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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs