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Indian journalist tells Tibet's reality, slaps separatists' lies

2009/10/23

A famous Indian journalist and publisher revealed the true reality of China's Tibet here on Thursday, refuting lies made by the Dalai Lama and his separatist followers.

In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a two-day forum on development of Tibet, Narasimhan Ram, editor-in-chief of the Hindu and Group publications, said the separatists told lies about Tibet to the world.

They told lies not only concerning the death toll in the March 14 riots in 2008, but also concerning the real purpose of the Dalai Lama's remarks of not seeking for independence, he said.

Unnamed Tibetan exile sources said that up to a hundred, if not hundreds of, people died in the March-April 2008 riots; and that Chinese security forces cracked down on or brutalized unarmed protesters or opened fire on crowds of civilians, Ram said.

The reality is the riot that broke out in Lhasa on March 14, 2008 claimed a confirmed toll of 18 innocent civilian lives, and it was the handiwork of violent, thuggish, ransacking mobs, he said.

Ram said the rioters in Lhasa committed murder, arson, and other acts of savagery against innocent civilians and caused huge damage to public and private property.

He said information released by Chinese law enforcement authorities tended to be treated with scepticism, if not derision, by the Western media.

However, as the evidence on the nature of the riots piled up, the realization dawned that it was too much to expect any legitimate government of a major country to turn the other cheek to such savagery and such a breakdown of public order, he said.

Speaking at the forum, Ram corrected distorted lens made by the propaganda of the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama and some Western media.

A notable feature of recent Western media coverage of Tibet is the way journalism feeds off the disinformation campaign unleashed by the Dalai Lama's headquarters and the votaries of Tibetan 'independence,' without any attempt at independent reporting, said the senior Indian journalist, who paid three trips to Tibet.

The West demanded China initiate a sincere dialogue with the Dalai Lama to find a just and sustainable political solution in Tibet, he said.

But this is precisely what China has done for three decades, he added.

Nobody in their right mind could accuse the Chinese central government - with its sights set firmly on economic development, political stability, and 'building a harmonious society' and just ahead of the August 2008 Beijing Olympics - of any new set of suppressive measures, political, economic, social, or cultural, against the 2.6 million ethnic Tibetans who constitute more than 92 percent of the 2.87 million population of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) or against the 3.9 million Tibetans who live in other Chinese provinces and regions outside TAR, he said.

The Dalai Lama has charged China with committing 'cultural genocide,' but this is contradicted, Ram said, citing a long list of facts showing what the Chinese central government has done in protecting the Tibetan culture and religion.

He said there exist 1,700 monasteries and other Tibetan Buddhist religious sites with their 46,300 monks and nuns, four mosques for 3,000 Muslims, and a Catholic church for 700 Christians, and the government also conducted the protection and showcasing of the Potala Palace and other priceless heritage sites and the flourishing of the Tibetan language.

On human rights, Ram said, One way of examining the issue of human rights is from the point of view of the entitlements or capability approach to the well-being and quality of life, as set out by the Nobel prize-winning Indian economist, Amartya Sen.

Ram quoted a commentator on Sen's work as saying, Measuring real freedom in terms of indicators such as life expectancy, literacy and educational attainments, levels of nutrition, access to health care, employment, social respect and political participation are central to assessing how individuals and societies are faring.

In the case of China's Tibet, the reality testing was against the defining themes of the Dalai Lama-led 'Independence for Tibet' campaign, he said.

The forum, with the theme Tibet Development Prospects and Cooperation Opportunities, has attracted more than 400 participants from China, Italy, Austria, the United States, India, Australia, Spain and Belgium.

More than 20 Chinese and foreign government officials, experts, scholars and entrepreneurs will address the forum to talk about the development of Tibet and explore opportunities for cooperation in economic, social and cultural sectors.

The forum is the second of its kind. The first was held in Vienna in November 2007.

 

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