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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

How China manipulates media

June 22, 2010

Claude Arpi claudearpi@gmail.com
The New Indian Express
June 21, 2010

The bosses of the People’s Republic of China have
recently decided to invest in propaganda (sorry,
publicity) to highlight the ‘Chinese Model’ of
governance. And Beijing, unlike the European
countries, is not broke; they are ready to pour a
few billion dollars into the venture.

The Central Publicity Department (earlier known
as the Propaganda Department) of the Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) is an internal organ of the
CCP "in charge of ideology-related work, as well
as its propaganda system." The ex-Propaganda
Department also enforces media censorship in
China and gives instructions to the media on what
can be said about tricky issues such as Taiwan or Tibet.

When it is deemed necessary to protect ‘State
Security,’ it can even modify news. To give an
example of the monitoring of ‘national’ news, on
May 15, Xia Lin, Chief Editor of Xinhua News
Agency presented a report to some students of
journalism at Tianjin Foreign Studies University.
The topic of the report was "Understanding
Journalistic Protocols for Covering Breaking News."

According to the blog of one of the witnesses
(his posting was later removed), Xia gave the
example of the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft’s return to
earth. After a successful landing, the astronaut
Yang Liwei emerged from the cabin. The momentous
event was broadcast ‘live’. Yang Liwei’s face was
a bit pale, but his body looked in good
condition. In front of the cameras, he was
quickly taken out of the cabin. Xia explained to
the students that the images of Yang Liwei had
actually been ‘cleaned up’. According to China
Digital Times the mission landing was not so
perfect. The excessive G-force pressure during
re-entry split open Yang Liwei’s lips, drenching
his face in blood: “The workers quickly mopped up
the blood, strapped him back in his seat and shut
the door. Then, with the cameras rolling, the
cabin door swung open again, revealing an unblemished moment of triumph”.

A recent report in the Indian press shows that
the Publicity Department is also able to use
foreign media to propagate its version of history.

The report stated: "Twenty-year-old Panchen Lama,
being projected by China as the Dalai Lama’s
successor, has made his ‘political debut’ by
making a maiden address at a prominent monastery
in Tibet, the state media said on Tuesday."

Only quoting Chinese media, the Indian report
affirmed: "The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini
Qoigyijabu, addressed for the first time a
congregation at Tashilhunpo monastery in Tibet.
Qoigyijabu was appointed by China as the 11th Panchen Lama."

The fact that the name of the Panchen Lama
(Bainqen) Gyaltsen Norbu (Qoigyijabu) was
phonetically spelled à la Chinese showed the
origin of the report.Though it mentioned that
"the designation of six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi
Nyima for the same post by Dalai Lama in 1995 was
repudiated," nothing about the background was explained.

The Chinese propaganda has now openly decided to
bet on Gyaltsen Norbu as the new spiritual leader
of Tibet. The young Lama has been appointed a
delegate to the top legislative advisory body,
the Chinese People’s Political Consultative
Conference (CPPCC). Desperate to win over the
Tibetans, the Chinese leadership does not realise
that this tactical move can only create more
resentment among the Tibetan masses.

Flashback: In December 1989, the Tenth Panchen
Lama died in mysterious circumstances in
Tashilhunpo monastery. A couple of days earlier,
he had publicly declared that 40 years of
Communist presence had brought more misery than
good things for Tibet. One senior Chinese
official witnessed the Panchen Lama’s speech. His
name, Hu Jintao then CCP boss in the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

The fate of the Panchen Lama came back in the
news in May 1995 when, on the occasion of Buddha
Poornima, the Dalai Lama formally announced that
Gedhun Choeki Nyima, a six-year old boy from
Lhari district in Tibet was the genuine Eleventh
Panchen Lama. This marked the culmination of a
long process started soon after the death of his predecessor.

For the preceding four years, the Dalai Lama had
performed different religious and spiritual
practices in order to discover the correct
reincarnation. He had also been in secret contact
with the Chinese-appointed head of the Search
Committee, Chatrel Rimpoche who had twice
consulted the Lhamoi Lhatso, the Lake of Vision
in which signs always indicate the path to follow to find a departed lama.

The Chinese reaction was not long in coming.
Infuriated that they had been out played by the
Dalai Lama (the worst affront for the Chinese
psyche is to publicly lose face), they
immediately arrested Chatrel Rimpoche as well as
the newly recognised Panchen Lama. Since then,
nothing is known about the whereabouts of Gedhun
Choeki Nyima, known as the Youngest Political Prisoner in the World.

In October 1995, the Dalai Lama appealed
personally to Jiang Zemin: "I am deeply concerned
that the whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima,
whom I have recognised as the incarnation of the
late Panchen Lama, are not known publicly since
some time." But no official answer came from
Beijing. However, the matter was taken very
seriously in Beijing and this at the highest
level of the State. President Jiang Zemin and
Premier Li Peng personally took it up. On
November 8, Jiang Zemin asked some hand-picked
monks in Beijing to meet and nominate three
candidates other than Gedhun. Their names were
put in the Golden Urn in the Cathedral in Lhasa
and Gyaltsen’s name came out first. On December
8, 1995, Gyaltsen was ‘officially’ enthroned by
the Party in the Tashilhunpo monastery. It is
interesting to note that even though Chatrel
Rimpoche had been specially chosen by Beijing for
his pro-Chinese sentiments, at the end of the
process, he chose to refer the matter to the Dalai Lama for the final choice.

Already a question is in the mind of all the
Tibetans and their well-wishers: is the puppet
Panchen Lama’s recognition and enthronement a
rehearsal for a more important recognition: the
Dalai Lama’s?  There are no more doubts about
this. Today the Central Publicity Department
fully uses the party’s Panchen Lama for
propaganda purposes. During the Lama’s recent
visit to Tibet, he was received as a VVIP by the
bosses of the party, led by the infamous Zhang
Qingli who once called the Dalai Lama a wolf in monk’s robes.

The Lama also visited Yumbulhakang, the Palace of
the First Kings of Tibet and the cradle of the
Tibetan civilisation. He also went to the Reting
monastery founded by Atisha, the great Bengali
Pandit.The Lama met the young Reting Rinpoche, a
puppet Lama who in his previous life has been
fiercely anti-Dalai Lama. The only thing that the
Chinese can’t do is to buy the love of the
Tibetan people for someone they consider as a
stooge of the party. Resentment is bound to grow.
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