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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."

China refutes Lithuanian councilors' comments on "invading Tibet"

February 13, 2009

Xinhua is the official press agency of the Communist Party of China 2009-02-12

Special Report: Focus on Tibet

BEIJING, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- China has refuted comments by Lithuanian
councilors who expressed support for the Dalai Lama's claim that "China
invaded Tibet" and stressed that Tibet was never an independent country.

"Tibet has never been an independent country, which is an unchangeable
historical fact. We hope the relevant councilors could develop more
understanding of history," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a
regular press conference in response to a question on the matter.

Neither Jiang nor the reporters who asked the question mentioned the
names of these councilors.

Jiang said Tibet had been a part of China's territory since ancient
times. Tibet affairs have a bearing on China's sovereignty and
territorial integrity and are China's domestic affairs, she said.

The central government and its predecessors have exercised effective
sovereignty over Tibet without interruption since the Yuan Dynasty (AD
1271-1368) in the 13th century, she said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the democratic reform of the
Tibet Autonomous Region. Tibet had long been a society languishing under
a system of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule until the mid-20th century.

Before 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama, as a leader of Tibetan Buddhism and
also head of the Tibetan local government, monopolized both political
and religious power.

"The abolition of feudal serfdom, the same as the abolition of feudal
serfdom in European countries, is of great importance to global human
rights history. Tibet's political, economic and cultural sectors have
witnessed great changes over the past five decades. People of all ethnic
groups in Tibet now enjoy the rights endowed by the constitution and the
law on regional national autonomy. Their living standard also improved
by a big margin," Jiang said.

"The Chinese government and people have an unswerving stance on these
issues and will not submit to any foreign pressure, nor make any
concession. We hope the international community would give full respect
and support to the efforts made by the Chinese government to maintain
national sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the
fundamental interest of people of all ethnic groups, including the
Tibetan people."

The spokeswoman said China will maintain and improve the system of
regional autonomy of ethnic minorities, support Tibet's social and
economic development and ensure the interests of all ethnic groups.
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