The article by Lobsang Sangay, the so-called political leader of the “Central Tibetan Administration in exile” (A plea to Britain: don’t forget Tibet in your dealings with China, 31 October), distorts the history of the Tibet Autonomous Region and ignores its remarkable progress under China’s policy on Tibet.
Tibet has been part of China since ancient times. The Chinese central authorities have all along exerted indisputable and effective administration over Tibet since the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Tibet has never been an independent nation. No country in the world has ever acknowledged “Tibetan independence”. The 14th Dalai Lama, following his defection in 1959 out of opposition to the reform measure aimed to abolish serfdom that enslaved the local population, has no authority whatsoever to represent the people of Tibet, nor has he the right to decide the future and destiny of Tibet.
As for the self-styled “government-in-exile”, it has no recognition by any country in the world and is in essence an illegitimate political organisation engaged in secessionist activities. Its so-called middle way is nothing but independence in a disguised form and thus totally unacceptable to the Chinese central government.
Until the mid-20th century, the social system of Tibet remained one of theocratic feudal serfdom, with an economy that was extremely underdeveloped, and a society that was closed and backward. Tibet today is embracing the modern world, having gone through peaceful liberation, democratic reform, establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and economic reform and opening up.
Tibet has been transformed from a poor and backward society to one that is advanced in both economy and culture. Tibet’s tremendous progress serves as eloquent evidence that it has chosen and is following a correct path of development.
Spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in the UK