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Chinese report on Tibet reveals the roots of unrest

May 24, 2009

Chinese rule in Tibet is built on ethnic
inequality and perpetuates a self-serving elite,
a groundbreaking new report by Beijing academics has declared.
By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
The Telegraph (UK)
May 22, 2009

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
urged his countrymen on Tuesday not to be
provoked by any Chinese military crackdown
coinciding with the Tibetan New Year this week.
With this year marking the 50th year of his exile, the Dalai Lama said ther

The report, written by scholars in Beijing, has
been hailed by both Tibetans and Chinese as a
revealing look at the troubled region.

It suggests that a new Tibetan "aristocracy" has
seized power in the region. Unlike Tibet's
previous rulers, who were supported by the tribes
and by the monasteries, the new Tibetan ruling
cadres are funded by Beijing in return for absolute loyalty.

To mask their shortcomings, and reinforce their
power, they have spread propaganda blaming the
Dalai Lama for Tibet's social problems, the
report concludes. "They use every opportunity to
play the separatism card," said Phun Tshogs Dbang
Rjyal, a Communist party member in Tibet who is quoted by the report.

Four students at Beijing University, China's most
prestigious academic institution, travelled
through Tibet in the aftermath of widespread
riots in March 2008. Their conclusions provide a
more balanced look of Tibet's social problems,
highlighting problems in the local government and
the education system, than any account previously published in China.

It was commissioned by Gongmeng, or the Open
Constitution Initiative, a think tank founded in
2003 by some of China's most prominent liberal
lawyers and university professors.

"This is the first independent analysis of the
situation in Tibet from within China," said
Nicholas Becquelin, a research director at Human
Rights Watch. He added that the report was a
break from a series of "highly ideological"
reports. "This is a factual analysis of the
underlying social factors," he said.

Last years unrest began in Lhasa but quickly
spread through Tibet and its neighbouring
regions, leading to an armed response by Chinese
soldiers and the loss of over 140 lives,
according to the Tibetan government-in-exile.

China has previously blamed the Dalai Lama for
fanning the violence, and said that over 100
agents of Tibet's religious leader had organised the protests.

Senior Communist Party figures, such as Feng
Lanrui, a former State Council strategist, are
part of the think tank's circle of advisors.

It also highlighted the tensions caused by a
drive to industrialise the region and move Tibetans from farms into the cities.

Once unskilled Tibetans have moved to Lhasa, it
concludes, they find it hard to compete for jobs
with better-educated Han immigrants.

Yang Ziyun, the editor of the report, said the
report had won support on internet forums, but
has not yet been published formally. "We are not
sure how it will be received," she said.
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