The real Xizang is the best response to the 'human rights' lies of anti-Chinese forces
Qiao Basheng
The Potala Palace, Lhasa, China's Xizang Autonomous Region. /Xinhua
The Potala Palace, Lhasa, China's Xizang Autonomous Region. /Xinhua

The Potala Palace, Lhasa, China's Xizang Autonomous Region. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Qiao Basheng, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is a researcher at the Research Center for External Publicity and Cultural Security, the School of National Security and the Human Rights Research Center, Northwest University of Political Science and Law. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Recently, in order to achieve their ulterior motives, Western anti-China forces have continued to slander China for systematically suppressing the language, culture and religious beliefs of ethnic minorities in Xizang, setting up boarding schools for "forced assimilation," and implementing poverty alleviation and job training for "forced labor." The RAND Europe, in order to go along with this fallacy, has released an even more absurd report, "A night-time lighting analysis of Xizang's prisons and detention centers," which, based solely on the lighting situation in Xizang areas, makes groundless guesses about the number of detention facilities and the number of detainees in Xizang.

However, the reality is that the Xizang's society is harmonious and stable, the economy is developing steadily, the cultural traditions of the people of all ethnic groups in Xizang are protected and promoted, and their rights, including freedom of religious belief and the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written language, are fully guaranteed. The human rights cause in Xizang is at its best in history.

Xizang used to be a contiguous poverty-stricken area with the highest incidence of poverty, the deepest level of poverty, the highest cost of poverty alleviation, and the greatest difficulty in getting rid of poverty. The Chinese government has always attached great importance to and shown special concern for the cause of poverty alleviation in Xizang, and has devoted great effort and support to it.

Thanks to the joint efforts of the people of all ethnic groups in Xizang and the selfless assistance of the people of the whole country, in 2019, all 628,000 registered poor people in Xizang were lifted out of poverty, and all 74 poverty-stricken counties (districts) were lifted out of poverty. The problem of absolute poverty in Xizang for thousands of years has been historically eliminated. Poverty alleviation has enabled people of all ethnic groups in Xizang to live a happy life with adequate food and clothing, compulsory education, basic medical care, and housing security.

The poor population in Xizang is mainly concentrated in areas with high altitudes, poor conditions and far from the core market, and relocation has become a reasonable choice to get rid of poverty. By 2020, 964 poverty alleviation relocation points have been built in low-altitude areas suitable for production and living, and 266,000 people have voluntarily relocated. Five percent of the district's industrial poverty alleviation funds are used for the industrial development of resettlement sites, to ensure that the relocation personnel is employed at least "one person in one household," and to achieve stability and employment, and gradually get rich.

In accordance with market demand and the will of the poor, vocational and technical education in construction, life services, food processing, automobile maintenance, nursing, handicrafts and other fields should be developed to provide relatively stable and better-paid employment opportunities for the poor. The so-called "forced labor" is a malicious slander.

In old Xizang, there was not a single school in the modern sense, the illiteracy rate was as high as 95 percent, and modern technology was a blank. From 1951 to 2020, the state has invested a total of 223.965 billion yuan in education to help Xizang establish a modern education system covering preschool education, basic education, vocational education, higher education, continuing education and special education. Xizang was the first in China to implement the 15-year public education policy, and the policy system of student financial assistance from preschool education to higher education has been continuously improved.

In accordance with international practice, boarding schools are set up according to actual needs in areas with high altitudes and extremely dispersed populations, especially in areas where herdsmen's children travel a long way to and from school and where transportation is very inconvenient, in order to ensure the number and quality of teachers and to guarantee the equal right of all children to enjoy education.

Boarding depends entirely on the wishes and needs of students and parents. Boarding students can choose to go home every weekend and holiday (including Xizang New Year, Shoton Festival and other traditional Xizang festivals), as well as winter and summer holidays, and parents can visit their children at school at any time, or pick up their children at any time as needed. At the same time, relevant schools generally offer Xizang language, ethnic dance and other traditional cultural courses, provide traditional plateau food, and students can wear ethnic costumes during school. Boarding schools in Xizang are a vivid example of the protection of Xizang human rights and cultural traditions, and the so-called "forced assimilation" is completely false.

The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the protection and development of traditional Xizang culture. The study and use of the Xizang language are protected by law. Xizang classics and books are fully protected and utilized, the standardization of Xizang terminology is highly valued, and the spoken and written language of Xizang is widely used in resolutions and regulations adopted by the People's Congress of the Xizang Autonomous Region, official documents issued by governments at all levels in Xizang, judicial proceedings, and in the fields of health, postal services, communications, transportation, finance, science and technology, newspapers, and books.

People watch Xizang Opera, Lhasa, China's Xizang Autonomous Region, August 19, 2023. /Xinhua
People watch Xizang Opera, Lhasa, China's Xizang Autonomous Region, August 19, 2023. /Xinhua

People watch Xizang Opera, Lhasa, China's Xizang Autonomous Region, August 19, 2023. /Xinhua

The State respects and protects the rights of all ethnic groups in Xizang to live and conduct social activities in accordance with their traditional customs and habits. A large number of mass cultural and traditional festivals, such as the Xizang's New Year, the Shoton Festival in Lhasa, and the Nagqu Horse Racing Festival, have been inherited and carried forward. The Chinese government has organized large-scale and systematic surveys, collection, sorting and research on Xizang's cultural heritage on many occasions, and the cultural heritage has been effectively protected and passed on. At present, Xizang has three representative items of the UN intangible cultural heritage of humanity (Gesar, Xizang Opera, and Xizang Medicine Bath), 89 representative items at the national level, 96 representative inheritors at the national level, 460 representative items at the regional level, and 522 representative inheritors at the regional level.

In Xizang, all religions and sects are equal, and religious believers and non-believers alike are treated equally. More than 1,700 venues for religious activities and more than 1,700 religious folk activities fully meet the normal religious needs of religious believers, and freedom of religious belief is fully guaranteed. The allegation that the Chinese government systematically represses the freedom of language, culture and religious belief of the Xizang ethnic minority is purely a fabrication.

Facts have fully proved that over the past 70 years since the peaceful liberation of Xizang, the cause of human rights in Xizang has made all-round progress. Today's Xizang is the most concentrated, direct and vivid manifestation of the remarkable superiority of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. The practice has fully proved that the development and progress of the human rights cause in Xizang is the inevitable result of the theoretical, institutional and practical logic of Chinese modernization.

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