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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

White paper: China respects freedom of religious beliefs of Tibetans

September 26, 2008

[Xinhua is Chinese News Agency]

     BEIJING, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government has set great
store by respecting the freedom of religious beliefs of the various
ethnic groups living in Tibet since the peaceful liberation of Tibet in
1951, said a white paper on Protection and Development of Tibetan
Culture issued by the Information Office of the State Council on Thursday.

     Tibetan Buddhism is the faith of the majority of the residents of
the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is an important component of Tibetan
tradition and culture. Over a long course of historical development, the
Tibetans have developed their unique customs and lifestyle.

     Old Tibet practiced theocracy, like that in the Middle Ages of
Europe. The upper class, represented by the Dalai Lama, dominated the
politics, economy and culture of Tibet, and controlled the "admission"
of the followers of Tibetan Buddhism to paradise, the paper said.

     Under the system of theocracy and religious autocracy, the ordinary
people had no freedom of religious belief at all. Such a system proved
to be a tight fetter on people's minds and social functions, it said.

     The Democratic Reform toppled the decadent and outdated theocracy
and the religious regime controlled by the Dalai Lama and other living
Buddhas, and separated religion from politics, according to the paper.

     The monasteries were put under democratic management, thus
providing an institutional guarantee for the freedom of religious
belief, it added.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang

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