Tibet Insight No.28/15

                                              TIBET INSIGHT NEWS

 

POLITICAL NEWS

High-level meetings and inspections in TAR

June 25, 2015

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). When Xi Jinping met the Panchen Lama on June 10, 2015, he disclosed that the CCP Central Committee would send a delegation to Tibet to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region. He added that by 2020, Tibet will be able to realize the national goal of becoming a moderately prosperous society.

Sun Chunlan, member of the CCP Politburo and Minister of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) conducted inspections in TAR from June 15 to 18, 2015.

The Investigation and Research Group of the State Council also visited Tibet from June 10 to 17. They conducted comprehensive investigations in the five prefectures (municipalities) of Lhasa, Nyingchi, Lhoka, Shigatse, and Nagqu, and 16 counties (districts). The team particularly studied the maintenance of stability, economic and social development, improvements to livelihoods, building of infrastructure, developing the characteristic economy, constructing basic level political power, and focussed on the areas of reform and other matters.

(Comment: It is likely that the State Council group’s visit could be a prelude to a national Work Conference on Tibet that might be held later this year.)

Symposium held in Lhasa to promote rule of law

June 26, 2015

The TAR Politics and Law Committee held a symposium on June 23 to promote the rule of law. TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo attended and delivered speech. He stressed the need to thoroughly study and implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s speeches and urged officials to promote the rule of law and socialism with Chinese characteristics. The Vice Chairman of TAR Party Committee and Secretary of the Politics and Law Committee, Deng Xiaogang, presided over the symposium.

The symposium discussed various issues concerning TAR. These included strengthening the Monastic Management Committees, creating innovative and practical mechanisms to fight against “separatism” and crush the “hostile forces and the Dalai Clique,” educating monks and nuns in socialist principles.

Officials of the Tibet Military District, Tibet Public Security Frontier Corps, the Political and Law Departments of the respective districts and counties, Tibet Military District’s Political Department and the Air Force Command Post of Lhasa, all attended the symposium.

Former top Chinese spy in Tibet investigated for alleged corruption

June 27, 2015

The CCP’s anti-corruption body the Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC) disclosed on June 26, 2015, that 55-year old Li Dake had been detained on charges of corruption. Till recently the TAR’s senior-most security official, at the time of his detention Li Dake was Vice Chairman of the TAR People's Congress Standing Committee and is the first leader at the regional level in TAR to be detained.  Chinese media reports described him as Tibet's "first tiger”.

Li Dake worked more than 20 years in the state security apparatus. He was head of the TAR’s state security bureau from 2004 until January 2013. Four years prior to that he was deputy chief of the Jiangxi Province state security bureau. Li Dake was born in Jiangxi and began his police career in 1980.

(Comment: There is speculation that the charges against Li Dake may pertain to his tenure in Jiangxi province.)

Resolution introduced in US House of Representatives challenging China’s policies in Tibet and honouring Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday

June 25, 2015

As the Dalai Lama celebrates his 80th birthday, a resolution praising his efforts to advance greater understanding, tolerance, harmony and respect among religious faiths has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Eliot L. Engel (NY), the top Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ), Chairman of the Asia Pacific Subcommittee, along with co-Chairmen of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Representatives Joseph Pitts (PA) and James McGovern (MA). The resolution has 28 original co-sponsors. 

Britain shrugs off China’s warnings over Dalai Lama at music festival

June 29, 2015

Organisers of the Glastonbury Festival, one of Europe’s largest music festivals, went ahead with their invitation to the Dalai Lama, despite warnings by China that inviting the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate was tantamount to giving him a platform to engage in ‘anti-China’ activities.

The Chinese warning came after the office of the Dalai Lama said on June 25 that the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet would speak at the festival during his three-day trip to Britain.

Britain’s Telegraph newspaper quoted China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang as saying at the daily news briefing that China’s position on the “international scuttling about of the 14th Dalai Lama to serve his political aims” was consistent. He said “China resolutely opposes any country, organisation, body or individual giving any kind of platform to the 14th Dalai Lama to engage in anti-China splittist activities.”

Mayor of Ningbo City, Zhejiang province’s inspection tour to Tibet’s Nagchu Prefecture

June 26, 2015

Lu Ziyue, Acting Mayor of Ningbo Municipal Government of Zhejiang Province went on an inspection tour to Nagchu (Ch: Nagqu) Prefecture of Tibet on June 25, 2015 to listen to the Ningbo-Nagchu aid work briefing and analyse the socio-economic development. Lu Ziyue was accompanied by Nagchu Prefecture’s leaders Sangye Tashi, Wang Yadong, Li Hua, Cao Yongshou and others. The mayor visited Nagchu Railway station, kindergarten and schools.

After his inspection tour, the Mayor of Ningbo  attended the Nagchu-Ningbo Cooperation and Exchange Forum, where all the regional leaders were present. Deputy Secretary of Nagchu Party Committee and Party Secretary of Sog County, Sangye Tashi, presided over the forum and thanked the Mayor of Ningbo for aiding Nagchu for years and for training party and government cadres every year.  Ningbo City of Zhejiang Province has invested a total of 1.94 billion Yuan in over 395 projects and sent seven batches of 355 cadres to Nagchu till date.

Chinese Embassy in Nepal provides help to Tibetans

June 22, 2015

On the afternoon of Jun.19, 2015the Chinese Embassy in Nepal sent 35 new high-quality tents to Tibetans living in Nepal. According to the Counsellor in the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Gonpo, the Chinese Embassy in Nepal had contacted local Tibetans immediately after the earthquake on Apr. 25, to find out if they were safe.

The Chinese embassy, departing from normal procedure, bought relief goods worth 1.1 million rupees for the quake-hit Tibetans, including rice, mineral water, instant noodles, biscuits, beverages, butter, edible oil, and blankets. Officials of the Chinese Embassy sent those goods to the 36 households of local Tibetans from door to door, and handed out the goods to those living in makeshift tents and shelters in the Bodata Tibetan Community. They went to the hospital to see the wounded Tibetans from 14 householdspaid visits to five monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism and offices of three Tibetan organizations.

The Chinese Counsellor, Gonpo said the next step will be to use the “spirit of the Central Committee’s United Front Work Conference as a guide” and to “continue to carry out warm hearted activities” and raise funds to help Tibetans in Nepal rebuild their lives. He said the Chinese Embassy will also coordinate and guide, as far as possible, the domestic relief funds and projects towards Tibetans in Nepal and provide equipment for Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, Tibetan-run modern hospitals, schools, Tibetan medicine clinics, and other facilities. The Embassy pledged to use policies and measures to meet the needs of Tibetans in Nepal and provide help and assistance to them to return home on business or religious visits.

(Comments: China has used the relief and rehabilitation programme for Nepal’s earthquake victims as a platform to reach out to the Tibetans.)

 

RELIGION RELATED NEWS                     

Rinpoches training in Lhasa

June 24, 2015

25 newly recognized reincarnated Rinpoches came together in Lhasa, to join the second training course for Tibet’s newly recognized Reincarnated Rinpoches.

Participants enthusiastically discussed the important remarks of President Xi Jinping during his meeting with the Chinese Panchen Lama. One participant said, "The majority of us monks have been deeply moved. It gives us enormous encouragement and motivation. We have faith in and determination to follow President Xi’s instructions, advance our religious studies, nurture our own virtues and become Rinpoches beloved by monks and believers."

Participants also said that to commemorate this year which marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, "Our religious circle will pray and celebrate together with nationalities of the whole region."

The 11-day training session includes education in Buddhist doctrines, ethnics and religious policies, laws and regulations. The training will combine classroom learning, discussions, and essay writings as well as inspection visits.

China equips all temples in ‘Tibet’ for TV propaganda education

June 19, 2015

China said Jun 19 that in order to guide religions to adapt to a socialist society, radio and television equipment and access to services had been provided in all the 1,787 temples in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The project was launched by the local authorities in 2011.

The report said the project had helped monks and nuns better understand the ruling Chinese Communist Party government’s policies and regulations, “improved their ability to distinguish truth from rumours, and also provided an effective channel to guide religions to fit in a socialist society.”

It said that as most of the temples were located in the mountains, technicians had to carry the equipment on their backs or use horses. China does not allow Tibetans to watch or listen to overseas channels or services or programs not approved by it and the equipment provided to the temples gives access only to the official Chinese media.

Sun Chunlan: Tibetan Buddhist circle should resist separatist activities

June 19, 2015

Sun Chunlan, member of the CCP CC Political Bureau and Minister of the CCP United Front Work Department (UFWD), visited the TAR on inspection from June 15 to 18. Sun Chunlan visited the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, as well as Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse.

During her visit she expressed the hope that Tibetan Buddhist circles will firmly uphold national unity, resolutely resist all kinds of separatist and disruptive activities, actively explore the path of adapting Tibetan Buddhism to the socialist society, expound religious doctrine according to the requirements of the times, and that they will play an active role in promoting economic and social development in Tibet.

Sun Chunlan meets the 1st batch of graduates in religious circle

June 26, 2015

Separately, on June 25, 2015, Politburo Member and Head of the UFWD, Sun Chunlan, met the first batch of graduates of religious circles in Beijing. The graduation class ceremony was jointly organized by the United Front Work Department and Renmin University of China. It is the first group of young and middle-aged people from China’s religious circles to receive higher education.

The graduate school is a three-year full-time program. The class started in September 2012 and was to conclude by the end of June. There are a total of 19 students from five major religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Christianity.

Meeting the graduates, Sun Chunlan proposed the following three requirements for the graduates:

First was to be patriotic. They must have a profound understanding that the fate of religion and the motherland are closely related, and firmly work for the unification of the country and all its ethnic groups, as well as contribute to the long-term stability and development of the country;

Second was to actively develop interpretation of religious doctrines. They should guide believers to uphold kindness, denounce wickedness, promote equality and generosity as well as help the needy. They should actively engage in the cause to incorporate religion into socialist society; and

Third was to advance their religious studies and nurture their own virtues. They are expected to grow into religious representatives, who are politically reliable and have religious accomplishments and the moral conviction to convince the public and the ability to play significant roles at critical moments.

Party Secretary of Lhasa Municipality attends law abiding and patriotic awards function

June 27, 2015

Member of TAR Standing Committee and Party Secretary of Lhasa Municipality, Choedak (Ch: Qizha La) addressed the TAR Party Committee’s advanced law abiding and patriotic monks, nuns and Monastery Management Committee awards function held on June 26.

The function conferred appreciations and awards to “harmonious” monasteries, patriotic and law abiding monks and nuns, advanced Monastery Management Committees and individual cadres in different monasteries and nunneries.

In his speech, the Party Secretary of Lhasa Municipality requested the monks and nuns to always adhere to the principles of CCP and hold high the banner of patriotism and create religious harmony and stability. He urged the Monastery Management Committees to continue to strengthen management and responsibilities, accurately grasp the ‘new normal’ condition of the TAR Party Committee and strengthen innovation in the management of the monasteries and nunneries, education and guidance of the monks and nuns.

Chinese appointed Panchen Lama on religious afffairs

June 19, 2015

The 11th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th National CPPCC was held on June 16 and the Chinese appointed Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu was one of those attending. He spoke at the meeting and told the gathering that there should be strict management and education systems in monasteries and that it is especially important to strictly deal with social chaos in religious circles according to the law.

Party General Secretary Xi Jinping had earlier emphasised at the recent United Front Work Conference that religious affairs must be managed according to the law and that they should be adapted to the socialist society through guidance.

On June 10, Xi Jinping met the Chinese appointed Panchen Lama at Zhongnanhai, headquarters of the CCP Party Committee, where he once again emphasized the need to actively promote that Tibetan Buddhism adapt to the socialist society. The Chinese Panchen Lama stated that he would contribute to Tibetan Buddhism’s adapting to the socialist society as well as to peace and stability in Tibet.

He said loving the “motherland”, upholding the socialist system, supporting the leadership of the Communist Party of China and supporting the laws and regulations of the motherland and its guiding principles, will pave the way for peace and stability in Tibet.

The Panchen Lama emphasized the need to increase legal awareness, open up the channels for appeal and make religion an active force for promoting traditional Chinese culture, accelerating Chinese cultural and ethical progress and establishing an all-round moderately prosperous society.

Referring to the “social chaos related to religion that currently exists”, the Panchen Lama pointed out that there are some groups and individuals who use the banner of religion for illegal religious activities. He said they mislead believers into breaking away from the correct line of belief, tarnish the reputation of religion and religious doctrines, commercialise and turn religion into superstition, and causing serious harm to the healthy development of society.

The Chinese Panchen Lama advocated a four-point proposal:

First, the departments of religious affairs should investigate the phenomenon of ‘false’ religious people who illegally hold religious activities; unblock channels for reporting; and establish a mechanism that will be effective over the long term.

Second, public security forces should deal with those who engage in illegal activities that constitute crimes according to the law.

Third, religious groups should prohibit religious people from using religion to accumulate wealth and to prohibit non-religious people from posing as clergy and cheating others.

Fourth, the law should protect the rights and interests of religious groups, holy sites, and normal educational and religious activities.

Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday marked in more Tibetan areas despite China’s ban

June 26, 2015

The International Campaign for Tibet, quoting Radio Free Asia (RFA), claimed on June 29, 2015, that the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday was marked in Tibet on the weekend of June 21-22 in devotional ceremonies in monasteries and in the heart of Lhasa, despite the dangers of punitive actions from the Chinese Government. It said images and footage from Tibet showed Tibetans gathering to mark the birthday (July 6 in the West, and June 21 in the Tibetan calendar) with displays of butter sculptures, prayer ceremonies, offerings before large images of the Dalai Lama. The images and video clips sent from Tibet showed: Tibetans circumambulating the Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama’s former home, in Lhasa and chanting monks in monasteries before images of the Dalai Lama. In Lhasa, large numbers of Tibetans circumambulated the Dalai Lama’s former home, the Potala Palace. In Golog (Chinese: Guoluo), Qinghai, hundreds of Tibetans gathered at Jonang Chamda monastery. Monks of Khagya Toe monastery in Kanlho (Gannan) prefecture in Gansu also paid respect to a portrait of the Dalai Lama. Monks in Rongpo monastery, Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren), Qinghai, and Meyshe monastery in Tsoe (Chinese: Hezuo) city, the capital of Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) in Gansu, also marked the birthday with a prayer service. 

The report also said that Tibetans in the same area staged plays on June 21-22, on Tibet’s eighth century emperor Trisong Detsen, who had briefly captured the Tang Dynasty Chinese capital Changan (Xian in eastern China today), as well as on Tibet’s epic hero Gesar of Ling.

 

INFRASTRUCTUR/DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Lhasa- Nyingchi high-grade highway to open by the end of July

June 18, 2015

The high-grade highway between Lhasa and Nyingtri (Ch:Nyingchi) is expected to open by the end of July. More than 90 percent of the highway has been completed, and infrastructure construction for the project will be finished before June 30th.

He Dongxue, Director of the Comprehensive Coordination Headquarters in Nyingchtri Prefecture said "the priority and key projects, the Bayi Bridge and tunnel across the Nyangchu River have now entered the stage of completion." Two sections of the highway have been constructed simultaneously: the Nyingchtri section from Nyingchtri to Gongpo Gyamda, and the Lhasa section from Lhasa to Medro Gongkar. Strict quality control has ensured that the whole process has been tracked and audited, supervised and inspected, for a final acceptance rate of 100 percent. The highway is required to be safe with zero deaths.

He Dongxue said new technology and materials were used in the construction of the Lhasa-Nyingchtri highway. A group was established to research pavement crack prevention technology. They succeeded in collecting a large amount of data and, for the first time in Tibetan highway construction, the anti-cracking fabric was applied to the pavement and it has so far achieved good results.

Estimates are total investment in the high-grade Lhasa to Nyingchtri highway is 38 billion Yuan. The grade-one highway has four lanes, and has been designed for speeds of 80km/hour (a fast highway in the plateau environment). From the starting point at Zhenba village in Nyingchtri Precfecture to the end in Lhasa’s new Liuwu District, the total length is 409.2km. Once the road opens to traffic, travel time between Lhasa and Nyingchtri will be reduced by at least three hours.

China opens new route for Indian pilgrims to Tibet

June 22, 2015

China on June 22, 2015, opened a new route via Nathu La Pass, situated 4,545 meters above sea level, for Indian pilgrims travelling to Tibet. The new route will facilitate the pilgrimage to Mansarover and promote religious exchanges between the two countries.

The first group of Indian Buddhist followers entered the Tibet Autonomous Region through this pass at 10 a.m. that day starting a 12-day pilgrimage to Mount Kailash (Tib: Gangrinpoche) and Manasarovar Lake (Tib: Mapham Yumtso) in Tibet's Ngari Prefecture.

(Comment: Nathu La Pass is 4,545 meters above msl and is wedged between TAR’s  Yadong County in Shigatse Prefecture and India's state of Sikkim. China decided to add the new route for Indian pilgrims visiting Tibet in September last year when Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to India.)

 

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