China, admitting failures in Tibet, plans reforms

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China made an extraordinary admission of failure in its administration of Tibet on May 31, when the People's Daily announced a wide-ranging set of reforms for the "autonomous region," reports Monitor special correspondent Bryan Johnson , who is with the Toronto Globe and Mail. The report conceded that "no marked improvement has been brought about in the Tibetan people's livelihood" since that country was "liberated" by China 29 years ago. Even more surprisingly, it conceded that some cadres of the dominant Han Chinese nationality had "impaired unity between the [Han and Tibetan] nationalities, squandered state and collective funds, and basked in privileges, holding banquets and giving presents.

The admissions seem to confirm reports by some Western journalists who visited Tibet last year, that the Hans were governing the region virtually as a colony.

The May 31 report came just two days after it was disclosed that Tibet's Communist Party boss, Ren Rong, had been dismissed. The story also said that two of Peking's top officials -- party General Secretary Hu Yaobang and Vice-Premier Wan Li -- were on an inspection tour in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. Perhaps even more significant, the package of reforms was unveiled during the visit to China of a five-man delegation from the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, who fled in 1959 after troops moved in to crush an anti-Chinese rebellion.

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