The Chinese government has unveiled a new tool for propaganda on 2021 - the Serfs Emancipation Memorial Hall. The hall, located in Lhasa, is dedicated to what the Chinese government refers to as the "peaceful liberation of Tibet," and highlights China's efforts to end serfdom and bring progress to the region.
China’s so-called “Serfs Emancipation Day” has been deemed as an “Orwellian commemoration” aimed at countering the resurgence of Tibetan nationalism, according to a statement by Warren Smith. The event was first declared in 2009 by the Chinese government and reportedly took place in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
Serfs Emancipation Day celebrated on March 28, has been widely criticized as an attempt by the Chinese government to rewrite history and suppress Tibetan nationalism. The event, which marks the alleged "emancipation of Tibetan serfs," is nothing more than propaganda, aimed at justifying China's brutal occupation of Tibet and suppressing the Tibetan people's desire for freedom.
The Chinese government claims that the event marks the dissolution of the Kashag and the introduction of democratic reforms in Tibet. However, these claims have been widely disputed by experts and historians, who argue that the reforms were nothing more than a cover for the Chinese government's brutal suppression of Tibetan culture and traditions.
In reality, the Chinese government's so-called "emancipation of serfs" was nothing more than a political tool used to justify the forced removal of Tibetan farmers and herders from their lands and the destruction of traditional Tibetan society. The Chinese government's actions have caused immense suffering and hardship for the Tibetan people, and it is a disgrace that they continue to celebrate these actions as a victory.
Late Elliot Sperling, director of the Tibetan Studies program at Indiana University, said that China’s declaration of Serfs Emancipation Day was a direct attempt to subvert March 10, a day marked by Tibetans to commemorate the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Tenzin Tseten, a research fellow at Tibet Policy Institute, added that China’s count starting from 1959, despite its introduction in 2009, is a clear attempt to subvert March 10.
Furthermore, historian and associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Tsering Shakya, described China’s Serf Liberation Day as a typical trait of authoritarian regimes that resort to performance to compensate for the failure of client administrations. China’s elaborate plan to sinicize Tibet and its culture has also been criticised for attempting to distort history.
China’s commemoration of the so-called Serfs Emancipation Day, seen by many as a form of counter-propaganda, has been widely criticised for its attempt to control the narrative and suppress the true history of Tibet’s struggle for autonomy.
However, the memorial hall is just another attempt by the Chinese government to rewrite history and legitimize their rule over Tibet. Tenzin Tseten, a research fellow at Tibet Policy Institute, states that the memorial hall is a "propaganda tool to legitimize China's rule in Tibet" and that it is "an insult to the memory of those who lost their lives fighting for Tibetan freedom."
The opening of the Serfs Emancipation Memorial Hall comes as part of a larger push by the Chinese government to increase their control over Tibet and to further their sinicization efforts. As Tsering Shakya, a historian and associate professor at the University of British Columbia, notes, the use of such propaganda tools is "an archetypal trait of authoritarian regimes."
While China celebrates Serfs Emancipation Day and promotes the Serfs Emancipation Memorial Hall, many Tibetans continue to push for their freedom and independence from Chinese rule. The struggle for Tibet's historical memory and the fight for Tibetan freedom remains ongoing, despite China's attempts to rewrite history and control the narrative.
It is time for the international community to stand up to China's attempts to rewrite history and suppress the voices of the Tibetan people. The world must recognize the truth about China's so-called Serfs Emancipation Day and demand an end to the Chinese government's brutal occupation of Tibet.
Edited and collated by Team TRC