Chinese President Xi Jinping has outlined plans to “solidify border defence” and build an “impregnable wall” to ensure the stability of Tibet.
- Speaking at the Central Committee’s two-day central symposium on Tibet, the Party’s most important policymaking event for the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), he called for “sinicising Tibetan Buddhism” and deepening the government’s “patriotic education” initiatives to combat separatism. His remarks in Beijing also underlined the need to “solidify border defence”.
- President Xi also highlighted the need for “maintaining the unity of the motherland and strengthening national unity as the focus” of the Party’s work in Tibet, and outlined a number of initiatives to expand what the Party calls “patriotic education”.
- “Ideological and political education” will be strengthened in schools at all levels, with the idea, Mr. Xi said, of “burying the seeds of loving China in the depths of the hearts of every youth”. He called on officials to “actively guide Tibetan Buddhism” and “promote” its “sinicisation”.
- The initiatives are part of wider moves by the Communist Party to strengthen what it calls ideological discipline.
- Tibet is a region on the Tibetan Plateau in Asia, spanning about 2.4 million km2 – nearly a quarter of China’s territory (locally known as Xizang)
- It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups.
- Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 metres. The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain, rising 8,848 m above sea level.
Tibetan uprising of 1959
- From 1912 until the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Tibet was independent. Therefore, they have protested against what they regard as China’s rule imposed after the People’s Liberation Army occupation of Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) in 1950.
- The Dalai Lama’s government alone ruled the land until 1951. Tibet was not “Chinese” until People’s Liberation Army (PLA) marched in and made it so. This has often been described by the Tibetan people and third party commentators as “a cultural genocide”.
- The unsuccessful Tibetan Uprising of 1959, in which Tibetans rebelled in an attempt to overthrow the Chinese government, led to the fleeing of the 14th Dalai Lama to India.
- The 14th Dalai Lama continues to head the Tibetan government-in-exile from McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala, India which coordinates political activities for Tibetans in India.
- Dalai Lama advocates increased autonomy for Tibet, rather than full independence, but the Chinese government generally refuses to negotiate with him.