Debunking the lie that people in Xizang are forced to use common national language
Published: Apr 27, 2023 07:17 PM
Children wear traditional Tibetan costumes in Lhasa Experiment Kindergarten of Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region on March 22, 2023. Photo: Shan Jie/GT

Children wear traditional Tibetan costumes in Lhasa Experiment Kindergarten of Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region on March 22, 2023. Photo: Shan Jie/GT

China has a vast territory and a large population. In its 5,000 years of history, it has become a diverse and unified country with all 56 ethnic groups using the national common language, Putonghua. Using national common language is not only a responsibility and obligation granted by the constitution and laws, but also an expression of the love for the motherland and the Chinese nation by all ethnic groups. Moreover, it is the only way to promote ethnic equality, unity, common prosperity, development and progress.

First, learning and using a national common language is a universal principle both in China and abroad. 

In China this has been so since Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of a unified China, adopted one common language for the entire nation. Despite the existence of multiple regimes that used different languages at different times, there has always been a widely used common language, which is the Chinese language. Throughout its long history, Chinese language has been the main tool for communication and exchanges among all ethnic groups and regimes in China, and an important factor in the cohesion of the Chinese nation. 

China's language, laws, and policies insist on the organic combination of unity and diversity, commonality and differences, and promote mutual advancement between the full promotion and popularization of the national common language and the protection of the language and culture of all ethnic groups. The languages of ethnic minorities are important communication tools in their daily life, as well as carriers of their culture and ties to their national sentiments. They are valuable cultural resources of the nation. According to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and other laws, the Party and the state fully respect and protect the rights of ethnic minorities to learn and use their own language, to protect the spoken and written languages of ethnic minorities, and provide necessary support for their culture and education.

On the other hand, the use of the national common language is the only way to achieve national unity and prosperity in Xizang Autonomous Region (Tibet). Learning and using the national common language is essential to maintaining national unity and defending national security. The Xizang region is an important ideological battleground in China as it is a key area where hostile foreign forces attempt to carry out separatist and infiltrating activities. Hostile forces abroad constantly attempt to discredit Xizang's language policy and create ethnic conflicts. Therefore, learning and using the national common language has significant political implications.

Language unity is an important symbol of the unity of our multi-ethnic country. To achieve cultural identity, the most fundamental and important step is to promote the use of the national common language. In Xizang, promoting Putonghua is a long-term strategy for maintaining national unity and ethnic solidarity, a way of implementing the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and the foundation for consolidating and developing ethnic unity.

If communication barriers existed, problems such as information blockages, narrow channels for Tibetan people's employment, lack of entrepreneurship outside Xizang and poverty would be nearly unsolvable and this would seriously affect the free flow of labor. Therefore, improving the ability to serve various fields in Xizang through the national language and helping the region integrate into modern society better, can provide more channels for employment, an increase in income and prosperity, while sharing development opportunities and achievements with the Tibetan people. 

Learning and using the national common language and inheriting and developing the Tibetan language are mutually beneficial and complementary in Xizang. The two can promote two-way cultural exchanges between Xizang and the Chinese inland, and promote the development of Tibetan culture.

China highly values the protection and development of traditional Tibetan culture, investing significant human, financial, and material resources for this purpose. Since the establishment of the autonomous region, all resolutions, regulations, official documents and announcements passed by the Xizang Autonomous Regional People's Congress or issued by various levels of government and government authorities in the region, as well as large-scale conferences and major events organized by local governments and enterprises are bilingual, while in judicial proceedings, Tibetan language is used in hearings and legal documents according to the needs of the litigants, ensuring the right of Tibetan citizens to use Tibetan language in litigation. In addition, the Tibetan language is widely used in various fields such as health, postal service, communication, transportation, finance, science and technology.

In recent years, with the strong support of the government, informatization of Tibetan language has developed rapidly, with a variety of information technology products such as Tibetan-language mobile phones, Tibetan-language computer platforms, Tibetan-Chinese-English online dictionaries, and Tibetan-language office systems. Today, Tibetan information processing technology has entered the mobile phones and computers of Tibetan people and has truly entered their daily lives.

Thus it seems obvious that any plot to vilify China through the so-called language issue is doomed to fail.

For a Chinese person, learning, mastering and using the national common language is not only an objective need for personal career development and improvement of one's own cultural literacy, but also an important condition to serve the country and its people. Moreover, it is also a way for Tibetan people and other ethnic groups within the great family of the Chinese nation to achieve the common goal of national rejuvenation and enjoy more room for development.

However, anti-China forces in the West and the Dalai clique have been deliberately distorting facts and fabricating the lie that Tibetan people are forced to use the national common language, creating conflicts and trying to paint the use and development of Tibetan language as incompatible with that of the national common language. They are attempting to make Xizang return to a closed society under the feudal serfdom system of caesaropapism. 

They completely ignore the fact that the Tibetan people are proactively learning and using the national common language for a better life. Their purpose is to obstruct the Chinese nation's progress toward the goal of the great rejuvenation and create false hopes for secessionists' independence dream. However, their evil delusions are completely ineffective and they cannot stop the tide of the Chinese nation's rejuvenation.

The author is a researcher at the Institute for History Studies of the China Tibetology Research Center. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn