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Kris
September 15th, 2003, 01:15 AM
September 15, 2003

Beijing Sends In the Masses to Make Tibet More Chinese

By JIM YARDLEY

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/09/14/international/16tibe1.jpg
The area in front of the Potala Palace, a symbol of Tibetan culture, could now pass for a noisy street in Beijing.

LHASA, Tibet Not far from Potala Palace, the hilltop fortress once home to Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and still a symbol of Tibetan culture, the main commercial boulevard here has become a very different symbol, of how Tibet is inexorably becoming more Chinese.

Chinese restaurants sell dumplings on the sidewalk as street lights twinkle like neon sparklers. Shops offer Chinese music, DVD's and fashions. The faces on this street are mostly Chinese, too. The boulevard is even named Beijing Road, and it could pass for a noisy street in Beijing which is what Chinese officials seem to have in mind.

For the Chinese government, which still describes its violent takeover of Tibet in 1950-51 as a "peaceful liberation," Tibet remains a prickly international issue, often defined by its sparring with the Dalai Lama over Tibetan autonomy. But the government's strategy, launched in recent years and now in full swing, is about the politics of economics.

The Chinese Communist government is reshaping Tibet with the force of China's superheated economy, pouring money and tens of thousands of Han Chinese into the region. The economic goal is to "modernize" Tibet's agrarian economy. But the political goal, analysts say, is to gradually secularize Tibetans and undercut political opposition with the fruits of capitalism.

For Tibetans, the question is whether this is economic development or economic imperialism. The influx of Chinese has divided cities like Lhasa into two worlds, Tibetan and Chinese. Some Tibetans say they have benefited from the Chinese strategy. But the Chinese in Tibet seem to be benefiting far more.

"You can be a bit richer here, and have more opportunities," said Su Zibo, 34, a Chinese businessman, explaining why he moved to Tibet five years ago to open a computer store. His biggest customers are government agencies.

In late August, government officials escorted foreign reporters on an eight-day tour of Tibet. Such a trip, once unthinkable, is less rare now, perhaps reflecting growing Chinese confidence over their control of a region that once seethed with separatist anger. In fact, government officials who once closed Tibet to the outside world are now wooing tourists, particularly from China itself.

In interviews and during unescorted forays, the changes roiling Tibet were evident at every corner. New buildings and roads were under construction seemingly everywhere. But new, expansive red-light districts, filled with Tibetan and Chinese prostitutes, were equally on display.

The tourism push has spawned hotels, restaurants and fleets of sport utility vehicles. On a recent day at the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism, a senior lama eyed a group of tourists and gently bemoaned the growing demands of the modern world.

He said he could study the ancient scriptures for only two hours a day because the rest of his time was spent maintaining the temple for visitors. "I am a student and this is my university," the lama, Nyima Tsering, said of the temple, "but now this is more like a museum and I am its keeper."

The local government now has a tourist slogan, "Take a Trip to the Holy Land." Yet the government still restricts religious activities by Tibetans and punishes public supporters of the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 when China sent in troops to suppress a revolt against its rule. So some Tibetans have private prayer rooms with forbidden photographs of him. In many monasteries, monks still whisper their support.

"He was born in Tibet, so he must come, he must come," a monk in Lhasa said furtively one afternoon.

The economic activity in Tibet is part of a larger plan introduced by Jiang Zemin to pour money and Han Chinese immigrants into the poorer and politically restive Western provinces, Tibet and Xinjiang. Xiang Ba Ping Cuo, governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said it was now the most heavily subsidized province in China, with 90 percent of its budget coming from government grants.

Perhaps the most problematic issue for Mr. Xiang Ba and other local officials is the changing ethnic makeup of Tibet as more Han Chinese arrive, many at the prodding of the government. Ta Jie, deputy mayor of Lhasa, said the central government regularly sent doctors, technicians and managers, usually on three-year contracts, often sweetened with the prospect of a promotion when they return home.

"When we lack those kinds of people, we will send a report to the central government," the deputy mayor said. "Then usually Beijing and Jiangsu Province will send us people."

With so many people moving in and out of Tibet, government population figures seem fuzzy. Mr. Xiang Ba said 92 percent of Tibet's 2.66 million people were ethnic Tibetans. But the percentage of Chinese is much higher in the cities, where the economic growth is occurring. In Lhasa, the provincial capital, the urban population, according to statistics, is at least 40 percent Chinese. Last year, a local official told Western reporters that urban Lhasa was almost half Chinese.

No project better illustrates the Chinese strategy, and the uneven benefits, than the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad. Set to be finished by 2007 at a cost of $3 billion, the railroad will tether Tibet more tightly to inland China, traversing an alpine landscape so rugged that skeptics still question the feasibility of the project. Chinese officials predict the line will become a vital trade route and transportation corridor for tourists.

Huang Difu, 41, an official overseeing the western half of the railroad, said the construction would ultimately employ about 38,000 people. But, he said, Tibetans could get as few as 4,000 or 5,000 of the jobs, and most would be for unskilled laborers who would earn about $8 a day, plus lunch. He said not a single Tibetan had been hired for skilled positions, which pay up to $2,500 a month.

The same cold economic reality could be found at the foot of Potala Palace. One afternoon, a Western reporter hailed cabs in search of a Tibetan driver. It took 14 tries. The driver said most Tibetans could not afford the roughly $20,000 needed to buy a cab and pay for licenses.

Not far away at the Barkhor, the ancient market surrounding Jokhang Temple in the old Tibetan section of Lhasa, shopkeepers say that Chinese merchants now run a majority of the stores that sell Tibetan trinkets, carpets and religious items to tourists and Buddhist pilgrims.

Kesang Takla, the Dalai Lama's representative for northern Europe, said such inequalities proved that the flood of Chinese investment and people into Tibet would ultimately harm, not help, Tibetans.

"It is very dangerous for the Tibetan people," she said. "Their very survival is threatened with the influx of the Chinese people."

Yet some Tibetan workers on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder say their lives are improving. One night in the dark slums of the city of Tsetang, three teenage girls invited three Western reporters inside the room, 8 feet by 8 feet, where they live. They had no electricity and cooked on a small fire just outside the blanket they used for a door.

Laba, 16, and Lamu, 17, said they earned about $2.50 a day at construction sites, shoveling and carrying cement, working seven days a week, 12 hours a day. But they said life in rural areas was much harder. They manage to send money home to their parents, who farm and herd animals.

The girls giggled when asked about their only decorations: three advertisements from Chinese fashion magazines, including one showing a sleek Chinese model with the caption "Pretty." As for their lives, Lamu said, "Better every day."

Wang Lixiong, a Beijing author whose 1998 book about Tibet was banned in China, said the government's economic strategy had brought a measure of prosperity to some Tibetans, but he said the strategy's political goal was to make younger Tibetans more secular and less sympathetic to advocates of Tibetan separatism. He also said any appearance of a freer Tibetan society was misleading.

"It's a carrot-and-stick strategy," Mr. Wang said. "It combines the economic carrot with a political stick of continued repression."

An official at Tibet University confirmed, for example, that students faced expulsion if they were caught taking part in religious activities, like Buddhist pilgrimages. Earlier this year, China executed an ethnic Tibetan accused of involvement with bomb plots and Tibetan separatism.

"While to the outside world the government is making a show of relaxation and easing," Mr. Wang noted, "inside where you can see, any signs of separatism or nationalist sentiment are dealt with very harshly."

The monks who run Tibet's Buddhist monasteries are accustomed to Chinese scrutiny. A government agency regularly dispatches officials to "educate" monks and screens monks to determine who can be allowed to manage monasteries. Officials, meanwhile, emphasize their commitment to restoring monasteries and other "cultural relics" that were destroyed or damaged during the Cultural Revolution.

But the investments also seem intended to expand tourism. The number of tourists visiting Tibet, discounting the drop this year attributed to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in China, is growing rapidly. While the high altitudes once kept many Chinese away from Tibet, now, encouraged by Beijing, they are coming in droves, adding another dimension to the Chinese presence in Tibet.

"They say Tibet is very pretty and mysterious," said Long Ying, 16, who visited recently from Beijing, dragging along her father despite his fear of altitude sickness. "And there are a lot of deep religious things here."

Her father added, "It's a place we really, really want to see because this place has culture, and the culture of inland China is very different."

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/09/14/international/16tibe2.jpg
New buildings and roads are under construction seemingly everywhere in Tibet.

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/09/14/international/1tibe.3.jpg
A railway project to link China and Tibet, with a bridge over the Lhasa River, aims to aid Tibet's economy, but most of the workers are Chinese.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

ZippyTheChimp
September 23rd, 2003, 08:56 AM
September 22, 2003

The Dalai Lama Looks to a World Beyond War

By DANIEL J. WAKIN

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/09/22/nyregion/22dalai.jpg
Giant TV screens helped the Dalai Lama convey his message of peace to the Central Park audience.




Truth seekers, loyal subjects, peace lovers and the merely curious blanketed the East Meadow in Central Park yesterday to receive the Dalai Lama's persistent message of compassion and nonviolence.

Under a brilliant sun, the Tibetan leader and Buddhist holy man spoke with the usual self-deprecation, gentle humor and stingless tone that he reserves for Western audiences. His talk was general, informal and relatively free of deep Buddhist dogma, in keeping with the broad range of listeners.

"I have nothing to offer, no special thing," he said with a chuckle. "Just some blah, blah, blah."

Nevertheless, he turned to serious topics, including the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and his campaign to promote nonviolence throughout the world.

"More compassion automatically opens our inner self," he said. "Too much self-centered attitude closes our inner door."

"The very concept of war is out of date," he said to applause. "Destruction of your neighbor as an enemy is essentially a destruction of yourself."

The crowd numbered about 65,000, said Megan Sheekey, a Parks Department spokeswoman. People were lining up at least four hours before the noon event. Some who had tried to camp out the night before were told to leave by the Dalai Lama's security officials.

About 40,000 were estimated to have attended the Dalai Lama's last appearance in Central Park, in 1999, according to the police. He made his first appearance in the park in 1991, at a meditation session that drew about 5,000 people.

The numbers make him one of the park's biggest nonentertainment draws, in a category with the Rev. Billy Graham and Pope John Paul II, although those religious leaders have attracted far more people to their park events.

Yesterday, the Dalai Lama spoke mainly in English, which is not his custom when he conducts more structured teaching and relies on an interpreter. His accent and the echoing sound system made it difficult to understand him at the farther reaches of the crowd, but people listened intently nevertheless. Giant television screens on both sides of the podium captured his image.

The Dalai Lama is on a 20-day United States trip that ends on Wednesday. It included stops in San Francisco; Boston; Bloomington, Ind.; and Washington, where he met with political figures in his continuing advocacy for Tibetan freedom. He fled his land in 1959 after the Chinese takeover and has never returned. He lives in exile in India.

In New York, he taught Buddhist philosophy for four days last week at the Beacon Theater, where tickets ranged from $75 to $3,000 and included V.I.P. seating in Central Park.

It was the first visit to New York by the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, since 9/11. He was to have come in April 2002, but the visit was canceled amid reports of poor advance ticket sales for some appearances. His office at the time said the Dalai Lama, who is 68, was suffering from a bout of ill health.

Yesterday, he addressed New Yorkers directly about the attacks, saying that at first he did not believe it when told of them on Sept. 12. Watching television broadcasts of the attacks, he said, he saw the "very, very painful" sight of people trying to escape the towers. The attacks were clearly calculated long ahead of time, and thus were the result of the "human brain," he said, tapping his head.

"We have to look at the negative emotion and how to reduce that," he said. In an interview on Wednesday with The New York Times, the Dalai Lama said "countermeasures" are needed to check terrorism.

His talk touched only briefly on the subject of China, which has adopted a policy of moving ethnic Chinese into Tibet to further its assimilation and has suppressed independence efforts. "We respect their right, their interests," he said.

The crowd was sprinkled with Tibetans, many of them women wearing long dresses called chupas and pangdens, the striped aprons signifying the married state.

"It is a privilege to have a chance to see His Holiness," said Lhamo Tsering of Sunnyside, Queens, a Tibetan who came to the United States six years ago. She sat on straw strewn over a bare patch of the meadow, while her 4-year-old son, Tenzin Kunga, played with a Game Boy. "We follow him as a living god and king and spiritual leader," she said.

Michael Bosedow, 22, of Manhattan, said that although he belongs to an evangelical church, he came to open himself to other traditions. "People make the comparison between Buddha and Jesus," he said. "I'm just interested to learn more."

A young woman in camouflage pants, an elderly man with a white beard and celebrities like the talk show host Caroline Rhea reflected the crowd's diversity and testified to the Dalai Lama's popularity outside the realms of Tibet's political struggle and the intricacies of Buddhist philosophy.

His books are best sellers, his face appears on advertisements and his name surfaces in gossip columns, sometimes in connection with his association with the actor Richard Gere, who introduced the Dalai Lama yesterday as "one of the great beings ever to walk on this planet."

Even for Buddhists like Diane Brice, who came from Santa Cruz, Calif., to hear him, the Dalai Lama stands for something larger. "I think he's kind of a universal figure," she said. "I don't even see him as that connected to Buddhism."

The appearance brought comfort to Ellie Fitzgerald, a 40-year-old stagehand from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "It made me feel there is really a possibility for change in the world," she said.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company[/img]

lofter1
July 1st, 2006, 11:52 AM
China opens 1st train service to Tibet
[/URL]

[URL="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060701/ap_on_re_as/china_tibet_railway"]YAHOO NEWS (http://us.news3.yimg.com/us.i2.yimg.com/p/ap/20060701/capt.xin10507010715.china_tibet_railway_xin105.jpg ?x=380&y=249&sig=H1EblOK0zJZt1CK5TCw5dA--)
By JOE McDONALD,
Associated Press Writer
Sat Jul 1, 6:34 AM ET

The first train service to Tibet opened Saturday on the world's highest railway, an engineering feat protesters say could threaten the restive Himalayan region's environment and Buddhist culture.

Chinese President Hu Jintao cut a giant red ribbon at a nationally televised ceremony in the western city of Golmud as the first train left for the Tibetan capital of Lhasa carrying 600 passengers. Musicians in Chinese and Tibetan costumes banged on drums and cymbals.

Minutes later, state television showed a second train pulling out of Lhasa traveling toward Golmud. A third train was due to leave Beijing for the Tibetan capital later in the day.

"This is a magnificent feat by the Chinese people, and also a miracle in world railway history," Hu said. He said it showed China's people were "ambitious, self-confident and capable of standing among the world's advanced nations."

The 710-mile rail line crosses mountain passes up to 16,500 feet high and large stretches of ground that is frozen year-round. Specially designed train cars have oxygen supplies to help passengers cope with the thin air and window filters to protect them from ultraviolet rays, while high-tech cooling systems keep the railbed frozen and stable.

The $4.2 billion train project is part of the Chinese government's efforts to develop poor, restive areas in China's west and bind them more closely to the country's booming east.

Its opening coincided with a major political anniversary the 85th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party.

But activists complain the railway will bring an influx of Chinese migrants, damaging Tibet's fragile ecology and diluting its unique Buddhist society.
They say most of its economic benefits will go to migrants from the east.

On Friday, three women from the United States, Canada and Britain were detained after unfurling a banner at Beijing's main train station reading, "China's Tibet Railway, Designed to Destroy."

Protests were planned Saturday outside Chinese embassies around the world.
Chinese officials acknowledge that few Tibetans are employed by the railway but say that number should increase. The government also says it is taking precautions to protect the environment.

Xinhua lashed out at critics on Saturday, calling them hypocrites who want Tibet to remain undeveloped and a "stereotyped cultural specimen for them to enjoy."

"Why shouldn't Tibet progress like the rest of the world?" the commentary said.

The railway, sometimes referred to as the "Sky Train" in Chinese, is projected to help double tourism revenues in Tibet by 2010 and reduce transport costs for goods by 75 percent, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Until now, goods going to and from Tibet have been trucked over mountain highways that are often blocked by landslides or snow, making trade prohibitively expensive.

Communist troops marched into Tibet in 1950 and Beijing says the region has been a Chinese territory for centuries. But Tibet was effectively independent for much of that time.

Chinese officials have wanted to build a railway to Tibet for decades but were put off by the engineering challenges.

The project was launched in earnest in 2001 after engineers decided they could deal with the high altitude and temperature extremes of the Tibetan plateau. In some places, crews building the line worked at such high altitudes that they were forced to breathe bottled oxygen.

The railway's highest station will be in Nagqu, a town at 14,850 in the rolling grasslands of the Tibetan plateau. According to Xinhua, the highest point on the line is the Tanggula Pass at 16,737 feet, which the government says is a world record. Peru's Lima-Huancayo line claimed the highest record previously, rising to above 15,748 feet.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

lofter1
July 1st, 2006, 12:01 PM
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway (Photos from August 2005 : LINK (http://www.samsays.com/Sam%20Pics/Tibet/Tibet%20-%20Qinghai-Tibet%20Railway/index.html) )...

Bridging the Mountain Passes
http://www.samsays.com/Sam%20Pics/Tibet/Tibet%20-%20Qinghai-Tibet%20Railway/images/p1014756.jpg

Tunnel Entrance:
http://www.samsays.com/Sam%20Pics/Tibet/Tibet%20-%20Qinghai-Tibet%20Railway/images/p1014757.jpg

Work in Progress - Bridge supports in place. Most of the section we saw had been completed:
http://www.samsays.com/Sam%20Pics/Tibet/Tibet%20-%20Qinghai-Tibet%20Railway/images/p1014761.jpg

Railroad and Mountains:
http://www.samsays.com/Sam%20Pics/Tibet/Tibet%20-%20Qinghai-Tibet%20Railway/images/p1014763.jpg

End of Track. Example of work remaining:
http://www.samsays.com/Sam%20Pics/Tibet/Tibet%20-%20Qinghai-Tibet%20Railway/images/p1014767.jpg

lofter1
July 1st, 2006, 12:06 PM
More photos from http://www.howardwfrench.com/photos/Qinghai?page=1

http://www.howardwfrench.com/photos/albums/Qinghai/Qinghai_Tibet_rail_mf.sized.jpg (http://www.howardwfrench.com/photos/Qinghai/Qinghai_Tibet_rail_mf?full=1)

http://www.howardwfrench.com/photos/albums/Qinghai/railway_workers_II.sized.jpg (http://www.howardwfrench.com/photos/Qinghai/railway_workers_II?full=1)

lofter1
July 1st, 2006, 12:18 PM
Station under construction (http://www.chinaculture.org/img/2004-09/08/xinsrc_23090108150244531014138.jpg):

http://www.chinaculture.org/img/2004-09/08/xinsrc_23090108150244531014138.jpg

The ROUTE (http://www.chinapage.com/road/qinghai-tibet-railroad/qinghai-tibet-railroad.html):

http://www.chinapage.com/map/tibet-rail3.jpg

http://www.chinapage.com/road/qinghai-tibet-railroad/profile2.jpg

http://www.chinapage.com/map/tibet-rail.jpg

lofter1
July 1st, 2006, 12:23 PM
The TRAINS (http://english.gov.cn/special/2006-06/26/content_320002.htm) :

Gallery: Qinghai-Tibet Railway trains

GOV.cn
Monday, June 26, 2006

http://english.gov.cn/special/images/00142235e8f90609dcb501.jpg




http://english.gov.cn/special/images/00142235e8f90609dcee03.jpg



http://english.gov.cn/special/images/00142235e8f90609dcfc05.jpg

ablarc
July 1st, 2006, 12:25 PM
Not so great for what Tibet has traditionally stood for.

Still, you have to admire that Chinese can-do spirit. It's like the US when the West was being won.

China has a lot wrong with it --just like post-Civil War America-- but it's also the rising superpower.

By comparison we seem old and tired and played out: can't agree on most things, can't find the money...

lofter1
July 1st, 2006, 12:26 PM
Railway MAP (http://www.nordling.nu/schaefer/chinamap.gif) of China

lofter1
July 1st, 2006, 12:31 PM
And the inevitable rise in prices of hotel rooms at the end of the line:

Lhasa Hotel Rates Soar With Qinghai-Tibet Railway Opening

China Hospitality News (http://www.chinahospitalitynews.com/2006/06/27/lhasa-hotel-rates-soar-with-qinghai-tibet-railway-opening/)
June 27, 2006

One of the biggest changes that the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has brought to Lhasa is the dramatic increase of hotel prices.

Currently, the room rate of a standard room at a three-star hotel in Lhasa is about RMB 200 per night, but this price will be raised to RMB 400 per night starting July 1, 2006. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is scheduled to open on July 1.

In Ge'ermu, a city in Qinghai Province, room rates are also expected to more than double.

For Qinghai-Tibet Railway tickets, China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is keeping those prices at more reasonable levels.

The passenger transport rate for this section will add RMB 0.09 per km per person for soft seat, RMB0.10 per km per person for hard sleeper and RMB 0.16 per km per person for soft sleeper based on the unified rates of the railway department. For the cargo transport, RMB 0.12 per km per ton will be added based on the ordinary transport fee. All of these rates are effective immediately.

lofter1
July 1st, 2006, 12:38 PM
Currency CONVERSION (http://www.beijinghighlights.com/tools/moneyconverter.htm) China <> USA :

Chinese Money

The official currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB or CNY) or in Chinese "Ren-min-bi".

1.00 CNY China Yuan Renminbi = 0.125069 USD United States Dollars

1 CNY = 0.125069
USD 1 USD = 7.99557 CNY

ZippyTheChimp
July 1st, 2006, 12:39 PM
Still, you have to admire that Chinese can-do spirit. It's like the US when the West was being won.
Yes, exactly like us - dismantling a culture that does not match the prevailing world-view.


By comparison we seem old and tired and played out: can't agree on most things, can't find the money...It's China that seems old and tired, unable to learn from the mistakes we made in "winning the West" at a time when the practice was much more accepted by the "civilized."

lofter1
July 1st, 2006, 12:42 PM
Not so great for what Tibet has traditionally stood for.

Still, you have to admire that Chinese can-do spirit. It's like the US when the West was being won...

Me fears we should expect to see suburban sprawl here before too long...

http://www.samsays.com/Sam%20Pics/Tibet/Tibet%20-%20Qinghai-Tibet%20Railway/images/p1014757.jpg

ablarc
July 1st, 2006, 12:47 PM
We're not talking about the same thing, Zippy. I'm talking about getting things done and you're making moral judgments.

Getting things done can be accomplished by good and bad regimes. So can stasis and inactivity.

Some folks get things done both good and bad. Example: Robert Moses.

We can't get things done here any more. Example: World Trade Center rebuilding.




That's all I meant. Nothing controversial.

ZippyTheChimp
July 1st, 2006, 01:08 PM
In this thread, we are talking about the same thing.

In judging a culture's can-do spirit, morality should be the number one concern.

ablarc
July 1st, 2006, 01:19 PM
In judging a culture's can-do spirit, morality should be the number one concern.
OK, but I still wish we could get a few rail lines built in this country.

lofter1
July 16th, 2006, 11:53 AM
Railroad to Perdition


http://graphics10.nytimes.com/images/2006/07/14/opinion/15gere_lg.gifhttp://graphics10.nytimes.com/images/misc/spacer.gifhttp://graphics10.nytimes.com/images/misc/spacer.gif
Josh Cochran

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/15/opinion/15gere.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin)
By RICHARD GERE
Op-Ed Contributor
July 16, 2006

THE opening this month of the final segment of world’s highest railway, from Beijing to Lhasa, Tibet, is a staggering engineering achievement and a testimony to the developing greatness of China. But it is also the most serious threat by the Chinese yet to the survival of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity. In the words of a well-known Tibetan religious teacher who died after many years in a Chinese prison, the railway heralds “a time of emergency and darkness” for Tibet.

This railway across the roof of the world will result in an expanded Chinese military presence in Tibet, accelerate the already devastating exploitation of its natural resources and increase the number of Chinese migrants, marginalizing the Tibetan people still further. In the capital, Lhasa, Tibetans are already a minority.

In the years after China’s invasion of Tibet in 1950, thousands of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and convents were destroyed, and hundreds of thousands of Tibetans perished. Today the suppression of religion is more subtle and less visible to outsiders. Many of the monasteries have been partly rebuilt, but often they are simply showplaces for tourists. Obtaining a complete religious education in Tibet is usually impossible. Even having a photograph of the Dalai Lama is a criminal offense.

Many Tibetans lost their land to make way for the railway, and Tibetan nomads are being forced to settle in cities. Without land and religion, cultures disappear. This is particularly true in Tibet, where the land itself is regarded as sacred.

And even as their culture is undermined by the railway, most Tibetans are unlikely to enjoy any economic benefits from it. With a price tag of more than $4 billion, the Tibet railway is the most ambitious and costly element of China’s current drive to develop its western regions, known as the Great Leap West. But its construction was based upon the Communist Party’s old strategic and political objectives, and its main beneficiaries will be the Chinese military units stationed there, Chinese companies and Chinese settlers. Most Tibetans don’t have access to education that would allow them to compete in the economic environment created by China’s policies, nor are they welcome to share the fruits of its success.

The opening of the railway to Tibet could not have a greater symbolic importance to the Communist elite — it is the achievement of a goal set by Mao more than 40 years ago as part of a strategy to complete Tibet’s integration into China. And sadly, the opening of the railway takes place in an environment of intensified political repression. The new Communist Party chief in Tibet, Zhang Qingli, has said that the party is engaged in a “fight to the death struggle” against the Dalai Lama and his supporters.

China’s president, Hu Jintao, formally opened the railway on July 1. In the late 1980’s, when he was party chief of the region, he presided over the torture and imprisonment of thousands of Tibetans through the imposition of martial law in Lhasa. The Tibetans have not forgotten Mr. Hu’s role in the oppression of their people. President Hu was also personally involved in drafting the fast-track development policies that have been such a disaster for most Tibetans. They are based upon an urban Chinese model and do not take into account Tibetans’ needs, views or the way of life that has sustained them on the high plateau for centuries. The Dalai Lama has spoken frequently about the urgent need to involve Tibetans in the development of their land.

A true “great leap” would make room for a Tibetan role in economic development, protect Tibetan religious culture and identity, and welcome the involvement of the Dalai Lama in decision-making on Tibet’s future. Since 2002, there have been several rounds of dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama’s representatives, following a decade-long diplomatic stalemate, but at present China’s commitment to the process is uncertain.

Tibet’s precious culture and religion, with its principles of wisdom and compassion and its message of interdependence and nonviolence, are rooted in the Tibetan landscape and Tibetan hearts. The survival of Tibetan Buddhist knowledge in its own land is vital for the world, as well as the Tibetan people. China’s journey toward greatness must not include the further destruction of this heritage.

Richard Gere, an actor, is the chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

ablarc
July 16th, 2006, 02:10 PM
Tibet’s precious culture and religion, with its principles of wisdom and compassion and its message of interdependence and nonviolence, are rooted in the Tibetan landscape and Tibetan hearts. The survival of Tibetan Buddhist knowledge in its own land is vital for the world...
Perhaps not a formula for survival in today's force-based world.

Sadly, aggressive creeds are more emblematic of today's religious climate.

Not all religions are the same, and they're not equal. Some are directed towards peace on earth, others toward strife. No point in lumping them together; that's delusional.

.

lofter1
October 21st, 2006, 02:19 PM
Video: Chinese troops shoot Tibetan pilgrims;
witnessed by climbers

rawstory.com (http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Video_Chinese_troops_shoot_Tibetan_pilgrims_1020.h tml)
October 20, 2006

Watch (http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2780235) :: Chinese Shoot Tibetan Pilgrims

In a video recorded by international climbers in the Himalayas, what appear to be Chinese troops are seen shooting and killing Tibetan pilgrims trekking to India to be in the presence of the exiled Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibet was seized by the Chinese fifty years ago and has remained in their firm control, despite international outcry. The Chinese government even reportedly plans to install its own successor to the present Dalai Lama upon his death, a process traditionally reserved for the leader's monks.

Danish and British climbers witnessed the shooting, which was earlier reported by BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6041870.stm) and posted at (http://www.rawstory.com/comments/21037.html) RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/).

Jake
October 21st, 2006, 11:27 PM
^Why does this qualify as news? I thought everyone knew. :confused:

Just like the Chinese to "bring the masses" to a nation that treasures isolation and tranquility.

Guess that "no foreigners" rule isn't enforced anymore.

lofter1
October 22nd, 2006, 11:11 AM
Perhaps the most newsworthy aspect of the story is that our Secretary of State has just finished a journey to Russia where she took Putin to task for numerous things, but there is on-going silence from the US government about China's actions against Tibet / Tibetans.

Jake
October 22nd, 2006, 02:28 PM
Well I don't think silence is the right approach but Tibet is a sizable chunk of land and China is not a country I'd be threatening. Surely they will not concede it on their own in any near future.

It seems that Tibet may be looking like a lost cause, with the Delai Lama in exile the whole region has lost its once treasured characteristics.

My theory personally is that China will eventually go the way of the USSR, although I'm not sure how autnomous some of the Chinese regions might be. This would perhaps be best for everyone, with Tibet and HK separate things could finally become more stable in the region. Time will tell.

MidtownGuy
October 22nd, 2006, 04:12 PM
Wow Lofter thanks for posting that video. It's horrible.:mad:

I agree that the train is an engineering marvel and representative of a can-do spirit that we don't have anymore. Still, it's more than upsetting to witness yet another outstanding culture being smashed to bits.

ablarc
October 22nd, 2006, 04:40 PM
Appalling video.

China has a criminal government.

MidtownGuy
October 24th, 2006, 06:26 PM
yeah, I once read the Chinese "Constitution". It's such a joke.
For example, here's Article 4:

Article 4. All nationalities in the People's Republic of China are equal. The state protects the lawful rights and interests of the minority nationalities and upholds and develops the relationship of equality, unity and mutual assistance among all of China's nationalities. Discrimination against and oppression of any nationality are prohibited; any acts that undermine the unity of the nationalities or instigate their secession are prohibited. The state helps the areas inhabited by minority nationalities speed up their economic and cultural development in accordance with the peculiarities and needs of the different minority nationalities. Regional autonomy is practised in areas where people of minority nationalities live in compact communities; in these areas organs of self- government are established for the exercise of the right of autonomy. All the national autonomous areas are inalienable parts of the People's Republic of China. The people of all nationalities have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages, and to preserve or reform their own ways and customs.

Jake
October 24th, 2006, 10:58 PM
Wonder who wrote that, To-mas Je-Fer-Soon?

From my experience anything that contains "People's...." is a ploy.

lofter1
October 24th, 2006, 11:30 PM
You saying the "people" cain't be trusted ???

http://www.discoverytool.org/images/we_the_people.jpg

Jake
October 25th, 2006, 02:20 PM
No I mean from a historical perspective things that contain the words "People's" anything, as in implying ownership, are usually bad.

This is mostly the case in the USSR where there were dozens of government programs and agencies bearing this name that in actually did nothing but rob "the people."

There is an interesting case involving Poland whose official name contains the word "Rzeczpospolita" meaning something along the lines of commonwealth. This name has been historically very positive as it represented one of the first electoral democracies in the world with the 1st constitution in Europe. However when Poland became communist the name was changed to the People's Republic of Poland essentially disposing with the commonwealth and commencing the robbing of the citizens. Consequently the name was reversed when communism was abandoned.

I just in general distrust things done in the name of the people. That is not to say that things done FOR the people are bad, because obviously this wording is used often everywhere.

Also to be quite honest "We the people.." is making a hell of an assumption, right? As we see just half a century later, not everybody held those truths to be self-evident.

Bob
November 20th, 2006, 09:41 PM
I admire the Chinese for their can-do spirit. I don't admire their government, which still hasn't come clean on Tiananmen Square.

Jasonik
March 26th, 2008, 10:35 AM
Yes, China and Tibet have been at it again (http://steve.ulrike.stivi.be/english/list.php?LijstNr=2&Item=55). A recent uprising is put down by Chinese troops (http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0317/p10s01-wosc.html).


Closer to home, on March 14th outside the United Nations in Manhattan a peaceful group of pro-Tibet protesters are given the Bejing treatment (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7NUNwq2MGc) by New York's finest.


Does the US ascribe to the same policy as Nepal?
"Nepal's national policy recognises 'One China'. We will prevent any anti-China activities that take place in our territory," home ministry spokesman Modraj Dottel told AFP (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5i_FtDpuUticj_oX6AkFnG_OL5gWg).


The NYPD needn't have been jumpy since this was the day before, "protesters outside the Chinese Consulate building [12th Avenue and 42nd Street] threw debris and scuffled with police, resulting in minor injuries and [six] arrests." source (http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-stprot0316,0,4384141.story) (None of the 'arrests' caught on film above are reported.)

OmegaNYC
March 26th, 2008, 09:24 PM
This is what I don't get: Why won't China just leave Tibet alone? I mean, just let Tibet be in peace.

Marksix
April 1st, 2008, 07:56 AM
This is what I don't get: Why won't China just leave Tibet alone? I mean, just let Tibet be in peace.


...in a word: "OIL".

Chinese researchers have discovered massive new gas and oil deposits totaling an estimated 4 billion to 5.4 billion tons in Tibet. The frightened, freedom hating gangsters who constitute the Chinese government have no ideaological reasons for opressing Tibet, for them it is simply money. For those at lower levels, the beaureaucrats, the police, the comisars, the thugs it is different, they believe in what they are doing or at the very least,like what they do; as always oppression depends on such ordinary people.

I watched a harrowing documentary on TV last night about a tibetan exile who went back into Tibet undercover to record documentary evidence of what the Chinese government say are fabrications. I think you may be able to watch it on your PC at this link ( Undercover in Tibet ) at: www.channel4.com/4od/index.html

For those who can't see it here are some of what he found; The man with the hidden camera was Tash Despa, who left Tibet 11 years ago in the traditional way: he trekked for a month across the Himalayas, passing many frozen corpses as he went. Since then, needless to say, thousands more of his countrymen have made the same trek – prompting the obvious question of why they’re so desperate to escape.

Once Tash re-entered Tibet, the answers soon started to become clear. On the way in, his car passed a Chinese army convoy three miles long. (According to the programme, the country now contains one Chinese soldier for every 20 Tibetans.) And, despite his nervousness – at one point he confessed he’d just been vomiting with fear – Tash turned out to be an assiduous collector of evidence.

Thousands of Tibetan nomads, for example, have been resettled in what the Chinese claim is a programme of social development. Yet, when Tash navigated his way to the middle of nowhere to visit one of the new “villages”, he accurately described it as seeming like a prison camp, with no school, clinic or transport links.

He also met several people who’d suffered more personal forms of oppression. One victim of torture broke down as he explained why “being electrocuted in water is much worse than when you are dry”. (When you’re dry, the electric prod only hurts where it touches. When you’re wet, it sends pain shooting through the whole body.) A woman literally had the scars to prove that, contrary to official Chinese law, the one-child policy now applies to Tibetans – and is imposed through forced sterilisation. If she’d had the money, she told us, she could have bought a false sterilisation certificate. As it was, she couldn’t even afford a drip to treat the “agonising pain” from an operation carried out without proper anaesthetic.



I think it is disgusting that the Olympics are being held there this year but it goes to show the hypocracy of western governments and the contempt they have for freedom. The olympic torch is due in London next week. It was due to go through Heathrow's new T5 terminal but it will now go through the segregated VIP terminal, partly because British Airways would lose it but in reality its because the widespread protests would embarass the British Government in the face of the Chinese. In Greece last week when the flame was lit Greek policemen participated with Chinese secret police IN GREECE in beating up Tibetan freedom protestors. Previously in London, British police violently put down peaceful protesters during a Chinese state visit and protest was heavily kept away from the Chinese.

On the BBC breakfast news two bland presenters "interviewed" the Chinese emassador in London about the violence against Tibetans after the riots there last week. The ambassador smiled benignly and dismissed all knowledge of such events. Pressed softly she acknowledged something may have happend but the embassy was not in a position to investigate such claims. The interview concluded with smiles all around as she presented the two "journalists" with two stuffed toys, the mascots of the Olympics which they accepted with sacarine delight only TV breakfast presenters seem to exhibit. It says is all about why they wanted the Olympics. It made me nauseous.

When you see Chinese President Hu Jintao smiling and being glad handed by our "leaders" at the Olympics, remember it was this man who presided over the sytematic torture and oppression of Tibetans.

"If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear".

Jasonik
April 1st, 2008, 09:35 AM
NYPD also violently beat (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=222069&postcount=30) Tibetan protesters on March 14 at the U.N.

The Olympic torch and even the five rings are simply Nazi pomp (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/14/sports/olympics/14torch.html?ex=1207195200&en=d21d231c8f7ba68e&ei=5070) that unfortunately, like most of their propaganda - were extremely effective symbols.


"The sportive, knightly battle awakens the best human characteristics. It doesn't separate, but unites the combatants in understanding and respect. It also helps to connect the countries in the spirit of peace. That's why the Olympic Flame should never die."
– Adolf Hitler, commenting on the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games

lofter1
May 29th, 2008, 08:19 PM
There's a lot of yen in that Chinese fashion market ...

Dropped like a Stone:
Dior axes Sharon ads as she says
sorry over 'quake karma' comment

thisislondon.co.uk (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23488308-details/Dropped+like+a+stone%3A+Dior+axes+Sharon+ads+as+sh e+says+sorry+over+'quake+karma'+comment/article.do)
May 29, 2008

Sharon Stone has been dropped from Christian Dior’s Chinese advertisements after the actress claimed the country’s devastating earthquake may have been the result of bad karma over its treatment of Tibet.

The French fashion house acted even though Stone issued a grovelling apology for the comments.

The 50-year-old actress said she was "deeply sorry" for causing anguish and anger among Chinese people with her remarks in an interview last week.

Stone models for Christian Dior SA, and the company's Shanghai office issued the statement.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/05/29/article-0-0168530500000578-443_468x657.jpg
Cancelled: Sharon Stone as she appears in one of the Dior adverts

The public relations manager for Dior in Shanghai, said Basic Instinct star would no longer appear in the company's advertisements in China.

"Due to my inappropriate words and acts during the interview, I feel deeply sorry and sad about hurting Chinese people," Stone said in the statement.

"I am willing to take part in the relief work of China's earthquake, and wholly devote myself to helping affected Chinese people."

Stone said she had worked in international charities for the past 20 years and wants to help Chinese people.

During her visit to China last year for the Shanghai Movie Festival she said she felt "deeply the Chinese people's wisdom and hospitality”.

Stone's comments caused considerable anger in the Chinese media. The official Xinhua News Agency said she was the "public enemy of all mankind”.

Chinese media have erupted in indignation over foreign criticism of the country ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/05/29/article-0-016A11E800000578-859_468x688.jpg
Controversial: Sharon Stone on the night she made the comment in Cannes

During the international leg of the Olympic torch relay many Chinese reacted strongly to protests over Beijing's rule of Tibet.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang today said he had taken note of Stone's apology, and he hoped China's relief efforts could be fully understood and supported by the international community.

"We hope that as an actress she should contribute to our two peoples' mutual trust, understanding and friendship," he said.

Stone's original comments were made last week during a Cannes Film Festival red-carpet interview.

"I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else," Stone said. "And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?"

During the brief interview, Stone also said she cried when she received a letter from the Tibetan Foundation asking her to help the quake victims. "They wanted to go and be helpful, and that made me cry. It was a big lesson to me that sometimes you have to learn to put your head down and be of service even to people who aren't nice to you," she said.

2008 Associated Newspapers Limited