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Tibet stable only due to repression

February 8, 2010

Tibetan Review
February 6, 2010

China may boast that Tibet is socially and
politically stable and developing economically,
with obvious suggestion that the local Tibetans
accept and support its rule. And its Politburo’s
Fifth Tibet Work Forum meeting held in Beijing
from Jan 18 to 20 reaffirmed and renewed
Beijing’s commitment to ensuring Tibet’s long
term stability through more development
investments. But a correspondent from The
Economist (UK) permitted a rare reporting trip to
the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) said Feb 4 that
it was still repression, not development, which was keeping the region stable.

The correspondent’s report noted that people
doing business and others in capital Lhasa
"clearly fear that without the scattered groups
of (Han Chinese) riot police, and occasional
patrols through the city by armoured riot-control
vehicles, mayhem could break out again."

The correspondent found riot police with guns
also stationed on balconies and rooftops
overlooking Tibet’s holiest temples of Ramoche
and the nearby Jokhang. And Sera monastery,
located 3km (2 miles) north of Lhasa, was crawling with police.

The report noted that hundreds of Tibetans, many
of them Buddhist monks and nuns, were believed to
still remain in custody after a draconian
crackdown on dissent in response to the unrest of Mar 24-15’08.

The monasteries had been cleared of monks who did
not live in the city or were not officially
registered. Thus, Sera now had only 500 monks,
rather than more 1,000 before the turmoil. Now,
"patriotic education" of monks -- including
denunciations of the Dalai Lama -- had been
stepped up. And the government plans to complete
a drive to ensure that every monk and nun in
Tibet is officially registered to keep strict checks on them.

This is in keeping with the Fifth Tibet Work
Forum’s calls for efforts to combat "penetration and sabotage" by separatists.

And while tourism from China was rapidly picking
up again after the slump of 2008, foreigners were
being kept on a tight leash “lest they foment unrest."

The report made clear why Beijing’s policy
foments resentment from the local Tibetans. It
noted that service industries were producing more
than half of the TAR’s GDP, a sector dominated by
the Chinese, who were, therefore, likely to be
the biggest beneficiaries of the growth.

The report noted that many if not most of the
city’s shops, even in the old Tibetan quarter
around the Jokhang, were being run by Chinese immigrants.

The report said that, at least publicly,
officials were yet to undertake any critical
re-examination of how their policies went wrong
in 2008. In fact, Chinese reports on the Fifth
Tibet Work Forum had cited officials as sayings
its Tibet policies thus far had been "totally correct”.

The report sees China’s refusal to look at the
real cause of the 2008 unrest and to acknowledge
the depth of Tibetan resentment – instead,
blaming the "Dalai clique" for everything -- as a
sure indicator that it looked doomed to repeat its mistakes.
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