British troops invaded Tibet twice in 1888 and 1903 and met with stubborn resistance from the Tibetan army and civilians. With its invasion plans thwarted, Britain began to cultivate pro-imperialist separatists in Tibet, devising activities to separate Tibet from China and championing “Tibet independence”, it claimed.

Rejecting allegations of curbs on religion in Tibet, it said the province has more than 1,700 sites for Tibetan Buddhist activities with 46,000 monks and nuns besides four mosques serving 12,000 native Muslims, and a Catholic church with more than 700 followers.

'Following the peaceful liberation, all ethnic groups in Tibet, united under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, have worked together and stood firm in safeguarding national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,' it said.

China is building a new modern socialist Tibet, it said.

It also refuted criticism that the Tibetan language is being undermined to promote the official Chinese language. The Tibetan spoken and written language is widely used in Tibet, the white paper said, noting that the study and use of the Tibetan language are protected by law.

Tibet is also economically thriving and prospering in the new era, it said.

All those counties formerly classified as 'poor' have risen out of poverty, and the people are leading better lives in every respect, it said.

The system of regional ethnic autonomy has been fully implemented in Tibet it said.

The average life expectancy in Tibet has reached 71.1 years in 2019 from 35.5 years in 1951, due to the development of health infrastructure, it said. PTI KJV AKJ AKJ