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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid