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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

A Chinese academic's tour of Tibet

September 24, 2010

Ben Carrdus
The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)
September 20, 2010

A Chinese academic's account of a recent trip
through Tibet offers a rare analysis of the
situation there from inside China, including an
acknowledgment that relying on “forcible measures
(which some call ’iron stability‘) can in no way
maintain long-term peace and stability in Tibet,"
and a recognition of the "wisdom and sobriety" of
the Dalai Lama’s leadership with regard to his
response to the March 2008 protests. The report,
by scholar Bi Yantao who chairs the Department of
Broadcast Communications at Hainan University as
well as the communications department of a
think-tank in Beijing, criticizes government
officials who deliberately down-play or overlook
the Tibetan people’s almost universal loyalty to
the Dalai Lama, an observation which is in
contrast to official propaganda — which is
described as “formal information.” The report
indicates broad differences in views between
Tibetans and Chinese on the “Tibet question.”
(See below for a full translation of Bi Yantao’s report.)

In his report on his trip from June 16 to July
12, 2010, Bi Yantao describes the amount of
information available about Tibet in China’s
media as “pitiful,” noting that without any
reliable sources of news and information,
inaccurate rumors inevitably start and people
inevitably turn to foreign media. Commenting on
the various avenues of communication between
Tibet and the outside world and the Chinese
government’s attempts at “information control,”
he writes “In the information age, completely
stopping information flows in wishful thinking.”

Bi Yantao does not address any individual cases
of imprisonment or failings of the legal system
that continue to have such a detrimental impact
on the already extremely strained Tibetan-Chinese
relations in Tibet. But he does acknowledge the
climate of fear that exists in Tibet today,
saying that when he asked friends to set up
meetings for him before he arrived in Tibet:
“Unfortunately, they had to politely decline on
the grounds that it was too sensitive. Friends
responded to me by saying: ’At times like these
people are too terrified to talk about anything.’
’I’m not so worried about myself, I’m more
worried about my parents and friends.’ As far as
Tibetans were concerned, my survey was too
sensitive. Add the fact that I’m Han and that
many Tibetans are very wary of Han, all of which
brought many difficulties when carrying out my
survey. And because most Tibetans did everything
they could to avoid talking about ’the question,’
it became hard for me to understand ’the problem‘
in Tibetan areas, and it was extremely difficult
to be too optimistic in one’s judgment of Tibet.”

He adds that he also experienced restrictions
himself, writing: "These days, the government may
have gone too far on the operational level.
Traveling in Sichuan, this writer was searched
three times, and his ID number noted down. Once,
his ID was scanned into a computer. Another time,
after police boarded a bus they only checked
monks’ ID cards and left all the other passengers alone."

Consistent with his interests as a communications
scholar, he focuses on the relative merits of
international public relations strategies by both
Beijing and Dharamsala, noting that Beijing
appears to be losing the battle, and offering
cautious analysis on this point. He states that
Beijing should be more aware of popular global
support for the Dalai Lama and Tibetans, and
writes: "After the ‘March 14 riot,’ the Dalai
Lama called many times for Han-Tibetan unity,
demonstrating the wisdom and sobriety of this political leader."

It is not clear whether Bi Yantao’s report was
sponsored by his university department or the
think-tank in Beijing to which he is affiliated,
or whether he went to Tibet solely in a private
capacity. His “research report” reads as a series
of personal observations as opposed to a systematic academic study.

As Bi Yantao notes in his report, the topic of
Tibet in China’s media is "an enormous taboo.”
Academics and writers who in the past have
published reports and articles on Tibet have
faced serious official sanctions. Most notably,
the Beijing-based think-tank Gongmeng (frequently
referred to by the name of its umbrella
organization the Open Constitution Initiative)
was shut down in July 2009 soon after publishing
a detailed report in May 2009 on the background
behind the protests that swept Tibet in March
2008. Officials in Beijing accused the lawyers
who founded the organization of avoiding taxes
and failing to properly register the
organization, and placed two of the
organization’s key members under a form of bail
pending trial. (Charges of improper registration
were reported in August 2010 to have been dropped
and bail conditions lifted against the
organization’s two members, although it is not
clear if the organization is now free to re-form.)

In another case, Chang Ping, the deputy editor of
the mass-circulation Southern Metropolis Daily,
was removed from his position soon after writing
an article critical of the media presentation of
the March 2008 protests in Tibet. He has since
been barred from writing altogether, and even an
editorial cartoonist on the Southern Metropolitan
Daily who depicted the strictures placed on Chang
was himself fined and demoted in August 2010.

Bi Yantao’s observations and conclusions on the
"Tibet question" indicate limitations in his
understanding of the situation in Tibet and a
careful framing of his subject matter – he
mentions, for instance, that “Traditionally,
Chinese law has been lenient towards Tibetans”
and elsewhere indicates a lessening in importance
of Tibetan religion. But at a time when Tibetan
intellectuals and Chinese progressives on Tibet
are being silenced by the state, Bi Yantao’s
contribution to the discussion is notable for the
way in which it seeks to question, and sometimes
challenge, some existing official representations and policy.

(The following translation was prepared by ICT.)

"Who can resolve the situation in the Land of
Snows? Report on the third research trip to Tibetan areas"
Bi Yantao
August 24, 2010

In June and July 2010, this writer went into
Tibetan areas for a third study and
investigation. This trip was 27 days and passed
through Sichuan Province, Qinghai Province, Gansu
Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region. The
focus of the investigation was Tibetan Buddhism,
as well as looking into the political and social
balance in Tibetan areas. Religious sites visited
along the way included Yakchen Monastery, Payul
Monastery and Derge Scripture Printing Academy in
Sichuan Province, Kumbum Monastery in Qinghai
Province, Mane Monastery in Gansu Province, and
the Jokhang Temple, Mensikhang Temple, Sera
Monastery, Tashilunpo Monastery, Potala Palace
and the Panchen’s Summer Palace in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

This writer has closely followed the "Tibet
question for many years." The main purpose of
going to Tibet this time was to understand the
nature of the “Tibet question.” Is the “Tibet
question” a question of religion? A question of
minority nationalities? A question of society? An
economic question? Or is it a political question?
The Chinese government and the "Tibetan
Government in Exile" have been engaged in a war
of words for a very long time, with both parties
heavily influencing international opinion.
However, it seems at present that Beijing is at a
disadvantage. The international community is
tending towards believing exiled Tibetans and
doubting the Chinese government. And so what
exactly is happening in Tibetan areas? Of the
Beijing government and exiled Tibetans, who is
more reliable? This writer will attempt to find the answers.

One: Tibetan Buddhism

It has been said for a long time that all
Tibetans are deeply religious people. However,
this writer now believes this is not true. More
than one person in Tibet told me that now, most
believers are among the Tibetan nomads, there are
less among farmers, and least among urban people
(even though the overall proportion of Tibetan
believers is still quite high). In Lithang County
town a Tibetan girl noticed that I was wearing a
portrait of a living Buddha as an amulet, and she
said "Are you Han superstitious too?" In cars and
in shops in Tibetan areas one often sees Tibetans
hanging small portrait amulets of living Buddhas,
but this doesn’t mean that they are Buddhists.

Is the reduction in the number of Tibetan
believers because of a decline in the influence
of the Dalai Lama among Tibetans? Several
highly-placed Tibetan friends in Tibetan areas
told me that more than 99% of Tibetans venerate
the Dalai Lama. At a certain monastery in Lithang
I was impressed to see a portrait of the 14th
Dalai Lama hanging in the main hall. At a certain
monastery in Dartsedo, a monk openly complained
of unfairness against the Dalai Lama. And it is
worth cautioning that certain Han cadres seem to
underestimate the influence of the Dalai Lama. A
Han cadre who regularly travels throughout Tibet
told me that the Dalai Lama’s influence could be
generalized as 5:3:2, meaning 50% of people have
complete faith, 30% can take it or leave it, and
20% do not believe at all. Every single Tibetan
friend I came into contact with denied this.

At present, Tibetan Buddhism is spreading rapidly
in Han areas. This writer considers this to be
because of the following reasons: first, the
number of Tibetan believers is falling. At the
same time, the number of Han believers is
growing. Third, Chinese Buddhism is rapidly being
commercialized, and Han believers in Chinese
Buddhism are rapidly losing their faith. There is
a dynamic of Tibetan Buddhism advancing and
Chinese Buddhism retreating. Fourth, economic
development in Tibetan areas has been rapid. This
writer has seen with his own eyes Han disciples
presenting their teachers with tens of thousands
in cash. It’s also said that these disciples buy
luxury SUVs and villas for their teachers. How
much wealth flows from Han areas into Tibetan
areas each year in this way? This writer can only guess.

Monasteries in Tibetan areas are going all out to
get Han disciples at present, and so monasteries
are encouraging teachers in their 40s to learn
Chinese. Taking Yakchen Monastery in Payul County
in Sichuan as an example, the teachers able to
recruit Han disciples include Living Buddha Jinba
Zhaxi, Living Buddha Cicheng Jiacun, Khenpo
Dangqiu, Khenpo Qiuba Rangzhuo, Living Buddha
Yixi Jiangcuo, and Living Buddha Asong. In
Chokhor Monastery in Lithang County in Sichuan,
there are at least three teachers able to speak
Chinese. Generally speaking, teachers don’t need
the monastery’s permission to go and teach in Han
areas. Some Han disciples have established
Buddhist temples in Han areas. And because in
Tibetan Buddhism special emphasis is placed on
the "teacher" who converted you, in reality a lot
of these "temples” are a base in the Han area for
the teachers. In Xinjiang, students of the same
teacher sometimes form a group and practice
together, communicate and go on pilgrimages together.

In Tibetan areas, religious venues are almost all
free to locals. Although the Potala Palace (100
yuan gate tickets), The Jokhang (85 yuan gate
tickets), Tashilunpo (65 yuan gate tickets) and
Derge Scripture Printing Academy (50 yuan gate
tickets) have a token fee of 1 yuan for Tibetans,
in fact many Tibetans don’t pay a single penny. A
local Tibetan in Shigatse told me that this was
their own monastery and they didn’t have to pay.
And a monk at the monastery told me that they
nurture the monastery to be self-sufficient. In
Han areas, the locals buy tickets to go to
tourist spots. At Mount Tai (125 yuan gate
tickets), locals can apply for an entry permit
using their ID cards (50 yuan per year). Such
rules in monasteries in Tibetan areas have a
suspicion of regional discrimination (racial discrimination).

There are some parts in Tibetan areas currently
debating whether becoming a monk counts as a
profession. During this writer’s studies in
Ireland, a student engaged in researching China
questions asked me, Why do Lamas in Tibet sit
around all day doing no work? Isn’t the focus now
on freedom of religious belief and not being able
to interfere in Tibetans becoming monks? Looking
at it in terms of the system, if Tibetan areas
are unable to shoulder the material requirements
of people becoming monastics, then Han areas will
necessarily have to take on some of that
responsibility. Are the social contributions made
by monastics commensurate with the material
donations made by society to the monastics? If a
monastic’s contribution to society is nil or even
negative, does the government have a right to intervene?

In this writer’s eyes, the greatest difference
between Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism is
that the former emphasizes adoration of the “four
treasures,” while the latter emphasizes adoration
of the “three treasures”. Chinese Buddhism calls
for adulation of “the Buddha, the Dharma, and
monastics,” whereas as Tibetan Buddhism calls for
adoration of the teacher first, that is,
adoration of the teacher is more important than
adoration of “the Buddha, the Dharma, and
monastics.” Not only this, Tibetan Buddhism also
emphasizes that an adored teacher can never be
doubted or maligned, otherwise you will descend
into hell and never be released for all eternity.
In general, Tibetan Buddhism requires a reverence
for "the living" whereas mainstream religions of
the world require a reverence for "the deceased."
Generally speaking, the doctrine of “the
deceased” is relatively fixed, while the doctrine
of “the living” is changeable. If the living
deviate, the consequences are unimaginable.

Two: The Image of Tibetans

Following the "March 14 riot" of 2008, the image
of Tibetans among Han has worsened, and
Han-Tibetan opposition has increased
significantly. In Tibetan areas, this writer
heard on numerous occasions that Tibetans stole
emergency supplies for the Yushu earthquake and
beat and killed soldiers and volunteers. This
writer also heard that in Ngaba in Sichuan
Province, Tibetans were holding up vehicles with
non-local registrations. Han in Lhasa complain
that local Tibetan police officers show
favoritism to Tibetan people. But all of this is
just rumor, and this writer has no way of proving
or disproving it. Unfortunately, these rumors are
like long wings, and they not only spread wildly,
they also become more and more compelling.

The three main channels that people have these
days for getting information is the mass-media,
interpersonal communications and personal
experiences. At present in China, the “Tibet
question” is an enormous taboo for the news
media. The amount of information about Tibet in
the mass media is pitiful, and is far from
satisfying people’s information demands. Even on
the relatively open Internet there is
insufficient high-quality information on Tibet.
There is formal information from official sources
everywhere. And in such a context as this,
hearsay becomes the main means by which people
understand Tibet, and information from outside
comes to easily dominate the discourse space.

According to the principles of communications
psychology, the reason why Han people believe
rumors about Tibetans is because the rumors are
consistent with Han’s pre-existing cognizance, or
they comport with Han people’s subjective
desires. Either way, a distorted image of
Tibetans is reflected. (Some say that to a
certain degree, the Tibetan people have been
“demonized.” This writer tends not to use the
word “demonized” because it reflects hostility.)
The “March 14 riot” was an amplifier where the
image of Tibetans as brutally aggressive was
strengthened. After the “March 14 riot,” the
Dalai Lama called many times for Han-Tibetan
unity, demonstrating the wisdom and sobriety of this political leader.

It has to be admitted that domestic media
reporting and propaganda after the "March 14
riot” deepened Han misunderstanding of Tibetan
people. At the same time, a popular image of a
saber-wielding Tibetan became evidence of
Tibetans’ brutality. It is said that prior to the
“March 14 riot,” it was up to the local
governments to decide whether minority
nationalities could carry knives. After the
“March 14 riot,” Tibet and other areas started to
restrict the carrying of swords by Tibetans
(although smaller knives used in daily life were
not restricted). However, this writer noticed
that in Tibet and even in Lhasa there were still
a lot of Tibetans carrying knives. This writer
considers that all Tibetan areas should uniformly
restrict knives, and implement a unified management policy.

At present in Tibetan areas, people stashing
firearms remains a serious hidden danger to
society in Tibetan areas. When the Soviet Union
had just broken up, a large amount of Soviet-made
firearms flowed into Tibetan areas. Nowadays, the
main source of firearms in Tibetan areas is the
countries of southeast Asia, and Hualong Hui
Autonomous County in Qinghai Province. There is a
tradition of gun smuggling in Hualong County,
which has long been an open secret in Tibetan
areas. During my time in Tibetan areas, this
writer learned that in some parts of Tibetan
areas, Tibetans are allowed to borrow firearms
from the local police. The police have not
adopted the “zero tolerance" policy on firearms,
and instead consider what Tibetans in fact need
these firearms for. This writer expresses praise
for such a flexible management model.

This writer has been into Tibetan areas three
times and come across all types of Tibetan.
Sometimes when I’ve been on the road, I’ve been
the only Han on the bus. And even though I was
cheated by a Tibetan driver on the route from
Sershul County to Yushu Prefecture, such things
happen far more often in Han areas. We cannot
generalize, and cannot write off the entire
people because of one incident. According to my
own limited experience, the vast majority of
Tibetans are generous and friendly. Sometimes,
even though there were language difficulties,
Tibetans along the way would welcome guests from
afar using smiles and hand gestures. Of course,
language and cultural differences brought a few
obstacles from both sides, and misunderstandings occurred.

Sadly, there is currently a lack of a much-needed
common language between Tibetans and Han. This
mistrust exists objectively between people and
among officials. For instance, foreign observers
point out that an enormous Tibet interest group
has formed within the Chinese government, within
which is included a dozen or more departments
such as the Ministry of Public Security, the
Ministry of State Security, the General Staff
[?], the United Front Work Department, and the
Tibet Autonomous Region. If the “Tibet question”
is ever resolved, these departments’ benefits
will be lost. And so this interest group has no
desire to see the “Tibet question” solved. In
response to this, there are those in China who
say that a huge "Tibet independence" interest
group has formed abroad. If the "Tibet question"
were resolved, this group would dissolve and a
lot of "Tibet independence" people would be out of a job.

Three: Governance Strategies

Traditionally, Chinese law has been lenient
towards Tibetans. After the "March 14 riot,” some
Han people called for “all peoples to be equal
before the law.” They felt that legal preference
towards Tibetans would lead to a loss of control
in Tibetan areas. These days, the government may
have gone too far on the operational level.
Traveling in Sichuan, this writer was searched
three times, and his ID number noted down. Once,
his ID was scanned into a computer. Another time,
after police boarded a bus they only checked
monks’ ID cards and left all the other passengers
alone. Arguably, there was no need to check ID
once I’d entered Sichuan Province. The driver
from Chengdu said Sichuan wouldn’t ever really "take it easy" on such things.

This writer sensed evident differences in the
levels of governance and strategies in different
parts of Tibetan areas. In Kardze in Sichuan,
there were no buses running between the county
towns. In Sershul County, there were some
privately-run buses operating that didn’t even
have a vehicle license. In Kardze prefecture, a
dozen or more people could register on a single
ID card to stay in a hotel. In Sershul County,
this writer didn’t even need his ID card to get a
room. In Kardze, monasteries impressively hung
portraits of the 14th Dalai Lama. At a certain
famous monastery in Lhasa, this writer saw a
portrait of the 17th Karmapa hanging at one end
of the main hall. In Tibet and Sichuan, post
offices do not permit the mailing of managed
blades (so people use courier services), but at
Kumbum Monastery post office in Qinghai, any blade at all can be mailed.

During his time in Tibetan areas, this writer had
an obvious sense of the influence of Living
Buddhas. There are many Living Buddhas in all
parts of Tibetan areas and there are obvious
differences in status between Living Buddhas.
Living Buddhas play an extremely important role
in social governance. Some Living Buddhas have
opened their own clinics and schools. Such
clinics usually have very low fees and can come
into quite serious conflict with local hospitals,
and contradictions then arise. If the government
cannot mediate in a timely way then a serious
hidden danger to society is created. Some Living
Buddhas (and even ordinary monks) establish
“foundations" but in reality a majority of these
foundations are not legally registered and are
completely illegal. Some monks put their robes on
every morning and "go to work" at the monastery
at the same time as running their own restaurants, hotels or shops.

In Tibetan areas, and in particular in Tibet,
very high-pressure policies are being
implemented, with special controls centered on
Lhasa. It’s said that at present, the ratio of
permanent residents in Tibet to police is 1:1. In
Lhasa and particularly around the Jokhang,
Mensikhang, Potala Palace and along major roads
such as Beijing Road, there are heavily armed
People’s Armed Police, and there are fixed
checkpoints, mobile patrols and the streets and
alleys are full of plain-clothed police, all
creating an extremely tense atmosphere. On the
high ground around the Jokhang Temple, the PAP
are in a commanding position and in a constant
state of battle readiness. When the Potala Square
is teeming with tourists, plain-clothed police
mingle among them. At night when the tourists
have gone, the only people left on the square are special police.

In order to try and get first-hand information
about Tibet, before going this writer asked a
friend to introduce him to some “guanxi”
[connections] in Tibet. Unfortunately, they had
to politely decline on the grounds that it was
too sensitive. Friends responded to me by saying:
“At times like these people are too terrified to
talk about anything.” “I’m not so worried about
myself, I’m more worried about my parents and
friends.” As far as Tibetans were concerned, my
survey was too sensitive. Add the fact that I’m
Han and that many Tibetans are very wary of Han,
all of which brought many difficulties when
carrying out my survey. And because most Tibetans
did everything they could to avoid talking about
"the question," it became hard for me to
understand "the problem" in Tibetan areas, and it
was extremely difficult to be too optimistic in one’s judgment of Tibet.

Post-Marxists divide the apparatus of the state
into two types: "coercive state apparatus,” and
“ideological state apparatus.” China’s
traditional political culture is divided into
“monarchy” and “hegemony”. In Tibet’s current
special situation, a degree of military strength
is necessary. However, solely relying on forcible
measures (which some call “iron stability”) can
in no way maintain long-term peace and stability
in Tibet. The government has to listen closely to
Tibetans, and raise their political levels in
their communications, their discussions, their
persuasions, and their compromises. “To persuade
the people with force,” “to persuade the people
with reason," and "to persuade the people with
virtue" must be integrated as one; relying solely
on any one of those (including "manufactured consent") is unrealistic.

 From July 6, 2010, exiled Tibetans adopted the
Unicode standard for encoding the Tibetan
language, enabling Tibetans all over the world to
communicate more conveniently and flexibly over
the Internet and using cell phones texts.
Currently in Tibetan areas, some monasteries have
satellite phones, making communication between
Tibetans inside and out a lot more convenient.
Add to this the growing numbers of people
traveling in and out of the country, and
important information can travel completely by
word of mouth. Moreover, under special
circumstances, overseas Tibetans ask Westerners
to convey information. This all creates added
difficulties for information control. In the
information age, completely stopping information flows is wishful thinking.

One of the secrets of success for the Dujiangyan
project [a 5000-year old irrigation system in
Sichuan] is “deep trenches and shallow weirs.” In
the politics of Tibetan areas, the government
should appropriately broaden and deepen channels
for communicating with and complaining about the
leadership, so that reasonable demands can be
passed on in good time, avoiding as much as
possible “criminalizing speech.” If opportunities
to speak up within Tibet are poor, Tibetans will
be forced to turn to foreign media and
organizations. Of course, this writer is only
advocating “appropriate” broadening and deepening
of channels of communication with the government,
and not immediately throwing them completely
open. Bearing in mind the current situation in
Tibetan areas, if these channels of communication
were to be immediately thrown open it would
inevitably create social chaos. Construction of
these channels of communication should follow a
principle of graduality, guarding against going
back on ones word or being too eager for
progress, or simply making poor and unworkable imitations.

Four: Analysis and Suggestions

The "Tibet question" is not just a question of
economics or a question of people’s livelihoods,
because simply developing the economy or
improving people’s livelihoods could never
resolve the “Tibet question.” And the “Tibet
question” is not just a question of religion or a
question of minority nationalities. Political
factors and international factors are key to
resolving the “Tibet question.” And neither is
the “Tibet question” a social question or a
question of culture. “Human rights” and culture
are just two pieces in a game of chess played by
both parties. What’s interesting is that the
Chinese government and Tibetan exiles both stress
different sides of the “Tibet question”: the
Chinese government stresses interference by
external forces, and Tibetan exiles highlight the
crisis in China’s governance. In fact, only a
politically neutral observer would be able to
clearly see the true nature and complete picture of the “Tibet question.”

The "Tibet question" must be studied in the
context of China. During the course of his
research, this writer learned that a Tibetan
official in a certain area was being investigated
by the government. Some of the local Tibetans
thought that this was the Han officials
pressuring the Tibetan officials, demonstrating
the mistrust that the rulers have for Tibetan
officials. But actually, this writer thinks that
such political struggles also go on in Han areas.
Tibetan officials are associated with the
minority nationality identity, which makes the
problem more complex. Similarly, such phenomena
as environmental pollution, contradictions
between the people and officials, and collusion
between officials and business are extremely
prominent; but in Tibetan areas, such problems
are analyzed in a framework of ethnic conflict,
which conceals, deviates from or even changes the
nature of the problems. It seems the government
is starting to pay attention to this point, but
officials’ efforts at “de-ethnicizing” have been met with suspicion.

At the same time, the "Tibet question" must be
studied in the international context. The nature
of international relations is to protect national
benefits, and human rights is a trump card played
by certain Western countries these days. Exiled
Tibetans cannot or will not concede this point.
In the eyes of Westerners, the Chinese
government’s credibility is not high, and
furthermore the Chinese government’s
international public relations abilities are low.
Conversely, the international image of the Dalai
Lama is excellent, and the international public
relations abilities of exiled Tibetans are very
high. China’s news media and experts do not dare
discuss the “Tibet question,” whereas exiled
Tibetans are extremely active in the
international arena, whether as private
individuals or as non-governmental organizations.
Thematically, the Chinese government’s broadcasts
on the “Tibet question” are oversimplified, and
because there is no way they can be cohesive or
comprehensive, they end up being expensive and ineffective.

Internationally at present, there is chaos on the
"Tibet question," a phenomenon of “the butt
ruling the brain.” Those who sympathize with and
support Tibetans in exile readily receive the
Dalai Lama and are extremely suspicious of the
Chinese government. Similarly, those who oppose
the Dalai Lama and support the Chinese government
unquestioningly accept Beijing’s viewpoint, and
have no hesitation in suspecting Tibetan exiles.
The Chinese government and Tibetan exiles compete
for “opinion leaders,” and the game for
international opinion is bound to intensify. At
present, it looks as though the Chinese
government is laggardly and clumsy. Many Tibetans
in exile these days receive a higher Western
education and they are familiar with the wondrous
workings of Western government. International
voices openly supporting Tibetan exiles continue
to grow, and the cost to the Chinese government
of changing international opinion grows more and more each day.

This writer has noticed that in the struggle for
the understanding and support of international
opinion, relevant departments in the Chinese
government keep inviting foreign media personnel
to visit Tibet. Sadly though, the majority of
reports compiled by these journalists continue to
be suspicious of the Chinese government.
Conversely, the “Tibetan Government in Exile”
keeps inviting international personages to visit
Dharamsala, and what’s strange is that the
majority of reports written by these people
affirm Tibetan exiles. Aside from such factors as
standpoint, morality and cognizance, are there
also operational errors in amongst this? This
writer has frequently cautioned that in the
practice of broadcasting, technical correctness
and political correctness are equally important.

Is there a resolution to the "Tibet question"?
This writer believes that ultimately the “Tibet
question” will be resolved, but it will be a long
and complicated process. The “Tibet question” can
only be solved in the framework of China’s
democratic progress. It is only if China’s
political civilization is significantly raised
and if the political environment is significantly
improved that the rulers’ political theories and
methods can progress with the times. At that
time, impediments to the resolution of the “Tibet
question” will be greatly reduced. Of course, the
“Tibet question” will not solve itself, and the
game between the Chinese government and Tibetan
exiles will exist for a long time. This writer
can assert that the Chinese government would
never cede to the outside world. When nationalist
sentiments are running high, outside interference
would inevitably be counterproductive. These
internal and external interactions will to a
certain extent affect the will and direction of the decision-makers.

(The writer is the Director of the Broadcast
Research Center at Hainan University, and Head of
the Communications Department of the Three Strategies Academy in Beijing.)

Itinerary of 2010 research tour of Tibetan areas
Bi Yantao
July 30, 2010

 From June 16 to July 12, 2010, study was
conducted in the areas below in Sichuan, Qinghai,
Gansu and Lhasa over a period of 27 days, which
proved to be productive. The following is a schedule of that trip.

Day 1: (June 16) Fly from Jinan to Chengdu

Day 2: (June 17) From Chengdu to Dartsedo

Day 3: (June 18) From Dartsedo to Kardze County

Day 4: (June 19) From Kardze County to Yakchen Monastery

Day 5: (June 20) At Yakchen Monastery

Day 6: (June 21) At Yakchen Monastery

Day 7: (June 22) From Yakchen Monastery to Payul County; tour Payul Monastery.
                          Same day go to Derge County

Day 8: (June 23) In Derge County

Day 9: (June 24) From Derge County travel the Mani Gegho to Sershul County

Day 10: (June 25) From Serchul County to Jyekundo
in Yushu Prefecture via Shewu Township in Trindu County

Day 11: (June 26) Fly from Yushu to Xining

Day 12: (June 27) Tour Kumbum Monastery

Day 13: (June 28) From Xining to Lanzhou, visit Yufo Monastery

Day 14: (June 29) Morning, visit Wukuang
Mountain, afternoon, take train to Tibet

Day 15: (June 30) Lhasa via Golmud, evening, go to Potala Square

Day 16: (July 1) See Lhasa, afternoon, visit Sera Monastery and Mensikhang

Day 17: (July 2) Morning, visit Jokhang Temple, afternoon, visit Potala Palace

Day 18: (July 3) Go shopping along the Barkhor

Day 19: (July 4) From Lhasa to Shigatse, visit the Panchen’s Summer Palace

Day 20: (July 5) Morning, visit Tashilunpo
Monastery, afternoon, take car back to Lhasa

Day 21: (July 6) From Lhasa to Lholung via Nyingtri

Day 22: (July 7) From Lholung to Ranwu Town via Pome County

Day 23: (July 8 ) From Ranwu Town to Gonjo County town via Pashoe County

Day 24: (July 9) From Gonjo County to Bathang County

Day 25: (July 10) From Bathang County to Rangakhar

Day 26: (July 11) From Xindu Qiao to Chengdu via Dartsedo

Day 27: (July 12) From Chengdu fly back to Jinan.
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