Poverty eradication in Tibet conditional on beneficiaries’ allegiance to communist party leadership

Tibetan villagers in Chamdo sing Chinese ‘patriotic’ songs. (Photo courtesy: RFA)

(TibetanReview.net, Mar15’19) – China said during the ongoing session of its parliament, the National People’s Congress, in Beijing that Tibetans love its communist government more, and had no love for their exile spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. What it did not say, however, was that this is a government policy whose violation would be catastrophic to the Tibetan people, including loss of subsistence living support.

In only the latest report of such consequence to the Tibetan people, the Tibetan Service of rfa.org said Mar 13 that Tibetan villagers needing state help to overcome poverty in Tibet’s Markham County of Chamdo City were being forced to memorize the names of top successive Chinese leaders and pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.

Those who fail a test for their compliance with these requirements see their state assistance either denied or suspended, the report cited a source as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Tibet Autonomous Region has set the goal of eliminating poverty during this year, a year ahead of China’s national goal of 2020. China’s national policy goal does not speak of conditional eradication of poverty. However, implementing the policy turns out to be another matter.

The report said the campaign tying poverty alleviation programmes for Tibetans to public displays of loyalty to China was started earlier in Chamdo’s Pashoe County and later launched in neighbouring Markham at the beginning of this year.

The report cited the source as saying that in Pashoe, the leader of a local Tibetan women’s group became famous for reciting the names of China’s five previous national leaders and for describing the purpose of Chinese policies in Tibetan rural areas.

“This was then held up as an example to other Tibetans, and after this the drive to force Tibetans to memorize leaders’ names and to explain and support China’s policies in the countryside has expanded in a big way.”

The source has said that villagers uneducated in Chinese find it difficult to pass the policy test, with the result that many were left without help and in hardship.

The report quoted a Tibetan official working for the Chinese government as saying in a video clip it had obtained that the local Tibetans must repay China’s generosity in providing them food, clothing, and housing with “love for the Communist Party and for China’s leaders”.

A considerable portion of Tibetans have become depend on state help after their land was confiscated or after they were evicted from their traditional nomadic pasture to make way for development projects, nature parks, mining projects, and so on.


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