News / Asia

China Patriotism Campaign Backfires in Tibet

FILE -  A Chinese national flag is raised outside a residential building in Lhasa.
FILE - A Chinese national flag is raised outside a residential building in Lhasa.
A Chinese government campaign to build patriotism in Tibet appears to have backfired, leading to protests, mass shootings and detentions in a restive area 560 kilometers northeast of Lhasa.
Tibetan sources tell VOA that Wu Yingjie, the vice party secretary of Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) started a campaign in August to address the rebellious reputation of Driru County, known as Biru in Mandarin. As part of his “Making Driru a Peaceful and Friendly [Place]” campaign, Wu began a prolonged tour of the area.
But his efforts turned into a disaster, according to information received by a Tibetan exile group.
The Drasogdrisum Association, a Dharamsala group of exiles from the region, says violence erupted in the area in late September after Chinese officials ordered Tibetans in Driru to raise Chinese national flags on their houses.
Ngawang Tharpa, the head of Drasogdrisum Association, says the authorities warned that those who disobeyed would not have the right to send their children to school, receive medical treatment in hospitals or to collect caterpillar fungus, an extremely expensive medicinal plant that is found in the area.
Despite the warning, Tibetans in Mowa village, 15 kilometers from the county seat, dumped Chinese flags into a river, according to a letter from Tibet circulated via the online service Wechat and other sources that Tharpa’s group received from phone conversations.
Chinese police clashed with villagers when they arrived to make arrests for the flag dumping. The same sources said Chinese soldiers immediately took control of the village.
A letter from Tibet said about five to seven soldiers guarded each house and that Tibetans in the village were not allowed to even “go outside to use the toilet.” Some reports said soldiers raised the Chinese flags on Tibetan houses. That evening, as many as 1,000 Tibetans gathered outside the local government building and began a 24-hour hunger strike while lying on a road to block military vehicles.
In interviews with VOA, exiles said about 40 Tibetans from nearby villages were detained and beaten when they went to appeal for the withdrawal of Chinese troops. They were later released after protesters agreed to end their demonstration.
“They were photographed from every side of their bodies and their fingerprints were taken before they were released,” said Tashi Gyaltsen, a Tibetan in India who is from the area. Reports filed by several exiled Tibetans, who did not want to be named, said the people were severely injured and were not allowed to leave their homes to get medical treatment after their release.
One Tibetan using the pen name Migchu (Tear) reported from Lhasa via “Thousands of soldiers and armed police from Lhasa, Shigatse and Lhokha went toward Driru on September 30 and October 1.”
Chinese state-run radio said that on October 3, vice part secretary Wu met with the police in Driru, thanking them for their service and advising them to strike hard at those who engage in criminal activities to harm national security and social stability.
Reports say three days later Chinese security forces fired on a crowd of Tibetans in Dhathang Township, about 68 kilometers northwest of the Driru county seat. The crowd was protesting against armed police and work teams searching the home of a man who was arrested for showing his disapproval of education programs designed to build patriotism for China. Amnesty International reports that as many as 60 people were injured from gunshots or beatings.
State-run news media in Tibetan areas, which have never mentioned the protests, quote Wu as saying the government will push forward with its patriotism campaign in the area.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, did not directly address the events in Driru but told VOA that media outlets should focus on the broader picture of economic development in Tibet.
“I do not know the specifics you mentioned," she said. "Any unbiased person will agree that over the 60 years after the peaceful liberation of Tibet, development has been improved and social stability has been maintained. We hope relevant media organizations will stop single-mindedly focusing on specific cases and look at the progress of Tibet more broadly.”
Tibet has been under the control of the Chinese Communist government in Beijing since 1950.
This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Tibetan Service, with correspondent Bill Ide contributing from Beijing.

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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
November 11, 2013 7:23 PM
What a stupid plan! To think, "Hmm, I want to encourage the Tibetian people to feel more patriotism to China. So, I'll force them to raise the flag on thier home." That only creates the opposite result. Surely, whoever made that plan does not actually desire Tibetians to think well of China's government.

by: Anna Windzorskaya QueenIQ from: Poland Border
November 07, 2013 9:29 AM
Anna Windzorskaya I am the Owner of Unesco and not only Palaces You forgott to presented to me my own inheritance in 1974 and in 1993 too after well known Oslo Agreement You decided that I dont need the property of my own native relations You dont need that what Grandfather have 37065452032
Your staff? Its joke?

by: Anna Windzorskaya Queen from: Poland Border
November 07, 2013 9:28 AM
Anna Windzorskaya I am the Owner of Unesco and not only Palaces You forgott to presented to me my own inheritance in 1974 and in 1993 too after well known Oslo Agreement You decided that I dont need the property of my own native relations You dont need that what Grandfather have 37065452032

by: མདའ་དམྱལ་ from: Samsara
November 01, 2013 11:01 AM
Yes, everything is just lovely in Tibet, that is why they are protesting even with guns pointed at them.
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 02, 2013 5:35 PM
I don't care if you are willing to be taken advantage of by western countries to against China. But if you are trying to encourage Tibetian living in China to go back to slave times, please move out of China's Tibet first because China will not permit Tibet to go back to slave times. If you said Tibetian's life will be as rich as western country after Tibet independents from China, I will say you are making day dream.

by: མདའ་དམྱལ་ from: Samsara
October 31, 2013 4:13 PM
Obviously the Tibetans in this report do not think it is bullshit and do not want China's blood soaked flag flying above their homes. Take your fifty cents and go buy snack fried in gutter oil.
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 01, 2013 5:04 AM
I really suspect if all the Tibetans are against the national flag. It is only a few bad guys with political ambitions. The blood soaked flag represents innocent people died in the terrorist attack committed by these beasts. As for the fifty cents, I would kindly give it to you to buy a pair of galsses, poor blind man.

by: Anonymous
October 31, 2013 3:48 AM
be responsible for what you have said and published

by: Anonymous
October 31, 2013 12:47 AM
The Tibetan people have suffered long enough under the fascist communist regime that is the Chinese Government. Why can't they just leave? It's a genocidal approach... if this was happening to France or Belgium and Germany was at fault it'd be WWII all over again...

by: Frank from: O.Country, USA
October 30, 2013 10:51 PM
PRC government is not entitled to issue orders to other nations such as Tibet, Uighur, and other small countries which are not Chinese tribes but the respectable nationals of other countries. They shouls be liverated from PRC.
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 01, 2013 6:09 PM
Tibet became part of China 700 years ago. Through the 700 years, no country had ever considered Tibet as an "independent country". I would suggest spend some time going to Tibet in person and talking to Tibet people. I did. Actually many Chinese students did.

Find the truth by yourself! Do not be brainwashed by media.
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 01, 2013 4:49 AM
Does any document from the UN say that Tibet, Uighur are independent countries? How ridiculous! Please be aware that there is not only one tribe in Tibet. Han people, Hui people as well as some other tribes all live in this region. Read a book about Chinese tribes fisrt and then come to talk about the issue! Poor man.

by: Wu from: Tibert
October 30, 2013 9:18 PM
If the government tells people what to do, what to say, what to eat then we do not have freedom.
Beijing is a dirty, devil governator.
In Response

by: Double standards
November 07, 2013 7:08 AM
If Japan claims Manchuria and Taiwan are Japanese territories because they once ruled over these territories,would the Chinese like that? Similarly,China took over Tibet by force,that does not mean that Tibetans have to acknowledge Tibet is part of China.Do as you would be done by.Don't do anything that you don't want others to do to you.The rightful place for the blood-soaked Chinese flag is in the river ! Free does not come cheap. Even the Chinese had to sacrifice themselves to drive the Japanese out. Sit back and pray for a miracle is not the way.Most Chinese don't know their own history,they just talk trash.In the past millenium China had been ruled over by foreigners for more than 500 years.Would that mean that China is part of Mongolia and Japan??
In Response

by: Anonymous
October 31, 2013 2:06 AM
This is all bullshit! Tibet is a part of China, so it is necessary that the national flag be raised in the region. The central goverment has given Tibetans enough freedom. Care your own business, Uncle Sam!
In Response

by: Anonymous
October 31, 2013 1:02 AM
yes. not only in your area, the situation is even worse in the east mainland. we will be arrest or beaten if we say something bad to the government.

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