The usage of “Xizang” rather than “Tibet” in English references to the occupied country has been advocated by Chinese academics as a way to redefine Tibet’s worldwide reputation and further incorporate the territory into China’s narrative. This suggestion originated during the August 14-16 7th Beijing International Seminar on Tibetan Studies. There were about 320 people present, including around 40 academics from countries other than mainland China, during the seminar.
Professor Wang Linping of Harbin Engineering University’s College of Marxism was a major proponent of this idea. He said that the name “Tibet” misrepresented the region’s borders and contributed to confusion about the area. To fix this, he advocated for using the Mandarin romanization of Tibet, “Xizang,” as a more accurate name reflecting the region’s actual size and breadth.
The name “Tibet” as it is frequently used worldwide comprises territories that extend beyond the limits of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, as was stressed in the official report of the seminar. inside provinces like so-called Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan, this larger understanding encompasses territories inside those provinces.
The propaganda campaign outlined by President Xi Jinping at the 2017 Communist Party Congress is being implemented by Beijing. The plan’s stated goal is to encourage the use of Mandarin to strengthen national identity in areas with a large ethnic minority population.
Chinese official media’s English-language versions have been replacing “Tibet” with “Xizang” since 2019. People’s Daily, the party’s official mouthpiece, and Global Times, a nationalist tabloid, are two good examples. The state-run Xinhua news agency and CGTN’s English-language reporting in China have also started using the moniker “Xizang” in their coverage.
Ever since the People’s Liberation Army occupied the region in 1950, Tibet has been a source of international controversy and political conflict between China and the rest of the world. Beijing and Tibetan equivalents have disagreed for a long time over the Dalai Lama’s exile to India and his demand for greater autonomy for Tibet.
The word “Xizang” has gained popularity among pro-CCP media, although it has not yet been adopted by any major worldwide state media source in substitution of the term “Tibet.” Statements issued by the foreign ministry still often refer to the region as “Tibet.” This change in language, say critics, is more evidence of China’s attempts to control the story being told about Tibet. East Turkestan is often referred to as Xinjang by the world community; China has used this strategy in other occupied territories as well to fit their narrative.