2011:Party United Front Work Department on Tibet

United Front Work Department Vice Director to EU Officials on December 30, 2011 at PRC Mission to EU in Brussels  

Main Points: 

  • The West Has Done Nothing to Improve Human Rights in Tibet
  • Chinese Government Will Not Change its Tibet Policies Because of the Recent Self-immolations
  • The “Dalai Clique” Lost in Past and Will lose Again in the Future 
  • The West Has No Right to Travel to Tibetan Areas
  • The EU Officials Should Be Careful About What They Say
  • Don’t Make the Chinese People Unhappy, You Will Face Serious Consequences

According to a Chinese official website China’s Tibet and repeated on the People’s Daily website, on December 30, 2011, Zhu Weiqun (朱维群), the Executive Vice Director of Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s United Front Work Department, visited Europe. Zhu met with European diplomats, researchers, professors and reporters at China’s EU Mission in Brussels on December 12, 2011.  During the meeting, Zhu talked about Tibetan issues and answered questions from the participants.

The Chinese government has over the past 60 years done a great deal for Tibet [Note: Tibet [xizang] in Chinese usage is the TAR; historical Tibet encompassed by the broader term zangqu [Tibetan areas] has twice the territory and population. End note].  I can summarize by talking about three important events.  The first was the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951. From that time onwards, no foreign force could succeed in separating Tibet from China. That peaceful liberation was a great step forward in Tibetan human rights because the foundation of human rights — since this liberation ensured China’s national sovereignty. History demonstrates clearly that imperialist invasions and insults have nothing to do with human rights in Tibet.  The second event was putting down the armed rebellion incited by a minority of the ruling group headed by the 14th Dalai Lama and with the implementation of democratic reforms, the ending of a centuries old theocracy and feudal serf system. From that point onwards, Tibet, along with other parts of China entered a new socialist society. From that point, going backwards to the old feudal system became forever impossible. Through democratic reforms, a million serfs got their human rights. This is a very important event with far reaching consequences in the history of human rights not only of China but of the entire world. The third important event was establishing the system of ethnic autonomous districts in the TAR.  This became the foundation ensuring Tibet’s social and economic progress for over half a century.

Zhu said that he has visited the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) 40 times and could see Tibetan people’s livelihood improved significantly and democratic rights have been well protected. During the 2006 – 2010 Eleventh Five Year Program, the Chinese government spent 137.8 billion RMB on the development of the TAR.  This level of support will more than double during the “12th Five-year Program”, during which China will invest over 330 billion RMB (more than USD 50 billion) to develop the TAR. In 2011, the TAR GDP is expected to be about 60.5 billion RMB, an increase on the year of 12.6%.  This is the 19th consecutive year of double-digit increases in TAR GDP. Disposable income of urban residents reached 16,148, an increase of 7.8%.

We are especially concerned about the herders because they suffer under very difficult living conditions.  This year herder incomes rose to 4700 RMB, an increase of 13.6% for the ninth consecutive year of double-digit increases in herder incomes. Soon the Chinese government will call a very important meeting that will raise the national poverty level from 1196 RMB to 2300 RMB. This is necessary even though it will make poverty alleviation work more difficult. TAR peasants and herders have reached the 4700 RMB income level and so have progressed far beyond the level of absolute impoverishment. Education and health are also making great progress in the TAR. Life expectancy in the TAR at liberation in 1951 was 35.5 years; now it has reached 69 years.  The total population has increased from 1 million to 3 million. I want to stress that this increase is not because, as some people claim, that too many ethnic Han people have moved to the TAR.  Our census counts, including the most recent census, show that the Tibetans still comprise 92% of the population of the TAR.

Respecting and protecting the religious freedom of Chinese citizens is an important policy of the Chinese government.  Today there are 1780 monasteries and temples in Tibet or one for every 1600 people.  There are 46,000 monks or nuns who comprise  1.5% of the population. I wonder how churches there are compared to the population of Europe or what percentage of the population are clergy? Naturally, these numbers are much lower than when the Dalai Lama ruled Tibet.  In those days, there were 100,000 monks and nuns out of a population of one million. Just think, how can a society with such a high proportion develop and make progress?

Today China and the European Community have excellent relations.  We have established strategic partnerships in all areas with dialogues in areas such as economics, science and technology, culture and other areas.  The bilateral cooperation of China with the EU benefits both sides as well as the entire world.  Particularly in these days of the international financial crisis and the European debt crisis, it is especially important for China and the EU to strengthen their relationships, to support one another, and face difficulties together to achieve a win-win relationship.

Just as China – EU cooperation is become more important,  I have often been surprised to hear that some people have been harshly critical of China.  Conversely, I have never heard of China criticizing the internal matters of the European Union.   The most recent example is how a few members of the European Parliament, completely ignoring China’s interests, insist on inviting the new head of the Dalai Lama’s “government-in-exile”  to Brussels for a visit and a formal meeting. They invited him  to speak at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament as the “Prime Minister of the Tibetan Central Administration”  where he scatter his trashy conceptions about “Tibetan independence”. This action by a small minority of EU parliamentarians is very irresponsible.  It violates commitments made to China and violates customary practice in international relations.  Once the EU has recognized that Tibet is part of China, it does no longer has the right to invite the chief of a clique advocating the division of China to visit the European Parliament.  I hope that those present will use their influence, out of their concern for friendly relations between China and the EU, to prevent this kind of terrible mess from ever happening again.

Turning to questions, Zhu said “I used to be a reporter for People’s Daily.  I enjoyed asking people tough questions then.  Today, I invite you to ask me tough questions. I hope that by bringing up the subject of the new chief of the “exile government” that I haven’t spoiled anyone’s appetite.”

In responding to a question on human rights and cultural preservation, Zhu said, “Chinese government cares more about human rights of its own people than any other governments in the world…In the past, some European countries invaded Tibet twice; in 1904, they killed our 600 Tibetan compatriots. Why didn’t you talk about human rights of our Tibetans then? In 1951 and 1959, some Western countries provided weapons to the local Tibetan government, and trained spies to fight against the ‘peaceful liberation’ and ‘democratic reform’. Why you didn’t you talk about human rights then? We have liberated all the serfs, developed economy, improved people’s livelihood and protected religious freedom, as well as developed and preserved Tibetan culture; all these are for the protection of human rights in Tibet.  But, what have you westerners done to improve human rights in Tibet?  You think about it yourself! (而你们西方人在西藏做过多少有利于人权的事情?你们自己数数看)”

In responding to a question on the self-immolation, Zhu said, “Since this March, some cases of self-immolation have occurred in four monasteries in Kardze and Ngaba Prefectures, and all of them are very young, 16-20 years old…a few days ago, I conducted investigations in those monasteries.  Just like me, the local monks and people were very angry at the people behind these incidents.  The self-immolations occurred only in four monasteries, but there are 3,542 monasteries with 140,000 monks and nuns in the TAR and other Tibetan area in total.  Most monks and nuns haven’t participated in such activities, on the contrary, they condemned these incidents… You just said that all these incidents were occurred because we have destroyed Tibetan culture and religion, but I suggest you back up what you say with the facts (拿出事实来!)!

Let me make this clear; the Chinese government won’t change its policies in Tibet or its attitude to ‘the Dali clique’.  I suggest you to remember history; the ‘Dalai clique’ lost in 1951, 1959 and in 1960s as well as in 1980s.  We also swiftly put down the incidents in 2008.  Do you really think that the ‘Dalai clique’ will achieve anything through some self-immolations? I can honestly tell you that even more such incidents will occur, the Chinese government will not change its policies in Tibet and attitude towards to the ‘Dali clique’.”

In responding to a question on whether an EU delegation can visit Tibet to find out the truth, Zhu said, This is a very serious issue.  China is an independent country with dignity and the ability to protect its national interests.  We never allow anyone to meddle in our internal affairs. Who gave you that right?(谁给你这个权力了?).

In responding to a question on how to put restrictions on the behaviors of some European parliament officials concerning the Tibet issues, Zhu said, I can only suggest the EU to be careful when you say something Try first to understand the actual situation of Tibet , then talk, dont carelessly say baseless things. Particularly dont carelessly harm 1.3 billion people and a country now that is now developing rapidly.  If you make the Chinese people unhappy, there will be serious consequences (使中国人民不愉快,后果很严重。)!  Zhu added, ” Naturally, if some people pay no attention to my admonishments and continue to make these harsh criticisms and attack us, it really isn’t any big deal.  I believe that for countries as well as for people, frequently hearing criticism is good. This is a good way to increase your awareness and your ability to resist.”

Today I am up on the stage making my presentation.  Now because you and I don’t have the same mastery of information about Tibet, my talk may seem to be too harsh.  It doesn’t matter whether you believe me or not, but I do welcome you to come to Tibet to see for yourselves if you get the chance. Then you can judge for yourself relying on what you have seen with your own eyes.

Selected From: an article from the PRC’s China Tibet website republished on the People’s Daily website at www.People.com.cn .  The Chinese texts i at http://tinyurl.com/873s5ar 12/30/12

Original Article:





































About 高大伟 David Cowhig

Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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