Kathmandu: As a rights group alleged intensified crackdowns in Tibet, China`s new ambassador to Nepal has hailed the 60th year of the Chinese takeover of Tibet, saying it had undertaken a "historic" leap from feudal serfdom to socialism.
Yang Houlan, China`s new ambassador to Nepal, Sunday enumerated five fronts on which Tibet had made "leapfrog developments" since its "peaceful liberation" by the Chinese army in 1951.
Yang, who assumed office last month and has since then remained in the headlines, said "from a state of isolation, poverty and backwardness", Tibet had attained prosperity and civilization under the leadership of the "central people`s government".
Yang, who has already met Nepal`s ruling parties and had them reiterate Nepal`s commitment to stop anti-China activities, said in an article in the Republica daily as well as its Nepali sister concern Nagarik Sunday that Tibet`s ethnic groups were now "masters of their own fate", enjoying equal rights to participate in the administration of state affairs.
Before the Chinese takeover, Tibet was in a state of stagnation with the masses living in dire poverty, the envoy said. But after that, there had been an over hundred-fold increase in the GDP reaching 50 billion yuan in 2010.
While 90 percent had no private housing under the rule of the Dalai Lamas, nor enough food or clothing, now over 1.4 million farmers and herdsmen had moved into modern houses with a per capita income of over 4,100 yuan.
The envoy also said that while in pre-liberated Tibet education was monopolised by the monasteries and only the children of the nobility attended school, now with a modern educational system, the illiteracy rate had fallen to 1.2 percent.
Ecological conservation and environmental protection had also been beefed up, he said.
Yang also claimed all religions and religious sects were treated as equal in Tibet and the "living Buddha" reincarnation system was fully respected.
The envoy`s statement comes in the wake of Beijing expressing its anger at US President Barack Obama meeting exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama in Washington earlier month.
The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said China`s long-term plans, beginning with the current 12th Five-Year Plan of 2011, focused on the transformation of a mobile, flexible, nomadic land to an urbanised, industrialised and centralised land.
"These plans are ultimately ecologically unsustainable for the fragile high-altitude environment of the Tibetan plateau... the source of most of Asia`s major rivers, affecting millions of people downstream," it said.
"China`s development plans - which marginalise Tibetans - are concentrated on the extraction of specific commodities, notably copper, gold, silver, electricity and water, from Tibet, for the use of Chinese industries far from Tibet."
It also said security crackdown had intensified in Lhasa ahead of a visit by Xi Jinping, China`s "next top leader".
Chinese Vice-President Xi, likely to succeed Hu Jintao as secretary of the Communist Party of China and Chinese president in the next two years, was in Lhasa to preside over a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the Chinese takeover of Tibet.
ICT said at least 100 Tibetans in Lhasa may have been taken into custody at unknown locations prior to the visit - a pattern it said has been recurring before sensitive anniversaries and official visits.