mandag 18. mars 2024

Underrepresented: Tibetans kept out of most leadership positions

It is the season of China’s annual meetings in Beijing of its National People’s Congress (parliament) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (political advisory body). Popularly called the “Two Sessions,” China has also been using these sessions to tout how well Tibetans and others who are dubbed “ethnic minorities” are enjoying their rights.

This claim was most recently reiterated in December 2023 by a Chinese diplomat who claimed, “The 56 ethnic groups in China are all equal regardless of their size, and are entitled to participate in the governance of state affairs.”  In August 2021, Wang Yang, then-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), during his visit to the Tibetan capital Lhasa to participate in a “Meeting Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet,” claimed that following the “liberation” of Tibet (meaning China’s conquest of the country), “Several million serfs rose and held their future in their own hands.”

It is China’s contention that the Tibetan people have become “masters of their own destiny” since its takeover of Tibet. This report analyzes the current leadership representation at the national level—and in Tibetan areas at the provincial and sub-provincial levels—and finds that Tibetans have mainly token positions while real power in Tibet continues to be in the hands of non-Tibetans.