The year 2015 is a significant one for Tibet and China. The Dalai Lama celebrated his 80th birthday on July 6, 2015. It also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) by the Chinese communist regime. Though the Dalai Lama continues to be in exile, his birthday was celebrated in several places across Tibet and abroad. In India, two central government ministers for the first time attended the function in Dharamsala in their official capacity. In Delhi, three former foreign secretaries spoke at a well-attended symposium on July 4, while the reception on July 6 evening was also attended by two central ministers. Both functions were organised by the Dalai Lama’s Delhi Bureau. In China too, the issues of Tibet and the Dalai Lama have received perceptibly increased attention over the past couple of years. Recent reports filtering out of Beijing suggest that the Tibet Work Forum, usually held every four years, is likely to be convened in August or September this year in Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s (CCP CC) United Front Work Department (UFWD) convenes such work forums separately for Tibet and Xinjiang almost every four years. The work forums are the highest-level body where the CCP CC’s Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) deliberates and decides on policies, budgets and plans for the Autonomous Regions.
Preparatory work for the Tibet Work Forum appears to have begun with the Central Work Conference on Ethnic Affairs held in Beijing on September 28-29, 2014 and attended by all members of the PBSC except Zhang Gaoli, and leaders of every province and the People’s Armed Police. Later on April 14, 2015, China’s State Council Information Office issued a white paper titled: ‘Tibet’s Path of Development Is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide’.[Source]