News / Asia

Tibetan Officials Urge Economic Development to Quell Unrest

Champa Phuntsok, chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s people’s congress standing committee, left, and Tibet's governor Padma Choling, right, at a National People's Congress Tibetan delegate group's discussion session in Beijing.
Champa Phuntsok, chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s people’s congress standing committee, left, and Tibet's governor Padma Choling, right, at a National People's Congress Tibetan delegate group's discussion session in Beijing.
Shannon Van Sant
More than 100 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest of Chinese government policies, with many of those immolations occurring within the last year. As delegates from across China gather in Beijing for the National People’s Congress, officials from the Tibet Autonomous Region faced questions about instability in their region from reporters.

In recent months protests have roiled communities throughout China’s Tibetan plateau with students, farmers, taxi drivers and monks staging mass demonstrations and self-immolating.  Top officials from the Tibet Autonomous Region repeated claims that more economic development will improve the situation.

Baima Chilin, head of the Tibet Autonomous Region People’s Congress, says that in Tibet government officials must thoroughly study their comrades’ policies in the eastern coastal regions of China.  He says Tibet must let investors come and get rich, because if investors get rich, Tibet develops, and if investors get richer, Tibet develops even more.

China has been improving infrastructure throughout the plateau for years, building highways and new roads to connect remote areas and improved housing for monks.  However, critics say this investment has done little to quell protests in some Tibetan communities.

Woeser, a prominent Tibetan activist and blogger in China who has documented the unrest, says on the surface it may seem that Tibetans have all they need to eat, clothes to wear and that everything is fine, but emotionally their situation is humiliating.  Woeser says living under these types of circumstances and inequality has resulted in increasing numbers of protests over the last few years.

China has responded to these protests with a harsh police crackdown, stepped up surveillance of monasteries and the arrests of hundreds of dissidents.  The government has announced anyone found inciting immolations will be charged with murder, and alleges that the protests are being coordinated by followers of the Dalai Lama living in exile in India.

On Friday, People's Congress delegate Baima Chilin said officials have evidence the Dalai Lama clique is responsible for the self-immolations, but the delegate said they would not share the evidence with reporters.

Few expect China’s new leadership will change the government's approach to Tibet protests or reopen talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives.  There have been no meetings between the two sides since January 2010.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid