News / Asia

Mixed Signals On China's Policies in Tibet

A child gestures at the feet of protesters holding a sign commemorating victims of self-immolation during a solidarity march to the United Nations Headquarters in support of Tibet, New York, December 10, 2012.
A child gestures at the feet of protesters holding a sign commemorating victims of self-immolation during a solidarity march to the United Nations Headquarters in support of Tibet, New York, December 10, 2012.
VOA News
Worshipping the Dalai Lama remains illegal in Tibetan areas of China, despite earlier reports of changes in China's policies in Lhasa and in some parts of neighboring Qinghai province. 

Free Tibet, a London-based advocacy group, said in a report Tuesday authorities in Qinghai province sent text messages to Tibetan residents, notifying them the ban on images of the Tibetan spiritual leader remains in effect.

“We've had confirmed from several sources that this text message has been sent from the propaganda department in Qinghai in Tibetan language to Tibetans,” says Alistair Currie Free Tibet's media officer.

Free Tibet reproduced the message's text in its report: “In recent days some people have spread rumors online ... saying a new policy has been introduced in the Tibetan Area.  We clearly announce that there is no change in the policy of CCP and the government towards the 14th Dalai Lama.”

China's State Bureau of Religious Affairs also denied any change in policy in a statement to the BBC.

Since 1996, the central government has enforced a policy that forbids temples as well as hotels and restaurant from displaying photographs of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader.  

Last week, there were reports some monasteries were allowed to show the photographs or had held meetings to discuss lifting the ban.  The reports prompted the State Bureau's response there has been no policy change.

Chinese media outlets have been silent about the issue.  Discussion of the issue was partly censored online Tuesday.  

Zhang Haiyang, director of the Ethnic Minority Study Center of China and the Minzu University in Beijing, says a colleague had sent him some information about the reports by text.  He says that although he does not have any direct knowledge of the policy discussions among authorities in Tibetan regions, there is bound to be some divergence of views as to how to deal with Tibet.

“I think that there are definitely different opinions, and there are definitely people who believe other things should be done in Tibet,” he says.  “But education has been the same for so long, and people are not used to bringing forth new ideas or reconciling when it comes to minorities and religion.”

Monks, nuns and lay people have taken extreme measures to protest what they believe is China's oppressive rule on the region.  Since 2009 at least 120 people have self-immolated, an act that authorities in Beijing believe as being inspired by the Dalai Lama and his “clique” in an attempt to split the region from China.  
   
Last month, a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party publicly broke away from the party orthodoxy on Tibet.

Professor Jin Wei told a Hong Kong magazine that Beijing's attitudes towards the Dalai Lama - who is still highly revered inside Tibet - has an impact on how Tibetans respond to Chinese rule.

“We cannot just simply treat and regard him as an enemy,” she told Asia Weekly.  She also suggested that if negotiation goes well, the Dalai Lama might be allowed to move to Hong Kong, and even make trips back to Tibet.

Scholars outside China have speculated whether there is support among the Chinese leadership for loosening Beijing’s hard line against the Dalai Lama.

Thubten Sampel, the director of Tibet Policy Institute, a think tank of the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamshala, says that Jin's comments suggest an underlying dialogue on Tibet among senior Chinese leaders.

“There might be some degree of discussion on how best China should resolve the issue of Tibet,” he says.  “Any change in direction towards resolving the issue of Tibet is considered risky,” he says, “and until now there has been no leader who had the guts to take the risk.”

At the same time, Thubten says that leaving things as they are - with unaddressed grievances prone to turn into unrest - is risky as well.  

“Our hope is that Chinese leaders will adopt a more lenient, a more tolerant policy towards the people of Tibet.”

Xi Jinping, who became China's president in March, has in the past made critical statements about “separatist activities” in Tibet, and analysts say he is unlikely to substantially veer from the hard-line policies of his predecessors.

You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid