BEIJING: Denouncing the Dalai Lama's demand for "high degree of autonomy" as an obstruction for progress, China today claimed that the remote Himalayan region is "now in its golden age," benefiting from its policy of regional ethnic autonomy.
"Over the years, the 14th Dalai Lama clique, in plotting towards 'Tibetan independence,' has constantly peddled the concept of a "Greater Tibet," and lobbied for "a high degree of autonomy," so negating regional ethnic autonomy and its contribution to Tibet's progress," said a Chinese government's white paper on Tibet released today.
"Dalai group's separatist activities violate the Constitution of China and greatly damage the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups in Tibet, which is why they have met strong opposition from all Chinese people, including those of all ethnic groups in Tibet," the paper said.
Chinese officials in the past have termed the Dalai Lama's demand for greater Tibet, incorporating all Tibetan prefectures bifurcated after China's takeover of the Himalayan region in 1950, as "a garb" to gain independence.
Instead, the white paper said, "the region's ethnic autonomy helps people of all ethnic groups in Tibet become their own masters and enjoy full democratic and extensive economic, social and cultural rights."
As the Dalai Lama turned 80 this year, China has been maintaining that it is open for talks with the octogenarian leader, revered by Tibetans despite his absence in the region since 1959, but has not resumed the dialogue process which broke off several years ago.
According to overseas Tibetans, over 130 Tibetans have committed self immolations in recent years demanding for his return.
In the report, China highlighted development of the remote region which boasts of express highways, railway linking with China, besides five airports.
The white paper said Chinese central government has provided over 648.08 billion yuan, (over USD 108 billion) worth of financial subsidies from 1952 to 2014 to Tibet, while its GDP soared from 327 million yuan in 1965 to 92.08 billion yuan (over USD 15.3 billion) in 2014, registering a 281-fold increase.
Since 1994, Tibet's GDP has grown at an annual rate of 12.4 per cent on average, registering double-digit growth for 20 consecutive years, it said, asserting that "Tibet is now in its golden age."
Local fiscal revenues increased from 22.39 million yuan in 1965 to 16.475 billion yuan in 2014, an average annual increase of 14.46 per cent, further enhancing Tibet's self-development capabilities.
The total volume of Tibet's foreign trade rose from USD seven million in 1965 to USD 2.255 billion in 2014, a 321-fold increase, or an average annual growth of 12.5 per cent, it said.
Tibet mainly exports to Nepal and India through the Nathula border point in Sikkim.
The per capita disposable income of urban residents reached 22,016 yuan (USD 3,670) in 2014 registering 38-fold increase, or an average annual increase of 10.7 per cent compared with 565 yuan in 1978.
The level of urbanisation has also steadily risen.
It also claimed that Tibet's traditional culture, freedom of religion and ecological environment is well protected and promoted.