(TibetanReview.net, Aug13, 2014) –China has invited 40 supporters of its much-critiqued development policy on Tibet from other countries to a two-day forum in the occupied Himalayan region’s capital Lhasa beginning Aug 12. After delivering speeches praising and encouraging China on its current policy, the participants – said to include cheerleaders in the name of scholars, journalists, politicians and entrepreneurs from Britain, India, the United states and other countries – will enjoy field trip junkets in Lhasa and Nyingchi (Tibetan: Nyingtri) Prefecture, according to the country’s official Xinhua news agency Aug 12.
Xinhua said the forum, with around 100 participants, was being sponsored jointly by the propaganda arm of the Chinese government, the Information Office of the State Council, along with the regional government of Tibet Autonomous Region, to gather opportunities and suggestions for the region’s future under Chinese rule.
Cui Yuying, vice head of the Information Office, has set the tone for the participants’ speechmaking by criticizing those “who insist Tibet should remain primitive and any development of the region equals the annihilation of Tibetan culture and the region’s environment,” that “Tibetans should always ride yaks and live in tents.” But, she has added, under Chinese rule over the past half century, “Tibet has been on an irreversible path of development and civilization, which complies with the general trend of the development of the human society.”
Xinhua quoted India’s biggest cheerleader for China’s policies in Tibet, Narasimhan Ram of the media group that runs India’s “largest” English-language newspaper, The Hindu, as saying thanks to China “Tibet’s interaction and integration with the rest of China has deepened and its isolation from the rest of the world has decisively been ended.”
The report also cited Neil Davison, Labour’s shadow Advocate General sitting in the House of Lords, the British Parliament, as suggesting that China use forums like the ongoing one and “the power of media” to enable the people in his country to understand the type of development taking place in Tibet.
Losang Jamcan, chairman of the Tibet regional government, has made the right noises about “never” developing the region at the expense of its environment, although the region has seen ever more protests, arrests, and persecutions of Tibetans for protesting against highly destructive Chinese mining works in their local areas in recent years.
Xinhua said the ongoing forum, the fourth Forum on the Development of Tibet, was the first with so many overseas “representatives”. The previous forums were held in Vienna (Austria) on Nov 29, 2007; Rome (Italy) on Oct 22, 2009, and Athens (Greece) on Nov 10, 2011.