TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new law passed by China's leaders in Tibet that systemizes ethnic unity in the region has drawn concerns about the future of Tibetan culture and identity.
"Regulations on the Establishment of a Model Area for Ethnic Unity and Progress in the Tibet Autonomous Region" (Regulations), will go into effect on May 1. The law lists the duties of officials, schools, and social groups in the region to promote ethnic unity; as well as the penalties for separatists.
The regulations state: "Tibet has long been an unsplittable part of China and the country will insist on ethnic equity for the entire nation while using the correct methods to fix any ethnic conflicts in a Chinese way."
In response, Kunga Tashi, Chinese Communication and Outreach Officer for the New York-based Tibet Fund, told RFA on Tuesday: "China’s new law masks the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) hidden agenda to completely wipe out Tibetan culture and ethnicity.”
To achieve this, the authorities require, "Religious groups and schools to 'Chinalize' the religions and integrate ethnic unity into the doctrines to develop a religious culture that contributes to social development and harmony," Article 19 says.
Schools and officials should also enhance the promotion of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the "China Dream." Any organizations or individuals that "produce or disseminate ideas which damage ethnic unity" and "encourage separatism and influence social stability" will be reeducated or face criminal charges.
Chinese authorities began assimilating Tibetans long before passing this new law, including forbidding Tibetan children to learn Tibetan, and forcing locals to sing songs in praise of the CCP.
"This chunk of articles is more like an ideology of the CCP rather than a real law," professor Wu Hao-jen (吳豪人), director of the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, told Taiwan News. "Many terms used in the articles, such as the behaviors that cause 'bad influence' or 'serious consequences' to (create) ethnic unity are ambiguous, which allows the authorities to penalize any dissidents as they please."
"As global communities are blaming China for the atrocity in Xinjiang, it is now making a 'law' to tell the world that everything it does in Tibet in the future is to reunite all ethnic groups with the Han Chinese on its own territory," Wu said.