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China trying to legitimize claims over Tibet through museums: Reports China-Tibet
Representational image by Yan Ke on Unsplash

China trying to legitimize claims over Tibet through museums: Reports

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 20 May 2023, 11:15 pm

Lhasa: China is trying to legitimize its claim over Tibet through museums, and cultural institutions in the region, media reports said.

"The presence of museums & cultural institutions in occupied Tibet is striving to legitimize China's claim to authority over the region, as well as to promote a particular Chinese narrative about Tibetan history & culture" reports Tibet Rights Collective.

The so-called Tibet Museum in Lhasa city claims to be a “36 meters high building with 1100 windows and exhibitions on Tibetan folk culture, customs of living, eating habits of Tibetans, costumes, textiles, and residential areas”.

The original Tibet Museum (with artifacts mostly taken from Potala Palace) was officially opened on 5th October 1999, to mark the 50th anniversary of ‘The PRC’s Economic Reform in Tibet’, the news portal reported.

The museum’s exhibition narratives tried to highlight that the modernization of Tibet has accelerated after the 17-point Treaty was signed in 1951 between Tibet and China, and to reinforce the historical legitimacy of handing Tibet over to China. It displayed collections of artifacts, including official documents and gifts exchanged between Chinese Han Dynasty officials and Tibetan leaders.

In 2021, CCP launched a “memorial hall” to “display the photos and items from the serfdom era”.

The hall claimed to showcase “torture instruments and ritual artifacts made from serfs' bones and skin, and those recording the democratic reform and serfs' new lives”.

This is in continuation of the CCP propaganda of the so-called ‘Serf Emancipation Day’ - it was invented in January 2009, more specifically to counter the March 10th Tibetan uprising day.

As pointed out by Tsewang Gyalpo Arya, all these talks of liberation, democratic reform, and economic development are a farce and pure propaganda to mislead the international community and to justify its illegal occupation of Tibet. 

Interestingly, the Potala Palace, the erstwhile winter palace of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has also been converted to a museum.