Tibet Insight No: 15/14

                                                              TIBET INSIGHT NEWS


Tibetans defy China to honor Dalai Lama at equestrian festival
August 01, 2014

Despite an ongoing patriotism campaign especially targeting those exhibiting any form of loyalty to him, China has failed to prevent Tibetans from beginning a horse-racing festival in Bathang (Chinese: Batang) County of Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province, with a formal display of obeisance to a large portrait of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader.
The festival was held on July 27 in the county’s Dziwa village and the portrait was openly and formally installed on a throne, ignoring restrictions imposed by the Chinese authorities.

Chinese President stresses better transport for Tibet
August 06, 2014
Marking the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Sichuan-Tibet and Qinghai-Tibet highways, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for improvements to the transport infrastructure of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). He observed that both roads, stretching 4,360 kilometers in total, were built in extremely harsh conditions with many technical challenges.

The Ministry of Transport, separately last month, said highways in TAR would total 110, 000 kilometers by 2020. China also aims to complete a primary network of railways by 2020 with 1,300 kilometers of rails in operation. 
Shigatse Prefectural Committee’s meeting with the media
August 11, 2014
The Propaganda Department of the Shigatse Prefectural Party Committee held a special meeting of all the editors and heads of the media in the region and stressed the importance of innovation, propaganda, diligence and discipline and the need for concerted efforts to engage in propaganda.
The meeting was attended by the Chairman of Shigatse’s Propaganda Department Rong Xinlong and presided over by Deputy Chairman Zhang Jinbo of the Propaganda Department. Editors of media outlets like Shigatse News, Shigatse net and the Television network of Shigatse, attended.
Propaganda in disguise
August 06, 2014
The United Front Department in coordination with the County Public Complaints Bureau and County Health Bureau of Nagchu (Ch: Nagqu) Prefecture medically examined monks and nuns in the Prefecture in the  newly constructed Nagchu County People’s Hospital from July 28, 2014, and also checked their  documentation. More than 30 health care workers checked 216 monks and nuns so far and are expected to finish examination of the 578 monks and nuns by the end of August this year. In the course of the examination, the monks and nuns were told about the importance of publicizing the CCP’s policies. Their opinions and suggestions on the management of services were also sought. . 
Earlier this year during a meeting with nuns and monks, TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo talked of the ‘healthy spiritual work’ of monks and nuns in society. Maintaining stability and promoting social harmony is one of the major livelihood projects identified by the Nagchu People’s Government.

Finance Minister of Nepal in Tibet
August 11, 2014
TAR People’s Congress Chairman Pema Trinley (Ch: Pema Choling) met the Nepalese delegation led by its Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat on August 10 in Lhasa. 
Pema Trinley welcomed the delegation to Tibet and expressed his appreciation to the Nepalese government for not allowing any anti-China activities in Nepal by the Tibetans. Stating that  China and Nepal are not only close neighbours but also share a long history of friendly exchanges since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1955, he addedthat there is a high level of trust between the two. He concluded by stating that the two countries will next year celebrate  the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and that he looked forward to continuing  to consolidate and deepen the traditional friendship bilateral relationship. 
Finance Minister Mahat spoke highly of China’s “great achievements” and all that China had done for Tibet. He assured that Nepal would always adhere to the ‘one-China policy’, consider Tibet as part of China, and will not allow any organizations or individuals to engage in ‘anti-China’ activities.

He Wenhao’s inspection tour to Ngari border detachment
August 11, 2014
He Wenhao, Vice Chairman of the TAR People’s Government, Deputy Secretary of TAR’s Politics and Law Committee  and Deputy Secretary of the Ali Border Detachment,  inspected Nagri’s (Ch: Ali) borders on August 11 and met  border officials.
Chenqing Xia, Deputy Commissioner of Ngari Administrative District, chaired the meeting. He Wenhao talked about the need for more border detachments and constructions and controls on the borders. Observing that it is not easy to be stationed at the borders, especially of Ngari, under the very severe and harsh weather conditions, he appreciated and applauded the border detachment officers for their special ability to endure hardships and work in unity. He said he is proud of the Ngari Border Detachment Officers’ unity, sense of team work, sacrifices and their indomitable fighting spirit under the leadership of TAR Detachment Committee. He lauded these as signs of Party loyalty and ideological purity of the officers. He also thanked the border officers on behalf of TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo and TAR People’s Government Chairman Lobsang Gyaltsen.
 He appealed to the officers to continue their good work and redouble efforts. He also talked about the importance of ‘intensive mobilization’ of the masses, effective implementation of the policies of TAR and prevention of illegal activities and immigration in the region. He urged officers to further strengthen inspection capabilities and work closely with the regional public security organs and follow their methods of management and control mechanisms. He also talked about the importance of a strong army at the border, further strengthening of the armed forces and improving their combat efficiency, ideological and political education and training.
(Comment: Ngari Security Chief He Wenhao’s visit to the Ali border detachment follows the inspection tour of Ali Military Sub-District by General Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission in late July 2014.)

National Unity and Progress awards ceremony in Ngari
August 15, 2014
An award ceremony of national unity and progress was held in Gertse (Ch: Gaize) of Ngari (Ch: Ali) Administrive District on August 14. 
Deputy Commissioner of Ngari Administrative District, Thupten Tsering and the Party Secretary of Gertse County, Zhang Dingchen, attended the ceremony as special guests. Phuntsok Norbu, Deputy Secretary of the County Government presided over the ceremony. Other guests at the ceremony were cadres and workers of other counties in Ngari. More than 130 people attended the awards ceremony, where 10 collective teams and 20 individuals received awards.
The County’s various departments at all levels, party cadres and the masses of all ethnic groups were exhorted to strengthen, promote and work towards national unity and follow General Xi Jinping’s series of speeches.

Ngaba Development and Reform Commission issued funds for county projects
August 16, 2014
The Amdo Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Development and Reform Commission allocated Yuan 226.59 million to Zamtang (Ch: Rangtang) County of Amdo Ngaba in Sichuan Province for implementation of ten projects in the region. The names of these projects are not yet known.  

Ngaba affordable housing investment of 103 million Yuan
August 15, 2014
Ngaba (Ch: Aba) People’s Government s recently notified plans for the construction of 6,686 new houses in 2014 with an investment of Yuan 732, 916,000.
4,039 ‘affordable’ housing units were constructed last year of which 623 units were for renting to the public, 100 were commercial units, 3,286 were urban shanty towns and 30 forestry shanty towns, all built with a total investment of Yuan 103, 213, 200.

Chinese police fire at Tibetan protesters
August 14, 2014
Chinese police opened fire to disperse hundreds of Tibetans protesting the detention of Dema Wangdak, a respected village leader, seriously wounding nearly a dozen people. Among the injured were Wangdak’s son and brother, both of whom suffered two gunshot wounds. Many Tibetans were also detained and beaten in the violent crackdown in Sershul County on August 12. Wangdak, aged 45, was detained after he complained to the authorities over the harassment of Tibetan women by senior Chinese officials at a cultural performance that the local community was forced to host during their visit to the county.
Hundreds gathered to call for Wangdak’s release prompting Chinese authorities to send security forces to crack down on the protesters. The security forces used tear gas and fired live ammunition to disperse the crowd during the protest in Loshu Township. The authorities thereafter cut off communication lines. 

Forty Tibetans held in clash with police over miscarriage of justice
August 02, 2014
Some 40 Tibetans have  been detained and many others seriously injured in Darlag (Chinese: Dari) County of Golog (Guoluo) Prefecture, Qinghai Province, after a clash with Chinese police and the paramilitary People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) on Jul 25 over the  miscarriage of justice following  the death of a Tibetan motorcyclist.
A Chinese truck driver was convicted for manslaughter after he knocked down and killed a Tibetan motorcyclist named Soebey on the highway. He was ordered to pay a compensation of 400,000 Yuan (US $65,000) to the victim’s family, but local police released him after he paid only 50,000 Yuan.
On learning of the truck driver’s release, enraged relatives and friends of the victim rushed to the police authorities to demand an explanation. The police refused to justify their action, lead to a clash with the protesters in which one police officer was injured. 
A contingent of the PAPF arrived. 

Tibet’s Driru County under severe new crackdown
August 02, 2014
According to a report recently released by the Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), China has further tightened controls  on Tibetans in Driru (Chinese: Biru) County of Nagchu (Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The TCHRD claims that two regulations issued on July 30, 2014, target the local Tibetans’ “freedom of movement, speech and religion” and state that they violators will be subject to “strike hard” measures. Among the severe punishments are dismissal from monasteries, cancellation of welfare entitlements, a 3-5 year ban on joining other local Tibetans in the annual caterpillar fungus harvesting season, and detention for up to six months for legal education. Those who cross the national border illegally and fail to return face immediate cancellation of their household registration while their families face the other punishments mentioned above.
The regulations state they are aimed at maintaining social stability by cracking down on separatism and support for the “Dalai clique”. They also prohibit Tibetans from participating in religious gatherings, including overseas, such as ‘Great Prayer Festivals’ by crossing the national boundaries.
The regulations hold those violating the religious ban provisions guilty of colluding with what they call the ‘14th Dalai separatist clique’.
Serving as well as retired Tibetan officials of the Chinese government face similar punishment if implicated in any violation of these regulations, including by their family members or relatives.

Chinese authorities have cracked down severely on Driru country ever since Tibetans there protested against an order to fly flags from the rooftops of their homes and monasteries nearly two years ago. There have also been protests against Chinese mining projects that are environmentally destructive.  

Hard hitting comments from Wang Lixiong and Woeser aimed at the Tibetan Government in exile and Tibetan Diaspora 
August, 2014
In an interview  with Ian Johnson, a Beijing-based New York Times correspondent,  Wang Lixiong and Tsering Woeser, both activist ‘bloggers’  devoted  to chronicling  ethnic unrest,  asserted that  “the government-in-exile hasn’t used its brains at all. It’s still traveling the world, meeting people, and shaking hands. It’s completely useless. Instead, the emphasis should be on the people inside Tibet and helping them determines their future”.
They said there are “two Tibets”. One is the “Tibet outside the borders and the other is the Tibet inside the borders”. The “Tibet inside the borders has no voice and no representatives. Abroad you have a few hundred thousand people but are they really the representatives of the Tibetan people they asked? Well-meaning people in foreign countries feel sorry about the self-immolations but no one knows how to help those people inside Tibet. So they support the Tibetans in exile. But in fact, the two groups of Tibetans have no substantive relationship to each other. It’s become a really absurd situation. The more people self-immolate at home, the more stature the Tibetans in exile get. And then if life gets tough for those people abroad, they just immigrate to another country”.


China steps up construction work at Kyirong border
August 08, 2014
The Chinese government has accelerated construction of infrastructure on its side of the border with the aim of starting operations at the Rasuwagadhi-Kyirong border point by October this year.
Quoting TAR’s Department of Finance, Xinhua said that 1.2 billion Yuan would be spent to build various infrastructures to open the border point for international trade. The agency mentioned that China had decided in 1987 to develop the Rasuwagadhi-Kyirong border point as an A-grade facility. A 100 meter long motorable bridge is being constructed at Rasuwagadhi to link Nepal as a gift from China.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has announced plans to extend the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Nepal by 2020. The rail line will be linked to Rasuwagadhi in Nepal through the Shigatse-Kyirong stretch. China has already constructed a black-topped road up to the Nepal border from its national highway linking Tingri, Lhatse and Shigatse.
“China has almost finished building the customs and immigration offices, police check post and port on its side. So the Chinese side has stressed operating the border point by October,” said Nepal’s Consul General in Lhasa Hari Prasad Basyal. The Tatopani border post, the only trade route between Nepal and China, has been put out of operation by the devastating landslide at Mankha, Sindhupalchok which blocked the Araniko Highway along the Sunkoshi River.
Basyal said China wanted to operate the Rasuwagadhi-Kyirong border post soon as an alternative route. During former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Nepal, the two countries had agreed to open six border points, including Rasuwagadhi-Kyirong, for mutual trade promotion. Basyal said that Nepal had urged China to construct a dry port in Rasuwagadhi. China aims to develop Kyirong as an international trade centre.
Analysts said China wanted to link up with India and other South Asian countries through this border post. The 265-km long road linking Rasuwa-Trishuli-Raxaul is the shortest land route between India and China.
The Rasuwagadhi-Kyirong border point is all set for a test operation but the Nepali side is not yet ready so. The Rasuwagadhi-Kyirong road was a busy trade route during the Lichchhavi and Malla periods in Nepal. 
Nepal’s Consul General claimed that the Nepal government had been working to open the historic border point as scheduled. However, preparations to operate the border point have been progressing slowly on the Nepali side. “We have recently finished acquiring the required land. We have a building to house offices for normal work,” said Rasuwa’s Chief District Officer Uddhav Bhattarai. He added that the border point could be operated while infrastructure was being constructed and that a monitoring team would soon reach Rasuwagadhi to set up an immigration office.
Second class survey of forest resources completed in Tibet
August 11, 2014
According to TAR’s Forestry Investigation and Planning Institute the second class, two and a half year-long survey of Tibet's forest resources has been completed after passing the expert evaluation. Tibet has a wooded area of 19.4939 million hectares. The forest area is 16.8486 million hectares, accounting for 86.43% of the total wooded area. Standing forest stock is 2.0902 billion cubic meters and forest stock is 2.0858 billion cubic meters.
Compared to the survey in 2002, Tibet's forest area increased 1.95 million hectares and forest stock increased 193.2 million hectares. 
Leigui, Director of the TAR Forestry Department said that this activity lays a good foundation for construction of an ecological security barrier and scientific development of forestry.
Qinghai-Tibet railway transports 73 million passengers
July, 2014
Jiang Zehai, Deputy General Manager of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company, said recently that 73.79 million people have travelled on the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world's highest plateau rail track, since the route opened in July 2006, indicating a 15.5 per cent annual increase in passenger traffic.. 
Statistics show that the railway also transported 355.9 million tons of cargo.
TAR’s tourism revenues grew to 16.5 billion Yuan (about 2.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013 from 1.94 billion Yuan in 2005.
The construction of rural highway network in chamdo Prefecture
August 08, 2014
The Chamdo Branch of Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) has decided to invest 2.3 billion RMB Yuan this year in the rural highway network. By the end of June, 821 million Yuan RMB project loans were distributed and the remaining 1.5 billion Yuan RMB loans will be distributed in September.

China holds fourth int’l forum to praise itself on Tibet’s development
 August 13, 2014
China invited 100 delegates, including 40 foreign delegates, for the first-ever two (Aug 12-13, 2014) day in Lhasa entitled “2014 Forum on the Development of Tibet, China."

Scholars, journalists, politicians and entrepreneurs from Britain, India, the United States and other countries visited Lhasa and later went on field trips in Lhasa and to Nyingchi (Tibetan: Nyingtri) Prefecture.  

Cui Yuying (f), Vice Head of the Information Office, set the tone by criticizing those “who insist Tibet should remain primitive and any development of the region equals the annihilation of Tibetan culture and the region’s environment,” and that “Tibetans should always ride yaks and live in tents.” But, she added, under Chinese rule over the past half century, “Tibet has been on an irreversible path of development and civilization, which complies with the general trend of the development of the human society.”

Narasimhan Ram of India’s “largest” English-language newspaper, The Hindu, said that “thanks to China, Tibet’s interaction and integration with the rest of China has deepened and its isolation from the rest of the world has decisively been ended.”

The report issued by the organizers after the Forum quoted  Neil Davison, Labour’s shadow Advocate General sitting in the House of Lords of the British Parliament, as suggesting that China use forums like the ongoing one and “the power of media” to enable the people in his country to understand the type of development taking place in Tibet. Later, the Labour Party distanced itself from Lord Davison’s comments stating that he was on a “private visit”.

Losang Gyaltsen, Chairman of the TAR People’s Government, asserted that Tibet would “never” develop the region at the expense of its environment. 
The previous forums were held in Vienna (Austria) on Nov 29, 2007; Rome (Italy) on Oct 22, 2009, and Athens (Greece) on Nov 10, 2011.
At the end of the Forum, on August 13, a “Lhasa Consensus” was issued. 

Tibet's second railway line opens
August 15,2014
The second railway line in Tibet, an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world's highest, was officially operationalised on August 15. The 253-km railway line links Lhasa and Shigatse

Chinese-made locomotives to debut on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
August 16, 2014
The first batch of Chinese-made high-power diesel locomotives made their debut on southwest China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as the second railway line in the Tibet Autonomous Region opened on August 15, 2014..

Qu Tianwei, Chief Engineer of Dalian Locomotive under the China CNR Corp, one of the world's largest rolling stock manufacturers, said the Lhasa-Xigaze railway, an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, will use the HX-N3 diesel locomotives for both freight and passenger transport. Qu Tianwei said engineers devoted more than one year in upgrading the HX-N3 locomotive used in Northwest China to adapt to high elevation environment on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Currently, 78 NJ2 locomotives made by U.S. GE Transportation are used on the Golmud-Lhasa section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which runs from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province to Lhasa.

Tibetans protest against coal mining in Nangchen
August 08, 2014
Tibetans protested in early August against coal mining in Nangchen county (Ch: Nangqen) of Qinghai Province.  Carrying banners and shouting slogans, the villagers gathered on August 12-13 at the mining site in Dompa Township to express opposition to any resumption of activity. They told Chinese officials in Goshung Ruchen village that the mining activities contradicted directives from the country’s leaders regarding protection of the environment. The Tibetans have been worried about mining activities at three sites -- Gongshung Ruchen Menmar Norbuma, Droglung Okar, and Ahge Kyilung.  

Illegal coal mines in Qinghai seriously threaten China’s Yellow River
August 10, 2014
 A Greenpeace East Asia investigation, carried out by covert campaigners, has revealed that two coalfields 14 times the size of the City of London have turned alpine meadows into craters in Qinghai Province, according to a report which appeared on the blueandgreentomorrow.com website on Aug 8. The report said the two Chinese coal mines were in breach of China’s environmental protection laws and nature reserve regulations.
“China’s natural reserve law says you shouldn’t be doing any large-scale operations within national parks,” The Guardian Jul 8 quoted Li Shuo, Greenpeace East Asia’s climate and energy campaigner, as saying. “This is a clear violation.”
The report said the mines were being operated by a handful of private firms led by the China Kingho Energy Group.
The report cited satellite images and data analysed by legal experts as showing that two working mines were breaking the law by overlapping the Quilian Mountains National Ecological Functional Zone and another two about to do the same at a nearby nature reserve.
The report has added that the mining activities could lead to water scarcity in more than 50 cities and 420 towns that rely on the Yellow River for drinking water and agriculture.

Data shows that the two mines have already destroyed 42.6km of alpine meadows,.

The report cited a study published Jul 2014 as warning that by 2040, it will be impossible for China to supply enough water to its citizens if the nation continued to produce electricity as it does now.

Tibet's glaciers at their warmest in 2,000 years, report says
August 14, 2014
A report published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research stated that the Tibetan plateau, whose glaciers supply water to hundreds of millions of people in Asia, were warmer over the past 50 years than at any stage in the past two millennia.
It said temperatures and humidity are likely to continue to rise throughout this century, causing glaciers to retreat and desertification to spread. 
A report on the website of Science and Technology Daily, a state-run newspaper. said “Over the past 50 years, the rate of temperature rise has been double the average global level”. 
In May, Chinese scientists said Tibetan glaciers had shrunk 15% – around 3,100 sq miles (8,000 sq km) – over the past 30 years. 
The new report said a combination of climate change and human activity on the plateau was likely to cause an increase in floods and landslides there. However, rising temperatures had also improved the local ecosystem, it said. 


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