Nov. 21, 2013 -- Zhu Weiqun, director of the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, talked with reporters in an interview from the Nouvelles d'Europe, Europa Press, and Reuters in Belgium on Oct.17, 2013. The memoir is as follows:
Reporter from the Nouvelles d'Europe:What is the main purpose of your delegation's visit to Europe?
Zhu Weiqun: Our visit this time is to introduce to European friends the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference(CPPCC), our democratic form including the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs, the general situation of China's ethnic and religious affairs and what we have done in this regard.
Many Europeans are very interested in China's Tibet, and Tibet has indeed witnessed some interesting things happening. We also want to introduce Tibet and our struggle with the Dalai clique.
Meanwhile, we also hope to know about the general thought and successful experience of how the EU and European countries conduct their own ethnic and religious affairs. Our first stop on this trip was Belgium. After a discussion with members of the Belgian Parliament, we came to a relatively concerted conclusion: we must hold fast to the freedom of religious belief in conducting religious affairs; we must abide by the principle of equality between different ethnic groups; each country should follow the way that conforms to its own national conditions.
Compared with the European countries, China has a very special ethnic and religious situation. China has 56 ethnic groups, among which 55 ethnic minorities have a population of over 110 million, taking up a little more than eight percent of the country's total. And the areas under regional autonomy of ethnic minorities take up 64 percent of the national territory. China has five major religions including Buddhism, Taoism, Islamism, Catholicism and Christianity with more than 100 million followers. If the ethnic and religious affairs were not conducted properly, there would be big social problems. China's achievements in social economic development have been acknowledged by countries all over the world, which also proves that the fundamental policy made and work done by China's ruling party and the Chinese government in ethnic and religious affairs is successful, without which we might not have made such big accomplishments today. For example, with a very high elevation, Tibet used to be a feudal serfdom society before 1959. It was extremely difficult to conduct modernization construction in Tibet, but we did a good job there. During the year of 2012, the GDP of Tibet increased by 13 percent, which is the 20th double-digit annual increase during the past two decades. The disposal income of farmers and herdsmen recorded a 17 percent increase, which is the 10th successive double-digit rise in the past decade. Even if the Dalai clique has continuously launched disrupting acts including instigating self-immolations, they failed to interrupt the development of Tibet. We are confident with Tibet's future.
Now please ask questions, the tougher, the better.
Reporter from the Nouvelles d’Europe: You mentioned to BBC in 2008 that Tibet should adopt the system of regional ethnic autonomy, do you still think so?
Zhu Weiqun: As a basic political system of China, the system of regional ethnic autonomy will not change. According to the system, the ethnic autonomous regions not only have the rights to enact autonomous and specific regulations based on the actual local conditions, but also to make some adaptations of the central government's decisions or even stop executing the central government’s decisions. They can also adopt all kinds of necessary measures to speed up the economic and social development in the ethnic autonomous regions and ensure the cadres of ethnic minorities to hold important posts in the organs of state and regional authorities.