China bashers follow a simple rule: Whatever China does is wrong. The controversy on the poverty-alleviation project in China's Qinghai Province is a case in point ["Not What the Founders Had in Mind," Outlook, July 4]. Some 58,000 people from six poor counties in eastern Qinghai, where basic conditions for human subsistence are harsh, will be resettled to the western part of the province 300 miles away, where a better future is possible. The reason for the objection? According to the Tibetan separatists and their U.S. supporters, the Chinese government is trying to assimilate ethnic Tibetans with the Han majority.

In the past two decades, China lifted 200 million people out of destitution. At present, 42 million Chinese still live below the poverty line, and the government plans to help another 20 million out of poverty in two years. The Qinghai project is part of that program. It is enthusiastically received by would-be relocatees as well as the inhabitants of the host area.

After the resettlement, the ethnic mix of the Tibetans, Hans and Mongolians will change only a few percentage points. The percentage of Han in the move-in area Dulan County will fall from 53.1 percent to 47.5 percent, Tibetans from 22.7 percent to 14 percent and Mongolians from 14.1 percent to 6.7 percent. But the Muslim Hui group will increase from 7.2 to 22.1 percent. As a policy, the government encourages each ethnic group to maintain its distinctive culture and lifestyle.

After three years of preparations and feasibility studies, this project has met all requirements for World Bank loans. Why then these vehement critics? These China bashers enjoy calling themselves protectors of human rights. What they have done is to deny the chance of the poor people of various ethnic groups in Qinghai to pursue a happy life.

Qinghai was never a part of Tibet. The Dalai Lama's version of Greater Tibet, as we are told, comprises Tibet and parts of Xinjiang, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. But this "Greater Tibet" has never existed as an administrative unit. It's no more than an indication of the Dalai Lama's ambition and is rejected by the people living in the related areas.



Embassy of the People's Republic of China