Experts – Radio Free Asia
A controversial 17-point agreement between China and Tibet leading to Beijing’s takeover of the independent Himalayan country was signed by Tibet in 1951 under duress, and was quickly followed by violations of its terms by China, rights groups and experts said on the 70e anniversary of the signing of the document.
Drafting of a government white paper published on May 21, two days before the 70e anniversary of the signing of the document on May 23, 1951, China said the agreement liberated Tibet to move forward on “a brilliant path of unity, progress and development with all other ethnic groups in China. China”.
However, the language used in the agreement makes it clear that Tibet was an autonomous region with its own government, army, culture and traditions, said Chung Tsering – professor of Tibetan language at Australian National University – at the Tibetan service of the FRG. in an interview. .
“Of the 55 ethnic minority regions in China, Tibet is the only one with which the Chinese government has concluded such an agreement. And we have to consider that this makes Tibet unique and distinct, ”Tsering said.
“If we examine the 17-point Accord in detail, we can see that Tibet has the characteristics of a suitable country with its own government, a political and religious leader, distinct social and cultural norms, military personnel and a language. “. Said Tsering.
“And now, when you look at this agreement even after 70 years, those facts are even clearer,” he said.
The deal was imposed on Tibet by China, which had defeated Tibetan forces in the east of the country and threatened full-scale war elsewhere if a delegation sent by the Tibetan government to negotiate in Beijing did not bow. to Chinese demands, experts say.
“And China later showed no willingness to honor its own part of the deal,” including promises not to interfere with the functioning of the Tibetan government or with the status and role of the ruler and spiritual leader from Tibet, the Dalai Lama, said Jigme Yeshe, an aide. professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Calcutta.
“They immediately set out to inflict incredible atrocities on the Tibetan people in order to hasten their occupation of Tibet and the destruction of Tibet’s unique identity,” Yeshe said.
“This was forced on the Tibetan government by Communist China,” agreed Tsangtuk Topla, professor at the College of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, India, adding that China now refers to the 17-point Accord “to justify its decision. occupation of Tibet and also to gain moral and international legitimacy for its claims on Tibet.
But China quickly broke promises to respect and protect “the religious beliefs, customs and habits of the Tibetan people,” Topla said. “And therefore, His Holiness the Dalai Lama refuted the Tezpur agreement in India in 1959”, in a statement made to the international community.
China’s policy and behavior in Tibet today shows how far Beijing has strayed from promises it made 70 years ago, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said in a statement from the United States. May 21, marking the anniversary of the signing of the document.
“In the seven decades since the accord, the Chinese government unilaterally instituted increasingly stringent policies that undermine Tibetan culture and religion. [and] deny freedom of speech to the Tibetan people, ”ICT said.
It also downgraded the use of the Tibetan language and claimed Tibet’s natural and economic resources for the use of the Chinese state while inundating the region with increasing numbers of Chinese migrants, the advocacy group said. rights.
China has denied Tibet’s independence story, ICT said, and distorts the exiled Dalai Lama’s Middle Path political approach, who now accepts Tibet’s status as part of China while by urging Tibetans for greater cultural and religious freedom, including strengthened language rights. living under the reign of Beijing.
“The position of the Dalai Lama to seek genuine autonomy for all Tibetans within the framework of the People’s Republic of China has not only been presented by his envoys to the Chinese government, but has also been made public afterwards,” said ICT.
“China cannot deceive the international community about the Dalai Lama and his commitment to solving the Tibetan problem with a mutually satisfactory solution.”
Chinese authorities are now stepping up security measures in Tibet as China approaches another historic date, the 100e anniversary in July of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, London-based Free Tibet said in a May 25 statement.
“These measures are probably an attempt to intimidate Tibetans not to protest against the occupation of their country during the planned celebrations,” the rights group said, adding that Tibetan monks and nuns at Dorje Drak monastery in Central Tibet were recently forced to sign banners supporting the Communist Party. Strategies.
Hundreds of other people living in monasteries in Tibet’s regional capital, Lhasa, were tested on their knowledge of communism and Chinese laws, Free Tibet said, while at the end of April the Preparations for the upcoming centenary included the forced production of calligraphy “celebrating the Chinese government and propaganda.” . “
In a statement, John Jones, head of campaigns and research at Free Tibet, said world leaders should no longer put trade before the lives of Tibetans and “stand idly by as Tibet is slowly wiped out. the map”.
Beijing’s crackdown and efforts to block the truth about Tibet will “worsen exponentially when the eyes of the world turn to China for the 2022 Winter Olympics,” Jones said.
“If countries want to avoid whitewashing these abuses, they should change their plans to send athletes to Beijing next year and boycott the Chinese Communist Party’s Winter Games.”
Calls for a boycott of the Olympics have increased this year, with critics citing not only Tibet but also the massive incarceration of Uyghurs and other Turkish Muslims in adjacent Xinjiang and the intensification of the crackdown on Hong Kong since. Beijing’s imposition of a tough national security law in the middle. 2020.
The Dalai Lama and thousands of his supporters fled into exile in India and other countries around the world following a failed 1959 national uprising against Chinese rule.
Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on the region, restricting the political activities of Tibetans and the peaceful expression of their cultural and religious identity, and subjecting Tibetans to persecution, torture, imprisonment and extrajudicial killings.
Reported by the Tibetan service of RFA. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.