News / Asia

Campaign Gets Personal for Tibet Party Chief

In this March 21, 1959 file photo the Dalai Lama and his escape party is shown on the fourth day of their flight to freedom as they cross the Zsagola pass, in Southern Tibet, while being pursued by Chinese military forces, after fleeing Lhasa.
In this March 21, 1959 file photo the Dalai Lama and his escape party is shown on the fourth day of their flight to freedom as they cross the Zsagola pass, in Southern Tibet, while being pursued by Chinese military forces, after fleeing Lhasa.
Chinese authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) appear to be trying out a new, softer approach to winning over the loyalty of Tibetans while continuing to arrest those who protest.

The party chief in TAR, Chen Quanguo, has begun meeting and exchanging letters with monks from restive areas, especially Driru County, the site of several anti-Beijing protests in recent years.

While a military presence continues in the restive areas, analysts say Chen appears to be engaged in a more personal approach to dealing with unrest.

“I think what we are seeing is, in some ways, what Chen Quanguo is doing is new,” said Professor Carole McGranahan of Colorado University. “This is a technique that we haven't seen from Chinese politicians for a long time.”

Chen’s predecessor Zhang Qingli took a very hard line position on Tibetan religion and called the Dalai Lama “a jackal in Buddhist monk’s robes; an evil spirit with a human face.” But Chen has chosen not to attack the Tibetan spiritual leader with derogatory names.

Robert Barnett, director of modern Tibet Studies Program at Columbia University, says China’s main focus since Chen took over TAR leadership from Zhang has been trying to win the hearts and minds of the people.

“Every thing we see in policy, especially since 2011, is about trying to win over the masses,” Barnett said. “I think sending the leaders to monasteries and nunneries is part of this realization that the communist party now has to win over the masses, especially the monasteries, which have an important role with the masses.”

Professor McGranahan says this is similar to the tactic China used when it first took over Tibet in the early 1950s.

However, the message being delivered by the softer approach appears to be a variation of the same message Beijing has been sending for six decades.

According to an article published in the official Tibet Daily, he wrote to monks in 2013 to tell them “forever raise the patriotic flag high and single-mindedly support the party and the government, and make a clear separation from the 14th Dalai Lama clique."

Unrest has become more visible in recent years, with protests becoming more widespread. Since 2009, at least 126 Tibetans have self-immolated. Their common message was for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetan people.  

Chinese authorities blamed the Dalai Lama and “outside forces” for the self-immolations in Tibet, which the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile have repeatedly denied.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Tibetan service.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid