Tibet Insight No: 08/13


                                             TIBET INSIGHT


Enhanced Air Logistics in Tibetan Plateau

Claude Arpi’s Blog, December 25, 2013

Chinese military analyst and Senior Researcher at China’s Academy of Military Science (AMS), Du Wenlong, recently stated that the new indigenous Z -20 utility helicopter with a capacity of 10 tonnes, combines the capabilities of an agile attack helicopter and heavy transport helicopter. Chinese media reports explained that “its flexibility allows it to be modified to cope with a wide range of tasks such as assaults, transportation, electronic warfare and special operations.” French-born journalist and Tibetologist, Claude Arpi, writes that when fully operational the Z-20 helicopter can be used in places like Nagchu or elsewhere on the Tibetan plateau.



Tibet: Key Projects

Tibet Online, December 17, 2013

The first unit of the Pondo Water Control Project started generating electricity on Dec. 10, 2013. Located in Pondo Township of Lhunzhub County, the project is over 4,000 meters above sea level and 63 kilometers north of Lhasa. With a total investment of 4.57 billion yuan (US $748 million), the Pondo Water Control Project is one of 226 key projects of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) for Tibet, which includes the highway connecting Lhasa with Nyingchi and extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Lhasa to Shigatse.

Tibet's Statistical Bureau separately reported that in the first three quarters of 2013, Tibet’s GDP had reached 57.573 billion yuan (about US $9.5 billion) or an increase of 12 percent over the previous year.

Low-Rent Housing in Tibet

China Tibet Online, December 25, 2013


TAR’s Department of Housing and Urban-Rural announced that 6,000 low-rent houses had been constructed in 2013. Built at a cost of 700 million yuan (about US $115 million), the 6000 low-rent houses spread over 74 counties in 7 cities of the entire region will alleviate the housing problems of nearly 20,000 poor people.


[Comments: These low-rent houses will be given to urban Chinese and Tibetan families. Since, Tibetans mainly reside in rural areas and Chinese migrant workers are also included as beneficiaries of the project, it is anticipated that most of the houses will be allocated to Chinese and Chinese migrants residing in Tibet.]



China’s Tibet Policy

China Tibet Online, December 19, 2013

In an article titled “Desperation in Tibet,” the New York Times on November 29, 2013, attributed the self-immolations in Tibet to China’s policy of replacing the Tibetan language with Chinese and the heavy presence of armed police in Tibetan towns, villages and around monasteries. The self-immolations, it asserted, also sought to emphasise the need for resolution of the Tibet issue.

Responding to the NYT article on December 19, China asserted that it had gone to “great lengths to protect the language of ethnic minorities” but that the PRC’s law stipulated promotion of the standard spoken and written Chinese language. It also justified induction of the almost 21,000 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials into Tibetan monasteries as intended to “guarantee the stable and safe operation of religious activity and manage monastery affairs.” The Chinese regime predictably blamed the Dalai Lama and his followers for creating trouble to “sabotage the stability and hinder the development in Tibet including inciting series of self-immolations and the “3.14” riots in Lhasa in 2008.”

TAR: Monastery Welfare

Tibet Daily, December 24, 2013

TAR authorities claimed that by Sept. 2013 electricity and running water had been provided to 1,178 monasteries and 1,310 monasteries and that 12,999 kilometres of roads connecting monasteries had also been built. TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo urged TAR officials to “unite monks and nuns with the masses around the Party and government and make them aware of the Party’s kindness.”

(Comments: The effort to link monasteries with the State propaganda network and civic services are part of the programme to win over the monks and nuns who continue to resist CCP rule. These measures reinforce other steps to ensure control over the monasteries. Earlier, on Nov. 1, Chen Quanguo wrote in the party journal Qiushi (Seeking Truth), that only the voice and image of the Party will be heard and seen in Tibet and that “the voice and image of the enemy forces and the Dalai clique” will be “neither seen nor heard.”)

TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo’s Visit to Chengdu

Voice of Tibet, December 26, 2013

TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo visited Chengdu to meet retired veterans and old comrades and extend New Year greetings to them. Briefing the retired veterans about the region's economic and social development, Chen Quanguo emphasized the role of the Regional Party Committee and Government in uniting and leading the people of all ethnic groups. He said it was important to thoroughly implement and study the Party's line, principles and policies as well as General Secretary Xi Jinping’s series of important instructions and important speeches on the work of Tibet. Chen Quanguo appealed to the old leadership and old comrades to continue to care and support the regional party committee’s work.



Canadian Teachers Oppose Beijing-Dictated Confucius Institutes on Campuses

Tibetan Review, December 27, 2013

Describing “Confucius Institutes as essentially political arms of the Chinese government,” the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) on Dec. 17, urged universities and colleges in Canada to sever ties with these institutes “subsidized and supervised” by the Chinese government because they interfere with academic freedom. At a meeting held earlier in December the CAUT Council passed a resolution calling on universities and colleges in Canada, which currently host Confucius Institutes on their campuses, to cease doing so.



Tibetan Monk Self-Immolates in Gansu

China Digital Times, December 19, 2013

Tsultrim Gyatso, a 43-year old monk of them Amchok monastery, self-immolated himself at a road junction in Sangchu (called Xiahe in Chinese) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. In the one-page suicide note left at his monastery, Tsultrim Gyatso pleaded for “the return of the Dalai Lama, the release of the Panchen Lama, and the well being of six million Tibetans.”

Hundreds of Monks Protest in Nangchen

Woeser’s tweet, December 24, 2013

Hundreds of monks in Nangchen walked with placards and banners demanding the release of an abbot of a monastery in the area who was arrested on the night of Dec. 6 in Chengdu. Chamdo police arrested Khenpo Kartse from Chengdu where he had traveled for purchasing a new idol for his monastery. His whereabouts remain unknown. The protesting monks and local Tibetans were met on their way to the local Chinese government headquarters by top county officials who assured the protestors that the Khenpo shall be released soon. The protestors, thereafter, returned home.

Tibetan Held for Opposing China's Choice of Lama's Reincarnation


Tibetan Review, December 22, 2013

Chinese authorities detained Tsokye, a Tibetan, for protesting against the enthronement by Beijing of Shak Rongpo Choje a reincarnation of a senior Buddhist figure. Tsokye was arrested in Driru (Chinese: Biru) County of Nagchu (Nagu) Prefecture, TAR on Dec.13.

(Comments: Shak Rongpo Choeje is the spiritual head of the local Rongpo Monastery. China enacted a law in 2007 to ensure that reincarnations of Tibetan religious figures are recognized and enthroned only under its guidance and with Beijing’s approval. Earlier in 2010, China jailed the monastery’s surviving senior-most monk, Lama Dawa, for seven years for having contacted Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on the question of searching for the late Shak Rongpo Choeje’s reincarnation.)

Penor Rinpoche's Reincarnation-Enthronement in 2014

Phayul, December 6, 2013

The Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe (Karnataka) in a statement issued on Dec 5, disclosed that five years after the demise of Penor Rinpoche, former head of the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Nyingma Sect, his reincarnation has been found in Tibet.

The senior-most lama of Palyul Monastery in Tibet, Tulku Thubten Zangpo Rinpoche, found the reincarnation at Leten Tramo Drag or Dung Lung Tramo Drag, a sacred location near Lhasa, based on a “prophecy letter” sent by the 100-year-old yogi Jadrel Rinpoche. The statement gave no further details.

Palyul Monastery’s current throne-holder, Kyabje Karma Kuchen Rinpoche has already set out on the journey to formally greet the new reincarnation. A traditional enthronement ceremony of Penor Rinpoche’s yangsi (reincarnation), investing him as Palyul’s 12th Throneholder, will take place at Palyul Monastery in Tibet on July 31, 2014, the holy day marking the time of the Buddha’s first teaching after his enlightenment.

Kyabjé Drubwang Pema Norbu Rinpoche, or the late Penor Rinpoche, was born in 1932 in Powo region of Kham, Eastern Tibet. He became the 11th throne-holder of Palyul, one of six “mother monasteries” of Tibet’s oldest Buddhist tradition, known as the Nyingma. He established the Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe Tibetan settlement (Karnataka State) in 1963 with only a handful of monks.

(Comments: The Chinese would have approved the ‘search’. While the Dalai Lama has no official role in approving the heads of other Tibetan Sects, he will have to acknowledge him and that will now probably follow Beijing's approval. Beijing will approve the new reincarnation of the Nyingmapa Sect in accordance with the procedures promulgated by it in 2007. China will use this to reinforce precedents for the case relating in future to the Dalai Lama and project this to claim that its procedures have been accepted by the oldest Tibetan Buddhist Sect in Tibet.

The Penor Rinpoche’s reincarnation in Tibet has ramifications for India. Beijing can be expected to try and ensure that the former head of Nyingmapa does not escape. Till now all the heads of the four Tibetan Buddhist Sects have been resident in India.)

An Award Ceremony Held by TAR Regional Committee


Tibet Daily, December 30, 2013

An award ceremony was held on the 28th December by the TAR Regional Committee in TAR People’s meeting hall in Lhasa to award “Harmonious Temples and monasteries, patriotic and law abiding monks and nuns”. The award ceremony was attended by TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, CPPCC Vice-Chairman Phakpalha Gelek Namgyal (Tib), CCP Central Committee Alternate member and TAR Chairman Lobsang Gyaltsen (Tib), Deputy Secretary of TAR Wu Yingjie and Politics and Law Committee Secretary Deng Xiaogang as well as TAR leaders like Xu Yong, Tashi, Qizha La, Rob Dhondup, Dong Yunhu, Liang Tian Geng.

150 Monasteries including Gaden Monastery were recognized as “model and harmonious monasteries” in Tibet. The ceremony also awarded 10,401 monks and nuns individually for being “patriotic and law abiding citizens”.

The TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo said at the ceremony that “the monks and nuns should consciously and consistently safeguard the dignity of the law and not the XIVth Dalai Clique’s hidden agenda of splitting the country and not listen to rumors of the Dalai group.

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