Tibet Insight No. 24/15

                                                                       TIBET INSIGHT NEWS

Sixth Plenary Meeting of TAR Party Committee 
December 31, 2014
The TAR Party Committee held its sixth plenary meeting in Lhasa on December 30. Those attending included TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, TAR People’s Government Chairman and Deputy Secretary of TAR Party Committee Lobsang Gyaltsen, Deputy Secretary of TAR Party Committee Wu Yingjie, Deputy Secretary of TAR Party Committee Deng Xiaogang and Members of the TAR Party Committee Standing Committee Choedak, Dong Yunhu, Wang Yongjun and Wan Ming.
The meeting reviewed the Work Report for 2014 and discussed the implementation of the CCP CC’s policies in the previous TAR plenary sessions. The Plenum reaffirmed the Party Committee’s policies against separatist activities, holding high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, thoroughly implementing General Secretary Xi Jinping’s series of speeches, maintaining long term stability and winning over the hearts of the people in Tibet, to carry out the Party’s Mass line campaign comprehensively.
In his speech Chen Quanguo asked the Regional and Government organization leaders, members and cadres to take General Secretary Xi Jinping’s speeches as the “guiding principle” and use it comprehensively to promote the rule of law. He stressed that economic development and a well off society are the fundamental requirement to achieve overall social stability. He urged everyone to develop all means to improve the livelihood of people in Tibet.

China’s UFWD Minister under investigation for corruption
December 22, 2014
China’s Minister in the CCP CC’s United Front Work Department (UFWD), which handles relations with non-party organizations and Tibet, is under investigation for corruption. The Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC), in a statement dated December 22, 2014, said that 58-year old Ling Jihua, a Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and a former top aide to former Chinese President Hu Jintao, is presently under investigation for alleged serious disciplinary violations. 
The CDIC report had noted on June 19, 2014, that Ling Jihua’s brother Ling Zhengce, a senior official in the coal-rich Shanxi province, was under investigation for alleged “severe” violation of law and party discipline. On December 22, 2014, the state-owned ‘Global Times’ reported that Ling Wancheng, a businessman and another brother of Ling Jihua, was also under investigation. The newspaper’s editorial commented that “Ling’s family was consumed by the power he possessed and abused it for ill-gotten gains. Ling’s fall sends a strong signal to the public that the anti-graft endeavor will be a long-running undertaking.” The editorial said “The central government has decided to face its problems directly. Such an attitude gives hope and confidence to Chinese society.”
Regional Stability Meeting in Ngari
 December 28, 2014
The Administrative Office of Ngari (Ch: Ali) Prefecture concluded its annual Regional Stability meeting on December 28, 2014.  The Commissioner of Ngari Administrative Office and Deputy Secretary of Ngari Party Committee Pema Wangdu (Ethnicity: Tibetan) chaired the meeting, which was attended by Wanchao Qi (Ethnicity: Han), Party Secretary of Ngari Party Committee; Tenzin Phuntsok (Ethnicity: Tibetan), Deputy Secretary of Ngari Party Committee and Head of Ngari Propaganda Department; Gompa Sum (Ethnicity: Tibetan), Deputy Secretary of Ngari Party Committee and Vice-Commissioner of Ngari Administrative Office; Phuntsok (Ethnicity: Tibetan), Deputy Secretary of Ngari Party Committee and Vice-Commissioner of Ngari Administrative Office; He Jun ( Ethnicity: Han) Vice Commissioner of Ngari Administrative Office; and almost all officials of the Ngari Prefecture, cadres of the Ngari Armed Police Detachment, officials of the Ngari Pubic Security Frontier Detachment, Ngari Police Fire Brigade, Traffic Officers, County leaders etc. 
In his speech at the opening ceremony Ngari Party Secretary Wanchao Qi said that Ngari Had made remarkable achievements in maintaining peace and stability by implementing the CCP CC’s ethnic and religious policies. He thanked the leaders and officials of the Regional departments. Wangchao Qi also appealed to the Regional leaders and officials to always remain alert sustain efforts in maintaining long stability and win over the hearts of the masses.  
Yunnan Training Session for Tibetan Writers and Translators
December 18, 2014 
The editors at China’s official ‘Nationalities Literature Magazine’, which appears in 6 editions namely Kazakh, Uyghur, Mongolian, Korean, Tibetan and Mandarin organised a series of nationwide “rewriting/editing training courses.”  The most recent course was held in Yunnan’s Deqing (Tib: Dechen) county in late November and brought together more than 30 Tibetan writers and translators, along with editors of the Tibetan edition of the magazine.  Hu Xingneng, Deputy Secretary of the Yunnan Branch of the China Writers Association, said the course was held in Deqing because it is home to several “Tibetan-themed” authors, including Yangchen Lhamo, Yangchen Dolma, Trinlay Dorjee etc.

Among the ‘trainees’ at these sessions were: 任芙康(Rèn Fúkāng), 黄佩华 (Huáng Pèihuá), 陈德宏 (Chén Déhóng), 吴基伟 (Wú Jīwěi),  (哈森Hā Sēn, translator of Ayunga’s 满巴扎仓 from the Mongolian), 鲁若迪基 ( lǔ ruò dí jī), 扎巴(Zha Ba), 阿布斯南 (A Businan), 张国华(Zhang Guohua), 普日科 (Pu Rike), 扎西东主(Zha Xidongzhu), 达哇才让(dá wa cái ràng), 敖见 (áo jiàn), 才忠吉 (Cái Zhōngjí) 董圆 (Dǒng Yuán), 才让扎西 (cái ràng zhā xī), 大普琼 (Dà Pǔqióng), 希多才让 ( xī duōcái ràng), 央今拉姆 ( yāng jīn lā mǔ), 桑巴 ( Sāng Bā), 拉加扎西 ( lā jiā zhā xī), and 扎西尼玛 (zhā xī ní mǎ).

(Comment:  The Tibetan edition of Nationalities Literature Magazine is distributed to over 3,750 Buddhist temples and monasteries across China.)
Tibetan monk self-immolates in Tawo
December 24, 2014
Kalsang Yeshe, a Tibetan monk and reputed teacher of Buddhism, self immolated and died on December 23, 2014 in Tawu the Tibetan area of Kham. According to sources, Kalsang Yeshe self-immolated near a police station that was established recently near his monastery, Nyitso. Repression of monks and local people has, according to reports, been particularly intense in this area in recent years.

According to Tibetans from the area who are now in exile, local people gathered afterwards demanding the return of his body in order to carry out traditional religious ceremonies. It is the third self-immolation in Tibet in a month, following the death of a young Tibetan woman, Tseypey, after she set fire to herself in Ngaba on December 22.

Nepal-China JETC meeting reviews bilateral trade
December 20, 2014
The Eleventh Session of the Nepal-China Joint Economic and Trade Committee reviewed the development of bilateral trade, economic and technical assistance and economic cooperation between Nepal and China in the recent years.
During the session held in the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing on 17 -18 December, both sides expressed satisfaction on the accomplishments of the period and emphasised the need to enhance cooperation to further augment bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. 
At the end of meeting, both sides signed a MoU on Jointly Promoting the Silk Road Economic Belt under the Framework of the China – Nepal Joint Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation and exchanged letters under which China will provide provisions and essential materials for the northern hilly region of Nepal and construct two schools in Lamjung and Sindhupalchowk. 
The Nepalese delegation was led by finance secretary Suman Prasad Sharma and the Chinese side was headed by Ms Gao Yin, the Vice Minister for Commerce of PR China. The Nepalese side requested additional Chinese investments in Nepal in prioritized sectors and more concessions to improve Nepalese exports to China as well as to reduce the growing trade deficit faced by Nepal. 
The Chinese side responded positively on issues such as harmonization of working hours of the Custom offices, establishment and upgradation of necessary infrastructures at Custom points in Tatopani and Rasuwagadi and the early expansion of the Chinese railway network from Shigatse to Kyirong so as to enhance Nepalese exports to China. Several new project proposals were put forward for the consideration of Chinese assistance such as expansion and upgradation of the Kathmandu – Rasuwagadi and the Pokhara – Baglung – Beni – Jomsom roads; expansion of the remaining section of Kathmandu Ring Road; expedition and construction of ICDs at Larcha and Rasuwa; and widening and upgrading Dhulikhel – Tatopani road section. 
The Nepalese side also requested the establishment of a Chinese bank or a branch of a Chinese Bank in Nepal.
Both sides also agreed to increase cooperation in the tourism sector and hold a technical level meeting to better harmonize the custom code and practices between the two countries. The Chinese side thanked Nepal’s support on the Silk Road Economic Belt and establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China has assured Nepal of its continuous assistance and cooperation in Nepal’s development endeavours and stressed the need for more Nepalese support to expedite some of the on-going China-aided projects in Nepal. 
It was decided to convene the 12th session of the Committee meeting in Kathmandu in 2015 at a mutually convenient date. 
Nepal seizes 23 kg of smuggled gold in biggest haul this year

December 17, 2014
In its biggest haul this year, Nepal police confiscated 23 kg gold worth more than Rs 100 million from Jagati, Bhaktapur, from a fruit container around midnight on December 15, 2014.
The 23 gold biscuits were being smuggled in a truck (Na 3 Kha 5058) headed for Kathmandu from Tatopani, Sindhupalchok, that the police intercepted at Jagati checkpoint. The driver told the police that a Chinese national had asked him to deliver it to Koteshwor where a person from Bouddha would receive it. In July last year, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police seized 35 kg gold from a truck in Koteshwor. The gold was being smuggled from Lhasa into Kathmandu. Recent big seizures include the arrest of a foreign national from Bhagwati Bahal, Naxal, on December 6 with 15kg gold.
China seeks party-to-party ties with NC, UML and Maoists
December 17, 2014
Chen Fengxiang, Vice Minister at the CCP CC’s International Department, met top Nepali political leaders on December 15 and 16, 2014, where he underlined the need for high-level contact between the Nepali and Chinese political leadership as well as medium rank leaders.
In a meeting with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya, Chen Fengxiang conveyed the message that China backs the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nepal as well as the country’s economic development. He said that Chinese President Xi Jinping ‘longs for the prosperity of the neighbours’ so that China could benefit too.
According to Dinesh Bhattarai, Foreign Relations Adviser to the PM, Koirala invited the Chinese leadership including President Xi Jinping as Nepal and China commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.
In his meeting with Maoist leader Dahal, Chen Fengxiang proposed stronger ties between the two communist parties and called for high and medium level political exchanges in future. He offered to begin a new era of relations between the two countries after Nepal gains political stability with a new constitution in place.
Sino-Sagarmatha agrees to build 132kV power line
December 21, 2014
The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sino-Sagarmatha Hydropower to build a 132 kV single-circuit transmission line from Bhulbhule to the Marsyangdi corridor.
The 20-km power line will evacuate the energy generated by the Upper Marsyangdi-A Hydropower Project. Sino-Sagarmatha is also the contractor for the 50 MW Upper Marsyangdi-A project. Mukesh Kafle, managing director of the NEA, said that “As per the MoU, Sino-Sagarmatha will be responsible for evacuating the energy generated.” He added that activities like land acquisition had been going on at a fast pace.
As per the power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with the NEA, the project will start supplying power to the national grid by December 2016. More than 60 percent of the construction work has been completed, and it is very likely that the project will be finished ahead of schedule, the NEA said.
Substations with 220, 132 and 33 kV capacities will be built at Dharapani, Khudi, Udipur, Markichok and a bay extension will be set up at Bharatpur Substation. The project is estimated to cost $100 million and will be funded by the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Nepal. Sino-Sagarmatha will bankroll the power line project which is expected to cost Rs 250 million. According to Kafle, the NEA will not have to spend any money on it. “We had to hold long negotiations. Finally, the company agreed to build the transmission line on its own,” Kafle said. As per the agreement, the NEA will only conduct the task of land acquisition and provide some technical support.     
Wang Yi Press China’s Peripheral Policy
December 24, 2014
China’s peripheral (neighbourhood) diplomacy was the top agenda item during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s 3-day visit to Nepal. The Chinese Foreign Minister led a seven-member delegation to Nepal.
Wang Yi was the first senior-level Chinese official to visit Nepal after the election of the Constituent Assembly last year and he briefed Nepali leaders, officials, intellectuals and policy makers about the foreign policy of the new Chinese leadership, particularly President Xi Jinping’s vision about China’s neighbourhood. According to diplomatic sources, Wang Yi studied the current political situation of Nepal and the chances of timely promulgation of the new constitution. The information is considered crucial for Beijing to plan a high-level visit to Nepal next year, possibly by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Three Chinese teams recently held wide-ranging consultations with stakeholders in Kathmandu in preparation for the high-level visit from China and commemoration of the establishment of the 60th year of their diplomatic relations. Wang Yi met Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and his counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pandey , Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai and top leaders of major political parties.
Wang Yi handed over medical equipment worth Rs 200 million for the Civil Service Hospital to Minister for General Administration Lal Babu Pandit on December 26. The hospital was built with Chinese assistance. Wang Yi held bilateral talks with his counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and addressed the media. He visited the Armed Police Force headquarters to lay the foundation stone for the APF Academy to be built with Rs 3 billion Chinese grant.

China augments annual assistance by 433 per cent
December 26, 2014

China has augmented its annual assistance to Nepal by 433 per cent. The announcement was made after a bilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers of China and Nepal on December 26. China has agreed to provide financial assistance of 800 million RMB, up from 150 million RMB, to Nepal for the fiscal 2015/16. 
Similarly, China expressed strong commitment to increase cooperation in nine areas for the overall development of Nepal. The major areas of cooperation include trade, investment, infrastructure, energy, capacity building, science and technology, agriculture, tourism and security and law enforcement. To effectively implement cooperation in these nine areas, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi suggested that funding arrangements would be made bilaterally and regionally. At joint news conference after the meeting, Wang Yi said "We will do whatever we can to meet the target of graduation of Nepal to the developed country from the least developing countries within 2022."
The Foreign Ministers agreed to activate the bilateral mechanism constituted at the foreign minister-level two years ago to enhance cooperation on the various issues of bilateral relations and mutual benefit. Stating that China´s support was essential to ensure the national development of Nepal, he expressed China´s willingness to support Nepal in the development of hydropower and power generation. Pledging assistance from the TAR and China’s diplomatic mission for the holistic development of Nepal, the Chinese Minister vowed to extend consolidated support in skills development of human resources. 
Monasteries under the cloak of Secrecy
December 28, 2014
Media reports state that the unusual growth of Buddhist monasteries along the Indo-Bhutan border in the last 4-5 years, stretching from East Sikkim to Jaigaon under Jalpaiguri district, has set alarm bells ringing in India’s security establishment.
At least 22 monasteries have come up in this area of strategic importance, which are assessed to have a China connection. Intelligence agencies are, meanwhile, conducting an audit of the mushrooming of the monasteries, the source of their funding and their agendas. The agencies suspect that monasteries could be involved in a twin agenda of gathering Intelligence and indoctrinating the local population through exchange of culture, economy and development. 
Beijing has been operating China Study Centers (CSCs) on the Nepalese side of the border and their numbers are increasing. Eleven of the over two dozen CSCs are functional on the border.
China is influencing the Terai population, in general and those in Jhapa and Illam districts of Nepal, in particular. China, officials suspect, could use these centres as launching pads for exploiting the ethnic link between Nepalese population in Nepal and India.
Security agencies are rep[ortedly of the view that the gradual growth of monasteries all along the Silk Route in East Sikkim, Kalimpong Sub-Division of Darjeeling and Malbazar sub-division and part of Alipurduar sub-division of Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal may not be simply treated as growth of religious institutions and point out that the growth ratio of monasteries is not proportionate to Buddhist population in the area. 
China assures rail link with Nepal
December 27, 2014
China has expressed its readiness to extend its rail network to the Nepal border, urging Nepal to conduct a feasibility study for the same within its territory.
During bilateral talks in Kathmandu on December 26, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed to expand the railway up to Kyirong of Tibet. He urged Nepal to conduct a feasibility study so that the railway could be extended to Kathmandu and beyond.
According to a communiqué posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website on December 27, China is willing to extend the line from Shigatse to the Nepali territory. China had agreed in principle to extend the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Nepal.
“During the talks, the Chinese side asked us to conduct a feasibility study if Nepal wants the network expanded into its territory,” Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, who led the Nepali side in the talks, said. 
Nepal has yet to formally propose with China for the extension of the Chinese rail up to the Nepal border.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway reached Shigatse in August. With the 253-km track linked to Tibet’s second city, the high-elevation railway has reached closer to Nepal.
Shigatse is 540 km from Kyirong, the nearest Tibetan town from Nepal. The bordering Nepali district of Rasuwa is 35 km from there. Officials said there is the possibility of Chinese assistance for expanding the rail network within the Nepali territory.
During the meeting, the Chinese side also promised to build an alternative cargo route from Rasuwagadhi to Kathmandu. The central government in Beijing is said to be considering these two proposals. Both the sides agreed to make optimum use of Araniko Highway to ensure smooth passage of goods while they agreed to increase the number of flights between the two countries.
In the field of tourism, China would continue to encourage its citizens to travel to Nepal while it welcomed Nepalis to the Tibet-Kailash- Mansarovar pilgrimage. China also proposed to establish Chinese cultural centres in Nepal and invited 100 young Nepalis to visit the Confucius Institute in China.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, China is willing to help Nepal to carry out preliminary planning and study for establishing Special Economic Zones and to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Nepal for the creation of industrial parks.
Besides, China would assist in Nepal’s bid for industrialisation and human resource enhancement. In agriculture, the Chinese side offered to share technology and explore further possibilities of help in rice, livestock and organic farming. China assured to encourage its enterprises to participate in infrastructure development particularly in Nepal’s hydropower sector, airports and highways. It decided to set up a joint laboratory to look into climate change and environmental effects in Nepal.
“China is also willing to increase training in all aspects of Nepali talent. Next year, we will provide 500 training slots for Nepal in various fields under the Excellence Scholarship framework,” read the communiqué.
“China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Nepal on major international issues.”
Nepal seeks Chinese support for up gradation of trading routes 
December 26, 2014
Nepal has sought Chinese support for upgradation of trading routes and early completion of Inland Container Depots (ICDs) that China has pledged to construct. During the Nepal-China bilateral meeting held on December 26, in the presence of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Nepal requested for up gradation of Rasuwagadhi- Betrabati (Nuwakot) road section as well as the 6.2-kilometre road section of China border to Larcha ICD for easy mobility of trucks and containers.
Narayan Gopal Malego, Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies who participated in the meeting, said Nepal also requested construction of Timure ICD within a year, extension of a rail link to Kyirong check post (entry point to China from Rasuwagadhi) and access to loaded Nepali truck containers at certain locations. 
Citing constraint of space in parking yards at the customs points to unload goods, Nepal has asked for trucks/containers to be allowed entry to certain locations to unload goods, which would ensure that vehicles are not stuck in customs waiting for their turn to unload goods. Nepal also requested China’s assistance for lab and quarantine equipment to enhance the capacity of labs and quarantines of the check posts.
The meeting discussed opening new trading routes with China. The proposed routes are Poraag (China)-Yari of Humla (Nepal), Riwa (China)-Olangchung Gola of Taplejung (Nepal), and Penan (China)-Jumla (Nepal), according to Malego. Currently, the rail route is linked to Shigatse, which is 200 km away from newly inaugurated Jilong Check post of China. Jilong-Rasuwagadhi check posts commenced operation from December 1. Nepal also proposed China to setup joint-venture bank in Nepal to encourage use of renminbi in trade with northern neighbour.
The Eleventh meeting of Aba (Tib:  Ngawa) and Qiang (Tib: Changrig) Autonomous Prefecture People’s Government on November 28, 2014 decided the following major appointments and dismissals of officials.
1. Yu Ping appointed as Deputy Governor of People’s Government
2. Song Ning as member of Science, Technology and Intellectual Property Bureau Office
3. Wang Qiang as Chairman of Aba (Tib: Ngawa) Tibetan Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission
4. He Song as member of  Culture, Radio, Press and Publication Bureau of Aba and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture
5. Wang Shuyun as member of Health and Family Planning Commission
6. Liu Feng, legal Office of People’s Government

1. Zhao Ping, Deputy Chairman of People’s Government
2. Wang Qiang, Religious and Ethnic Affairs Commission
3. Pema Norbu Bureau of Religious Affairs


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