Tibet Insight No: 02/13




19 Tsinghua University Students Join Army

China Daily, September 06, 2013

As part of the government’s programme encouraging young, educated persons to join the PLA, 635 new recruits from Chongqing municipality in southwest China left in early September for the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The emphasis on recruiting educated youth is prompted by the PLA increasingly acquiring high-tech weapons and equipment.

Noteworthy is that the recruits were accompanied by some psychologists and PLA veterans with experience of duty in Tibet.

(Comments: Psychologists and PLA veterans accompanying the recruits needs to be viewed in the context of the classified People’s Armed Police (PAP) report of October 2008, which recently came to notice. Teams of Chinese psychologists have been regularly visiting PLA/PAP units deployed in Tibet and Tibetan areas of Qinghai etc. since the classified PAP Report was prepared.)

Chinese Military Delegation Meets Nepal Army Chief

Business Standard, September 08, 2013

An 8-member PLA delegation led by Major General Xia Aihe, Deputy Commander of the Tibet Military Command, arrived in Nepal on the 8th September to discuss military to military ties with Nepal’s Acting Commander-in-Chief Netra Bahadur Thapa. The delegation visited the No. 10 Battalion of the Nepal Army situated at Kharipati in Bhaktapur district near Kathmandu. 

(Comments: Born in Sichuan province, 57-year old Xia Aihe was appointed Deputy Commander of the Tibet Military District (TMD) in January 2010. He has earlier served as Commander of the Shigatse Military Sub-District (MSD) in the rank of Senior Colonel.)

Hong Kong Police Trains TAR Police

Voice of China Tibet, September 16, 2013

The Hong Kong Police Tactics Teaching Group recently completed its first 4-day training course in the Tibet Police Training Base. 50 SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) police from different prefectures and cities of TAR were taught 17 subjects.

While the Hong Kong Police Tactics Teaching Group has been imparting such training in the Chinese Mainland at the request of China’s Ministry of Public Security each year since 2005, this is the first time they have trained TAR police forces.

The Announcement about the Air Raids

Lhasa government, September 16, 2013

The Lhasa government made an announcement about the air raids in Lhasa in September. According to the announcement it mentioned that in order to further implement the “People’s Republic of Civil Air Defense Law” and implementation of “Air Defense Law of the PRC” to test the city’s air defense facilities, effective co-ordination of national defense education activities carried out to enhance public awareness of national defence. Municipal government has decided to celebrate “Air Raids Lhasa Day” on 21 September annually.



China Pledges Railway link to Nepal

Phayul, September 10, 2013

Lobsang Gyaltsen, Chairman of TAR, assured Leela Mani Poudel, Chief Secretary and head of the Nepalese delegation to the 14th Nepal China Tibet Economic and Trade Fair-2013 in Shigatse that China will extend its railway to Nepal to boost economic cooperation.

He said that a “feasibility study is underway for expanding rail service between Nepal and Tibet. We will immediately commence the process for implementing the plan once the railway line reaches Shigatse from Beijing”. The rail line to Shigatse is set to open a year ahead of schedule by 2014.

World's Highest Airport Opened in Tibet

Economic Times, September 10, 2013

The world's highest civilian airport Daocheng Yading Airport stated operating on September 16. Located 4,411 metres above sea level, the airport in Daocheng Yading County, Garzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, will drastically cut travel time between Chengdu and the rest of the country.  

(Comments: Daocheng Yading Airport is the sixth airport in the Himalayan region. The first airport, the Damshung (north of Lhasa) airport was built in August 1956. The Gonggar airport (south of Lhasa) was built in November 1966 with an investment of 6.7 million yuan (US $0.80 million). During the Third Work Forum in 1994, Gonggar airport was reconstructed and expanded. Bangda airport was built in Chamdo in September 1994 at the cost of 275 million yuan (US $32 million). Nyingchi airport (near the border with Myanmar and India) was completed in July 2006 for 780 million yuan (US $97.5 million). The airport at Dartsedo in Karze was built in 2008 for 950 million yuan (US $119 million) and Gunsa airport in Ngari prefecture of western Tibet was completed in 2007.

China has announced plans to build a new, seventh airport in Dawu Township, seat of Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefectural government in Qinghai Province, August 2016. Situated at an altitude of about 3,780 meters, the airport will require investment of 1.13 billion yuan (pprox. US $184 million).

PLA Sends Materials to Motuo, Tibet, by Use of Motorcades

People’s Daily, September 12, 2013

A motorcade regiment of the Sichuan Tibet Military Service Station Department left for Motuo County in south-eastern TAR on September 10, 2013. This is the first time the PLA dispatched motorcades for delivering materials to Motuo County, which till now was the only county in China which could not be reached by car and where military supplies had to be sent by horseback or occasional helicopters.

The highway 117 km connecting Zhamu Town of Bomi County and Motuo County was officially operationalised in October 2012. The Highway negotiates the complicated terrain of the Grand Yalunzangpo Gorge (Brahmaputra). China has built 29 bridges and 227 culverts at the region. The road in Motuo will also be useful to transporting of materials connecting with diversion of the Brahmaputra at the Great Bend.

(Comments: Medog, Metok, or Motuo County (Tibetan: Pemako) is a county of TAR’s Nyingchi Prefecture in the TAR with the population of 11, 000 people. Official Chinese maps depict Nyingchi Prefecture as including Arunachal Pradesh.

Motuo is mainly inhabited by the Menba and Luoba ethnic groups with a population of about 10,000.)

The 2013 Tsangyang Gyatso Ballad Cultural Tourism Festival held in Legpo of Tsona County, Lhoka Prefecture of TAR

Voice of China Tibet, September 15, 2013

China’s official media has publicised that Tsona County’s economy and culture has increased since the 12th Five-Year Plan. They noted that the total output value and annual per capita income of four Monpa ethnic townships have increased by 95 percent and 63 percent respectively. Chinese media reports assert that Tsona County “is committed to inheriting and promoting the traditional Monpa culture and Tsangyang Gyatso ballads”. Tsona County is the birthplace of Tsangyang Gyatso, the Fifth Dalai Lama.

The Nachen Bridge in Lhasa is Completed

Voice of China Tibet, September 16, 2013

The largest and widest highway bridge over the Lhasa River, the Nachen Bridge in the eastern suburbs of Lhasa, is scheduled to open to traffic on October 1, 2013. The project began in January 2011.

Tibet Legislates to Preserve Lhasa's Old Town

China Network Television, September 25, 2013

The old town of Lhasa is to be officially protected through legislation soon. The ‘Regulations for the Protection of Lhasa Old Town’ which was approved by the People's Congress of Tibet in July 2013, will come into effect from Oct. 1.

The Lhasa City government meanwhile launched a 1.5 billion Yuan (US $243 million) project in December 2012, to renovate Lhasa Old Town and upgrade the sewage, water supplies and electric line systems as well as eliminate safety hazards, install heating facilities and preserve old-style buildings.

(Comments: The project has prompted an internet protest by Lhasa-born Beijing-based Tibetan blogger Tsering Woeser. She said that renovation of old Lhasa has damaged the Lhasa’s water resources and that because of many years of mining activities, the water has been heavily polluted and now the river has been cut in half to create various artificial scenic spots.)


Tibetan Sentenced for Shouting Slogans of Independence for Tibet  

Dossier Tibet Post, September 08, 2013


A 68-year old Tibetan man, Dayang, was sentenced to two years and five months in jail for shouting slogans demanding independence for Tibet, during a cultural performance organized by the authorities on September 3 as part of its political re-education campaign. Dayang was reportedly beaten by security personnel and taken to a hospital in Lhasa. Driru region has lately been witness to a heavy Chinese crackdown on Tibetans.


Chamdo: Monasteries and Villages are Covered in Five-Starred Flagsby Woeser

Translated by High Peaks Pure Earth, September 24, 2013

Beijing-based well-known Tibetan blogger recently claimed that ‘work groups’ are stationed in all the 1700 monasteries of TAR together with a staff of over 7000. Work groups have also been stationed in the 5400 administrative villages and she quoted Tibet’s official media as stating that “there are 20,000 cadres stationed in villages”. The ‘work groups’ are to implement the TAR policies of the “9 Haves” (namely “to have portraits of the four leaders, to have a national flag, to have roads, to have water, to have electricity, to have a TV set, to have films, to have a library, to have newspapers.)

Chinese Police Fire on Protesters and Wounded at Least 60 Tibetans

Dossier Tibet Post, September 28, 2013  

Chinese security forces shot and wounded at least 60 Tibetans as they fired into a crowd demanding the release of a village who had led protests against orders to fly the Chinese flag from their homes. The incident on 6th October in Driru county of Ngachu was sparked when a crowd gathered to confront police attempting to search the home of Dorje Draktsel, who was detained last week after taking part in local protests. At least 60 were wounded when the Chinese troops opened fire. Chinese authorities have dispatched more than 200 paramilitary and police vehicles to villages, setting up checkpoints on all the major roads. They have confiscated Tibetan’s cell phones and blocked communications by phone and the internet. Residents have to carry their ID cards at all the times.        

Tibetan Father of Two Self-Immolates in Protest Against Chinese Rule         

Radio Free Asia Tibetan, September 28, 2013

A Tibetan father of two burned himself to death on 28th September in Sichuan province to protest against Chinese policies according to sources. Shichung, 41, self-immolated near his house in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county in the Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture after lighting butter lamps in front of a portrait of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The protest occurred in the Gomang Yutso Township at about 2.30 p.m. Shichung is survived by his wife and two daughters, aged 18 and 14.

64th National Day Anniversary Reception in Lhasa

Xizang TV, September 30, 2013

On the evening of 30th September, Lobsang Gyaltsen, Chairman of the TAR hosted the 64th anniversary of the founding of the PRC (1949-2013) in Lhasa. Phabala Gelek Namgyal, Pema Thinley, Lobsang Gyaltsen, Gompo Tashi, Choedrak La, Pasang (Female) Tian Cao Kang, Ching Hu Peng, and Li Ping Kang have attended. Urging adherence to the speeches of Xi Jinping and Yu Zhengsheng, he said economic development and social stability of TAR presently is one of the best periods in history. He further emphasised the need to win over the people and “leapfrog development and long-term stability”.



Lobsang Gyaltsen Visited Ministry of Civil Affairs in Beijing

Lhasa Government, September 30, 2013

Lobsang Gyaincain (Lobsang Gyaltsen) the district Party Secretary, Chairman of TAR people’s government has visited the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission, Beijing at the end of September and met the Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo, Vice Minister Jiang Li and the National Development and Reform Commission Deputy Director Xu Xianping. They exchanged views on Tibet’s development and stability issues.

Lobsang called for the timely introduction of a series of strong policy measure to effectively promote “leapfrog development” and “lasting stability in Tibet”.



Tibetans in Mass Prayer Gathering in Kardze                               

Radio Free Asia Tibetan, September 23, 2013

Tens of thousands of Tibetan monks, nuns, and laypeople gathered in Sichuan province last week for special prayers during which a Tibetan religious leader called for an end to communal conflicts over scarce resources, according to sources.

The Grand Prayer Festival held on Friday at Sershul Thegchen Dargeyling monastery in the Dzatoe area of Sichuan’s Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, drew close to 70,000, including Han Chinese, sources said. “The total number of monks alone exceeded 10,000, and more than 500 Chinese devotees also attended,” a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.


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