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China’s Tibet policy a formula for conflict

(TibetanReview.net, Feb 13) – China is going full speed ahead with an economic and demographic policy aimed at gaining full control over Tibet, reported NDTV.com (India) Feb 11, taking part in a Tibet tour organized by China’s State council Information Office for 19 Chinese and foreign journalists, including from the US, Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Singapore, South Korea and Japan. It said Beijing had been encouraging mass Han Chinese migration to the region to, ostensibly, help it improve economically.

While poverty and inflation were at an all time high there for the local Tibetans, the Chinese immigrants were doing very well indeed. “I’m very happy to be working here. I’m earning quite a lot,” it quoted one such migrant, named Han Lo, as saying. It said the mass Han migration was part of China’s Go West policy aimed ostensibly at developing poorer regions of the PRC and encouraging people like Han to move to Tibet.

The report said the policy had not only led to a skewered economic pattern but also left many Tibetans disgruntled with the Chinese. It noted that traditional Tibetan products like the Tibetan beer Chang was being mass produced for consumption in the rest of the PRC, creating investment and job opportunities for the Chinese migrants. At a high street in Lhasa, Chinese shops are in direct competition with local Tibetans, it noted.

The report said Chinese migrants make up a sizeable portion of Tibet’s workforce, distorting the region’s demography and creating distrust between the two communities. “Chinese are no good. All of them are very bad,” the report quoted a Tibetan woman in Lhasa as saying on condition that her name be not revealed.

The media visit was a rare and tightly controlled government trip, reported guardian.co.uk Feb 11. Reuters reported Feb 11 that the Tibetan capital was under tight clampdown. I said the city seemed to be holding its breath, just weeks ahead of two potentially explosive anniversaries and a new holiday – the Mar 28 Serfs Liberation Day – created by Beijing which pro-Tibet activists warn is “provocative”.

Tight restrictions on Tibetans appeared to mean security for Chinese settlers. “It feels very secure, there are military police on almost every street, with guns and batons,” it quoted a Chinese, a long-term Lhasa resident, as saying.

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