News / Asia

Tibetans Pessimistic on New China Leader; See Time Running Out

Tibetans Pessimistic on New China Leader, See Time Running Outi
X
March 06, 2013 1:52 AM
As China’s National People’s Congress gathers this week to formally confirm Xi Jinping as the new president, Tibetan activists are doubtful that the transition will mean any substantive change for Beijing’s Tibet policies. Ivan Broadhead reports for VOA from India.
Ivan Broadhead
As China’s National People’s Congress gathers this week to formally confirm Xi Jinping as the new president, Tibetan activists in exile are doubtful that the transition will mean any substantive change for Beijing’s Tibet policies.

Speaking to VOA during a rally for Tibetan rights in New Delhi prior to China's National People’s Congress, Lobsang Sangay, prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile, made this request of the new Chinese president:

“We hope Xi Jinping will review the hardline policies in Tibet, realize these policies have failed and introduce reforms to meet the aspirations of Tibetan people," Lobsang Sangay says. "Then there will be peace and harmony in Tibet. But if you look at the past 50 years, it is not that optimistic.”

Other Priorities

Professor Michael Davis, a China constitutional law expert at Hong Kong University, says Xi’s priorities are likely to include managing the economy, fighting corruption and negotiating the U.S. pivot to Asia - not re-evaluating Tibet policies.

“Tibet to the leadership in Beijing is a security problem," David said. "You would like to think they could connect the dots; that if you have a lot of dissent within Tibetan society, maybe more repression is not the answer; that a more generous, accommodating approach that respects Tibetan autonomy and culture might be more constructive.”

Beijing still fails to grasp how completely Tibetans reject the language, economic and religious policies that marginalize Tibetans in their own country, says Tsering Tsomo, director of the Tibet Center of Human Rights and Democracy.

“These policies are a guise for changing the identity of the Tibetans and turning them into what the Chinese government calls, ‘The New Socialist Man,’ he said. "That is their goal, and has been since Mao. It is really regressive of the Chinese to continue these policies, even now.”

The View From Dharamsala

In Dharamsala, Tibetan students are holding an anti-China hunger strike at the Dalai Lama’s temple. Although he gave up his political authority two years ago, the Dalai Lama remains a symbol of exile and the focus of Beijing’s criticism.
The spiritual leader will turn 80 well before the end of Xi Jinping’s first five-year term, notes Tibet analyst Caroline Coutinhall.

“The political bureau of the Chinese government is changing. Of course it is important. But it is not as important as the transition in power when the Dalai Lama passes away,” Coutinhall said.  

From his office near the University of Hong Kong memorial to the Tiananmen Square massacre, Professor Davis suggets that President Xi might want to act sooner rather than later if he has any intention of engaging the Tibetan people through dialogue.

“I think the Chinese will find a less accommodating community if the Dalai Lama wasn't there. China will also have a vacuum as to who they can deal with; who can deliver the support of the Tibetan community," he said.

An Eventual Return Home?

Pursued by Chinese security forces for her role in the 2008 Lhasa uprising, Pema - not her real name - fled Tibet after being in hiding for five months. The young woman longs to return to her family, and has not seen her mother for over two years.

“Self-immolation shows how bad things are in Tibet. [It] is the final resort," she said. "When the Dalai Lama dies, it is possible Tibetans will take up arms: change from peaceful protest to non-peaceful protest.”

Decades of living in exile have not tempered the desire of Tibetans to return to their homeland. Despite the lack of progress on political talks with China, time remains on their side, asserts Lobsang Sangay.

“Buddhism has existed for some 2,600 years. Communism is 100 and something years old. So there is no competition. I really believe we will see basic freedom for Tibetan people and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet,” the prime-minister-in-exile said.

Tibetans and Chinese are waging a political campaign that is in the process of being handed on from one generation to the next.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid