Official: the Chinese people never allow other countries to interfere with internal affairs

10:03, October 17, 2009      

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An interview with Zhu Weiqun, vice minister of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, by the Focus magazine of Germany on September 22, 2009.

China Tibet Information Center's note: At the request of the German magazine Focus, Zhu Weiqun, vice minister of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, had an interview with the magazine on September 22, on condition that the magazine would carry the main contents of the interview. On October 5, the Focus reported the interview with a few more than 400 words when translated into Chinese. The China Tibet Information Center hereby presents the main contents of the interviews.


A combo photo shows Zhu Weiqun (left), vice minister of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Dometite from the German magazine Focus at an interview in Beijing on Sept. 22, 2009. (Photo: tibet.cn)


Zhu: First I would like to welcome Ms. Dometite and your colleagues from the Focus magazine to the United Front Work Department. Please feel free during the interview, and raise what you consider to be tough questions. However, I hope you can carry the main contents of this interview on your magazine. I have seen quite a number of reporters from Western countries who had a rather bad practice -- when what I said did not match what they needed, they were not courageous enough to report it.

Focus: Thank you for your warm welcome and for this interview opportunity. We all know it is not easy to have a chance like this. You just said we can ask questions we consider to be tough. We will take your words seriously.

Every country is entitled to handle ethnic relations in accordance with its own conditions.

Focus: In China, Tibet is an autonomous region. How do you understand the concept of "autonomy?"


Zhu Weiqun, vice minister of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, speaks during an interview with the German magazine Focus in Beijing on Sept. 22, 2009. (Photo: tibet.cn)


Zhu: The question is a theoretical and political one, and is very practical in the meantime. China is a multi-ethnic country with 56 ethnic groups. We practice an ethnic policy featuring "equality, unity, mutual aid and harmony." In regions where ethnic minorities live in compact communities, that is, where ethnic minorities take up the majority of the local population, regional ethnic autonomy is exercised. Ethnic minorities account for a little more than eight percent of China's total population, but ethnic autonomous regions takes up about 64 percent of the country's territory.

One outstanding feature of the distribution of China's ethnic groups is that people of different ethnic groups live in a highly mixed way. For instance, in Tibet where regional ethnic autonomy is exercised, people of Moinba, Lhoba, Manchu, Hui, Qiang and Han ethnic groups live together with the Tibetans. In cities and provinces other than autonomous areas, such as Beijing and the provinces in central or eastern China, there are quite a number of people of ethnic minorities, who also enjoy the legitimate rights as citizens and favorable policies entitled to ethnic minority residents. Different countries have different ethnic distributions, as well as different histories, cultures and traditions. In this sense, different countries carry out autonomy in different ways, if they do have autonomy of certain kinds. Every country in the world is entitled to decide what system should be applied to handle its ethnic relations in accordance with its own national conditions. In other words, the word 'autonomy' has different interpretations, and incur different policies in different countries. No country should impose its own practice on others.

China's regional ethnic autonomy has been clearly defined by the Constitution and the Law on Regional Autonomy for China's Minority Nationalities. These stipulations have been earnestly implemented in practice. We will continue to perfect our regional ethnic autonomy system as our practice advances. But we will not deviate from our ethnic policies and the regional ethnic autonomy system we have worked out in accordance with our country's national conditions. What China's regional ethnic autonomy should be like, to put it more simply, is exactly what it is right now.

Focus: We would like to know what kind of rights people in Tibet enjoy, particularly their right to make decisions for the development of their own region. Can you give us an example?

Zhu: The people's congresses and governments at all levels elected by the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have comprehensive rights to the region's economic, social and cultural development, on the premises that they follow and do not contradict the principles of the Constitution. I want to point out that China's regional ethnic autonomy is not the pure self-governance of a single ethnic group in your mind. China's regional ethnic autonomy is linked with the country's unification and the unity of the Chinese nation, without which the regional ethnic autonomy would not exist. History has proven that all ethnic groups would be subjects to bullies and invasions of the imperialist forces without ethnic unity and the country's unification. In that case, there would be no autonomy.

I can give you one example on the autonomy rights issue. For instance, some people are very curious about the percentage which Tibetan officials take up in the region's government. The Dalai Lama said the Tibetans had lost their political positions in Tibet. I can tell you that is a lie. In Tibet, more than 70 percent of government officials at the regional level are Tibetans. The figure is more than 90 percent at or below county levels in the region.

Source: Xinhua

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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/6785850.pdf