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China Says No Autonomy for Tibet - 2004-05-23


China has ruled out autonomy for Tibet, saying the situation there is different than it is for the semi-autonomous areas of Hong Kong and Macau. Beijing released a lengthy report Sunday saying its controversial "one country, two systems" policy does not apply to the region, saying Tibet has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times.

China's communist government took over Tibet in 1951. Its Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama escaped to India nine years later, where he has since carried on a campaign for Tibetan autonomy.

Hong Kong and Macau were European-held colonies until the late 1990s, when colonial powers Britain and Portugal returned them to China with the agreement that they would retain a high degree of autonomy.

China also has tenuous relations with the island of Taiwan, where China's nationalist leaders fled from the communist government during the 1949 civil war. Taiwan now maintains an uneasy co-existence with mainland China, although the mainland has threatened to attack if Taiwan declares its independence.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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