Tibet Insight No.29/15

TIBET INSIGHT NEWS

 

POLITICAL NEWS 

Chinese leaders discuss Tibet's development and long term stability        

July 31, 2015

China’s authoritative official news agency Xinhua reported that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee (CC)’s Politburo met in Beijing on July 27 & 30, 2015, when Chinese leaders discussed promoting further economic and social development in Tibet Autonomous Region to help the region achieve long term stability. The meeting was presided over by CCP CC General Secretary and President of China, Xi Jinping.

A statement issued on after the meeting on July 27, 2015, asserted that safeguarding national unity and enhancing ethnic unity should be highlighted in work involving Tibet. The statement said efforts should be made to unswervingly carry out the “anti-separatism battle”, promote the region's economic and social development, safeguard and improve people's welfare, and enhance exchanges and integration of different ethnic groups. Xinhua also revealed that a new Central Leading Group on United Front Work had been created.

(Comment: One news agency, quoting an anonymous source, said that Xi Jinping had declared that the CCP will appoint the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation and in event of problems will take “corrective” measures.)

CCP ‘guides’ Tibet as TAR's founding Anniversary approaches

July 31, 2015

On July 30, CCP CC General Secretary Xi Jinping chaired a Politburo meeting to discuss about how to promote Tibet’s economic and social development and long-term stability prior to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). 

The meeting observed that there had been rapid economic development, overall social progress, significant improvement in people's living standards and sustainable social stability since the Fifth Conference on the ‘Work of Tibet’. It stressed that to do well in work in Tibet in the new situation, China must uphold the Party’s guidelines on governing Tibet and focus on safeguarding national unification and ethnic unity. China must “unswervingly struggle against splittism, promote Tibet’s economic and social development, ensure and improve people's livelihood and enhance contacts´╝îcommunications and exchanges among various ethnic groups”.

In addition, China will stick to law-based governance, enrich Tibetan people, make Tibet prosperous and make long-term efforts to build a better Tibet by strengthening cohesion of the people and laying a solid foundation in order to safeguard national security and long-term stability. It called for sustained and sound economic and social development, continued improvement in the material and cultural life of the people of various ethnic groups, as well as a good ecological environment.

The meeting highlighted that emphasis should be given to infrastructure, industries with local advantages and ecological protection and construction to strike a balance between economic and social development toward an all-round moderately prosperous society, significantly improve people's livelihood to make them rich and happy, and enhance construction of ecological safety barriers for overall ecological improvement. Work should be done to strengthen national unity and fully implement the Party's basic policy on religious work.

Support from the Central Government and aid from across the country for TAR should be combined with the hard work of the cadres and masses of various ethnic groups in Tibet, and more efforts should be made to aid Tibet. Cadres and masses of various ethnic groups in Tibet were exhorted to seize the opportunity and give full play to their enthusiasm, initiative and creativity to create a new situation in the work of Tibet. 

TAR Vice Chairman’s investigation tour to Nagchu

July 28, 2015

Ding Yinxian, member of the TAR Party Standing Committee and Vice-Chairman of TAR People’s Government went on a surprise investigation tour to Nagchu (Ch: Nagqu) from July 26-27.  He was accompanied by Zhang Ruimin, Audit Commissioner,  Gao Yang, Party Secretary of Nagchu Prefecture,  Sangay Tashi Vice Chairman of Nagchu Party Committee and Party Secretary of Sog county of Nagchu and other regional leaders. 

The Vice Chairman and his entourage visited Driru and Sog counties where they met grassroot cadres, workers and village-based cadres. They also met monks and nuns in the monasteries and nunneries. While meeting monks, nuns and Temple Management Committee Officials, Ding Yinxian urged them to take the example of the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama and safeguard social stability. He told them to firmly oppose separatism, safeguard national unity and instill patriotism among the masses in the region. The inspection team visited Monasteries in Driru County (Ch: Biru) and inspected the Salween (Ch: Nujiang) River Bridge Construction site and Power Grid Trasmission Construction sites on the second day of the inspection tour. 

Ngari Party Secretary meets farmers and herdsmen

July 29, 2015

The Party Secretary of Ngari (Ch: Ali) Prefecture, Pema Wangdue in a quest to maintain social stability in Ngari met farmers, herdsmen, village cadres, village working team members, Monastic Management Officials and front-line Military Patrol duty police officers in Rutog County of Ngari from July 24-26. He was accompanied by Prefectural Committee and Prefectural Politics and Law Committee officers and Rutog County Officials. 

TAR Organization Department Minister meets Monastic Management Officials

July 15, 2015

 Minister of the Organization Department of the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee Zeng Wanming went to Ngari and visited the Monastic Management Committee Officials and members of Tholing Monastery in Zanda Country, Ngari Prefecture. He met the cadres and officials of the monastery and inquired details of their work and told them to study ‘in-depth’ the important series of General Secretary and President Xi Jinping’s speeches on social stability and development. 

TAR completes training of 2000-odd village cadres

July 22, 2015

Village cadres in Tibet have been trained on classification based on the different regions, ages, levels and types. More than 2000 village cadres joined the training. According to the Organization Department of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), the training for village officials and village secretaries will cover all the cadres in Tibet by the end of this year in the way of “ coming in “ and “going out”.

The organization departments at all levels in Tibet adopted measures like seminar and demonstration class. With a total number of 1550 participants, among whom more than 1000 people are those who joined the classes by distance learning, the TAR’s Organization Department held demonstration classes on diverse topics such as safeguarding stability, complex situations confronting the secretary of Party Branch in the village, training for the village director and a new village secretary of the Party Branch. Speeches have also been organized in the villages of each distinct and city to propagate the Party’s policy, laws and regulations. Experienced Party members are invited to speak and specialists with professional knowledge are asked to open the evening classes for cadre training.

Organization departments at all levels also sent village cadres of remote and isolated areas to the ‘advanced’ villages outside and inside Tibet for learning about economic development, social management and the basic Party organization. 200 village secretaries from Nagchu (Ch: Nagqu) Prefecture were sent to Lhasa and the Lhoka (Ch: Shannan) Prefecture for learning their experiences regarding the Party organization in grassroots areas. 30 ‘excellent’ village directors and secretaries of the Ngari Prefecture went to Hebei Province and Shaanxi Province for study.    

TAR Vice Chairman meets delegation of African journalists

July 14, 2015

On the afternoon of July 13, 2015, Palbar Tashi, Vice Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, gave an exclusive interview in Lhasa to a delegation of journalists from eight African countries.

Palbar Tashi extended a warm welcome to the African journalists’ delegation and briefed them on the “great developments” of TAR especially in economy, education, culture, sanitation and technology over the past 60-odd years. He said: “At present, Tibet presents a picture mixing traditional and modern elements, featuring economic and political progress, cultural prosperity, social harmony, sound ecosystem and a happy and healthy life for the local people. All these show that only by adhering to the leadership of the CCP, the socialist system and the system of regional ethnic autonomy, can Tibetans become and remain the masters of their own affairs, and can the fundamental interests of the Tibetan people be safeguarded and developed.”

The journalists of eight African countries thanked the TAR Vice Chairman for Tibet’s “thoughtful arrangements” for the delegation and said this was the first time they had come to Tibet. They said they would show the real Tibet to the world and look forward to more opportunities for communication.  

Chamdo City Committee holds ‘Study Meeting’

July 31, 2015

The first session of the 15th Chamdo “City” Party Committee was held on July 29.  The meeting was held primarily to convey and study the written instructions of TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo and Chairman of TAR People’s Government Lobsang Gyaltsen.

Norbu Dhondup, Vice Chairman of the TAR Party Committee and Party Secretary of Chamdo, chaired the meeting and instructed officials to conscientiously implement the instructions of TAR Leaders and further strengthen their responsibilities. Norbu Dhondup said that improving the people’s livelihood and accelerating economic development will eventually pave the way for social harmony and stability in the region. He urged the regional leaders to fully implement the instructions given by TAR authorities in their respective departments. 

She Xingyu, Deputy Secretary of Chamdo Party Committee, Secretary of Chamdo Politics and Law Committee and Deputy Secretary of Chamdo Police Department; Abhu, Deputy Secretary of the Chamdo Party Committee and Vice-Commissioner of Chamdo Prefecture; Rinchen Norbu, Party Secretary of Markham County of Chamdo and Vice-Chairman of Chamdo People’s Congress; Wang Wei, Vice Commissioner of Chamdo Prefecture and Party Secretary of Karubchu County of Chamdo Prefecture; and Li Shizhang, Vice-Commissioner and Chairman Organization Department  of Chamdo Prefecture, were some of the leaders who attended the meeting. 

“Western Program Volunteers” in Tibet

July 31, 2015

According to the Youth League Committee of TAR, 820 western program volunteers and graduate teaching corps arrived in Lhasa recently and will be going to 7 prefectures and cities as well as 39 project counties in TAR to start a “voluntary service journey” period for between 1 to 3 years.

Recruitment of volunteers for the ‘western program’ was officially launched in early May this year. Following presentations in 134 universities of 22 provinces and cities nationwide, over 10,000 students applied for the ‘western program’ and 820 volunteers were eventually recruited.        


DEVELOPMENT/INFRASTRUCTURE RELATED NEWS

Qinghai-Tibet railway to be extended near border between Tibet and Nepal  

July 31, 2015

China has plans to extend the Qinghai-Tibet railway from Shigatse to Kyirong and Yadong with plans to further extend it into Nepal.

Ji Guogang, Director of Tibet’s Development and Reform Commission, told reporters visiting Lhasa from Nepal and India recently that the extension of the Lhasa-Shigatse railway would open when the time is right.

Kyirong (Gyirong), which is only 35 kilometers from Resuowa in Nepal, has historically been Tibet and Nepal’s largest land trade port. Bordering Gyirong is Pokhara, which is Nepal’s most famous scenic spot and is widely recognized by travellers from around the world as “hiking heaven”. If the railway is extended to Gyirong there is no doubt that it will attract more tourists to the area. Yadong is next to Sikkim in India.

While confirming plans exist to extend the railway network to Kyirong, the Nepalese government also revealed that it plans to develop the Gyirong port substantially. Releasing the Nepal government budget in mid-July, Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, mentioned that the Kyirong port will become an important economic and trade cooperation corridor.

Tibet’s Railway Office: hope to start work on the 13th Five Year plan

During his visit to Nepal late last year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed an agreement to extend the Qinghai-Tibet railway from Shigatse to the Nepalese border. An official from Tibet’s Development and Reform Commission said that, in principle, China agrees to extend the railway to Nepal’s border. Nepal is carrying out a feasibility study for construction of a railway in northeast Nepal.

In accordance with the 12th Five Year Plan for Railway Development, the Lhasa-Shigatse railway opened last year. Yang Yulin, Deputy Director of the Tibet Autonomous Region Railway Office, expressed the hope that the Shigatse-Gyirong and Shigatse-Yadong railway will open during the 13th Five Year Plan. 

(Comment: The western part of the Qinghai-Tibet railway presently reaches Shigatse and the straight-line distance between Shigatse and the China-Nepal border is 253 kilometers. There is no railway and only two roads connect the two countries.) 

New flight links Beijing with Tibet tourist destination        

July 17, 2015

Lhasa-Air China began direct flights on July 13, 2015, connecting Beijing with Nyingchtri (Ch: Nyingchi). An Airbus A319 aircraft will make the return flight every day, with a journey time of about four hours, two hours less if passengers make a stop in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, according to Wangdue, the Mayor of Nyingchtri Prefecture.

In 2011, the local government decided to develop Nyingchtri into an international tourist destination. Last year, it received 2.8 million tourists and generated revenue of 2.8 billion Yuan (458 million U.S. dollars), as compared with 1.5 million tourists and 1.1 billion Yuan in 2010. The number of tourists to Tibet rose in 2014, to 15.5 million with revenue rising by 23 percent to 20.4 billion Yuan.)        

Chinese Academy of Engineering to support Tibet

July 31, 2015

The TAR People’s Government signed a strategic cooperative agreement with the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) on July 27, 2015, to boost economic development of the Region.

According to the agreement, the Chinese Academy of Engineering will provide advice to the local government on innovative development and help cultivate and introduce talent in the region.

At the signing ceremony Zhou Ji, head of the CAE, said that experts and CAE academicians will work together with local companies in industries including clean energy and the environment. The CAE will also provide technical support to overcome difficulties confronting Tibet such as plateau climate change and geological hazards.

According to Losang Gyaltsen, Chairman of the TAR People’s Government, backward techniques and education have made the region lag behind other provinces economically. He said innovation and technical support will bring new opportunities for economic and social development of the region.

Chinese soldiers dispatched to Nepal for highway repair 

August 02, 2015

An emergency squad of the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) was sent to Nepal on August 2, 2015 to repair a highway blocked by a landslide.At the request by Nepal’s government for emergency aid, China's State Council and Central Military Commission decided to dispatch 100 armed police officers for repair of the China-Nepal Highway. They entered Nepal on August 2, 2015, morning through Zham Port on the Nepal-China border. 

Fu Ling, commander in chief of the Chinese armed police traffic relief commandos, said that the squad will face difficulty and danger as the highway is severely damaged by days of downpour, which may continue for another 20 days.  The 943-kms China-Nepal Highway connects Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, with the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu and became operational in July 1965. August 2 also marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Nepal diplomatic ties.               

RELIGION RELATED NEWS

Tibetan monk self-immolates in 142nd such protest against China

July 11, 2015

A 26-year-old monk self-immolated in Kyegudo (Chinese: Jiegu) County of Yulshul (Yushu) Prefecture, Qinghai Province, on July 9, 2015. Sonam Tobgyal, a 26-year-old local Tibetan monk, became the sixth person to resort to self-immolation in Tibet this year and is the 142nd since Feb 2009.

The incident reportedly occurred in the county-town’s Gesar Square at around 6pm. Online reports show pictures of a young monk lying on the ground with flames leaping from his body.

According to the Beijing-based Tibetan blogger Ms Woeser, a large number of special paramilitary troops arrived at Kyegudo soon after the incident and blocked the main roads leading to the self-immolation site. All communication services, including telephone lines and Internet, were shut down. The Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said China had blocked all Internet lines in Golog (Guoluo) Prefecture (Qinghai Province), 11 counties of Kardze Prefecture (Sichuan Province), and some parts of Ngaba (Aba) Prefecture, (Sichuan Province) since more than a month. 

The monk originally belongs to Yulshul Prefecture’s Nangchen (Nangqian) County. He studied Buddhism for seven years at Dzongsar Monastery in Dege County of Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

China helps organize Kalachakra teaching by replacement of Panchen’s teacher   

July 1, 2015

The TAR authorities mobilised almost 500 government employees to help in a 4-day Kalachakra ceremony in the Tibetan area of Gansu province and “serve the ritual and help ensure traffic order, food safety, medical service and materials supply.” The Kalachakra ceremony was administered by  Jamyang Gyatso, a native of Xiahe who joined Labrang Monastery at the age of eight, and was chosen in 1998 to guide the Buddhist studies of the ‘11th Panchen Lama’ Gyaltsen Norbu.

More than 110,000 devotees and tourists from Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai, Tibet and Yunnan attended the first day, though it was not clear as to how many attending the Kalachakra empowerment ceremony, which began on Jun 27, were devotees. The ceremony was held in Xiahe (Tibetan: Sangchu) County, site of the Labrang Monastery to which Jamyang Gyatso belongs.

(Comment: The Dalai Lama has administered the Kalachakra empowerment 33 times so far, after the first one in a nominally independent Tibet’s capital Lhasa in 1954. He is to give his 34th empowerment at Bodh Gaya  in January 2016.

Prominent Tibetan political prisoner dies in Chinese prison   

July 14, 2015

65-year old Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a popular Tibetan religious leader known for his environmental and charity works and jailed by the Chinese government in 2002 on charges of involvement in a bombing, died around July 12. Reports claim that “Chinese police informed his relatives that he was seriously ill and when they rushed to visit him, they were told he was already dead.” Two of his relatives had been in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital, for more than a week hoping to visit him in a jail in Mianyang city but were not allowed to see him. The authorities were yet to release the monk’s body for proper religious last rituals.

(Comment: Tenzin Delek Rinpoche had visited India and was recognized by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, as a reincarnated lama in the 1980s.)


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