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China Renames ‘Tibet’ as ‘Xizang’ in Official Papers – RFA

Beijing’s move to rename the Himalayan region this week has been condemned as a bid to legitimize its takeover of Tibet and counter claims to the area by the Dalai Lama and his followers

Chinese officials raise their national flag in Tibet (Reuters file photo). The CCP is now calling the area 'Xizang'.


China has changed the name of ‘Tibet’ to ‘Xizang’ in official diplomatic documents, according to a report by Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Thursday.

It said Chinese media and the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department announced the move on Tuesday, saying “there is no more Tibet in the official documents of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.

The change came after CCP scholars said in August there was an ‘urgent need’ for the name to be amended to reconstruct the area’s image – as there were claims the international community had been “seriously misled” over the region’s geographical scope, according to the South China Morning Post.


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Party scholars quoted by state media after a seminar in Beijing in August said the international community’s common use of the name Tibet encompasses Tibetan-related areas of adjacent provinces such as Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan.

RFA said that was consistent with the ‘Greater Tibet’ defined by the 14th Dalai Lama, but it noted that the move this week appeared to have been made to “prevent the Dalai Lama from re-establishing the right to speak about Tibet.”

Tibet Policy Institute Dawa Tsering was quoted as saying the CCP’s move “was a terribly bad political manoeuvre” designed to legitimize its occupation of Tibet.

The proposal to change the name of Tibet aroused considerable interest in India, which has had border disputes with China for decades relating to their mutual border in the Himalayas.

Wion media group said ‘Tibet’ was the name recognized worldwide. It quoted a retired former Indian army chief, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, as saying Tibetans from all over the world had a right to return to the land of their forefathers to experience their culture and traditions.

“Over the decades, China has fully occupied Tibet and made territorial and administrative changes that would transform the identity and culture of Tibetans,” Naravane said, adding that the CCP’s claim that Tibet has been a part of China from the 7th century was “incorrect and an attempt to rewrite history.”


  • Jim Pollard




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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