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Opinion: Tibet's 'independence day' just a farce

(Xinhua)

11:30, February 11, 2013

BEIJING, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- As Tibetans in China bask in festivity to celebrate the "Water Snake Losar", or the Tibetan New Year's Day, some separatists are inciting commemorations of Tibet's so-called "100th Independence Day".

Propaganda for the planned Feb. 13 commemorations have appeared on websites of Students for a Free Tibet, a New York-based organization of exiled Tibetans advocating "Tibet's independence", "Tibetan Youth Congress" as well as popular social networking sites such as Facebook.

Such fanfare is just a farce in the present tense, and a slap in the face in retrospect of foreign aggression to China's modern history -- including that of Tibet.

"Solid" evidence the "Tibet independence" advocates cited was the so-called "Tibetan Proclamation of Independence", which they claimed to have been issued by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1913.

As a matter of fact, the document unveiled by Students for a Free Tibet last May was sheer fabrication, way apart from the original document, which was an internal speech on Buddhism and published in the form of a letter in 1932.

Re-creation of the "independence proclamation" was just a copycat of Dutchman Michael Walt van Praag's misconception in his 1987 publication, "The Status of Tibet".

In this book, van Praag said Tibet gained independence in 1913, marked by the 13th Dalai Lama's signing of the document.

The Dutchman attributed this piece of information to Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa, a former aristocrat and official of Old Tibet who published "Tibet, A Political History" in English in 1967.

In this book, Shakabpa, who was for Tibet's independence, said the 13th Dalai Lama described Tibet as a "small, religious and independent nation" in a 1913 declaration of Buddhism.

But researchers on modern history and Tibetan studies claim the exact word the Dalai Lama used in this all-Tibetan declaration was "region" (bodljongs in Tibetan) instead of "nation" or "country" which translated into "rgylkhab" in Tibetan.

Historical facts over the past centuries provide evidence against the "Tibet independence" myth.

Tibet came under the direct rule of the Chinese central government during the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century. In 1288, the Yuan regime formalized a ministry-level agency to administer the entire Tibetan region.

During the Qing Dynasty, all the Dalai Lama reincarnations required approval from Beijing.

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