Another Long March!
Long Shi Zhong, a member of the minority Han community, and Ba Sang Que Ba, a member of the majority Tibetan community, had fallen in love with one another, and wanted to tie the nuptial knot. However, the leaders of the two communities opposed their decision. The Government of China, too, refused to help Long marry Ba, as such inter-community marriage did not take place in the Tibetan city of Shigatse in the past.
Yet, the Han gentleman and the Tibetan lady were determined to fulfil their dream… after waiting quite a few years, they finally received permission from the concerned authorities of China in 2015, and got married. Long and Ba, both in their early 50s, are happy as they got a chance to live together!
Long and Ba have been enjoying the Celebrity Couple status for the last four years. Almost all the Community Centres have their images on the walls. They have inspired at least 40 members of the Han and Tibetan communities to go for inter-community marriages. However, the Tibetans, seemingly, are unhappy with the increasing number of inter-community marriages, as they have advised China not to encourage such weddings. Meanwhile, the Chinese officials have said that Beijing had never forced anyone to tie the nuptial knots to a member of different community. They have argued that inter-community marriages would normalise the relation between the Hans and the Tibetans. That is why China is promoting the Long-Ba couple!
Relations between the Tibetan people and Chinese authorities had come under severe strain, after the Chinese Forces entered various parts of the plateau in 1950. The 14th Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, was forced to seek asylum in neighbouring India in 1959, and Beijing declared Tibet as an ‘Autonomous Region’ of China. Later, the Tibetans accused China of destroying the demography of the region by encouraging the Hans and other communities to settle in Tibet. As expected, China rejected the allegation, with a senior Chinese official stressing that nearly 92% of people, living in Tibet, were Tibetans. Only 8% of the population belongs to Hans and other communities…
Meanwhile, the local government has honoured the couple with a ‘National Role Model’ award for promoting Ethnic Unity! Talking to the media, senior local government official Ci Dan Yangji said: “Our Central Government is pursuing a conscious policy of inter-community marriages, to promote unity among various ethnic groups in Tibet and elsewhere.” He also congratulated Long and Ba for setting an example for many people in the society, insisting: “Both of them waited for several years to get married. They were apprehensive of the backlash between the two communities. However, there has been a surge in marriages between people from the communities after Long and Ba set an example!”
China has asserted yet again that Tibet has been a part of it since the 13th Century, and would remain so forever.
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