Author Topic: China Promotes Mixed Marriages in Tibet as Way to Achieve ‘Unity’  (Read 5448 times)


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As I see it, mixed marriages of Han Chinese and Tibetans are not just marriages for unity and conveniences but allow the influence of Tibetan Buddhism to benefit in a wider spread to Han Chinese who have lost touch with spirituality due to communalism in the past decades.  However, today Chinese leaders are liberal and have different view on Buddhism as they cannot deny the teachings of Buddha can curb the ever escalating issues of morality illness so prevalent in China. 

The strategy to unify through marriage in Tibet is not new and is not a bad idea.  Historically, it started with Princess Wen Cheang of the Tang Dynasty marrying King Songtsan Gampo of Tibet to seal the peace.  In this mixed marriage Princess Wen Cheang brought with her Jowo Rinpoche (the most revered image of Buddha in the oldest and holiest temple of Tibet today) as dowry and Buddhism to Tibet besides Chinese culture and knowledge when Tibetans were still living like cavemen and normads. 

Erja, center, and Baima, left, celebrate with guests during their traditional Tibetan wedding near Danba, Sichuan Province Jan. 26, 2012. China has turned to promoting interracial marriage in an apparent attempt to assimilate Tibetans and stamp out rebellious impulses. (Carlos Barria / Reuters/REUTERS)

By William Wan and Xu Yangjingjing August 16 at 7:00 AM 
BEIJING — During their controversial six-decade-rule of Tibet, China’s Communist Party leaders have been accused by human rights groups of trying to tame the restive region by imprisoning Tibetan political prisoners, keeping in exile their leader the Dalai Lama and repressing Tibetan religion and culture.

Now, China has turned to interracial marriage in an apparent attempt to assimilate Tibetans and stamp out rebellious impulses.

In recent weeks, Chinese officials in charge of the Tibetan Autonomous Region have ordered a run of stories in local newspapers promoting mixed marriages. And according to newly published government reports, the government has adopted a series of policies in recent years favorable to interracial couples.

Urging officials to push mixed marriages harder, China’s highest official in the Tibetan region, Chen Quanguo, recently staged a photo op with 19 mixed families.

“As the saying goes, ‘blood is thicker than water,’ we should make our ethnic relationship like that,” Chen said at the meeting in June, according to the state-run Tibetan Daily. The government must “actively promote intermarriages.”

So far, the government push has seen some success.

In a report published this month celebrating such policies, the Communist Party’s research office in Tibet said mixed marriages have increased annually by double-digit percentages for the past five years, from 666 couples in 2008 to 4,795 couples in 2013.

While avoiding specifics, the report attributed the growth to favorable policies in areas such as social security, reproductive rights, vacations, prizes and special treatment for children born from such marriage, including education, employment and Communist Party membership.

The government has focused on Tibetans marrying Han Chinese.

Tibet’s population is roughly 90 percent Tibetan and 8 percent Han Chinese. Demographics for China as a whole is the reverse at 92 percent Han Chinese and less than 1 percent Tibetan.

The government has sold the effort in state-run media as a way to achieve ethnic unity, but critics argue that its true aim is to further weaken Tibetan culture.

In a phone interview, Tibetan poet Tsering Woeser, an activist who has frequently clashed with authorities, likened the promotion of intermarriage to the worst practices of colonization.

There’s nothing objectionable about couples from different backgrounds coming together naturally, she said. Woeser herself is married to a Han Chinese, dissident writer Wang Lixiong. But when the authorities use it as a tool and create policies to encourage it, she said, it feels wrong.

She compared it to Japanese police being encouraged to marry local women during Japan’s occupation of Taiwan.

For weeks, government-run newspapers in Tibet have featured happy mixed couples in which the children love both cultures and equally speak Tibetan and Mandarin.

But among Tibetans, there is great fear about losing their culture and traditions.

Government policy requires mixed couples to choose early on what ethnicity to designate their children in official documents. Many choose to name their children as Han rather than Tibetan, believing that it gives their children a chance at a better life, said a 28-year-old Tibetan woman who works at a local government department. She spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing her job.

Many also send their children to study in the better schools of mainland China rather than in Tibet, she said.

While the percentage of Tibetans who marry Han may be increasing there, the total number remains small, she noted.

At Chen’s meeting with mixed families on June 18, the party secretary of Tibet praised intermarriage, calling it recognition of the great motherland, Chinese as a people, Chinese culture, and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, according to state media.

Chen called for government departments to use everything in their power and designate key officials to steer public opinion. Party and government officials should act as matchmakers, he said.

Nationwide, China has long offered ethnic minority groups favorable treatment as a way to try to integrate them into society, a policy that is often criticized by Han and ethnic minorities alike.

When one or both spouses are of ethnic minority, a couple can generally have up to three children, despite China’s one-child policy. Ethnic students are given extra scores for their minority status in college entrance exams. Intermarried families are also often awarded honors for being “models of ethnic unity” and are sometimes favored for government positions.

And Chinese history is dotted with examples of interracial marriage as a strategy to maintain peace. One of the most famous stories is the marriage between Chinese Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty and Songtsan Gambo, then king of Tibet, which sealed a peace treaty.

The story was turned into an outdoor musical last August, promoted by the government, and is showing in Tibet.


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Re: China Promotes Mixed Marriages in Tibet as Way to Achieve ‘Unity’
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2014, 05:39:04 AM »
Well, the CTA will say the Chinese are trying to dilute Tibetan blood. LOL.  They will say it is not enough to move millions of Han Chinese to Tibet. The Chinese now is trying to corrupt Tibetan's pure blood. Please remember that the Tibetan King Songtsan Gampo; the first Dharma King of Tibet, married the Chinese Princess Wencheng around the year 641 AD.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with inter- marriages between Tibetans and Han Chinese. It is just that the Chinese is know promoting it now. Whether it is promoted or not, inter- marriages are going to become more common over the next few generations as the world is getting smaller due to modernization and technology resulting in a more open minded world view. Tibetans are just playing catch up.


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Re: China Promotes Mixed Marriages in Tibet as Way to Achieve ‘Unity’
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2014, 07:25:49 AM »
Wow.  I like intermarriages just fine generally, and yes, if people marry then everyone tends to get along better--- so they are right--- but it is really scary when they have an agenda of trying to pretend like Tibet is really theirs---
   But at any rate, we have tons of intermarriages in the U.S. and I think they are a good idea anyway--- it does help different groups get along better....
   Besides--- people are really just people and if they want to get married, well it doesn't really matter about the ethnicity of the other person, either they have karma with each other or no....


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Re: China Promotes Mixed Marriages in Tibet as Way to Achieve ‘Unity’
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2014, 03:06:23 PM »
Human had long practicing inter marriage within ethnic groups for political, economy reasons or out of pure attraction between opposite sex.
Some quarters might worry that such inter-marriage will dilute out the Tibetan culture and Pure Buddhism. The Tibetan had embraced Buddhism for many centuries but that don’t translate into  all Tibetan practicing pure Dharma and Buddhism had it fair share of degeneration in Tibet before.
The reason for harmony among ethnic groups to my opinion was it should be based on mutual respect, acceptance and tolerance. If an inter-marriage couple marriage was base on all above mentioned worldly reason it could be sources of further conflict. The most likely solution to this was to revive the monastery order in Tibet and let pure Dharma to pervade this land of snow.


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Re: China Promotes Mixed Marriages in Tibet as Way to Achieve ‘Unity’
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2014, 03:11:51 PM »
As in the  history, upon succeeding in the invading  of Tibet by China in the year 1950, the Chinese have killed an estimated to 1 million Tibetans . Further, it was also believed that the  Chinese  had used torture and fear to bully Tibetans into submission and China also closed down almost 99% of the monasteries. Despite all this unpleasant past histories and the present conflicts between China and Tibet, why did the  Chinese government still  promoting the mixed marriages amongst the Han Chinese and the Tibetans ? To my humble opinion, the Chinese government is trying to promote harmony and peace with Tibet . Anyhow if both parties are of different background, culture or religion and yet to could meet,  get along and married why do doubts arise as to whether Chinese government has other motivations and intentions?


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Re: China Promotes Mixed Marriages in Tibet as Way to Achieve ‘Unity’
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2014, 06:36:48 AM »
It is a world without borders now and mixed marriages are a common thing now as compared to previous times. It is not surprising that more mixed marriages are happening around the world, not only in China. People have more choices now. Even in ancient times, arranged marriages are a done to achieve harmony and unity in families. It is a beautiful thing. It does not dilute any tradition but enrich the cultures. It is a good thing. We cannot use this as a lame excuse to accuse of any political intent.