China marks 52nd anniversary of overthrow of the Dalai Lama

The state-run media here reported that an official ceremony was held at Lhasa, the provincial capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region to mark the occasion.

Xinhua news agency said that more than 3,000 people gathered in a square in front of the Potala Palace, the official residence of the Dalai Lama in the past and "watched the national flag being raised, sang the national anthem and celebrated the historic date that marks the freedom and equal status of all Tibetans".

The day is designated by China to highlight the achievements made by Tibet after the ending of "feudal serfdom" under the theocratic system headed by the Dalai Lama before his escape to India in 1959.

Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibetan regional government said that since the emancipation of serfs Tibet has maintained rapid social and economic growth.
Last year, Tibet's GDP reached 50.8 billion yuan (USD 7.75 billion) with an annual growth rate of 12.4 per cent, he said in a televised speech.

The per capita net income of both farmers and herdsmen hit 4,319 yuan, twice the 2005 figure, he said, adding the average life expectancy of Tibetans had nearly doubled from 35.5 years before 1959 to 67 years.

This year the day was observed in the immediate backdrop of the Dalai Lama's announcement of retirement from politics and its acceptance by The Tibetan parliament-in-exile at Dharmashala in India in a bid to groom new leadership.

China has already dismissed it as a gimmick by the 76 year-old Tibetan spiritual leader to dupe the international community, while a Chinese Tibetologist said the Tibetan issue would not have a quick solution even after the passing away of the ageing monk.

"The Dalai Lama has a dual identity, both political and religious, but he does not hold any official position in the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile.

"And by no means he will retire from being the Dalai Lama," Prof Du Yongbin of the China Tibetology Research Centre, told the media here last week.

Asked what would happen if the aging Dalai Lama passes away, Du said that the Tibet issue would not have a quick solution with or without the Dalai Lama.

"For so many years, all related sides have been working to find a solution to the Tibet issue while the Dalai Lama is alive.

"And they have not got one. I don't think they would easily find one after he passes away," he said identifying the Dalai Lama's demand for greater Tibet, incorporating all Tibetan areas of the past.

The demand for greater autonomy for Tibet, integrating all Tibetan prefectures with the Tibet Autonomous region in China was one of the main demands of the Dalai Lama's representatives in the few rounds of talks held by them with Chinese government last year.

An article in the state-run China Daily said the March 14, 2008, protests in Lhasa against the presence of mainland Chinese persons were exaggerated by the western media.
"Some Western media outlets splashed fabricated reports, with a few of them even doctoring photographs to substantiate their falsity.

"The facts have ultimately nailed their lies, and it's time they stopped giving credence to rumours and publicising distorted reports on Tibet," it said.

"It is universally acknowledged that Tibet has progressed as part of the Chinese nation and all ethnic groups in the region are living a happy life. History proves that unity and stability bring prosperity and happiness, and separation and turbulence are the source of disaster," it said.

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