Tibet Insight No. 25/15


                                                           TIBET INSIGHT NEWS


Han cadres required to learn Tibetan language

January 12, 2015

Following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s instruction, at a conference on ethnic work in September 2014, requiring that in ethnic regions all ethnic minority cadres should learn Mandarin and Han cadres should learn ethnic languages, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has directed that mastery of the Tibetan language will become a requirement for non-native cadres in the TAR. Xi Jinping had said that the language skill should become a "requirement" for cadres. He said: "One cannot serve the local people well if one cannot speak the local language."

The TAR Regional Bureau of Compilation and Translation disclosed that all seven prefecture-level cities in Tibet have started organizing Tibetan language training for non-native cadres. Choedak, Deputy Director of the Bureau, said they had handed out 40,000 books on basic Tibetan language for daily conversation. Choedak said that over 90 percent of Tibet's population of 3 million is of Tibetan ethnicity and that breaking the language barrier can help non-native cadres interact better with local communities. Choedak added that in addition to Tibetan-language reading materials, the regional government plans to produce bilingual language-learning TV programs to help civil servants learn the language.

More than 6000 cadres and technical professionals from various Chinese provinces and municipalities have been designated for language training. Cadres usually stay in the region for three years.

According to Wang Fengchao, Deputy Head of the Organization Department of the TAR Party Committee, seven groups of cadres from 18 provincial regions have been sent to 74 counties and cities in the southwest region since 1994, when the cadre aid program was launched. They have worked in fields such as the economy, technology, education, and medical science.

Zhao Lei, a cadre working in Datang Township of Lhoka (Ch: Shannan) Prefecture, said simple conversation in the local tongue can bring a feeling of intimacy between people. He said he hopes to learn more Tibetan so he won't have to depend on his Tibetan colleagues for interpretation wherever he goes.

Tsering Paljor, Party Chief of the Zadang Village in Nagchu (Ch: Nagqu) Prefecture, said the village committee has helped Han cadres find language partners for the required language training. Most of them have been able to use Tibetan for simple conversations.

Shigatse held Stability Control Award Ceremony

January 30, 2015

An award ceremony was held in Shigatse (Ch: Xigaze) to recognise ‘stability maintenance’ control officials especially Nyalam County’s checkpoints and border officials. The Mayor of the Municipal Committee and Secretary Zhang Hongbo attended the meeting to give awards to collectives and individuals. Municipal Public Security Bureau Chief Tsering Tashi presided.

Party members of the Shigatse People’s Government, Shigatse Public Security’s border detachment Chief Ba Zhu, representatives from Tingri, Dingye, Kyirong, Saga and Nyalam countries of Shigatse, various departments and police forces attended the meeting.

In his speech, Mayor Zhang Hongbo asserted that border security is important and appealed to officials not to commit even the slightest mistake. He urged the border area counties of Shigatse to study and understand General Secretary Xi Jinping and TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo’s ‘important’ instructions on stability, rule of law, unity of thoughts and actions. He requested departments of all levels in Shigatse to ensure border security, stability and the creation of a “strong impregnable border”. 

Official expelled from Party for Corruption 

January 22, 2015

The TAR Commission for Discipline Inspection announced on January 20, 2015, that Zhu Tai, Deputy Inspector of TAR Information and Technology, has been expelled from the Party for “serious discipline violations.” He was found to have taken advantage of his position to benefit others, accepting huge bribes and committing adultery. Officials of the TAR Commission for Discipline Inspection said that he has violated the “CCP’s Disciplinary Regulations” and henceforth his case will be transferred to the concerned judicial organs. He is prohibited from participating in any public and party affairs in the future.

Zhu Tai was under investigation by the TAR Commission for Discipline Inspection since September 23, 2014 for “Violation of Party Discipline.”

10th TAR PPCC held third Session

January 18, 2015

Third meeting of the Tenth TAR CPPCC opened in Lhasa opened on 16 January. Pagbalha Namgyai, Chairman of the TAR CPPCC and member of the CCP CC’s CPPCC, chaired the meeting. TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo and military leader Li Hui and the Consul General of Nepal in Lhasa, Hari Prasad Rao Bashyal, were invited to attend the meeting.

Vice-Chairman and Secretary of the TAR PPCC Lobsang Dorjee said that the TAR PPCC aimed to “promote religious harmony” and carried out various religious and propaganda activities in the countryside, rural areas, remote monasteries and villages to preach about religious harmony and ‘socialism with Chinese Characteristics’. 

According to reports, in 2014 Tibet PPCC members submitted a total of 519 proposals as of the end of October last year. 

Officials that “aided” Dalai Lama investigated in 2014

January 27, 2015

Several officials, who participated in the illegal underground "Tibetan Independence" organization, provided intelligence to the Dalai Lama clique and assisted activities that would harm national security, were put under investigation in 2014, TAR authorities said on January 27, 2015. 

Wang Gang, an official with the TAR Party Discipline Inspection Commission, said that a total of 15 officials were punished by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for violating Party and political discipline in 2014. He said that six "typical" cases of Party members and civil servants violating discipline have been announced in Tibet and 45 officials who abandoned their positions and neglected their duties have been severely punished.

Some officials failed to take a firm stand on issues related to the Tibet question and some grass-root officials in the region were found to be seriously corrupt, said Ye Dongsong, head of an inspection team of the CCP Discipline Commission in November 2014. Ye Dongsong suggested that the TAR government focus on neutralizing ‘separatists’ and maintaining ‘social stability’, cracking down on corruption and strictly monitoring projects in the region. 

Statistics show that the Tibetan discipline inspection department received 1,494 reports about misbehaviour of officials from local residents in 2014, an increase of 131.7 percent year on year. Of these cases, 329 cases have been investigated, an increase of 161.1 percent since 2013, according to the China News Service.

A total of 240 people have been dealt with for breaches of the "eight-point" anti-bureaucracy and formalism rules issued in 2014 and 138 of them have been given Party punishment.

Xi Jinping urges more focus on ethnic regions

January, 22 2015

 Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for efforts to facilitate the economic and social development in ethnic regions to fulfil the "building of a moderately prosperous society" by 2020. Xi Jinping made the remarks during a three-day (January 25-28, 2015) inspection tour to Yunnan Province. He urged the province, which is home to many of China's 56 ethnic groups, to be a model region of ethnic solidarity in the nation.

China vows to foster minority officials in ethnically-diverse regions

December 2014

In a document publicized on Monday, the central government promised "great effort" to cultivate and appoint more officials from minority groups and to ensure they were given "full trust".

The document -- "Opinions on Strengthening and Improving Ethnic Work under the New Situations" -- noted that special attention should be paid to the cultivation of intellectuals in ethnically-diverse regions, especial those from minority backgrounds.

"Vigorously foster, audaciously select, fully trust and use officials from ethnically-diverse [backgrounds], and cultivate experienced Han officials in ethnically-diverse regions," said the guideline, which was jointly released Monday by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee and the State Council.

The document called on ethnic minority officials to master Mandarin Chinese, while urging Han officials, the dominant ethnic group in China, to learn the local dialect of the area where they work.

Stressing that language education in ethnic regions needs to be boosted, the guideline encouraged favorable policies for bilingual teachers who can teach students to "basically master" Mandarin Chinese while fully respecting and ensuring education in the local tongue.

Grassroots Cadres Training in Lhasa

January 6, 2015

On January 4, TAR  carried out promotional training of education for grassroots cadres, and a total of 1081 village (neighbourhood) committee members participated in the training courses such as Tibetan-Chinese languages, law and policy interpretations 

According to Zhao Youpeng, leader of the Lhasa Election Office Contact Group, the focus is on younger groups such as college students "village official", veterans, and rich leaders. "They have innovative work methods to lead the masses to achieve the common progress and prosperity. We hope low-degree cadres can keep up with the pace."

The 3rd session of the 10th TAR People's Congress held

January 20, 2015

The third session of 10th Tibet People's Congress was held in Lhasa on the morning of January 18 and Pema Trinlay (Pema Choling), Chairman of TAR People’s Congress chaired the meeting. 385 deputies from various prefectures and ethnic groups attended the meeting. 

Tibetan evicted from government housing in Kyegudo

January 24, 2015

Chinese security forces moved this month to evict Tibetan families from new homes in an earthquake-hit region after occupants said they could not pay the government back for the costs of additional construction. The action on January 21, 2015, by authorities in the town of Kyegudo in the Yulshul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture followed official demands for payment and saw hundreds of police deployed into government-built housing projects. The Tibetans were told that all land belongs to the state and that they should therefore reimburse the cost of their resettlement. But many families had lost loved ones and all their belongings and are in no position to pay the money back. Armed Chinese police and other security forces are now going “door to door” to demand payment.

Employment training for farmers and herdsmen

January 30, 2015

Employment training for farmers and herdsmen was recently held in Doelungdechen (Ch:Doilungdeqe) County of Lhasa. Nearly 1000 farmers and herdsmen participated in this training and about 3000 copies of publicity materials were sent out.

Workers of the Lhasa Employment Service Administration gave detailed explanations, to questions relating to regulations and policies on employment, rights protection and social insurance, on the site.

Deputy Political Commissar of Tibet among officials under corruption investigation

January 16, 2014

Citing an official announcement, the official media on January 15, 2015, released the names of high level military cadres undergoing investigation on charges of corruption.

Among the 16 names of corrupt officials was that of Wei Pu, Deputy Political Commissar of the Tibet Military District. According to the data released, 56-year old Wei Pu worked in the Chengdu Military Region for a long time and in November 2011, was appointed the Deputy Political Commissar of the Tibet Military District. It said that "Wei Pu, Deputy Political Commissar of the Tibet Military District was accused of serious violations of discipline in April 2014, and later on July 2014, the case was transferred to the military judicial organs”. According to the report, Wei Pu worked in the Tibet Military District for a long duration and had worked together with the former Deputy Commander of the Chengdu Military Region, Yang Jinshan, who has already been sacked.


Sakya Trizin post to be alternated three-yearly between two ruling scions

January 30, 2015

The Sakya School, one of the four officially recognized principal traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, will from 2017 be headed for three-yearly terms by its Dolma and Phuntsok phodrangs, said a circular issued on January 28, 2015, by the Sakya member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile Geshe Gatsi Tseringpo, based on an announcement issued by the current Sakya Trizin on Dec 10, 2014. This followed an agreement reached between the two scions of the ruling Sakya family that have traditionally headed the Sakya School.

The new arrangement replaces the traditional system of alternating the headship between the heads of the two scions for the lifetimes of each of them. The current Sakya Trizin belongs to the Dolma Phodrang which is based in Rajpur, India. The Phuntsok Phodrang is based in Seattle, USA. Within each family the headship will be determined by seniority of age and fulfillment of prescribed religious qualifications.

The new mode of determining the holder of the Sakya Trizin post has been made with the blessing of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader.

The Sakya dynasty had once ruled Tibet under the patronage of the Mongol Kings who later conquered China and established the Yuan dynasty there while continuing the Patron-and-Priest ties with the Sakya lamas.

Dalai Lama and Obama set for first joint public appearance

January 31, 2015

Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and US President Barack Obama may make their first joint appearance at a public event in February, 2015.  The Tibetan leader will participate in the February 5 National Prayer Breakfast which President Obama has not missed since taking office.

To allay concern that this may invite criticism from China and raise doubts about the likelihood of Obama attending the event, the organizers have said the Dalai Lama will not have a speaking role.

Alex Miller, press aide for Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, who is co-chair of the event, was quoted as saying “The Dalai Lama will be at the breakfast, but he does not have a speaking role.”

The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual, historically Christian event at the Washington Hilton for hundreds of mostly evangelical and other faith leaders. The President of the United States and First Lady have long attended the event where the President traditionally speaks.

The last time Obama met the Dalai Lama was in 2014. At that time Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui summoned a US diplomat to register his nation’s objections in order to drive home the point that it amounted to interference in China’s internal affairs and would affect bilateral relations to the detriment of US interests.

China sentences monk to 10 years

January 25, 2015

A Chinese court has sentenced a Buddhist monk to ten years in prison after being held in a detention almost a year. Tsewang, 27, from the Drildha Monastery in Sog County, was sentenced this month by the Intermediate People's Court for allegedly inciting others to protest against Chinese rule. He was among four monks from the Drildha Monastery, Kham region of eastern Tibet who were first detained on March 17 last year for 'political reasons' or on suspicion of having 'outside contacts." Their details, including current condition and whereabouts are unknown.

Atse and Gyaltsen, two others held with Tsewang are still in police custody after being arrested from their monastery and their whereabouts and condition also remain unknown.


2015 Investment Plans of TAR

January 20, 2014

According to the work plans of TAR for 2015, about 70% of the investment is going to be spent on improving people’s livelihood and ‘consolidating national unity and stability’ in Tibet. Some of the major sub-divisions of the planned investments can be briefly understood as follow;

a)Social Security: Investments under the category of Social Security includes implementation of rural reconstruction, creation of shanty towns, urban renewal, construction of 33,800 affordable housing units, employment of one million farmers and herdsmen etc.

b)Education fair: To continue to strengthen moral, ideological and political education, accelerate standardization of boarding schools, deepen bilingual education, strengthen the national language (Chinese), mixed classes for students of different ethnicities, introduction of training for technical skills- based teachers, introduction of modern vocational education systems.

c)Public Culture: Renovation and expansion of the Tibet Museum, digital cables in counties, increase intangible cultural heritage protection efforts, to increase more and more dubbed radio and television productions,

d)Consolidation of national unity and social stability as the two main cornerstones: The annual year plan highlighted ‘national unity’ and ‘stability’ as the two cornerstones for the year 2015. TAR plans to solve ethnic problems, carry out activities to create national unity, promote frontier action, conscientiously implement innovative measures for Temple cum Monastery Management, manage religious affairs according to Law, to resolutely implement struggle and crack down on all kinds of “separatist activities” in order to ensure social stability, long term stability and harmony.

Tibet to enhance highways construction in 2015

January 21, 2015

Tibet will further enhance the construction of highways in 2015, Wu Chungeng, Deputy Director of TAR Department of Transportation, told a press conference organised by the TAR Government.

After a huge investment by the central government of more than 16 billion RMB in highway construction, the TAR Department of Transportation will endeavour to reach a total highway mileage of 110,000 km by 2020.

Announcing that 75% of the main section of the Lhasa-Nyingchi highway was completed last year, it was disclosed that the job of digging the tunnel in Mon La Mountain, an important section of the high-grade highway, will start soon too. The Lhasa-Nagchu highway, Galai Tunnel and Mainling Airport highway are also included in 2015 highway construction plan.

Construction of a new passage between Dali of Yunnan and Zayul of Tibet (Yunnan-Tibet Highway) is underway with a total investment of 180 million yuan RMB, for the length of 263 km of the section in Tibet.

Wu Chungeng said that “Within the whole region, a highway network project is being planned.” It is based on 15 region-level highways in 6 cities and prefectures, a Lhasa-centered traffic circle is our ultimate goal.”

Gautam Buddha Airport construction 

January 13, 2014

Work to upgrade the Gautam Buddha Airport (GBA) to a regional international airport formally began on January 15, 2015, when Prime Minister Sushil Koirala laid the foundation stone for the Bhairahawa-based airport at a function. 

"Construction work will begin with the laying of the foundation stone. The airport will be ready within three years i.e. by December, 2017," Murari Bhandari, project Director of GBA Extension Project, said.

Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group of China had bagged the airport project in October, after quoting the lowest amount. Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, Director General of CAAN and Zhou Zun, General Manager of Northwest´s Overseas Department had signed the contract worth Rs 6.22 billion in November 2014. 

The Chinese company will construct a 3,000-meter runway. After the completion of construction work in the first phase, the airport will be able to serve 760,000 passengers annually. After the beginning of the second phase after 10 years, the airport will be able to serve 2 million passengers a year. It will accommodate 6 million passengers annually after all construction work is completed.

A Computer-Generated Design of the airport.

The Chinese contractor will build a new runway, exit and parallel taxiway with flexible pavements, new international aircraft parking apron with rigid pavements, drainage system parallel to the runway, taxiway, and diversion of the Ghaghara Khola river along with airport boundary, internal and external periphery roads, airport access road, CFR access road, fuel farm access road, cargo access road, and security chain link fencing.

As per the contract, the Chinese firm also needs to rehabilitate the existing runway for conversion to parallel taxiway with flexible pavements, construct new international passenger terminal building, operation/control tower, administrative block, air cargo and maintenance building, crash fire rescue building, and main sub-station building. 

Similarly, the contractor is required to construct other ancillary buildings such as guard house, security posts, and maintenance building. Similarly, it is required to lay down water supply lines, build sewage drainage system, install runway and taxiway lights, approach lights, Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), apron floodlights, and arrange generators for power supply.

Though the first phase works were originally planned to start by the end of 2011, it did not materialize due to resource constraints. 

The project will be financed under US$ 42.75 million loan and $15.75 million grant from the Asian Development Bank under the South Asia Tourism Infrastructure Development Project (SATIDP). The OPEC Fund for International Development will also provide a loan worth $15 million, while the government will arrange the shortfall. 



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