China says it is going to work on improving regional autonomy, a rare
acknowledgment that its protection of minority group interests still needs
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters
Thursday that China will continue to, in her words, "improve the system of
regional national autonomy."
Jiang says China will take various
measures to safeguard the "fundamental issues" of all ethnic groups.
comments came in response to questions about the Dalai Lama's travels in Europe,
this week. Tibet's exiled spiritual leader traveled to Italy and Germany for
four days, to receive several awards.
In Italy, the City Council of Rome
and Venice gave the Dalai Lama honorary citizenship for his work towards a
peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue.
In Baden Baden, Germany, the
Dalai Lama accepted the German Media prize. A 20-member jury selected him for
the award on behalf of the German audience research company, Media
The Dalai Lama told German business and media figures attending
the ceremony that Tibetans are not trying to break away from China. He says he
is only seeking to ensure religious and cultural autonomy for Tibetans, not
Meanwhile, China continues to insist the 73-year-old Nobel
Peace Prize winner has a separatist agenda. Spokeswoman Jiang says that Tibet
was never an independent state and has enjoyed remarkable changes in the last
half century, including an end to feudal serfdom.
Jiang says this year
marks 50 years of Tibet's democratic reform.
The beginning of March is
also the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama fleeing Tibet and a failed uprising
against Chinese rule. The Chinese government last month announced this
anniversary will be commemorated as "Serf Liberation Day."
protests by monks in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, led to violent riots and general
unrest in the region. Foreign reporters are not allowed into Tibet without
official permission. Since the riots, the Chinese government has taken a few
small groups of journalists on government-supervised reporting trips.