The Chinese government is forcing Tibetans to give up herding and farming to become wage laborers, cutting them off from ancient traditions and sacred landscapes. And that’s just the point.Credit...Purbu Zhaxi/Xinhua, via Getty Images

Before Xinjiang, there was Tibet. Repressive policies tested there between 2012 and 2016 were then applied to the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in northwestern China: entire cities covered in surveillance cameras, ubiquitous neighborhood police stations, residents made to report on another other.

Now that process also works the other way around. Xinjiang’s coercive labor program — which includes mandatory training for farmers and herders in centralized vocational facilities and their reassignment to state-assigned jobs, some far away — is being applied to Tibet. (Not the internment camps, though.)

Call this a feedback loop of forcible assimilation. It certainly is evidence of the scale of Beijing’s ruthless campaign to suppress cultural and ethnic differences — and not just in Tibet and Xinjiang.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tourists take photos of the Potala Palace beneath a security camera in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, on Sept. 19, 2015. (Aritz Parra/AP)

Last week, China’s National People’s Congress set in motion new, restrictive legislation for Hong Kong. Activists in Hong Kong have already dubbed this move as the final nail in the coffin of the Basic Law, which guaranteed the people of Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy to govern their own affairs.

Beijing has previously made promises of autonomy in other restive regions — like Tibet. Grasping how Chinese leaders have repeatedly offered Tibetan autonomy, only to rescind it, reveals what the future might hold for Hong Kong.

China annexed Tibet in 1951

Following a brief military campaign in Tibet, in 1951 Mao Zedong promised the rooftop of the world the right to self-governance — if Tibet in return accepted it would become a part of the newly founded People’s Republic of China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las relaciones entre la India y China no han sido particularmente cálidas en los últimos meses. Pero recientemente han entrado en una fase gélida en la que los líderes chinos están furiosos por la visita del Dalai Lama al estado de Arunachal Pradesh, en el nordeste de la India -estado que China reclama como propio-. El 8 de abril, en medio de fuertes protestas por parte del gobierno de China, el Dalai Lama habló ante devotos provenientes de todas partes en el monasterio histórico en la ciudad fronteriza de Tawang, donde nació el sexto Dalai Lama hace más de tres siglos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Portraits by Liu Yi of Tibetans who have self-immolated, in his studio, Beijing, December 25, 2012. Andy Wong/AP Images

February 27, 2009, was the third day of Losar, the Tibetan New Year. It was also the day that self-immolation came to Tibet. The authorities had just cancelled a Great Prayer Festival (Monlam) that was supposed to commemorate the victims of the government crackdown in 2008. A monk by the name of Tapey stepped out of the Kirti Monastery and set his body alight on the streets of Ngawa, in the region known in Tibetan as Amdo, a place of great religious reverence and relevance, now designated as part of China’s Sichuan Province.

At least 145 other Tibetans have self-immolated since then.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le toit du monde. C’est ainsi que l’on appelle le Tibet depuis longtemps. C’est une expression qui évoque des images de sommets enneigés, de pics montagneux, de glaciers, d’étendue de permafrost [un sol dont la température se maintient en dessous de 0 °C pendant plus de deux ans consécutifs] et de nomades vivant des ressources locales. Mais un toit, c’est aussi le symbole de la maison, du foyer, c’est la structure qui protège ceux qui y vivent. Et, comme chacun sait, si le toit va mal, c’est toute la maison qui est en danger. Les glaciers du Tibet sont en train de fondre, le monde doit le savoir.…  Seguir leyendo »

The 80th birthday Monday of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, is an occasion to celebrate the life of an extraordinary individual. Since his flight from Tibet to India in 1959, the Dalai Lama has built religious, educational and political institutions to serve and unite the Tibetan community in exile. He has travelled the world to promote the Tibetan cause and expound the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. And he has formulated a conciliatory “Middle Way Approach” to resolving the Sino-Tibetan conflict that respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity even as it seeks to preserve Tibet’s culture, religion and identity. These accomplishments, and the Dalai Lama’s infectious laugh and warmth, explain why he is such a beloved and respected figure throughout the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

Beijing has no shortage of issues to confront. There’s the South China Sea, uncontrollable corruption, a slowing economy and factional disputes within the party and military. But Chinese officials also face one of the most difficult challenges in modern statecraft: how to conquer a myth.

Despite China’s attempts to dislodge its mythic appeal, Tibet as Shangri-La seems firmly set in the world’s imagination. The once-independent nation, set high on a broad plateau adjacent to the Himalayas, is a worldwide symbol of mystery, aspiration, spirituality and possibility. World leaders remain eager to meet with its exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who can fill auditoriums anywhere he travels.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Feb. 27, 2009, three days into the Tibetan New Year, a 24-year-old monk in his crimson and yellow robe emerged from the confines of the Kirti Monastery into the streets of Ngawa, in a the Tibetan area of southwestern China. There, in the shadow of a 98-foot-tall monument to the gods of longevity, the man burst into flames — thus sparking the first of many self-immolations that spread across the Tibetan regions of China.

The New Year celebrations had been muted, as Tibetans privately remembered those who had suffered in a harsh Chinese crackdown on Tibetans a year earlier — all of those who were murdered, jailed or disappeared.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nationalism arouses solidarity and generates identity politics that threaten ethnic and religious minorities. Defining the “we” also defines the “they” — and the latter is inexorably marginalized.

Identity politics carry with them a high risk of sectarian or communal violence. State abuses of authority, and impunity for abusers, often transform grievances into a shared collective identity among victimized minorities, generating defiance, militancy and a cycle of violence.

China’s Muslim Uighurs from Xinjiang, and Buddhist Tibetans, are resisting assimilation despite sustained efforts by ethnic Han Chinese. Both groups harbor strong resentments against Han-ification that sometimes erupt into violence — direct action that’s quickly suppressed by security officials.…  Seguir leyendo »

Around noon on Feb. 19, an 18-year-old named Nangdrol set himself on fire near the Zamthang Monastery in the northeast Tibetan town of Barma. In a note left behind, he wrote, “I am going to set myself on fire for the benefit of all Tibetans.” Referring to China’s ethnic Han majority as “devils,” he added, “It is impossible to live under their evil law, impossible to bear this torture that leaves no scars.”

Over the last three years, close to 100 Tibetan monks and laypeople have set themselves on fire; 30 people did so between Nov. 4 and Dec. 3. The Chinese government is seeking to halt this wave of self-immolations by detaining Tibetans it accuses of being instigators.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since 2009, 43 Tibetans have set themselves on fire while shouting slogans for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and crying for freedom for Tibetans. These people include monks, nuns, nomads and students. Two were mothers. All but 11 have died. Yet their actions and the issue of Tibet have not generated the commensurate attention or support. Instead, the Chinese government casts blame on these Tibetans and refuses to examine the root causes of their actions.

Despite repeated appeals by the central Tibetan administration, which is based in India, to refrain from such drastic actions, Tibetans persist in self-immolations.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the early 1980s, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, I wore a «Free Tibet» patch on my backpack. Two summers ago, when I returned to my old Nepalese village with my 16-year-old daughter, she affixed the same words to her water bottle.

And still, Tibet is not free.

In fact, it’s less so. My Peace Corps years corresponded to a brief period of liberalization in Tibet, following the death of Chinese dictator Mao Zedong. But the Chinese cracked down in the late 1980s and early 1990s, restricting religious practice and Tibetan language instruction. Chinese authorities imposed martial law in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa after riots in 1989 and again in 2008, when hundreds of protesters were killed or detained by security forces.…  Seguir leyendo »

Il y a trois ans, de Lhassa à Litang, les Tibétains se soulevaient contre la domination chinoise au Tibet. Nous n’encourageons pas les manifestations, mais il est de notre devoir sacré d’apporter notre soutien et d’être la voix de nos courageux compatriotes privés de parole.

En 1950, lorsque l’armée chinoise est entrée au Tibet, les Chinois ont promis le «paradis socialiste» aux Tibétains. Après plus de soixante ans de domination chinoise, le Tibet n’a rien d’un paradis socialiste. Ce n’est pas le socialisme qui y règne, mais le colonialisme ; au lieu d’un paradis, on n’y trouve que tragédie. Le gouvernement chinois devrait s’en rendre compte.…  Seguir leyendo »

Three years ago, Tibetans from Lhasa to Lithang rose up against Chinese rule in Tibet. Earlier this week, a Tibetan monk set himself on fire — the second self-immolation this year, and a testament to China’s continuing repression and Tibetans’ continued resistance. We do not encourage protests, but it is our sacred duty to support our voiceless and courageous compatriots.

In 1950, when the Chinese Army first came to Tibet, they promised a socialist paradise for Tibetans. After more than 60 years of misrule, Tibet is no socialist paradise. There is not socialism but colonialism; there is no paradise, only tragedy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Wednesday, on his 76th birthday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be honored at Verizon Center by 11,000 people, including Arun Gandhi and Martin Luther King III, the grandson and son of the two stalwarts of nonviolence.

This spring, when people put their lives on the line for democracy during the Jasmine Revolution, with Col. Moammar Gaddafi still shedding blood to hold on to power in Libya, and despite impassioned appeals by Tibetans, the Dalai Lama devolved all his political power to democratically elected Tibetan leaders. That means that the Dalai Lama gave up his constitutional power to dismiss the Tibetan parliament, judiciary and executive; to sign or veto bills; to summon emergency meetings; and to appoint representatives and envoys abroad.…  Seguir leyendo »

La carta enviada por el Dalái Lama al Parlamento tibetano en el exilio, anunciando que abandona por completo sus responsabilidades políticas y administrativas, ha sorprendido a todo el mundo, y, sobre todo, a las autoridades chinas. Exiliado en la India desde 1959, el Dalái Lama ha estimulado así la joven democracia tibetana.

Las iniciativas democráticas del Dalái Lama constituyen una firme expresión de sus convicciones budistas y gandhianas, están en consonancia con los dos principios de confianza en uno mismo y no violencia que seguirán siendo capitales para cualquier medida que tome el nuevo primer ministro tibetano, Lobsang Sangay, y para cualquier diálogo y acuerdo con Pekín.…  Seguir leyendo »

While Tibet raises a number of controversial questions, one dimension will assume increasing political significance: its water resources. The Tibetan Plateau, known to many as the «Third Pole,» is an enormous storehouse of freshwater, believed by some to be the world’s largest. It is the headwaters of many of Asia’s mighty rivers, including the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Brahmaputra, Indus and Sutlej. These vast water resources are of course vulnerable to environmental challenges, including climate change, but they are subject to an array of political issues as well.

Should China be the lone stakeholder to the fate of the waters in Tibet?…  Seguir leyendo »

Now that the White House has announced that President Obama will receive the Dalai Lama, it is important that he be welcomed not only as a moral and religious leader respected throughout the world but also as a fellow democrat who shares America’s deepest values.

This is not an aspect of the Dalai Lama that is well understood, especially by those who see him as the spiritual leader of a traditional people. Yet he is a devoted democrat who has defended the universality of the democratic idea against the «Asian values» argument of various autocrats and who has tried, even before he fled Tibet in 1959, to modernize Tibet’s system of government.…  Seguir leyendo »

Il y a peu, le petit monde parisien de l’Unesco était en pleine effervescence, dans l’attente du nouvel élu qui tiendra dorénavant le devant de la scène à sa direction. De rumeurs en joutes serrées, de palabres en négociations laborieuses, la tête de l’organisation internationale est féminine, Irina Bokova la Bulgare l’ayant finalement emporté sur Farouk Hosni l’Egyptien. A peu près en même temps, les amateurs de foot, bien plus nombreux, se passionnaient pour un match décisif entre les équipes de France et des îles Féroé. A première vue, pas grand-chose de commun entre ces deux événements. Et pourtant, le brouhaha autour du premier et les clameurs entourant le second ont relégué loin à l’arrière-plan un troisième événement qui vaut tout de même son pesant d’information.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tema: El estado de la cuestión del Tíbet ha vuelto a plantearse con el recuerdo del 50 aniversario del levantamiento que llevó al Dalai Lama al exilio y que Pekín conmemora como inicio de una reforma democrática.

Resumen: Este análisis se propone, en primer lugar, revisar la situación de aparente estabilidad que se ha vivido en Tíbet y en las provincias vecinas con población tibetana en fechas cercanas al controvertido aniversario, normalidad que plantea algunas dudas. En segundo lugar, señala algunas características de las conversaciones que ha mantenido el Gobierno chino con los delegados del Dalai Lama recientemente, así como sus perspectivas futuras.…  Seguir leyendo »