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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid