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11:03 Feb 16 2009

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English>>Tibet Online
China refutes Lithuanian councilors' comments on "invading Tibet"
11:03, February 16, 2009  

China has refuted comments by Lithuanian councilors who expressed support for the Dalai Lama's claim that "China invaded Tibet" and stressed that Tibet was never an independent country.

"Tibet has never been an independent country, which is an unchangeable historical fact. We hope the relevant councilors could develop more understanding of history," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press conference in response to a question on the matter.

Neither Jiang nor the reporters who asked the question mentioned the names of these councilors.

Jiang said Tibet had been a part of China's territory since ancient times. Tibet affairs have a bearing on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and are China's domestic affairs, she said.

The central government and its predecessors have exercised effective sovereignty over Tibet without interruption since the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-1368) in the 13th century, she said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the democratic reform of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Tibet had long been a society languishing under a system of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule until the mid-20th century.

Before 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama, as a leader of Tibetan Buddhism and also head of the Tibetan local government, monopolized both political and religious power.

"The abolition of feudal serfdom, the same as the abolition of feudal serfdom in European countries, is of great importance to global human rights history. Tibet's political, economic and cultural sectors have witnessed great changes over the past five decades. People of all ethnic groups in Tibet now enjoy the rights endowed by the constitution and the law on regional national autonomy. Their living standard also improved by a big margin," Jiang said.

"The Chinese government and people have an unswerving stance on these issues and will not submit to any foreign pressure, nor make any concession. We hope the international community would give full respect and support to the efforts made by the Chinese government to maintain national sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the fundamental interest of people of all ethnic groups, including the Tibetan people."

The spokeswoman said China will maintain and improve the system of regional autonomy of ethnic minorities, support Tibet's social and economic development and ensure the interests of all ethnic groups.

Source: Xinhua

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