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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid