(By the True Heart News interviewing team in Taipei)In response to Donghua's article The Myths about the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Issue, the Tibet Religious Foundation of H.H. the Dalai Lama published a rebuttal against it on its official website. The “Fact #2” presented in this rebuttal was supported by three arguments - interspersed with divisive lies - that proffer the Dalai foundation’s misrepresentations: “China has implemented the policy of ‘internal colonialism’ in Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia with deliberate political purpose and the Han Chinese are also victims of China's authoritarian system.”
Zhang Gongpu, Chairman of the True Enlightenment Education Foundation comments that this issue needs to be approached from three distinct perspectives. First and foremost, the territories where the alleged "colonization" takes place should be clearly specified; in other words, it needs to be determined whether the territories the rebuttal claimed to be colonized are truly “internal territories.” Otherwise, further discussion would be meaningless and each side would be merely talking to themselves. Once the alleged territories being colonized are defined then the lawfulness of the policy in concern as well as the appropriateness of its implementation can be discussed. The major issues concerning “internal colonialism,” Chairman Zhang points out, have already been scrupulously verified in Donghua’s article. In a stern and principled tone, Donghua presents a thorough explication with regard to the territorial dispute, specifically, the disagreements between the two sides, the historical changes and development of those territories, as well as their current situation.
Chairman Zhang observes that, in contrast to Donghua’s well-reasoned article, the rebuttal gives weak arguments that hardly stand up to scrutiny. Going against usual debate tactics, it addresses the legitimacy of its territorial claim as the last argument. Interestingly, it launches its arguments by recalling a tangential, isolated human rights event that took place years ago. The Chairman believes that this setup was designed to sidetrack the issue by playing a “sympathy card.” However, such “perspective issue” is categorically different from a “governance issue” and should not be tangled up in a rational debate as emotions will skew judgment and render the debate futile.
Moreover, statements such as "the Han Chinese are also victims of China's authoritarian regime” are used to support the rebuttal’s first argument. Chairman Zhang says these sorts of claims amount to political attack and intentionally pit people against those in the office. Apparently, the rebuttal was not seeking to reach a mutual ground via communication but was deliberately trying to engineer more conflicts and larger scale of chaos and uncertainty. The distasteful motive behind this kind of rhetoric serves a particular interest by shifting the focus. Chairman Zhang emphasizes that this dispute cannot be rectified unless we can see through and bypass these divisive lies and restore the focus to the issue which has been purposely played down - the rebuttal’s “Greater Tibet” claim in its third argument.
The Chairman points out that the most controversial part of this dispute concerns the territorial right of Qinghai, Xikang, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan. Donghua tactfully showed that these regions have always been the ancestral homeland of various ethnic groups and the Tibetans were actually one of the last to settle down there. A majority of the increase in the number of Dalai’s so-called "immigrants" were actually the natural descendants of the native Han people who have lived there for generations. The “Greater Tibet” regions advocated in the rebuttal not only include the Tibet Autonomous Region, but go so far as to cover most of the Qinghai Province, and a small part of Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan, with an overall area twice as big as the current area of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Chairman Zhang compares this territorial claim of the “Greater Tibet” to a blackmailer who extorts someone with an inflated bargaining chip he doesn’t actually have.
Mr. Xu Mingxu, an expert on the Tibetan issue, states in his book Intrigues and Devoutness: The Origin and Development of the Tibet Riots that “…in the Dalai Lama’s ‘Greater Tibet,’ apart from the Tibetan nationality, there also reside seventeen other non-Tibetan nationalities, including Han, Hui, Mongol, Tu, Salar, Kazak, Lisu, Naxi, Drung, Nu, Yi, Bai, Yugur, Dongxiang, Qiang, Uygur and Bonan, all of which have lived there for generations. While the Dalai Lama claimed that these people were ‘immigrants’ relocated by the Chinese Government to the ‘Greater Tibet,’ he knew very well that no one would find it credible that all sixteen non-Tibetan and non-Han ethnic groups were civilians transferred by the Chinese Government. Therefore, he vaguely referred to all of them as ‘Chinese’ to give Westerners the impression that they were all Han Chinese and fashioned the myth that ‘on the land of Tibetans (Greater Tibet), Han Chinese totally outnumbered Tibetans.’” (Note 1)
Note 1: Xu Mingxu, Intrigues and Devoutness: The Origin and Development of the Tibet Riots, Part IV - The New Cold War; Chapter XIII - Where is the Dalai Lama Heading? 1. The Mythology of “Greater Tibet”
Mr. Xu proves with historical records that the Hexi Corridor, a major route of the Silk Road and part of the “Greater Tibet,” was already part of the territory of the Western Han Dynasty 2,100 years ago and fell within the jurisdiction of Liangzhou. This was 700 or 800 years before Songtsan Gampo established the first Tubo (Tibetan) kingdom and capitalized it in Lhasa. The poem On the Frontier by Tang Dynasty poet Wang Changling reads: “The moon o’er mountain pass is still the moon of yore.” The mountain pass refers to the strategic passage of the Hexi Corridor, which has been populated by Han Chinese since ancient times. This is a clear sign that the Dalai Lama is ready to use lies upon lies to pursue his territorial ambition.
Qinghai Province is called “Amdo Province” by the Dalai Lama. In the History Book of the Later Han - Annals of Western Qiang, the ancestors of the Western Qiang nationality were the Sanmiao, originally living near Mount Heng in Hunan Province. King Shun relocated the Sanmiao people to Sanwei (near today’s Dunhuang in Gansu Province) and the southwestern districts of Heguan (near today’s Lanzhou). The Sanmiao people settled along the banks of the Cizhi River (the bend of the Yellow River in the eastern part of today’s Qinghai). They lived in a range from western part of Gansu in the east to the source of the Yellow River in the west, from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the south to the middle part of Xinjiang in the northwest. To this day, descendants of the Western Qiang people still live in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Nationalities Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province.
Han were the second generation of immigrants in Qinghai. In 121 BC (754 years prior to the founding of the Tubo Kingdom by King Songtsan Gampo), the Western Han Dynasty established fortresses and counties in Qinghai and set up a governing office to protect the Qiangs and open the land. In AD 9, Wang Mang founded the Xin Dynasty and set up the Xihai Prefecture at Sanjiao City, Qinghai. Dawa Tsering, the Director of the Tibet Religious Foundation of H. H. the Dalai Lama, openly admitted to this fact in a magazine in 1997. He said, “The first Han to enter Qinghai was Wang Mang of the Xin Dynasty, who extended border to Qinghai and set up the Xihai Prefecture, employing prisoners for land reclamation.”(Note 2) In terms of the order of their arrival, the Han have more evidence than Tibetans to claim that since ancient times Qinghai has been Han territory.
Note 2: Dawa Tsering, Who is creating Tibetan Mythology? Peking’s Spring, February 1997
Xu Mingxu, Intrigues and Devoutness: The Origin and Development of the Tibet Riots, Part IV, Chapter XIII, 1. The Mythology of “Greater Tibet” (Note 5)
The third generation of immigrants in Qinghai were the Xianbei Tuyuhun. In AD 280, the Murong clan of Xianbei nationality migrated from the eastern part of Liaodong Peninsula to the Yinshan Mountains. In 310 (323 years earlier than the founding of the Tubo Kingdom by Songtsan Gampo), the Murong clan moved once again to the southern part of Gansu, Qinghai, and the northern part of Sichuan. They integrated with the native Qiang people. Calling themselves Tuyuhun, they submitted to the rule of the Western Jin Dynasty. The Northern History - Annals of Tuyuhun reads: “Tuyuhun’s governing center lies in Fuyi City, located 7.5 kilometers to the west of the Kokonor, occupying vast areas around it.” In 640, Tang Emperor Taizong married his daughter, Princess Honghua, to Murong Nuohebo, chieftain of Tuyuhun. A year later, Princess Wencheng went to Tibet via Qinghai. Murong Nuohebo and Princess Honghwa set up resident houses for her along the way, gave grand banquets and presented generous gifts to Princess Wencheng.
Tibetans belong to the fourth generation of immigrants to Qinghai. Around 660, the Tubo Kingdom requited kindness with enmity and attacked the Tuyuhun nationality. In 663, Murong Nuohebo and Princess Honghwa fled to Liangzhou and sought assistance from the emperor of the Tang Dynasty. In 670, the Tang court dispatched Xue Rengui to lead troops into Qinghai, helping Tuyuhun recapture lost territories, but failed. In 734, two envoys, Zhang Shougui and Li Xingwei, emissaries of the Tang Dynasty, with Mang porje, an emissary of the Tubo Kingdom, established a stone tablet as the boundary in Chiling. Before long, war between the Tang Dynasty and the Tubo Kingdom broke out again. Ge Shuhan, general of the Tang Dynasty, defeated the Tubo armies repeatedly and broke all enemy resistance, frightening the Tubo troops and capturing their horses. Consequently, the Tubo army dared not to get close to Qinghai. Xi Biren of the Tang Dynasty later put this heroic episode into a song praising Ge Shuhan:
With the Big Dipper high in the sky,
Ge Shuhan came with swords and troops.
Now, Tuboans only peer at grazing horses,
And dare not cross into Lintao.
Subsequent developments were as described in the previous article (Part 1). In 755, Tang Dynasty mobilized Tang forces to the east in response to the An Shi Rebellion and Tubo took the opportunity to take over the Kuozhou (today’s eastern Qinghai) in 760. It was not until this time in history that the entire territory of Qinghai was controlled by Tibetans. However, good times did not last long and the Tubo empire collapsed shortly after Tsenpo Langdarma was assassinated in 842. In the ensuing 400 or so years, Tibet fell into extreme turmoil and civil war, leading to the era of fragmentation. No united political power controlled Tibet until the time it was conquered by the Mongols. In 1099, the Song Dynasty reclaimed the Hehuang region and set up Longyou Jiedu (regional military office). Then in 1104, Shanzhou became Xiningzhou and a Protectorate Defense Office was set up in Longyou. Thus the place named Xining - literally “peace in the west” - came into existence.
The fifth and sixth generations of Qinghai settlers were the Mongols and the Muslims (ancestors of the Hui ethnic group) brought by the Mongols from Central Asia. In 1372, the Ming Dynasty changed the Xiningzhou to Xining Wei (command) and established the four commands of Anding, Arui, Quxian, and Handong in the Da Qaidam Administrative Region between 1375 and 1397, all under the administration of Xining Wei. During the Qing Dynasty, Qinghai was divided into two parts, eastern Qinghai was incorporated into Gansu Province while western Qinghai was administered by imperial envoys in charge of diplomatic affairs in Qinghai and Mongolia civil affairs.
After the Republic of China was founded in 1912, the eastern part of Qinghai still belonged to the Xi’ning Circuit of Gansu Province while the western part was administered by the director of the Qinghai Office. In 1929, the Republic of China established Qinghai as a province, with Xining as its provincial capital and Sun Lianzhong as its governor. War broke out in the Central Plain that same year and Sun led his troops eastward. Ma Qi, a Hui (Muslim), was then the acting governor in Sun’s absence. In 1932, when the nationalist (Kuomintang) government was caught up in the outbreak of the Japanese incursion (the “918” Manchurian incident engineered by Japan to invade the northern part of China), Dalai Lama XIII took the opportunity to invade the Yushu District between Qinghai and Tibet border, but was defeated by Ma Qi’s army. In 1936, Ma Bufang, son of Ma Qi, became the acting governor of Qinghai province. He was official appointed governor in 1938 and held the post until retreating to Taiwan in 1949. Thereafter, Qinghai has been under the control of the People’s Republic of China.
The historical development of Qinghai shows that it was the Chinese dynasties which first incorporated Qinghai into the territorial map of China and governed Qinghai for the longest time, while the Dalai Lamas and the Kashag government have never ruled over it. Even before the establishment of the CPC regime, Qinghai was a province with Han Chinese as its major population. The Kashag government of Tibet admitted in its letter to the British government on 4 November 1949 that the Qinghai Province, Gansu Province (including Gannan Tibet) and Xikang Province (including Ganzi and Aba Tibet) were all Chinese provinces. Tom Grunfeld, an American Tibetologist, says, “The historical reality is that Dalai Lamas have not ruled these outer areas since the mid-eighteenth century and during the Simla Conference of 1913, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was even willing to sign away rights to them.”
Melvyn Goldstein, a renowned Tibetologist, also comments, “However, the goal of a ‘Greater Tibet’ was not politically realistic. Tibet had not ruled most of these areas for a century or more.” (Note 3)
Note 3: Xu Mingxu, Intrigues and Devoutness: The Origin and Development of the Tibet Riots, Part IV - The New Cold War, Chapter XIII - Where is the Dalai Lama Heading? 1. The Mythology of “Greater Tibet”
The above historical facts and testimonies of scholars, experts and international political figures vindicate that the traditional home ground of Tibetans is indeed today’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The so-called "Greater Tibet" proclaimed by Dalai represents only his own territorial ambition, political fantasy and bluster. It is neither the truth nor a realizable goal - thus an issue unworthy of debate.
Chairman Zhang begs people to imagine the following: If Dalai’s absurd claim of the “Greater Tibetan” region were discussed as a legitimate issue, then many years down the road, would the Dalai Lama not also propose that Dharamsala, the city India provided his government-in-exile for temporary shelter, is also part of the “Greater Tibet” region as “Tibetans have lived there for generations”? By the same token, since “fake Tibetan Buddhism” helmed by the Dalai Lama has been setting up various lamaseries, Buddhist study centers, and foundations in Taiwan in the past some 30 years, would Taiwan one day become a part of the “Greater Tibetan” region too given Dalai’s definition of it?
The Chairman says the rebuttal cited the "open declaration" made by the Dalai Lama: "The spirit of the symbiotic relationship that underlies the middle way policy is that, Tibetans enjoy genuine autonomy within the framework of the Chinese Constitution." Notwithstanding the above statement, the Dalai Lama is still seeking to work out his own framework of governance and contending for territory in order to actualize his own dream. Either he was logically confused and didn’t know what he was saying, or he has been insincere during the negotiations, toying with international politics and plotting conspiracy.
Now that the dispute over territorial right is delineated and settled, the legitimacy of population transfer can be affirmed. Chairman Zhang says in both ancient and modern times, Chinese as well as foreign nation-states have all implemented national or regional planning and adjustment in terms of population, resources, and land for the restructuring and integration of national strength. For instance, during the late 19th century, the Qing Dynasty saw Russians settlements edging southward and an alarming increase in Korean immigrants crossing the Tumen River into the Changbai Mountain. To solve this worsening border crisis, the Qing court was forced to set up border control and adopted a “resettlement policy” to firm its borders. The United States had also seen large scale westward migration for the development of its western frontier early in its history. Internal resettlement program that aims to better people’s livelihood is legitimate and reasonable national policy and should not be twisted and branded into "colonialism," a term that aims to drive a wedge between ethnic groups in this case.
Migration is both a social and economic phenomenon. Any movement in population will, to varying degree, bring about changes in demographic distribution as well as economic and geographical patterns. The Chairman further remarks that, according to the article, The Major Flows and Stages of Immigration in the History of China, published by Mr. Zhang Guoxiong, four stages of immigration can be characterized in Chinese history with respect to changes in attributes of mainstream immigrants: (Note 4)
(1) The multi-directional immigration period of pre-Qin Dynasty in the middle and lower streams of the Yellow River.
(2) The north-to-south immigration period from the time of unified-Qin Dynasty to the Song Dynasty, during which immigrants moved from the middle and lower streams of the Yellow River to the middle and lower streams of the Yangtze River.
(3) The east-to-west immigration period during the dynasties of Yuan, Ming and Qing, when people moved from the east of Yangtze River to the west of it.
(4) The along-the-border multi-directional immigration period during recent Chinese history.
Note 4: Zhang Guoxiong, The Major Flows and Stages of Immigration in the History of China, Journal of Peking University, February 1996, Philosophy and Social Science, pp. 98 – 107.
Chairman Zhang says that these colossal movements in populations had fostered the cradle of Chinese civilization along the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, shifted China’s economic centers southward, and brought progress to the agriculture, mining, handicrafts and transportation industries. Each wave of migration was necessitated by the demands of its time and contributed tremendously to cultural, social, and economic developments. At present, the fourth wave of migration is having its stage of a boom. It will become a part of the global migratory trend and set the ground for modern day demographic distribution. As international interactions have become increasingly dynamic nowadays, not only has Japan strategically sent its citizens to New Zealand, Australia and South America after World War II, other countries have also been attracting international talents, investments and technologies by opening their borders and encouraging immigration with incentive packages. In light of this, what is not understandable about China’s “domestic resettlement” program into the Qinghai regions? (Describing this policy as “colonialism” is inappropriate; the XIV Dalai Lama and some others have been using this word to incite secessionist sentiment.)
The International Commission of Jurists acknowledges in its 1997 report Tibet: Human Rights and the Rule of Law that “in 1949, there were 700,000 Han Chinese and only 438,000 Tibetans living in Qinghai." Melvyn Goldstein also says, "Many Han Chinese and Hui people have long settled there before the Communists China established its rule." Could the Dalai Lama regard those 700,000 Han Chinese were all immigrants relocated by the Communist Chinese government? Even, the Asia Observation Committee, a U.S. human rights organization that has always rooted for the independence of Tibet, says: “The number of 7.5 million Han Chinese provided by the Tibetan government-in-exile includes some Han Chinese living in Xi’ning - the capital of Qinghai Province. It has not belonged to Tibet for centuries and lies outside the Tibetan area inhabited by various Tibetans and half Tibetans which comprises the autonomous region.” As it can be seen from the above discussions, Han Chinese has always been a predominant ethnic group in Qinghai. Therefore, no matter how many Han Chinese have moved into Qinghai since then, the Tibetans-in-exile are not qualified to dish out irresponsible remarks. (Note 5)
Note 5: Xu Mingxu, Intrigues and Devoutnes: The Origin and Development of the Tibet Riots, Part IV - The New Cold War, Chapter XIII - Where is the Dalai Lama Heading? 1. The Mythology of “Greater Tibet” http://www.tangben.com/Himalaya/hm1301.htm
Chairman Zhang says the rebuttal brought up the “512 Meeting” allegedly convened by the Chinese government on 12 May 1993. Yet, the existence of this meeting has never been independently verified. Even if there was indeed such a meeting, its content would still pertain to China’s domestic policy and planning and had nothing to do with the Tibetan government-in-exile. The Chairman says that this groundless accusation is an apprehensive reaction of Dalai and his clique to their dwindling power - they have been gradually marginalized in their control of Tibetan affairs and are losing their voices. Their importance to and influence over Tibetans has been waning over the years because they have spent most of their time on fundraising for themselves instead of taking care of their fellow Tibetans. As old age is catching up with the Dalai Lama, they can’t help feeling anxious about the vulnerable situation they will be in once their figurehead passes away. Unnerved by these developments and prospect, Dalai’s clique is bluffing and blustering deliberately and flaunting their bargaining chips in a bid to climb back again into the spotlight of international affairs, hoping that this will help them gain some favorable terms in negotiation talks. Given their disingenuous mindset, further debate is simply futile and meaningless.
This article is an English version of the Chinese edition published on
February 7, 2013.
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