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

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Mali, a Way Station for Syrians Headed to Europe

    Another door may be closing for Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, this time in Africa

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora