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: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid