While reports of protests and arrests continue in many parts of Tibet and over 140 Tibetans have self-immolated in recent years in protest of China’s rule over Tibet, China’s top political adviser Yu Zhengsheng said a “sustained” stability in Tibet has been achieved.
“People of all ethnic groups steadfastly fought separatism, foiling the sabotage attempts of the 14th Dalai Lama clique and hostile international forces," he said during his speech on September 8 that took place in front of the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace. He continued to say that a longtime “war” against the separatists and “Dalai Lama clique” will be carried out.
Such rhetoric has been heard before, but some observers say that the timing of the speech signals that China has no intention to change its current policy on Tibet. “It is good to think that something is going to change, but unfortunately there is no indication that it is going to change,” said Alistair Currie, spokesperson of London based rights group, Free Tibet. “Certainly, none from the event that took place on 50th anniversary.”
Many Tibetans outside Tibet who hoped Xi Jinping might have a softer policy on Tibet have been waiting to see what his actual policy would be, although the Chinese officials inside Tibet have been carrying on campaigns to propagate Xi Jinping’s Tibet policies indicated through his speeches since 2012.
After China’s top political advisor’s speech in Lhasa during the 50th anniversary of Tibetan Autonomous Region, which reflected and followed Xi’s recent comments at the 6th Tibet Work Forum in Beijing, some Tibetan observers realize there is only a gloomy reality.
“We’ve gotten our hopes on Chinese leaders up for a long time, and we also hoped for a change on Tibet policy after Xi Jingping became Chinese leader,” said Kalsang Gyaltsen Bapa. “However, this is the reality.” He says it is now the time for the Tibetans to review their current policy and aim for a longer struggle for many years to come.