News

Tibetan Unrest Highlights Rejection of Chinese Development Goals

Stephanie Ho

China has long championed its policies in Tibet as aimed at boosting development and raising living standards in a remote and impoverished region. But, as Tibetan protests and self-immolations continue in some areas, the unrest is a public rejection of those claims of progress.

Tibetans are depicted in official Chinese media as members of a happy minority group with colorful traditions that include singing, dancing and, for nomadic herders, archery. The images support the Chinese government’s claims that living standards are rising and Tibetans are content.

Tanzen Lhundup, with the China Tibetology Research Center, says Beijing's concern for Tibetan people is genuine.

“The government has invested heavily in improving peoples' living conditions, infrastructure in Tibet and education. It has introduced a great number of preferential policies in support of the Tibetan areas. The changes in Tibet and Tibetan areas have been fundamental,” Tanzen Lhundup said.

Although the local economy has grown, so has the sense of desperation among many ethnic Tibetans. In the past year nearly 30 have set themselves on fire - vividly demonstrating that they would rather die than live under Chinese rule.

Many of the recent anti-China protests, like one last week in Qinghai province, involve Buddhist monks, who have long played a central role in Tibetan culture.

“We have no freedom, no religious freedom and not even freedom of speech. The pressure is too great. People have no choice, so we protest,” said one monk in Gansu province, who asked to remain anonymous.

The protests and immolations have led to no notable changes from Beijing.

Lian Xiangmin, also with the China Tibetology Research Center, echoes the government’s view that the protests are artificially manufactured - not linked to actual grievances.

“I think first of all, those who plan such incidents should stop. Two, the Dalai Lama should issue a statement to call for an end to such cases and express his opposition to such behavior. Three, the media should stop playing up such incidents,” Lian Xiangmin said.

In China, the protests go largely unmentioned in state media, which instead focuses on rituals that emphasize Tibet as an inalienable part of Chinese territory.

The Dalai Lama, who remains a potent spiritual and political symbol for Tibetans, has largely refrained from publicly commenting on the immolations.

For both sides, the immolations remain a symptom of a problem that the other refuses to acknowledge.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: kevin
March 27, 2012 7:45 PM
Well, i know i can not persuade the foolish people to believe our determination. But, we will keep our independence with will and blood. We love peace, we will not invade Iraq or Afgan like US or British, time will witness that

by: Sam
March 26, 2012 5:49 PM
this is to the guy called "Anti-China Government". Whether the China Government wants the sun, moon and stars or not has nothing to do with if Tibet is part of China or not. Tibet will forever be part of China. The reason is simple-every drop of water in Chinese rivers comes from Tibet. You really think we will let Tibet be independent???? until every drop of Chinese blood runs dry it won't happen.

by: Xing
March 26, 2012 1:51 PM
"Reporter Sethi says protesters gave indications well before Monday's immolation that something unusual was going to happen.
Still, Choedon Lama, regional general secretary for the activist Tibetan Youth Congress, insists the self-immolation was spontaneous."
Thanks VoA. Now you give the truth who are behind the self-immolation.

by: Joel
March 25, 2012 8:45 AM
It's interesting. People complain and argue how China is trying to rid Tibet of its culture, religion, language, identity, etc. but no one ever asks why. The are about 56 other ethnic minorities living in China that seem to live in relative peace. Why not Tibet? I am not saying that I condone China's actions, but there might actually be a little bit more justification for it than the Free Tibet activists are leading to believe.

by: Anti-china government
March 25, 2012 7:30 AM
China gov. does not only want Tibet but also the whole world. Now they aggressively occupy the South East Asian sea and Indian ocean that are not belonging to them historically. They want everything. If possible they also want to own the Moon, the Sun too in order to control the world. They have a term called "the soft border", this means where a Chinese living is the land of China. They are greedy and selfish. The world need to know and be extremely cautious about them all the time.

by: Xing
March 25, 2012 1:37 AM
CCP made a big mistake in 1980s. They sent a party chief called Wu Jinghua to revive the Lama religion in Tibet. Then Dalai Lama become something. Do we really need someone like us to rule us in spirit or even in real life? Is it called democracy and freedom?

by: @M
March 23, 2012 11:26 PM
Tibet is always Chinese territory. I don't know why so many people want to seperate it form China. Maybe they don't want China to become stronger.

by: Leave China alone
March 23, 2012 6:10 PM
Tibetan are Chinese. Nothing can change that. Why do some guys always want to separate them? Actually we do have wrong policy for Dalai Lama. We do not need to care about him. Just learn from US and other weatern countries, keep the traditional culture in some small places. Most of Tibet should live various nationalities and good benefits should be used to attract some Tibetan to live the other provinces.

by: Masa(2)
March 23, 2012 5:12 PM
I less respect China as a state than any other country, no matter how China may reach wonderful economic development and grab hegemony in the world. contemporary China will not gain at all from the world as much respect as past Chinese dynasties did.

by: Masa(1)
March 23, 2012 5:12 PM
In the past, serial dynasties in China used to have good relationships to local minority groups, giving them self-rule.Now, the contemporary Chinese authorities not only rob them of self-rule, but also try to destruct their culture, ethnic identity,and pride.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs