Tibet has witnessed “great” achievements in its socioeconomic and cultural development in recent decades, advances that powerfully refute distorted reports by some Western media, says a senior Chinese professor.
Recalling his visit to the autonomous region about half a year ago, Dr. Zhu Jianrong, head of the Society of Chinese Professors in Japan, told Xinhua in a recent interview that he was deeply impressed by Tibet’s advancements in economy, social welfare, culture, education and many other fields.
He said that in numerous talks with local lamas, students, and other residents, he and his eight fellow travellers were all convinced that significant improvements had been made to the living conditions across the elevated region, which mostly lies on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, or “the roof of the world.”
Local Tibetans told them that thanks to the central government’s guidance and support, Tibet’s development has been gaining momentum since the 1959 initiation of democratic reform in Tibet, particularly since the 1978 launching of China’s reform and opening-up drive, said Zhu, a professor of humanities at Toyo Gakuen University.
In recent years, assistance from more developed coastal provinces had been increasing steadily, including not only material resources but such human resources as teachers, technicians and doctors, through which most Tibetans had realized that they and Han Chinese were equal members in the Chinese family, Zhu quoted local residents as telling them.
Such a fruitful Tibet policy had given the resounding lie to such false claims fabricated by some Western press outlets that China was grabbing Tibet’s natural resources, that Hans and Tibetans were not equal and that Tibet and eastern provinces had large economic gaps, Zhu said.
Realities on the ground proved that China’s central government was making genuine efforts to narrow the economic gap between Tibet and coastal provinces and to ensure the equality of different nationalities, he added.
During the trip, wherever the professor and his companions stopped, he said, they were warmly greeted by hospitable hosts who told them that their houses had been renovated and that they could receive subsidies for new housing projects.
The hosts also said their children were receiving not only free educations but also free lunches, Zhu said.
Meanwhile, the professor said he was impressed by the bilingual education practice in Tibet, where primary schools offered classes in Tibetan and middle schools in both Tibetan and mandarin Chinese.
Bilingual education was not compulsive, yet many young Tibetans told them that a good command of Chinese was vital for their future and life, because their native language was notably disadvantaged in such fields as medicine and mathematics, Zhu added.
He recalled that what impressed him most was the team of top-notch Tibetan academics at the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences, many of whom had been visiting scholars in Britain, the United States and other countries and helped bring Tibetan culture to their host countries.
According to these scholars, during their exchange programs abroad, many local people were surprised by the great achievements Tibet had made and expressed the wish to see the region with their own eyes, while vowing not to believe the distorted ballyhoos by some media any more, Zhu said.
Citing the feelings of Chen Wenquan, a member of Zhu’s organization who was born Indonesia and used to study and work in the United States, Zhu told Xinhua that as far as Chen understood, the minority nationalities in China, who were free from discrimination and whose cultures were under protection and enjoyed steady development, were in a better position than those in Indonesia and the United States.
Any comprehensive comparative study would reveal that China’s minorities enjoyed preferential treatment and had witnessed tremendous positive changes, and that the slanderous reports by some Western media did not hold water at all, Zhu said.