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An illusion called 'greater Tibet area'


In the hall of the so-called "Tibetan government in exile" in Dharamsala, India, there is a large map of the supposed "greater Tibet area".

The area covers the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province, one-fifth of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, one-third of Gansu Province, two-thirds of Sichuan Province and one-fourth of Yunnan Province, spanning about 2.4 million sq km and nearly a quarter of China's territory.

The Dalai Lama has advocated a "high degree of autonomy" for Tibet in such a geographic scope and made it a preliminary condition for any negotiation with the central government. But such an idea is totally absurd for three major reasons.

First, the distribution and the layout of the Tibetan population and the administrative divisions were formed during the long process of historical development; there is no historical basis for an administrative division such as "greater Tibet area".

Archaeological excavation and documentation show the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau area has long been inhabited and has a diversified culture.

In the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618) and the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau was an area cohabited by different ethnic groups.

The regime of Tubo Kingdom (AD 629-840) coexisted with others such as the Tang Dynasty, Uighur and Nanzhao, in a territory cohabited by various ethnic groups and tribes.

The headquarters and the main area of jurisdiction of the Tubo Kingdom basically constitutes the Tibet Autonomous Region today while other dependent territory is the region inhabited or cohabited by various ethnic groups.

During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), three chief military commands (three Pacification Commissioner's Offices) were established in areas with Tibetan traditions, namely U-Tsang Ngari, Amdo and Lhams, the divisions of which were carried out in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and laid the base for the administrative division of today's Tibet and other Tibetan administrative divisions.

The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) further defined the boundary between Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan. In 1731 the Qing government divided the border of the areas under the jurisdiction of the grand minister resident of Tibet and the grand minister superintendent of Xining. The administrative division of Tibet has not changed much since.

Second, the so-called administrative region of "greater Tibet area" is a historical product of the invasion by imperial powers. From 1913 to 1914, the British-instigated Simla Conference was held, which brought up the concept of the so-called "greater Tibet area" - that the territory of Tibet covers part of Xinjiang to the south of Kunlun Mountains and the Anding Tower, the whole of Qinghai Province, the western areas of Gansu and Sichuan provinces, and Dajianlu and Adunzi in the northwest of Yunnan Province.

When this was rejected by the representative of the Chinese government, Britain proposed again to divide the Tibetan-inhabited areas of China into inner Tibet and outer Tibet. The former referred to the small parts in Yunnan, Qinghai and Xikang, where the central government would enjoy dominion; outer Tibet included U-Tsang, Ngari and most of Xikang, which was to be governed by the Tibetans themselves.

This shows that from the very beginning, the so-called "greater Tibet area" has been a separatist plot. Even the weak Northern Warlords government of China saw through the imperialist trick to split China and refused to sign the convention. How will Chinese people today allow the government to accept such an imposition?

Third, there is no possibility for realization of an administrative region such as "greater Tibet area". Since the New China was founded, the central government, on the one side, has followed historical divisions, and on the other, according to the requirements of the Constitution and the Law of Regional Autonomy for Ethnic Minorities, considered the various factors for the economic, political and cultural development of the Tibetan-inhabited areas to establish eight Tibetan autonomous prefectures, one Mongolian and Tibetan autonomous prefecture, one Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture, two Tibetan autonomous counties and the Tibet Autonomous Region through full discussion of people's representatives from various regions.

In the past half-century, as the administrative divisions were well set, the system of regional autonomy for ethnic minorities has been gradually improved and guaranteed the equal rights of Tibetans and other ethnic groups living in the region.

It has promoted national unity and social economic development and given full support by the Tibetan people and other ethnic groups.

The Dalai Lama, however, has been insisting on the establishment of a political entity in Tibetan-inhabited areas to build an "alliance" relationship with China, requiring all other ethnic groups to move out of the so-called "greater Tibet area" and millions of people to give up their ancestral homes.

This is not only an attempt to change the current relation between the central and the local government, but also a move to implement ethnic discrimination and ethnic cleansing. We must learn from the slaughters and bloodshed caused by ethnic conflicts and disputes the world over.

Then why does the Dalai Lama insist on this groundless and impossible concept of "greater Tibet area"? There are at least two reasons. One is that many of the Tibetan people exiled with the Dalai Lama in 1959 are from Tibetan areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. The Dalai Lama needs to set a common illusion of "a united, independent and free Tibet" to buy these people's support. The other reason is that the claim was designed by their foreign bosses and they, as their flunkies, dare not disobey it.

The Dalai Lama and his followers in his "government in exile" have often expressed their recognition of the Simla Conference. Therefore, the so-called "greater Tibet area" in essence is "semi-independent" or in "disguised independence", which aims to serve the open and complete "Tibet Independence" and disunite a quarter of China's territory in future.

But the Dalai Lama and his alike do not really understand that the political claims they make against historical development and reality to please their foreign bosses, no matter under what splendid banners, are only "medieval fantasies" that go against the time and the interests of Tibetan people as well as people of all ethnic groups in China. The Chinese government will not be fooled!

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