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Eye-opening visits by global delegates refute Western media's bias
By:China Daily Global
update:June 09,2023

Foreign delegates visit Jokhang Temple, a renowned Buddhist monastery in Lhasa. DEKYI DROLMA/FOR CHINA DAILY

There is a tendency that some Western media outlets present Tibet, an autonomous region in Southwest China, with distorted accounts, because of their biased and incomplete coverage of local issues like human rights, religious freedom, ethnic culture and ecological environment.

However, there is also increasing criticism of this tendency in the international community, especially when more and more people toured the autonomous region and gained a totally different picture of Tibet.

On May 23, the 2023 Forum on the Development of Xizang, China was held in Beijing, bringing together more than 150 delegates from home and abroad to share their insights into Tibet and contribute their suggestions to the region's development.

Prior to the event, many of the delegates paid a visit to Tibet in a period spanning May 16-21. Their personal experiences in the region gave them a different but more complete and objective picture, they said.

Abdilahi Ismail Abdilahi from the African country of Somalia is a foreign language teacher at Beijing Foreign Studies University. He said that Tibet is very different from how he has imagined it.

He added that he didn't expect to see advanced highways and high-speed trains there. He said he was shocked to see how modern the regional capital of Lhasa is and that life there is not so different from Beijing.

He noted that Tibet's preservation of the local ethnic culture left a deep impression on him.

"The Chinese government has attached great importance to protecting Tibet's culture," Ismail said.

Colin Macherras, an Australian Sinologist, refuted the biased outlook on Tibet among the Western media.

"Many Western reports have talked of the so-called 'suppression of Tibetan religion, language, lifestyle, architecture and arts'.

"In 1996, the Dalai Lama, in the British Houses of Parliament in London, went so far as to claim that China was practicing 'cultural genocide' in Tibet. He and others have made this claim many times since then."

He said he believes that claim to be nonsense.

"During my visits to Tibet, I have witnessed many aspects of surviving traditional culture. These include the Tibetan language, clothing, architecture and arts. It seems to me that Tibetan Buddhism and other forms of traditional religion are well and truly alive and flourishing," said Mackerras, who is a professor emeritus at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.

He noted that Tibet has made great achievements in improving the quality of life for its residents, which is evidenced in the fact that the average life expectancy in the region rose from 35.5 years prior to the peaceful liberation in 1951, to 72.19 years at present.

Guibe Guillaume from France is an employee of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

He said: "Tibet's development path will continue to receive criticism from people who have never been to the region and live thousands of kilometers away, or those who make a living from making up fake stories. Tibetan people and those who contribute to the region's development should just ignore them. Instead, they should feel proud of their achievements.

"Imagine a serf's reaction if he or she could see their descendants today. You've achieved altogether a major achievement that almost nobody in the world could achieve in only a few decades. You've put a feudal and largely sub-developed region on the track of modernity and prosperity."


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