The Tibet Autonomous Region has the 50th anniversary of its establishment by China, during which the Chinese government slammed the 14th and currently exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.
China’s top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng held a huge meeting in TAR’s capital Lhasa on Tuesday in which he described Dalai Lama as a violent separatist.
"People of all ethnicities are steadfastly engaged in a struggle against separatism, continuously thwarting the Dalai clique and foreign hostile forces' splittist and sabotage activities," Yu said at the exiled Dalai Lama’s house Potala Palace.
The Dalai Lama, who lives in India, seeks more autonomy for Tibet and has criticised China’s undemocratic policies.
Yu described Tibet’s economy as that of “a vibrant socialist” region whose GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has multiplied by more than 68 times since the territory was incorporated into China.
Human Rights Watch spokeswoman Maya Wang said that freedom of expression is “severely restricted” in Tibet.
"Tibetans face increasing restrictions on religion and movement, social control and surveillance at the grassroots level, and are subjected to housing and other socioeconomic policies that will irrevocably alter many Tibetans' way of life without being genuinely consulted in the process," she told Al Jazeera.
China Researcher at Amnesty International William Nee said that China has not only strenghtened its anti-separatist rhetoric but also punished government officials who have shown support for the Dalai Lama before.
"The Chinese Communist Party, an officially atheistic organisation, has asserted its rights to appoint the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. This would appear to be another blatant violation of Tibetans' freedom of religion."
The ruling Chinese Communist Party believes Tibet has long been an integral part of China, although authority was weakened over the territory temporarily in the 19th and 20th centuries, while many Tibetans say that Tibet has a long history of autonomous rule by Buddhist leaders.
China fully occupied the Himalayan mountain nation after the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in a civil war in China in 1950. The People's Republic of China moved its troops into Tibet and Dalai Lama fled to India after a failed uprising.
According to the non-profit, non-governmental organisation Free Tibet China is trying to erase the identity of Tibetans. Tibetans face difficult circumstances such as restrictions on their movement, censorship and punishment over opposition to the Chinese government.
"The celebrations imposed on the people of Tibet to accompany the TAR's 50th anniversary may be dressed up in 21st century PR but they belong in the era of Mao,” said Free Tibet on a statement.
The Dalai Lama will visit the United Kingdom next week.