11th Panchen Lama: Tibet has made progress since abolition of serfdom; Peoples Daily critical of the idea of “greater Tibet” as proposed by the 14th Dalai Lama; Military exercises between China and Pakistan conclude;
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  • March 2009

    The 11th Panchen Lama, Gyaincain Norbu, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Democratic Reforms in Tibet stated that the Tibetan people could achieve progress only under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Visiting an exhibition in the Cultural Palace of Nationalities in China, he praised the progress made by Tibet since the abolition of serfdom in the region.1

    Reports in the People’s Daily meanwhile carried opinion which was critical of the idea of “greater Tibet” as proposed by the 14th Dalai Lama. Prof. An Caidan of the China Tibetology Research Centre noted that the idea of “greater Tibet” was not ‘based on any historical facts nor fitted with any reality.’ The report also cited the view of another Chinese scholar, Sun Hongnian of the Centre of China's Borderland History and Geography Research, a department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as stating that “the idea of ‘Greater Tibet’ emerged after 1912. The regional government of Tibet argued with the central government for more land, backed by Britain who then governed India and wanted Tibet to be split from China.”2

    Military exercises between the Chinese and Pakistan Navy, ‘Peace 09/Aman 09,’ spread over 10 days concluded on the Arabia Sea off the southern Pakistani port of Karachi. The exercises involved anti-terror operations, search and rescue, among others and included some 20 warships, nine aircraft, as well as six special force teams. These were the second series of exercises between the two countries.3

    In other developments, the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue, in a meeting with the Philippines Ambassador, reaffirmed Beijing’s stance on the South China Sea. Reiterating that the territorial sovereignty claim over the Huangyan and Nansha Island by any other country was illegal, Mr. Hu brought to the attention of the Ambassador the 2009 Baseline Bill signed by Philippines President Gloria Arroyo.4

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