Tibet Insight No.3/14


                                                        TIBET INSIGHT


Tourism to Tibet Surges in 2013

Xinhua, February 02, 2014

TAR Tourism authorities stated that 12.91 million tourists visited the TAR in 2013 registering a 22 per cent increase over last year.

According to Wang Songping, a TAR Tourism Bureau official, there was also a rise in the number of tourists visiting from overseas. He said more than 223,000 overseas tourists visited the region in 2013, up 14.5 percent year on year. Tibet's revenues from tourism rose to 16.51 billion yuan (US$ 2.72 billion). Tibetan Buddhism heritage sites, such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Zhaxi Lhunbo Monastery, remain the most popular tourist attractions.

TAR’s Tourism Bureau disclosed that more than 330,000 people in Tibet, or 11 percent of its population, work in the tourism industry. The TAR Tourism Bureau expects to see 15 million tourists annually by 2015.

Tibet's Internet Users reach 2.03 Million

China Tibet Online, February 16, 2014

The number of internet users in TAR had touched 2.03 million by the end of 2013, a local official said. This means that 67.5 percent of Tibet's 3 million populations have access to the Internet, according to Qunggyi, Head of the Tibet Communications Administration. Many Internet users in Tibet are surfing the network through their smartphones. The number of 3G network subscribers in Tibet has reached 964,000. Qunggyi said that the new-generation 4G network will be promoted in 2014, he said.

The TAR Communications Bureau also disclosed that so far 665 townships in TAR have been connected with optical cables, covering 97.5 percent of all townships and as many as 3,231 villages have access to broadband Internet, covering 61.4 percent of the total number of villages.

Mustang to be linked with Tibet through Road       

Republica, February 16, 2014

Nepal’s National Planning Commission (NPC) has planned to link Mustang district with Corolla of Tibet, within the current fiscal year. According to the NPC Secretary Yubraj Bhusal, preparations are in hand to expand the road network from the Mustang border point to Corolla.

Construction of only two kilometers of the road remains before the 175-kilometer track from Beni Bazaar to Corolla can be opened and construction is expected to be completed within the current fiscal. Yubraj Bhusal, Secretary of the Nepal Planning Commission said that work is being done on a war-footing to link the country with Tibet through a road network. A new dimension will be added to Nepal-China relations and bilateral trade will increase once construction of the new roadway is completed.


China Tightens Security in Kardze

RFA, February 2, 2014

Anticipating political unrest around the Tibetan New Year on Jan 30, the authorities deployed additional security forces in large numbers in Kardze County, where almost all county offices are now guarded by security personnel. This follows a similar deployment in the prefecture’s Draggo County two weeks ago on the second anniversary of a deadly crackdown by police on protesters. Most of the newly arrived security troops are encamped at a military base outside Kardze town, while others are stationed at the county’s grain trading office. On the morning of the New Year, additional troops and armoured vehicles patrolled the streets in a show of military strength.

Tibetan Self-Immolated in Dokarmo

Dossier Tibet, February 6, 2014

Phagmo Samdup, 27, doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire near Bhenchen School in Dokarmo town around 9.30 PM (local time) on February 5. According to reports he was cremated by Chinese authorities at an undisclosed cremation site without informing his family. Chinese authorities also forced his family to throw his remains in Machu River and confiscated a golden ring belonging to the deceased.

Tibetan Protester Dies in Prison After Torture

RFA, February 7, 2014

Konchog Drakpa, a young man in his 20s from Chana town in Driru, who was detained last year for his role in leading protests against Chinese mining operations in Tibet, died after being allegedly tortured in custody. As news of his death filtered out, Chinese police rounded up residents of Driru County identified as leaders of the mass protest that forced the shutdown of mining operations on Naglha Dzambha, a mountain regarded as sacred by the area’s residents. Konchog Drakpa’s body was handed over to his family on Dec. 28, 2013.

TAR Communications Management Conference Held in Lhasa

Xizang.gov February 10, 2014

Tibet Autonomous Region’s Communications Management Conference was held in Lhasa on February 10. The meeting conveyed the messages of the National Industry and Information Technology Conference and the Fifth Plenary Session of the Eighth District Party Committee and reviewed the comprehensive summary of the Region's communications work in 2013. The conference also analyzed the current situation and work requirements and tasks for 2014. The meeting was chaired by the TAR’s District Communications Authority Deputy Secretary Nima Dorje and attended by the TAR People's Government Vice-President He Wenhao and, District Communications Authority Party Secretary and representatives of the relevant departments. The work report for 2013 was presented at the meeting. The work report noted that since 2013, Tibet's communications industry had firmly focused on the government’s requirements by upgrading development of the communications industry and, regulations, safety, security and forward planning to achieve a sustained, rapid and healthy development.

China Jails Two Tibetan Activists for 10-11 yrs after Secret Trial

Tibetan Review, February 12, 2014

Two Tibetan activists were awarded lengthy jail sentences in Jan 2014 in Driru (Chinese: Biru) County of Nagchu (Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region.  The two are: Kelsang Choklang, a monk of the local Tarmoe Monastery, jailed for 10 years and Dorje Dagtsel, a layman, jailed for 11 years.

Dorje Dagtsel was sentenced for being one of the leaders of a large Tibetan demonstration in May 2013, protesting against Chinese mining of a sacred local site called Naglha Dzamba Mountain. He was awarded an additional 3-year jail term for alleged illegal money lending activity and an additional year for obstructing the work of Chinese cadres stationed in Diru County according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

Tibetan Self-Immolated in Amdo

Dossier Tibet, February 13, 2014

25-year old Lobsang Dorjee, an ex-monk from Gyabum Shikra village, set himself on fire on 13th February evening near Kirti Monastery of Ngaba in Sichuan Province. The action was a protest against Chinese rule. A number of Chinese security personnel arrived in the area and local communication lines were reportedly restricted. This is the second self-immolation this month in Amdo. Earlier this month Phagmo Samdrub set himself ablaze in Qinghai Province.

TAR Deputy Secretary visits Gare Nunnery in Lhasa

Vtibet.cn, February 14, 2014

With the approach of the Tibetan New Year (Losar), TAR Deputy Secretary Wu Yingjie visited Gare, one of the oldest nunneries in Lhasa and greeted the staff of the Temple Management Committee and nuns of the nunnery on behalf of TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, TAR Party Committee Deputy Secretary Lobsang Gyaltsen and TAR People’s Government Vice-President He Wenhao accompanied Wu Yingjie.

Wu Yingjie urged the nuns to thoroughly implement the spirit of the Party’s Third Plenary Session and read and follow General Secretary Xi Jinping’s series of important speeches. Wu Yingjie applauded the staff of the nunnery’s Temple Management Committee headed by Vice-Secretary Dorjee Dadul for maintaining stability and harmony in the nunnery.

China to Severely Punish Families, Villages of Tibetan Self-Immolators

Tibetan Review, February 15, 2014

Chinese authorities recently introduced a system of collective responsibility Dzoege (Chinese: Ruo'ergai) County of Ngaba (Aba) Prefecture in Sichuan Province, to severely punish those who abet self-immolators and their families. Reporting this, Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington, Feb. 13) mentioned that villages and monasteries where self-immolations occur will also be punished, together with the government and monastery officials discovered having links with such protesters.

The rules reportedly mandate that families of Tibetans who carried out self-immolation protests will be denied state welfare and subsidy allowances for three years. In addition, they will be required to return all state financial aid that they may have received during the previous three years. Family members of such Tibetans will also be denied employment opportunities and will be debarred from holding senior village or township level positions. According to the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (Feb 14) relatives and partners of Tibetan self-immolators are barred from travelling to Lhasa or abroad, running a new business, and obtaining a loan and social security benefits. Promotions will be denied to government and monastery management committee officials having links with self-immolators.

 The new rules also mandate that Tibetan villages where self-immolation protests take place will be completely denied all government assistance. According to SCMP.com (Feb 14) villages or districts where immolations occur will have to pay a security deposit of between 10,000 and 500,000 yuan to the county government, which would be returned only if no further such protests occur monasteries where such protests occur will be fined between 10,000 to 50,000 yuan (US$1,650-8,245) and be prohibited from holding religious activities with outsiders for an unspecified period.














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