09/30/2009, 00.00
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Sixty years of suffering for the people of China, says Tibetan leader

by Samdhong Rimpoche
Samdhong Rimpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, writes to AsiaNews to explain what the past 60 years have meant to the many victims of the Chinese Communist state, provides a critical appraisal of China’s economic boom.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – “For the past 60 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the people of China, the people of Tibet and other ethnic groups have endured immense suffering. Our suffering seems endless and there are no signs of change towards less repression. For this reason and for all those who suffer in our country, this anniversary is a sad occasion,” said Samdhong Rimpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile in a letter sent to AsiaNews to explain what 1 October means to Tibetan.

In Tibet, the anniversary is being marked by large-scale deployment of police forces in Lhasa and many monasteries to prevent any protest (pictured: Potala Palace in Lhasa). But in Beijing, the Chinese government is celebrating the country’s economic successes and progress.

Yet, for Rimpoche “economic progress is not the result of actions by the Communist party. It is rather global phenomena. In the last sixty years, the economy of most countries in the South Asian region as well as in the Western world has increased rapidly.  The economic progress cannot be credited to the Communist Party in China and its present rulers. On the contrary, under the Chinese leadership, economic progress has been accompanied by a great deal of exploitation, particularly the exploitation of workers.”

“Firstly, the economic progress of China is the main cause of the untold suffering for the people of China, for underpaid and unpaid labourers. Production at a very low cost is possible because of the exploitation of the underpaid labourers, who work in almost dehumanising conditions similar to concentration camps.”

“Secondly, China has been indiscriminately exploiting vast [mineral] deposits and natural resources, particularly in Tibetan areas.  Tibet’s natural wealth—gold, silver, iron, copper, aluminum, calcium, oil, timber wood and above all, our uranium, which is the best available—is being plundered by Chinese authorities in Tibet.”

“Thirdly, Chinese economic progress is very lopsided, resulting in a huge divide between haves and have-nots and only selected regions of China are shown to be prosperous. A large number of areas, including remote areas, are living in abject poverty and gross underdevelopment or nonexistent development.”

 “Of course, one area in which China has made tremendous strides is in military power, and the credit for its military might goes to its Communist rulers. In all other spheres, there has been degradation: degradation of religious freedom and human rights; degradation in the cultural sphere, civil liberties, personal freedom, individual rights; degradation of the environment.” The government “is responsible for all these abuses,” which have “spiralled downwards at an alarming rate”.

“But for the anniversary of 1 October, I say: let us not be carried away by emotions; instead, let us look to the future. Sixty years in the history of a nation is not a long period of time, and we can patiently wait and see how many years this regime can survive, how long the Chinese leadership can continue its repressive rule. We look forward to positive change in the near future.”

(Nirmala Carvalho cooperated to this article)

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