Xi Jinpingâ€™s Tibet Challenge 60 Years Of Failed Policies In Tibet
Introduction With China’s once-a-decade leadership change, the 5th generation of Chinese Communist Party leaders have inherited both extraordinary power and a considerable number of major challenges, prominent among which is China’s continued occupation of restive Tibet. Tibetans are arguably challenging China’s occupation more strongly today than at any time since the 1950s. The accumulated effect of decades of failed policies have contributed to a society in which Tibetans’ human rights are routinely abused and where they are marginalised politically, socially and economically. Public protest has taken a tragic turn with more than 100 individuals choosing to self-immolate as a form of resistance against China’s rule, usually with fatal consequences. Meanwhile, the cycle of protests crushed by military crackdown that has typified past periods of unrest, is changing. China is now discovering that a display of force is unable to prevent mass gatherings of Tibetans, whether they are praying for those who have selfimmolated or engaging in more confrontational acts of protest. Tibetans are moving beyond fear of China’s violent regime. In recent months increasingly large numbers of Tibetans have taken to the streets to demonstrate their opposition to China’s rule. Meanwhile, Tibetans are embracing new forms of creative resistance, expressed through music, literature and assertions of national identity. Xi Jinping, the leader of China’s 5th generation, now has the challenge of Tibet on his hands. Little is known about Xi’s personal opinions on Tibet, but his father Xi Zhongxun a former vice premier, knew the Dalai Lama and was close to the 10th Panchen Lama. In July 2011, speaking in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Xi Jinping’s adherence to the Party line was absolute, vowing to “thoroughly fight against separatist activities by the Dalai clique by firmly relying on all ethnic groups ... and completely smash any plot to destroy stability in Tibet and jeopardize national unity.” (i)
Xi Jinping’s Tibet Challenge highlights China’s failed policies in Tibet; policies that, despite six decades of unfettered control, have left Tibetans resolutely opposed to China’s rule. Xi’s challenge is a Tibet in crisis, devastated by four generations of colonial exploitation but possessing a population whose sense of the Tibetan nation, and whose spirit and diverse resistance to China’s rule is undiminished since the day the People’s Liberation Army invaded Tibet over 60 years ago. This report summarizes China’s attempts to maintain the occupation of Tibet through Three Pillars of Coercive Control – Military Occupation, Colonial Rule, and Fear and Intimidation. Xi and China’s 5th generation leaders must now recognize that the impact of continuing along the same path as previous generations will only result in greater instability in Tibet as well as growing international condemnation of China’s leadership. We are not alone in recognizing that change in Tibet must come. A 2012 Reuters report (ii) wrote “Every generation of [Chinese] leaders must resolve problems left over from the previous generation,” a source with leadership ties said. “For Hu, it was Taiwan,” … “For Xi, it’s Tibet”. Another anonymous party official told Reuters “More and more government spending, more and more security, is not going to buy enduring stability in Tibet... The high-pressure policies can’t continue forever.” China’s policy failures have spurred a new generation of Tibetans, who have never known an independent Tibet but who are showing a deep commitment to their nation and asserting their fundamental right to political, social and economic freedom. Their resistance is threatening the very stability and endurance the 5th generation of the Chinese Communist Party so desire. Xi’s challenge is to resolve the Tibet issue swiftly and peacefully, or risk creating an even greater crisis of geopolitical significance, as Tibetans resist four generations of China’s failed policies.
Tibet is comprised of the three provinces of Amdo, Kham, and U-Tsang. Amdo is now split by China into the provinces of Qinghai and part of Gansu. Kham is largely incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan, and U-Tsang, together with western Kham, is today referred to by China as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Tibet’s traditional territory accounts for one quarter of the landmass of today’s People’s Republic of China. 2
China’s military occupation February 2013 saw the centenary of the 13th Dalai Lama’s reassertion of the Independence of Tibet from the Manchu Empire (1a). Chinese forces were driven out of Tibet until 1949, when the newly triumphant Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sought to consolidate its victory by rapidly spreading its influence as widely as possible. On 7 October 1950, 40,000 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops crossed the Drichu [Yangtse] river into central Tibet. Overwhelmingly outnumbered, the Tibetan army were forced to surrender (1b) and Tibet became an occupied state (1c). The CCP claim is that Tibetans are among China’s 56 ethnic nationalities (1d) bound together by a common destiny (1e) – a fabrication rooted in China’s deep historical ethnocentrism. But Tibet, a clearly defined nation, had fulfilled the criteria of a sovereign state three decades before the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (1f). China’s leaders however classified Tibetans as ‘barbaric uncivilized’ peoples that should be ‘assimilated or eliminated’ (1g). Tibetans, fiercely proud and independent, showed no signs of assimilating and thus the CCP pursued policies to eliminate the Tibetan nation. China’s persecution steadily increased, as did Tibetan resistance, and in March 1959 popular protests erupted in Lhasa. When the PLA began shelling the city the 14th Dalai Lama was forced to escape Tibet and, according to China, 87,000 Tibetans were killed or arrested as a result of the Uprising (1h). Exactly 50 years later the Dalai Lama said that Beijing’s policies
“thrust Tibetans into such depths of suffering and hardship that they literally experienced hell on Earth” (1j). This statement starkly contrasted with the CCP’s claim to have liberated Tibet from the “oppressive, feudal rule of the Dalai Lama” (1k), a medieval, oppressive society consisting of ‘landowners, serfs and slaves’. Ultimately, Beijing’s condemnation of Tibet’s ‘feudal’ past is a classic colonialist argument – ‘backwardness’ serving as a justification for invasion (1l). Pre-invasion, many Tibetans recognized inequalities in their system and the Dalai Lama had begun to promote reforms (1m). The exiled Tibetan government is now a democracy to which the Dalai Lama has devolved his political authority (1n). After 60 years China is still reliant on its military and paramilitary forces to maintain control of Tibet, with estimates of between 150,000 – 500,000 PLA troops stationed on the Tibetan Plateau. The visible presence of security forces is stepped up around sensitive anniversaries and periods of unrest (1o), but China has been unable to entirely suppress mass demonstrations, notably in 1959, in the late 1980s (when Tibet was placed under martial law) and in 2008, when more than 150 separate incidents of protest were recorded across the plateau. Despite the crackdown that followed the 2008 Uprisings, public protests have continued and take place regularly, especially in eastern Tibet, often in conjunction with self-immolations by Tibetan monks, nuns and laypeople (1p), demonstrating that China’s military occupation cannot suppress the Tibetan people’s will to be free. 3
Self-immolation case study, Tsering Kyi On 3 March 2012 Tsering Kyi, a 20 year-old student from a nomadic family, poured petrol over her body, marched into the vegetable market of Machu town in Amdo [Chinese: Maqu, Gansu Province] and set light to herself, raising her fist above her head. She died at the scene. As a child she had lived a nomadic way of life, following the yak herds and sleeping under the stars, but that ended with the fencing of the grasslands and Tsering Kyi – described by teachers as an “example” to other children – gradually found herself at the centre of political unrest. In 2008 Machu erupted in protests and hundreds of Tibetans were detained in a brutal crackdown. Two years later students from Tsering Kyi’s own school staged protests calling for freedom and independence. Shortly before her final act of defiance, Tsering Kyi told friends and family, “We should do something for Tibet – life is meaningless if we don’t do anything for Tibet” (I). Tsering Kyi’s self-immolation was the 24th confirmed to have taken place in Tibet. Such protests now exceed 100, across all regions of Tibet.
China now spends more on public security than it does on international defence (1q). A Human Rights Watch study in 2011 found that security spending in the Ngaba region of eastern Tibet [Chinese: Aba, Sichuan Province] – at the epicentre of the current wave of self-immolations – has been outstripping that of non-Tibetan areas of Sichuan Province since 2002. With a “strike hard” campaign and a new “anti-terrorist” unit established in 2007, Human Rights Watch argued that China’s provocative policing contributed to the unrest of 2008 and since. By 2009, security spending in the Ngaba region was five times the average of the rest of Sichuan. With China’s extreme response to the self-immolation of 20 year-old Phuntsok in March 2011, in which 300 monks were disappeared from Kirti monastery and two elderly Tibetans beaten to death at the monastery gates (1r), it is hardly surprising that Ngaba remains a major centre of unrest.
Like other oppressed people around the world whose freedom movements have recently toppled authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, the Tibetan people are pushing for their own freedom. Tibetan resistance within Tibet has become increasingly diverse, with a renewed determination to promote the Tibetan national identity through the spread of a home-grown movement called Lhakar, or “White Wednesday”, in which Tibetans consciously engage in and promote uniquely Tibetan activities. A widespread cultural renaissance is also underway, with Tibetan political aspirations being expressed through music and literature. With these powerful and creative yet subtle forms of resistance on the rise throughout Tibet, China’s military power is becoming increasingly ineffective.
Every 20 metres along the main road of Aba, police officers and communist officials wearing red armbands look out for potential protesters. Dozens more paramilitaries sit in ranks outside shops and restaurants in an intimidating show of force.
Journalist Jonathan Watts of The Guardian newspaper, smuggled into Ngaba town in February 2012
China’s colonial rule China’s rule of Tibet is one of the last remaining remnants of the 20th century-style of colonialism that was overthrown and denounced by the global community. China’s goal since 1950, as first expressed by Mao Zedong, has been to integrate Tibet with China. But whilst four generations of colonial policies have created social exclusion, deprivation and disparities between poor rural Tibetans and wealthy urban Chinese in Tibet, Tibetans continue to assert their distinct national identity. Colonial exploitation of Tibet accelerated when Hu Jintao became Party Secretary of the TAR in the late 1980s. Hu’s policy of “grasping with both hands”, which sought to use economic development as a tool in the “struggle against separatism”, was consolidated with the launch of China’s Western Development Strategy (WDS) in 1999 and is still visible today. Designed to reduce the economic disparity between the richer eastern seaboard of China and poorer western provinces, the political objectives of the WDS were articulated by then President Jiang Zemin, who said it “will help develop China’s economy, stabilise local society and contribute to China’s unity” (18 September 2000). Yulu Dawa Tsering, the revered Tibetan lama and independence campaigner who died in 2002, said the WDS represented “a period of emergency and darkness” (2a). China’s financial investment in Tibet is substantial (193.1 billion yuan from 2011 to 2015), but the emphasis on large infrastructure rather than
community-led projects has delivered patchy development that seldom benefits the poorest Tibetans; indeed much of the revenue generated in Tibet goes back into mainland China’s pockets (2b). The Gormo-Lhasa Railway, by far the largest project, was completed in 2006 at a cost of 33 billion yuan. The International Campaign for Tibet reports that the railway has triggered a “second invasion” of Chinese into Tibet, facilitating both the swift deployment of military and the exploitation of Tibet’s natural resources (2c). Figures from China’s most recently available census in 2000 give the population of the entire Tibetan Plateau – including 150 Tibetan autonomous counties – as at least 10 million, excluding military and migrant workers. 5.4 million are listed as Tibetan; the remainder Han or other Chinese people (2d). As long ago as 2002, officials in the TAR admitted to foreign journalists that Tibetans would soon be in a minority in Lhasa (2e). Dr Andrew Fischer, an economist specialising in Tibet, has called Tibet’s growth ‘ethnically exclusionary’ (2f). He reported that in 2010 central government subsidies to the TAR surged to record-high levels, surpassing 100% of the TAR’s GDP for the first time ever, exacerbating the region’s extreme economic dependence on Beijing and consolidating the visible hand of the state in most aspects of the economy (2g). Tourism is a major beneficiary of state investment, with tourists expected to number 15 million by 2015 (2h) – the vast majority of which will be Chinese. In 5
Today I went to Jokhang Temple and when I passed the security check, Tibetans had to register their names while Han Chinese could go right through; as I was about to pass through, I was grabbed by a police officer who insisted that I register my name! I said that I was a Han Chinese but he absolutely refused to believe me and kept insisting on seeing my ID card.
A Chinese tourist’s account of a visit to Lhasa, June 2012, as recounted by Tibetan poet and blogger Tsering Woeser
2012 China announced further heavy investment in tourism infrastructure within Tibet, including a new theme park near Lhasa. However Tibet is routinely closed to foreign tourists. The TAR is closed during sensitive political anniversaries and when any large protest takes place: parts of Amdo and Kham, where most of the Tibetan self-immolations have taken place, have also been closed. Even when Tibet is open, the authorities attempt to tightly control what tourists see and understand. Tour guides and hoteliers have been suspended and imprisoned for perceived indiscretions. Despite the fact that occupation is no vacation, several international hotel companies, including Starwood (2j) and InterContinental Hotels, are operating or plan to operate luxury hotels in Lhasa. Chinese migration onto the Tibetan plateau coupled with Tibetan economic marginalisation – poor education and training preventing Tibetans from competing for business and employment opportunities – were among the driving forces behind protests in Lhasa in 2008 (2k). Since then China has intensified efforts to marginalize the Tibetan language in favour of Chinese (2l). In October 2010 over 10,000 Tibetan students and teachers protested against proposed education reforms by Qinghai Province, which aimed to change the primary language of instruction from Tibetan to Chinese (2m). Street signs are in Chinese, official documents generally only available in Chinese and letters addressed in Tibetan are not delivered. But in spite of China’s efforts, a resurgence of the Tibetan language as an expression of identity is underway in Tibet (2n). In 1998 China announced its final solution – the elimination of the Tibetan nomadic way of life, which for millennia has been an intrinsic part of Tibetan society. In 1998 China’s Agriculture vice-minister Qi Jingfa, said “All herdsmen are expected to end the nomadic life by the end of the century” (2o). Although China missed its own deadline, by January 2011 officials said 1.43 million farmers and herders had permanent homes (2p). Efforts to force Tibetans into ghetto-style housing blocks have now intensified and in May 2012 the State Council announced plans to resettle the remaining nomad population 246,000 households or 1.157 million nomads across the PRC by 2015 (2q). For thousands of years, Tibetan nomads have lived sustainably on the grasslands; now China’s policy of ‘converting rangelands to pastures’ is leading to overgrazing in fenced-in areas and exacerbating desertification (2r). Land, seized under false claims of ‘environmental protection’ in the age of climate change, is cleared, often to make way for dams and mining operations. Coercive settlement is also causing economic and social problems (2s), likely to fuel greater unrest. In June 2012, EU High Representative 6
Catherine Ashton publicly recognized this problem for the first time, saying “...the EU questions whether the objective of environmental protection can only be reached by eliminating the traditional way of life of Tibetans who have lived in harmony with nature for centuries. The EU is concerned that compulsory resettlement of all nomads has the potential to destroy the distinctive Tibetan culture and identity” (2t).
Crisis at the “Third Pole” China’s colonial policies in Tibet are putting an internationally significant environment at risk. Known as the Third Pole because it holds the planet’s third largest store of glacial freshwater, Tibet is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. Glacial melt from the plateau is disrupting water supplies, threatening sustainable livelihoods and putting more than one billion downstream peoples at risk (II). China’s solution is to build more dams, including at least five on the Yarlung Tsangpo, until recently the world’s largest undammed river. Concerns about the possible impacts of these dams include downstream nations’ access to a safe, stable water supply (III), the risk of damming rivers in seismic activity areas (IV) and threats to the most bio-diverse region in the world (V). Despite claiming that strengthening environmental protection on the Tibetan plateau is important for “maintaining border stability, ethnic unity and the building of a well-off society,” (VI), China’s past and current policies have brought region-wide famine, desertification on the grasslands, acute flooding from clear-cutting Tibet’s forests, and environmental destruction through unregulated mining (VII). Meanwhile China blames Tibet’s nomads – who for millennia have lived sustainably on the Plateau – rather than its own policies, for threatening China’s precious water resources.
Rule by fear and intimidation China has used repression as a means to breed fear among Tibetans and consolidate its control in Tibet over the last 60 years. In “Worst of the Worst 2012: The World’s Most Repressive Societies”, a report by renowned think-tank for democracy Freedom House, Tibet (which is classified as a disputed territory within the report) receives the lowest score, ranking it “least free” alongside Syria, North Korea and Sudan (3a). China’s control is most pervasive in the religious sphere, with a series of especially harsh policies. As an integral part of Tibetan national identity, Tibetan Buddhism is perceived as a direct challenge to China’s authorities; and a distinct threat to the unity of the country. Since the beginning of the invasion China has attacked Tibetan Buddhism, intensifying the crackdown over the past decade. In May 2006 former TAR Party Secretary Zhang Qingli called for the intensification of the “patriotic education” campaigns (3b), a policy characterised by denunciations of the Dalai Lama.
Ethnic ‘Autonomy’ versus Cultural Assimilation? Tibetan unrest has fueled a debate among Chinese intellectuals and Party officials about whether ethnic ‘autonomy’ is an obstacle to national cohesion. Ma Rong (Beijing University) has long believed current policies have rendered the Chinese nation an empty concept and that the assimilation of minorities is inevitable (VIII). In February 2012 United Front’s Zhu Weiqun advocated removing ethnic status from identity cards and scrapping minority schooling, suggesting “Some of our current educational and administrative policies have unintentionally weakened [minorities’] sense of nationhood and Chinese nationalism” (IX). Countering opinions, aired during a symposium convened under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, concluded that turning away from “the basic [ethnic autonomy] system and policy” could “easily lead to ideological chaos and thereby cause a negative impact on society” (X).
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (3c) reported that use of the “patriotic education” campaign has become “systematic, protracted and enforced with new-found vigour and zeal”; individuals failing to denounce the Dalai Lama and praise Communist leaders are subjected to torture and imprisonment. There are currently at least 527 known political prisoners in Tibet (3d) according to the US State Department, but the true number is likely to be considerably higher. In January 2012 several hundred Tibetans returning from India, where they had traveled on legitimate papers to attend Kalachakra Teachings given by the Dalai Lama, were arbitrarily detained and subjected to patriotic education at various centres around Lhasa. Human Rights Watch believes it was the first time since the late 1970s that authorities had detained Tibetan laypeople in such large numbers (3e). China’s vilification of the Dalai Lama has been ramped up in recent years. The pre-eminent representative of the Tibetan people and a global icon of peace, the 14th Dalai Lama is viewed by Beijing as enemy number one, described as a “wolf in monk’s robes” and “a monster with a human face”. His image is banned in Tibet, yet protesters – especially those who have self-immolated – most of whom were not born when the Dalai Lama was forced to escape from Tibet, have consistently appealed for his return. China blames the Dalai Lama for masterminding the wave of Tibetan self-immolations, calling his prayers for those who have died through self-immolation “terrorism in disguise” (3f). Further extreme measures to intimidate Tibetans by consolidating control over Tibetan Buddhism include new regulations ruling that only Chinese authorities can approve the recognition of reincarnated lamas, tight restrictions on religious gatherings and practices, 7
Growing Tibetan resistance In the last five years there has been a surge of resistance by Tibetans in Tibet; notably the Uprisings in 2008, which were of a scale previously not witnessed since 1959, but increasing again in recent months. Since January 2012 more than 20 mass protests have taken place with demonstrators calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama (XI). China’s response to such protests has been often brutal, with reports of armed police attacking and beating demonstrators and, in a number of cases, opening fire, killing peaceful protesters and seriously injuring many more. On 8 February 2012 at least 2,000 Tibetans in two different areas of Yulshul in Amdo [Chinese: Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province] took part in protests despite the intense security crackdown. In Tridu around 1,400 Tibetans took part in a “solidarity” march, instigated initially by 400 monks from from Sekhar monastery. The peaceful protesters carried banners calling on authorities to respect Tibetans and the Tibetan language and demanded freedom in Tibet, the return of the Dalai Lama, and the release of political prisoners, including the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. In Nangchen hundreds of Tibetans, mainly young lay people, gathered for an all-day prayer vigil during which they chanted long-life prayers and slogans in support of the Dalai Lama.
and the permanent stationing of government officials, in some cases armed security, in monasteries. The US State Department’s most recent annual report on religious freedom observes that “CCP control over religious practice and the day-to-day management of monasteries and other religious institutions has tightened” and “official interference in the practice of Tibetan Buddhist religious traditions generated profound grievances and contributed to a series of self-immolations by Tibetans” (3g). No section of Tibetan society is free of repressive policies. Yet since 2008, despite China strategically targeting Tibetan cultural expression, writers, musicians and educators have emerged at the forefront of a cultural renaissance, with their assertions of Tibetan identity challenging dominant narratives of the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet. The threat to ‘stability’ posed by these young, educated Tibetans, who have been brought up under the communist system, puts them at great risk of arrest and subsequently torture – over 80 Tibetan intellectuals have been either imprisoned, disappeared or faced torture due to expressing their views (3h). In March 2012 a new Chinese government directive was issued calling on the public to “expose and report on anyone committing illegal activities harming social stability”, offering a reward of 5,000 yuan (about US $796) to “anyone who reports such criminal activities to public security organs” (3j). The directive, posted publicly throughout Amdo, eastern Tibet where numerous protests including 8
self-immolations have taken place, threatened to “severely crack down” on Tibetans who engage in “splittist activities”. Reporters Without Borders recently expressed alarm at the continuing media blackout in Tibet, noting “not only are foreign media organisations prevented from covering these events, but the authorities have also organized a veritable disinformation campaign, using pro-government media such as the Global Times, which play down the disturbances and accuse the international community of interfering” (3k). In addition to restricting the flow of information from Tibet to the outside world, China recently stepped up control of the flow of information into Tibet (3m). Tightened restrictions on the use of communication tools including internet and telephones were added to new measures described by TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo as necessary “to ensure the absolute security of Tibet’s ideological and cultural realm”. Further restrictions on the publication of literature, including photocopying, and music publishing have been increased and government propaganda heightened via new TV channels, village education sessions, film showings and distribution of official books. In addition to imposing a media blackout, China has refused all requests from foreign diplomats for access to Tibet in recent months. In response to the increasing self-immolations in eastern Tibet, the European Union, Australia and other governments have sought permission to investigate the situation on the ground, so far without success.
Recommendations for Xi Jinping The International Tibet Network calls on Xi Jinping and 5th generation leaders to adopt a paradigm shift in the Chinese Communist Party’s approach to Tibet that gives full agency over formulating future policies to the Tibetan people, by first acknowledging its failures and the illegitimacy of its military rule over Tibet. Xi Jinping must commit to a just and lasting resolution that recognizes the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination under international law. Xi Jinping must implement the following recommendations immediately:
• Stop the Chinese government’s use of military
force to crackdown on the Tibetan people. As a matter of urgency, withdraw all security forces from monasteries and places where protests have taken place.
• Allow immediate and unfettered access to
Tibet by foreign media, diplomats, international observers and foreign tourists.
• Cease the harsh and systematic repression of
• Stop environmentally destructive mining and
damming projects, and engage with downstream nations to implement bottom-up participatory management of Tibet’s water resources.
• Release all political prisoners detained for
engaging in peaceful protest, arbitrarily detained or sentenced without a just trial in accordance with international law immediately and unconditionally.
religious and cultural life in Tibet, and suspend with immediate effect the Chinese government’s patriotic education programme.
• Remove all Party cadres from monasteries in
Tibet with immediate effect, and suspend policies concerning interference by Chinese authorities in the selection of reincarnate lamas.
• Ensure the Tibetan people’s right to practice and promote their language is respected by restoring the Tibetan language as the primary medium of instruction in schools and universities.
• Halt all economic and development policies
detrimental to safeguarding the prospects and livelihood of the Tibetans. Reduce the dependency of the Tibetan economy on Chinese government subsidies by favouring bottom up, sustainable development models that offer opportunities to disadvantaged Tibetans and cease all financial incentives for Chinese settlement onto the plateau.
• End and reverse the coercive policy of nomad
settlement; suspend all ongoing settlements and allow those nomads already settled to return to their land and way of life if they wish, and their cancelled long term land leases restored. Allow the Tibetans to be full partners in all decisions over land use in Tibet.
Recommendations to world governments • Establish and participate in a contact group or
multilateral forum by world governments to devise and implement new, more robust, coordinated strategies for resolving the Tibet crisis.
• Vigorously pursue actions in appropriate
international forums that will focus the attention of the government of the PRC on the severity of the situation in Tibet and on the legitimate concern of the international community that Tibetans enjoy the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants to which China is a party.
• Utilize all opportunities to raise bilateral concern
about Tibet, emphasizing the failure of security, economic and development policies to achieve stability in Tibet and urge the immediate adoption of measures to address the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people.
• Express strong public condemnation of China’s
intensifying religious and cultural repression in Tibet, with specific reference to widespread programmes of “patriotic education” and harsh measures to punish individuals for peaceful expression of their cultural and political freedom.
and demand from China assurances that foreign journalists be allowed unfettered access to the TAR and Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan.
• Expand capacity to monitor the situation in Tibet,
including continuing to push for greater access to Tibet. Initiate or elevate efforts to establish a diplomatic presence in Lhasa, and expand existing resources within Beijing embassies for monitoring.
• Raise strong concerns over the failure of economic and development policies in Tibet, including the lack of Tibetan participation in shaping these policies.
• Call for a halt to the forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads and the loss of an ancient, sustainable way of life and urge China to adopt best practice models of participatory governance of Tibet’s fragile environment and water resources.
• Increase programmatic support for Tibetans
in Tibet and for programmes that facilitate information exchange between Tibetans in exile and in Tibet.
• Urgently seek to send diplomats to affected areas
…more visible, public and coordinated diplomacy is necessary for the Chinese government to feel pressure to alter its conduct.
US Congressmen James P McGovern and Frank R Wolf to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Sources Introduction (i) BBC, ‘Xi Jinping: China will “smash” Tibet separatism’, July 2011 (ii) Reuters, ‘Does China’s next leader have a soft spot for Tibet?’, September 2012
China’s military occupation
1a. Tibet Justice Center 1b. Tsering Shakya, ‘Dragon in the Land of Snows’, 1999 1c. On 30 March 2011, Court No. 2 of Spain’s National High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, acknowledged Tibet is an occupied state under international law 1d. Liu Yandong, first China Tibetan Culture Forum October 2006 1e. China White Paper 28 September 2009 1f. Delaney, Cusack and van Walt van Praag, ‘The Case Concerning Tibet’, 1998 1g. International Campaign for Tibet, ‘Jampa, the Story of Racism in Tibet’, 2001, page 24 1h. Radio Lhasa broadcast, 1 October 1960 1j. The Times, 10 March 2009 1k. Blog post by James Reynolds, BBC, 19 January 2009 1l. Lhadon Tethong, ‘China’s favorite propaganda on Tibet... and Why it’s Wrong’ 1m. Tsering Shakya, ‘Tibet and China: the past in the present’, 2009 1n. International Campaign for Tibet, ‘FAQ: The Dalai Lama’s Relinquishing His Political Role’ 1o. Tibet Justice Center 1p. Resistance in Tibet: Self-immolation and Protest 1q. In 2010 public security spending was RMB 549bn ($84bn) and defence spending RMB 533. 4bn, Reuters, 5 March 2011 1r. International Campaign for Tibet Report, 22 April 2011
Self-immolation case study, Tsering Kyi (I)
Free Tibet, ‘Tibetan Schoolgirl Dies’, March 2012
China’s colonial rule 2a. Tibet Information Network, ‘China’s Great Leap West’, 2000 2b. Tibet Watch Special Report, ‘Perversities of Extreme Dependence and Unequal Growth in the TAR’, Andrew M Fischer, August 2007 2c. International Campaign for Tibet, ‘Tracking the Steel Dragon’ 2d. China Data 2010 census is intended to count the floating migrant population. See here 2e. New York Times, 8 August 2002 2f. A M Fischer, ‘Perversities of Extreme Dependence and Unequal Growth in the TAR’, 2007. Available from here 2g. International Institute of Social Studies, ‘The Revenge of Fiscal Maoism in China’s Tibet [working title]’ by Andrew M Fischer, 2012 2h. Padma Choling, 16 January 2011 2j. St Regis opens in Lhasa 2k. Gongmeng Law Research Center, ‘An investigative report into the social and economic causes of the 3.14 incident in Tibetan areas’, 2009 2l. Tsering Woeser’s Blog, ‘When Tibetan Students fight for the Tibetan language’, 2010, translated by High Peaks Pure Earth 2m. BBC report, 20 October 2010 2n. Tsering Shakya, ‘The Politics of Language’, December 2007
2o. Qin Jingfa, Vice Minister of Agriculture, quoted in Xinhua 18 March 1998. Available from here See page 8 2p. Padma Choling, 16 January 2011 2q. Southern Mongolian Human Rights Center 2r. Oliver W Frauenfeld and Tingjun Zhang, ‘Is Climate Change on the Tibetan Plateau Driven by Land Use/ Cover Change?’ 2005 2s. Feng Yongfeng, ‘The Tibetan Plateau: the plight of ecological migrants’, 2008 2t. Catherine Ashton, ‘Speech on the situation in Tibet’, 12 June 2012
Crisis at the Third Pole
(II) International Campaign for Tibet ‘Tracking the Steel Dragon’, 2008, pg 231 (III) The Guardian, 24 May 2010 (IV) Geologist Yang Yong quoted by the South China Morning Post, 1 May 2010 (V) Conservation International (VI) State Council Meeting chaired by Wen Jiabao, 30 March 2011 (VII) Tibet: Environment & Development Desk, ‘Resource Extraction and Development’, 2012
Rule by fear and intimidation
3a. Freedom House, ‘Worst of the Worst 2012: The Most Repressive Societies’ 3b. Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, May 2006 3c. Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Annual Report 2009 3d. US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011 3e. Human Rights Watch, ‘China: End Crackdown on Tibetans Who Visited India’ 3f. The Guardian, 19 October 2011 3g. US State Department, ‘International Religious Freedom Report 2011’ 3h. International Campaign for Tibet, ‘A Raging Storm: The Crackdown on Tibetan Writers and Artists after Tibets Spring 2008 Protests’ 3j. International Campaign for Tibet, ‘Chinese government addresses unrest with threats and cash to informants’, March 2012 3k. Reporters Without Borders, ‘Authorities Tighten Grip, Isolating Even More From The Outside World’, March 2012 3m. Human Rights Watch, ‘China: Attempts to Seal off Tibet from Outside Information’, July 2012
Ethnic ‘Autonomy’ versus Cultural Assimilation?
(VIII) James Leibold, La Trobe University Australia, May 2012. (IX) Minnie Chan, SCMP, 15 February 2012, quoting Zhu Weiqun’s article in Study Times (X) Liu Ling, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, “Persist in the Basic Political System, Resolve Ethnic Issues Through Development – An Outline of the Chinese Ethnic Theory Association Symposium”, 23 February 2012
Growing Tibetan Resistance
(XI) International Tibet Network, ‘Resistance in Tibet: Self-immolations and Protest’, 2013
We are the sharp wisdom that your speeches and lectures havenâ€™t reached We are the smooth darkness that your flame and power hasnâ€™t absorbed We are the response with playfulness that makes your heart ache We are the infection and fright to your livelihood! The new generation has a resource called youth The new generation has a pride called confidence The new generation has an appearance called playfulness The new generation has a temptation called freedom Song Lyrics by Yudrug, a popular Tibetan band from Machu, eastern Tibet, 2010
Ending 60 years of China's failed policies in Tibet.