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UPDATED: March 31, 2009
Italian Scholars Express Concerns About Distorted Reports on Tibet

Many Italian scholars have voiced concerns about some Western media are running distorted or even fabricated reports on Tibet.

At a joint seminar attended by Italian scholars and a group of Chinese Tibetologists who visited Italy from Friday to Monday, Professor Giorgio Mantici said some Italian media had carried many negative and untrue stories about China and its Tibetan region.

"Sometimes, what we read about Tibet from media was fabricated by the Dalai Lama and his followers," Mantici said.

"In the 1930's, a British reporter described China's Yunnan province as a haven of peace. Now some journalists also copy that version as if the Tibet under the former feudal serfdom ruled by the Dalai Lama was a heaven. Media repeated those stories and let them become the so-called facts," said the professor from Oriental University of Napoli.

On some reports mentioning the "peaceful rebellion" in Tibet 50years ago, Mantici said a rebellion would never be a peaceful one. "What will be peaceful upheaval or peaceful rebellion?"

Some media also argued the Dalai Lama did not demand independence but only autonomy, Mantici said.

Autonomy is already a fact recognized by the Chinese constitution, he pointed out.

"You can see some Dalai Lama's supporters on the streets calling for a 'free Tibet.' They just want independence instead of autonomy," he said.

For Domenico Losurdo, a professor of Urbino University, an inconceivable bias is that some media portrayed the Dalai Lama-ruled Tibet as a heaven on earth. "But anybody who learned a bit from historical studies knows Tibet in those days had suffered from the brutal and inhuman rule with extremely tragic cases," Losurdo said.

"However, it's unbelievable that an Italian magazine even endorses and praises that kind of society," he added.

The professor of philosophy and history also pointed out there is no evidence about a "cultural genocide" in Tibet as alleged by the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan religion, culture and language have been kept very well, he said.

Therefore, the so-called "cultural genocide" only exists in the minds of the Dalai Lama, he said.

Talking about objective and impartial reporting, F. Helene Pairault, an ancient history researcher, believes those distorted reports cannot bear the test of time.

"We all know the completion of the railroad from Qinghai to Tibet has promoted development in various aspects in Tibet. This is not simply technological progress but also social and cultural development," she said.

Through such meetings, people can learn from Tibetan friends the first-hand information and the truths bout Tibet, Pairault said.

The Chinese Tibetologists, including Zhang Yun, Zha Luo and De Ji Droma, briefed the Italian scholars about the achievements made in Tibet.

The five-member Chinese delegation also met Italian politicians and journalists during their stay in Rome. Earlier, they had visited Britain.

(Xinhua News Agency March 30, 2009)

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