As the 60th anniversary of the "17 Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" is approaching, Zhu Weiqun, executive vice minister of the United Front Work Department under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC), gave an exclusive interview to "China's Tibet Magazine."
Tibet's peaceful liberation makes Tibet's separation from China impossible
Reporter: May 23, 2011 is the 60th anniversary of the "Agreement between the Central People's Government and the Tibetan Local Government on the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet," also known as the "17 Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet." How would you rate this historical event?
Zhu: The peaceful liberation of Tibet is a major event of the Chinese people's liberation led by the Communist Party of China (CPC), and is also a major event in the history of the Chinese nation that has struggled for national unity over the past more than 100 years.
The foremost significance of the peaceful liberation of Tibet lies in that it destroyed the attempts of imperialists and a minority of upper-class Tibetans to separate Tibet from China and accomplished the complete liberation and unification of the Chinese mainland.
It is generally known that Tibet has been a part of China's territory since ancient times. China's central government has exercised direct jurisdiction over Tibet since the Yuan Dynasty. Western imperialist forces had coveted the occupation of Tibet since the start of modern times. British imperialists launched two military invasions of Tibet in 1888 and 1904 and once occupied Lhasa during the second invasion.
However, they found that Tibet's local governments and residents were loyal to China's central government and they would fail to separate Tibet from China through only military means. Therefore, they cultivated pro-British forces among a minority of upper-class Tibetans and urged them to gain "independence."
The word for "independence" did not exist in the Tibetan language before the invasion of British imperialists. When the Chinese people's liberation war was about to succeed, American and British imperialists as well as a majority of upper-class Tibetans were aware that they would likely lose the last opportunity for Tibet's "independence," so they initiated a series of separatist events such as expelling the Han Chinese from Tibet, seeking to turn the "independence of Tibet" into "an established fact" before the arrival of the Communist Party of China.
Their illusion was completely shattered following the PLA's triumph in the battle of Qamdo, the signing of the "17 Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" and the PLA’s peaceful entrance into Tibet.
The peaceful liberation of Tibet was the outcome of the Chinese people's more than 100 years of struggle for national unification and dignity, and it also rules out the possibility of separating Tibet from China.
Eight years after the peaceful liberation, a significant democratic reform was carried out in Tibet. Serfdom was abolished and socialism was introduced in the region. Given the specific conditions in Tibet, the "17 Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" specifies that the central government should not change the existing political system in Tibet or the established status of the Dalai Lama.
Reforms in Tibet should be free of coercion from the central government, and should be carried out by the local government only according to the will of the Tibetan people. The central government fulfilled its promises, but a few upper-class Tibetans did not want any reforms at all and hence started an armed rebellion. As a result, the democratic reform was implemented in Tibet ahead of schedule.
Without the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the magnificent democratic reform would not have happened. Without the help of PLA, the Tibetan serfs would not have learned about the policies of the CPC or have shared in the fruits of the reforms. The groundwork for democratic reform built a solid foundation during the eight years after the peaceful liberation. Public support, a large number of capable cadres and great military deterrence all made the reform achievable. The success of the democratic reform in Tibet has made it completely impossible to reverse historical trends and to restore the feudal serfdom under theocracy.
The Dalai Clique and the hostile Western forces behind it must feel uncomfortable seeing the prosperous development of all Chinese ethnic groups including Tibetans. If they still think it is possible to separate Tibet from China, they may continue to try as they have done in vain many times. However, I firmly believe they will end up like those who tried to sabotage the peaceful liberation or those who launched armed rebellions.
By People's Daily Online
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