LHASA, May 23 (Xinhua) — Barkhor Street is a famous scenic and shopping district in Lhasa, capital of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. Near the street stands a mosque, which stands out against the background of neighboring Tibetan-style buildings.
While Buddhists worship the famous Jokhang Temple in the street, local Muslims regularly go to the mosque to pray.
The community of Wabaling, where the mosque is located, is home to more than 8,700 people from 10 ethnic groups, including Han, Tibetan, Hui and Bai. Despite differing religious beliefs and customs, the locals live there in harmony, with many families made up of two or more ethnic groups.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that the Chinese nation is tightly united like the seeds of a pomegranate. “We are all members of the Chinese nation community.”
Liu Gabu, from the Hui ethnic group, goes to the mosque every Friday. Liu, from Gansu province in northwest China, came to Lhasa 32 years ago to start a beef and mutton business.
“I fell in love with the city largely because the people here are so nice,” said Liu, 51.
He remembers his two-wheeled cart, which he used to deliver meat, often getting stuck when Lhasa’s roads were still bumpy. “I often found Tibetan foreigners coming to help get the cart out,” he said.
Through a matchmaker, Liu met his wife, a Tibetan from Sichuan Province. Now the couple have purchased a six-bedroom villa in Lhasa. When the family goes on vacation, they leave the door key to a Tibetan neighbor.
“My neighbor is very nice. He will take care of our house and help us water the flowers,” Liu said.
In Tibet, there are 45 ethnic groups with Tibetans and other ethnic minorities making up around 90% of the population.
The region has a long tradition of exchanges, communication and integration between ethnic groups since ancient times. In the 7th century, the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo married Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), opening a new chapter in establishing links between different ethnic groups.
Since the reform and opening up of 1978, economic and cultural exchanges between the ethnic groups have tightened and their sense of national identity has been strengthened.
During his address to the central conference on ethnic affairs last August, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said he was guiding all ethnic groups to that they strive together to fully build a modern socialist country. should be regarded as a crucial task of the CCP’s ethnic work in the new era.
ONE COMMUNITY, ONE FAMILY
Yangpel, a community worker from Wabaling, said more than 100 couples from the Tibetan, Hui and Han ethnic groups have married in the Wabaling community. During the festivals of the different ethnic groups, the community will organize activities, inviting the families of the inter-ethnic groups to enjoy festive dishes.
“We offered mooncakes at the Mid-Autumn Festival and yogurt at the Tibetan Shoton Festival for them to enjoy together,” she said.
Halima, 81, enjoyed the mooncakes given out by the community last year. The former Tibetan farmer named herself “Halima”, a Hui-style name, after marrying her husband Hui, a telecommunications worker. Her younger daughter-in-law is of Han ethnicity.
Their home, a three-story Tibetan building, is decorated with paraphernalia in various ethnic styles, such as a Tibetan liquor container, an Islamic-style alarm clock, and Han-style ceramic horses.
The extended family celebrates all Han, Tibetan and Muslim holidays, including the Spring Festival, Tibetan New Year and Eid al-Fit.
“The secret to family harmony is caring for each other and understanding each other,” Halima said.
Tibet is an excellent example of how ethnic unity has stimulated local development. Regional GDP soared to 208 billion yuan (about US$31.1 billion) in 2021 from 129 million yuan in 1951; all registered poor residents and counties were lifted out of poverty by the end of 2019, meaning the region escaped absolute poverty for the first time in history.
When visiting the region in July 2021, Xi said people from all ethnic groups have jointly contributed to Tibet’s development and written Tibetan history.
“Tibet could never have achieved such achievements without ethnic unity,” said Losang Jamcan, director of the Standing Committee of the Autonomous Regional People’s Congress of Tibet. “Tibet’s development over the past 70 years has provided compelling evidence that solidarity and stability bring prosperity.”