Tibet Insight No: 01/14

                                                                                                   

                                      TIBET INSIGHT

DEVELOPMENT

Several Tibetans Arrested for Disrupting Tunnel Construction

Voice of America-Tibetan, January 08, 2014

Several Tibetans were detained in Derge earlier on Jan. 07 by Chinese armed police for allegedly disrupting the ongoing construction of an underground tunnel project in the region. More than 1,000 personnels of the People's Armed Police swooped on Pondha town in Derge County to contain rising opposition to the project. When China announced construction of the tunnel in May 2013, the Tibetans have appealed to various offices to stop the construction. However, their appeal was rejected and many Tibetans were dislocated from the site and houses were destroyed. Local Tibetans fear that construction of the tunnel is linked with plans to mine the mountains and could impact the local environment.

Separately, another 20 Tibetans  were detained by Chinese authorities in a massive crackdown this week on protests against the construction of tunnels for a road project which led to the collapse and damage to residential buildings in  Kardze (in Chinese) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

10 Agendas in Tibet’s 2014 Economic Work

China Tibet Online, January 09, 2014

The TAR Economic Conference which was held in Lhasa on Dec.31 listed 10 targets to be met with a budget of seven billion yuan. These include development of distinctive industries and the market economy, opening wider to the outside world and prioritizing environmental protection in economic development.

China has said says that in 2014 Tibet will become more open to the outside by strengthening the strategic cooperation with China’s other provinces and deepening regional cooperation with South Asian countries such as India and Nepal by forming the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor.

Tibet will also undertake reforms to expand the areas of available to private-owned capital investment. Reforms will similarly be introduced in rural and pastoral areas and new types of ad hoc economic cooperative organizations for farmers and herders will be created.

Railway Boosts Economic Growth in Tibet

China Tibet News, January 15, 2014

The 1,956-km Qinghai-Tibet railway from Golmud in northwestern Qinghai Province to Lhasa has boosted local business. Official figures reveal that Tibet's gross domestic product soared from 34.2 billion yuan (US $5.4 billion) in 2006 to 80.2 billion yuan last year, an average annual growth of at least 10 percent.

The railway has brought a surge of tourists, boosting Tibet's tourism, and hospitality and manufacturing sectors. The TAR received 1.8 million domestic and foreign tourists in 2005, one year before the railway became operational. Once the railway became functional, TAR received 12.9 million tourists in 2013, according to the TAR Tourism Bureau.

 

POLITICAL

China Shuts Down Drongna Monastery in Driru, Arrests Teacher

Phayul, December 31, 2013

Chinese authorities in Tibet’s Driru County have shut down Drongna monastery, Driru County. The monastery’s debate master Kalsang Dhondup was arrested on Nov. 11, 2013. Rabten monastery and Drongna monastery were surrounded by Chinese armed personnel when news about a crackdown in Tarmoe monastery became know in December. Eight monks of Rabten monastery who had gone to study in monasteries and institutions in Palyul, Sershul and Serta were detained earlier.

Since March 2013, several monasteries in Tibet have been forced to hand over their administration to communist party cadres while some monasteries faced a complete shut down due to boycott by monks following increased repression and control by Chinese government authorities. Alarmed by the closure of monasteries and the absence of monks to perform rituals, local Tibetans in the region staged protests and in one instance, even left a dead body at a government building complaining that there were no monks to perform the last rituals.

China’s growing Interest in Nepal

The Himalayan Times, January 03, 2014

China’s interest in Nepal has been very noticeable in the past year mainly in the form of visits by Chinese officials to Nepal. Among the high-ranking Chinese officials visiting Nepal were Sate Counsillor Yang Jiechi in June; Vice-Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Communist Party of China Yang Jungi in October, and officials visiting at least 25 delegations from various departments like public security, tourism, border management, foreign affairs, culture, trade and investment.

These visits reflect China’s continuing interest in Nepal. Beijing’s interest is mainly of the perceived threat to Tibet from Nepalese territory, and as part of 55 playing of the peripheral diplomacy. Rajeshwor Acharya, a former Nepalese ambassador to China, said “they don’t want to see any kind of anti-Tibet or pro-Dalai Lama activities here in Nepal.

The Disneyfication of Tibet: How Tourism has become a Tool of Occupation

Washington Monthly, January 04, 2014

Writing in the Washington Monthly, Pearl Sydenstricker observes that number of Han Chinese tourists in Tibet is increasing. Sydenstricker said: “Its government policy: tourism is an officially designated “pillar of the economy” in Tibet. The goal is to attract fifteen million tourists a year by 2015 in the so-called “TAR,” which has a population of only three million.… In the Chinese media, Tibetans are always portrayed as the poor beneficiaries of Chinese aid.” She revealed on the presence of armoured vehicles in these and said she has counted forty-seven police stations in half a square mile, all of them clearly marked on the tourist maps set up in the streets.

Delegation of Nepal Visit Nyingchi, Tibet

China Tibet News, January 05, 2014

A Nepalese delegation led by Gulac Lem Adhikari, Mayor of Beaulac city of Nepal concluded a week-long visit in Nyingchi (Tibet), on Dec. 30, 2013. The delegation visited various places in Nyingchi, such as the Bayi Middle School, Qizheng Tibetan Medicine Factory and Pakyi Village.

Mayor Gulac Lem Adhikari met Wangdu, Deputy Secretary of Nyingchi Prefectural Party Committee, when he expressed the hope that visit would boost bilateral friendship and exchanges in various fields.

TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo’s Visit to Driru County

Voice of Tibet-Tibetan, January 8, 2014

TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo met monks of Benkar Monastery in Driru County, Nachu (Ch:Naqu) Prefecture on 7th January.

Penta and Toden of Benkar Monastery handed a letter of Thank you and gratitude to Chen Quanguo on behalf of all the monks of the monastery to thank TAR government in particular and CCP in general for looking after the welfare of the monks, for respecting religious freedom, for providing medical pensions and medical insurance to the monks.

Chen Quanguo wished the monks for the New Year and said “he is happy to receive the letter of gratitude from the monks as he believes that the letter represents the same sentiment of all the monks in the monastery.” A similar letter of thanks was written to Chen Quanguo by the same monastery in May 2013.

Representatives of the monastery like Penta and others thanked Chen Quanguo personally at the meeting for initiating for making progress and promoting new ideas for the welfare of the monks in the monastery.

Second Session of the Tenth CPPCC

Tibet daily, January 8, 2014

The Second Session of the Tenth CPPCC was held in Lhasa from January 10-14 2014. The Session was attended by regional Leaders like Chen Quanguo, Padma Choling, Lobsang Gyaltsen, Wu Yingjie, Qizha La, Dawa Dhondup, Liang Geng, Tashi Dorje, Gonpo Tashi, and CPPCC Chairman Pagbalha Gelek Namgyal. CPPCC Vice-Chairman Gonpo Tashi read out the work report of CPPCC of the past year and also laid out the framework and guidelines for the New Year 2014. The Session also discussed the importance of implementing the third Plenary session of the 18th Party Congress of CCP.

(Comments: It was amusing and surprising to see the dresses of the Tibetan Delegates especially the females. They were dressed with perhaps their best Tibetan Traditional Dress (Chupa) and accessorized with lots of ornaments (could have borrowed as well if they don't own) and almost all the male delegates were visibly wearing animal skinned Chupas (which were voluntarily banned by the Tibetans inside Tibet after His Holiness's appeal during a Kalachatra (wheel of Time) gathering in Andhra Pradesh in late 2000s and since then no common masses in the Tibetan areas dresses such animal skinned clothes). Those lavish flaunt of dresses surely questions us whether they were going for a session or to a traditional cultural and dance show. It is no wonder that perhaps they were forced to dress that way intentionally by the CCP authorities to show the outside world that Tibetans are rich and can happily participate in the sessions. 

2nd Session of Tenth TAR People’s Congress Held in Lhasa

Vtibet, January 11, 2014

The 2nd session of the 10th Tibet People's Congress was held on January 10, 2014,   in Lhasa, when 388 deputies from all walks of life in the region attended the session. Padma Choling, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress address the session both in Chinese and Tibetan. Losang Jamcan, Chairman of TAR,

delivered a work report, in which he reviewed the achievements of 2013 and discussed the agenda in 2014. Among the achievements of 2013, some of

1.  A 117-km highway linking Medog, the last county in China was to be linked with neighboring Bome County in Tibet was formally opened to traffic on Oct.31, was built at a cost of 950 million yuan (US $155 million).

2. The 16 million Yuan support to agriculture which raised TAR grain output of 960000 tons, vegetable production of upto 800000 tons.  

3.  Rise in Tourism in 2013 when Tibet saw 13 million tourists, 400,000 more than the goal set at the year’s beginning and 20 percent higher than that in 2012, yielding total tourism revenue of 16.5 billion Yuan.

4.   Allocation of 10.8 billion yuan, educational for education, increasing 15%, with 3 secondary vocational schools and 209 kindergartens established and education subsidy standard raised.

5.   Cultural products of 2013 such as the project for 100 thangka paintings, 100 kind of Tibetan Chinese picture books and drama" The Princess Wencheng", received high praise.

 Deputies resolved that they will work harder, and make new greater contributions to TAR economic and social development.

TAR Deputy Secretary‘s Meeting with Nachu Delegates

Vtibet, January 13, 2014

Lobsang Gyaltsen met delegates from Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) to the Tenth CPPCC on January 10, where he sought their suggestions and ideas, discussed the work report of the Second Session of the Tenth CPPCC. The delegates of Nagchu prefecture were Li Hu Bei, Xibei, Khedup Phuntsok, Palku, Sonam Yangchen. TAR Deputy Secretary Lobsang Gyaltsen spoke to the delegates about environment in the region, economic development of nomads and peasants, overall development of the region and maintenance of law and order of the people in the region. According to the Tibetan website Vtibet, Lobsang Gyaltsen had made extraordinary efforts to improve the living conditions of the nomads by introducing modern technologies. 

Chinese Authorities Arrest Tibetan Environmentalists in Yulshul County

Dossier Tibet, January 12, 2014

Chinese authorities in Tibet's Yulshul County arrested two Tibetan environmentalists in September and December last year. Tseten Dhondup, 35, was arrested on September 18. He was arrested by the Deputy Head of the Yulshul County police known by his as Soshikam and Kyiphun, Head of the Zhurmang Ruchen police department. Local Tibetans allege that the two Police Officials are corrupt and detain Tibetans under false charges for personal gain. Tseten is known for having initiating numerous environmental activities, campaigns and programs. He gradually earned the respect of the local Tibetan agricultural and nomadic communities of Yulshul through his classes for nomads and farmers on Tibetan Buddhism, culture and environment.

Zumgah, in his 50s, was arrested from Beijing on Dec. 25 last year. He worked with Tseten in various environment related works in Yulshul. A native of Zachok village, Zumgah had prevented illegal miners who had collaborated with the two police officials in stealing mineral ore from his village. His father Tashi Gyalsten and mother Kyiyang are still wondering why their son was arrested or where he is currently held.

Qiangba Puncog’s Meeting with the Lhasa Delegates

Vtibet Tv News, January 14, 2014

Vice-Chairman of the 12th Standing Committee of the NPC and Chairman of TAR People’s Congress Standing Committee, Jampa Phuntsok (Ch: Qiangba Puncog) met the Lhasa delegates of the Second Session of the Tenth CPPCC on January 13. He spoke about the importance of putting into practice the spirit of 3rd plenary session of the 18th CCP and the speeches of Chinese President Xi Jinping, especially those relating to TAR. He urged the delegates to follow the PRC constitution. The Lhasa Delegates read out the past year work reports at the meeting.

Standing Committee Meeting of Tenth TAR People’s Congress

Vtibet, January 14, 2014

A meeting by the Standing Committee of the Tenth TAR People’s Congress was held on 10th January. Of the 61 members in the Committee, only 50 attended the meeting. Some of those attending the meeting were Chen Quanguo, Jampa Phuntsok, Padma Choling, Karma, Samding Dorjee Pagmo, Dechen Choedon, Tenzin Choedak, Marolang, Dorjee, Tenzin Namgyal, Woeser, Wu Jinhui, Duan Xiang Zheng, Lobsang Gyaltsen among others. Padma Choling chaired the meeting. The Work reports of the TAR People’s Court, TAR People’s Congress, and CCP Central Commission for Discipline Inspection were read and discussed in the presence of TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo.

 

RELIGION

Fire at Important Tibetan Buddhist Institute

ICT, January 10, 2014

A fire broke out in the Buddhist institute of Serthar in the Larung valley in eastern Tibet on January 9. Vivid images showed flames shooting into the night sky as the blaze quickly took hold in the modest wooden and earthen homes of nuns in one of the largest centers of Buddhist study in the world.

The cause of the fire is unclear, although some local Tibetans suspect it may have been a result of the butter-lamps or an electrical fault. The official news agency Xinhua said on January 10 that an investigation was underway. No injuries or casualties were reported. The institute issued a statement saying that it would ensure that the homes were rebuilt.

According to Tibetans in the area who posted the photos on social media, the fire affected the area where nuns live at Larung Gar, home to Serthar (Chinese: Seda) Buddhist Institute in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) prefecture in Sichuan, with at least 100 homes of nuns being burnt down.

Tibet: Three Monasteries Closed in Driru

Dossier Tibet, January 8, 2014

In the latest clampdown in the restive county where Tibetans have resisted forced displays of loyalty imposed by the Chinese authorities, Chinese authorities have closed three monasteries in Driru after paramilitary police surrounded them for weeks. The Dron Na, Tarmoe, and Rabten monasteries in Driru County were closed in December. The closure came as paramilitary police were tasked to enforce political re-education campaigns in the county while screening for dissident monks and restricting activities in the monasteries. Before Dron Na’s closure, police had detained a lead instructor in the monastery.

On Dec. 26, Chinese authorities sealed all the rooms of the monks and the monks were forbidden to return. All religious activities at the monastery were then suspended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







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