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Did the Chinese Communist Party free Tibetans from serfdom and enslavement in 1959? That's what China's state-run media have been saying this week. It comes as the Communist Party marks what it calls "Serfs' Emancipation Day." But many Tibetans say the real situation in Tibet is the total opposite. Here's more.
Chinese state media reported this week that Monday was "Serfs' Emancipation Day" for Tibet. It marks the 52nd anniversary of what the Chinese Communist Party calls its "liberation" of Tibet in 1959. Many Tibetans, on the other hand, use the term "communist takeover"—saying 1959 marked the beginning of the Party's suppression of their way of life.
[Khedroob Thondup; Senator, Tibetan Government-in-Exile]:
"The regime claims it's done a lot of good things, but it's all lies. Under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, Tibet became a giant prison. They are mistreating Tibetans, over one million of us died in the past 52 years."
Simmering tension of Tibetans against Chinese communist rule erupted in March of 2008. Violent protests overtook the streets of the capital, Lhasa. That same year, the Chinese regime decided to mark March 28 "Serfs' Emancipation Day."
Executive Director of the New York-based Students for a Free Tibet, Tenzin Dorjee, says the celebration is a propaganda tool. He says if the Chinese regime could legitimately show progress in Tibet, they would allow independent journalists to report from inside the region.