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ICT Inside Tibet: Safety fears over Tibet railway raised amid concern over mega-projects

November 21, 2017

  • An account of safety fears over construction of the newest line of the Tibet railway, the Lhasa to Shigatse route, is circulating on social media, with the blogger saying that the authorities are “turning a blind eye” to the dangers. The author of the blog, who gives a Chinese name, appears to have detailed knowledge of the railway’s construction and its failings and refers to the military and strategic importance of Tibet’s railway and its extension in areas close to the Indian border.
  • The Nepalese press reported that China and Nepal have completed an early study on the cross-border, 100-km railway that they say will connect Kathmandu with the border town of Kyirong (Chinese: Gyirong) in the Tibet Autonomous Region, part of China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ plans, although their account of the extent of underground tunnelling under one of the world’s most seismically active mountain ranges seems unfeasible and highly unlikely.
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Inside Tibet: Dramatic video of slow-moving landslide in Tibet raises questions about climate change

September 13, 2017

A graphic video depicting a slow-moving landslide, looking like a lava flow, in a nomadic area of eastern Tibet has circulated online leading to questions about climate change and grasslands degradation on the world’s highest and largest plateau. The video shows the top layer of the grasslands sliding downhill in a steady stream, near livestock and nomadic dwellings, as Tibetans look on in distress.

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ICT Inside Tibet: Tibetan nomads make rare appeal against removal from grasslands

September 5, 2017

  • Tibetan herders have made a rare appeal to the Chinese authorities after being banned from their traditional grazing grounds, saying that the orders are illegal in the context of Chinese law. The nomads, from a Tibetan area of Qinghai ( Amdo) were forced to leave their summer pastures, with large fines being imposed on those who refused and threats of imprisonment. Nomads have also been ordered to leave their grazing land in another area of Qinghai.
  • In their appeal, written by ‘the people of Dernang’ in a county in Golog and addressed to “The respected senior leaders of the People’s Republic of China, and concerned departments”, the Tibetan nomads write: “Taking away citizens’ rights to pastureland is against the constitution, against national and local laws, and a major cause of damage to People’s’ livelihood and way of life.” The appeal, and details about the order from Mangra county, are translated into English from Tibetan below.
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Inside Tibet: New crackdown on ‘hostile forces’ in Tibet in buildup to Party Congress

August 11, 2017

In an already oppressive political environment, restrictions on media, culture and communications in Tibet have been stepped up in the buildup to the 19th Party Congress, due to take place in the fall.

According to Tibet Daily, a crackdown on “illegal activity” has been launched in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in order to tighten security and ensure compliance to the Party state prior to the important Party meeting in Beijing, which could be held as early as October. The official report mentions that further actions will be taken to “prevent […] problematic information distributed by Dalai Clique and other Western hostile forces and track down online circulation of negative information, hyper-speculation and rumors.”

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Inside Tibet: Major live fire drill testing new tanks in Tibet highlights political imperatives, military capacity on plateau

July 21, 2017

In the fifth week of serious border tensions between China and India, China released footage of a major military live-fire assault exercise in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Soldiers used flame-throwers, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns to strike bunkers and various types of heavy weapons, including mortars, self-propelled howitzers, multiple rocket launchers and anti-tank missiles in the display of fire-power, which also trialled a new type of tank.

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Inside Tibet: children banned from prayer during holy month and intensification of border security

June 12, 2017

  • New ruling bans Tibetan children from prayer during holy month
  • Influx of tour guides reveals political agenda
  • Transformation of Dram on Nepal border to base for troops, strengthening border security
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Inside Tibet: Use of “lie-detector” to test Communist Party members indicates escalation of control in Tibet

May 15, 2017

Officials in an area of eastern Tibet are being compelled to undergo a polygraph test, popularly known as a ‘lie-detector test,’ linked to an evaluation of their political loyalty to the CCP. The news, published in the state media, is evidence of a disturbing new level of intrusion into the private lives and thoughts of Tibetans, indicating the atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia in the official sphere and the CCP’s insecurities over the erosion of its authority.

The state media report from Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) stated that the lie-detector test was being imposed in order to establish the “true feelings” of Party cadres in the region. While it stated that this is a matter of establishing their “psychological stability”, the priority of the authorities appears to be to ensure political loyalty to the CCP and compliance with CCP policy.

The introduction of lie-detectors to test even Communist Party officials represents an escalation of the CCP’s efforts to assert its dominance in a climate it has created of fear and mistrust. It is also an implicit acknowledgement that in the official sphere as well as in the wider society, many Tibetans remain loyal to the Dalai Lama and maintain their strong sense of identity as Tibetans.

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Inside Tibet: The four loves and the enemy within: new ideological campaign in Tibet reflects heightened agenda of control in 19th Party Congress year

April 20, 2017

The Chinese authorities have launched a new ideological campaign in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) aimed at “diluting the negative impact of religion” and promoting loyalty to Xi Jinping as part of an intensified control agenda in the year of the 19th Party Congress.

The new propaganda effort is focused around the “four loves”, which are defined as “core interests” of the Chinese Communist Party; the motherland; one’s home town, and one’s livelihood – and was promoted in numerous meetings around the region over the last two weeks.[1]

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Inside Tibet: Tibetan New Year marked by security agenda; mass deployment of troops for prayer festival

March 7, 2017

The Chinese authorities used the Tibetan New Year (Losar) period last week, traditionally marked by devotional ceremonies, to focus on the security agenda of the Party state and warn of a continuing harsh fight against ‘separatism’, a politically charged term used to blame the Dalai Lama.

There was a major and intimidating deployment of military force at a prayer ceremony at Kumbum monastery, while in Lhasa regional leaders hosted a series of meetings in which monks and nuns were warned about the need to comply with Party policy, and – evidence of the strong Party and police presence in religious institutions – official delegations inspected ‘armed forces’ and cadres at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.

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Inside Tibet: Rare admission of psychological impact on troops involved in counter-terror, oppressive policies

December 5, 2016

A rare admission of psychological problems among police officers involved in implementing oppressive policies in the PRC, including trauma linked to the imposition of ‘stability maintenance’ and counter-terror policies, is made in a document obtained by ICT and published by a People’s Armed Police University College.

The document, published by the Department of Military Psychology at the college in Xian earlier this year,[1] expresses alarm at the dangers of long-term trauma, debilitating fear and anxiety and combat shock that arise from the policies of ‘stability maintenance’, which has involved the dramatic expansion of the powers of military and police in both Tibet and Xinjiang backed by grass roots propaganda work and electronic surveillance. “Studies have shown that during the normal carrying out of anti-terror and stability maintenance duties, psychological problems readily arise among officers,” the paper states, adding: “There is cruelty in the anti-terror struggle.”[2]

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Inside Tibet: Tightened controls before Kalachakra; new Chinese Interpol President

November 17, 2016

  • Tightened controls and fear as Dalai Lama teaching in India approaches: passports confiscated, Tibetans on pilgrimage warned
  • Chinese security official prominent in ‘counter-terror’ drive in Tibet is appointed Interpol President

Tightened restrictions before Dalai Lama teaching

The Chinese authorities have tightened controls on Tibetans, in some areas going from house to house to confiscate people’s passports, in the buildup to a major religious ceremony to be held by the Dalai Lama in the pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya, India.

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Inside Tibet: News and analysis of emerging developments in Tibet

November 8, 2016

  • Tibetan ‘Living Buddhas’ visit to Mao Zedong’s birthplace and military camp sends strong political signal of Party dominance
  • New alignment of Xinjiang and Tibet regional leadership in climate of intensified security, surveillance and ‘counter terror’
  • Report by Congressional-Executive Commission on China shows dramatic increase of Chinese in Tibetan areas linked to railway opening
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Dubhe

Death of popular Tibetan singer prompts emotional tributes: well-known Tibetan writer monk sentenced

May 10, 2016

  • The death of a well-known Tibetan singer, Dubhe, whose best-known song ‘Faraway Friend’ is a tribute to the Dalai Lama, has prompted an outpouring of praise for his work across Tibet including gatherings of Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile to celebrate his life. The responses to his death demonstrate the determination among both a younger generation of Tibetans and their elders to keep their cultural identity alive.
  • A well-known Tibetan writer who is also a monk from Kirti monastery in Ngaba, Lobsang Jamyang (pen name: Lomik), has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.
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The ‘poisonous fruit’ of Tibet’s religious policy as China publishes ‘Living Buddha’ database

May 2, 2016

As China publishes its online database of Communist Party approved Tibetan Buddhist reincarnations, with more than 400 names added last week, a vibrant online debate among Chinese and Tibetan netizens has followed a scathing critique of policies on religion in Tibet focusing on the Party’s attempts to control reincarnation by a Tibetan scholar in the PRC.

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Plans for second railway across Tibet confirmed: likely to have even greater impact

March 14, 2016

The Chinese government has confirmed plans to accelerate construction of a new railway line to Tibet from Chengdu, running east from Lhasa close to India’s border, and an extension of the railway to the border with Nepal.

The official confirmation of the new route to Chengdu – described by an official as “like the largest rollercoaster in the world” – and to Kyirong on the border with Nepal was announced at the China’s National People’s Congress in Beijing this month and during earlier official meetings in Lhasa.

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Tightening of an invisible net: new security measures in eastern Tibet heighten surveillance, control

February 16, 2016

New systematic and long-term security measures are being rolled out in the eastern Tibetan areas of Kham and Amdo as part of an intensified control agenda set at the highest levels in Beijing and in line with a ‘counter-terror’ campaign.

“It has gone beyond a simple ‘crackdown’ now, and is much more sophisticated, and terrifying,” a Tibetan source told ICT after speaking to a number of Tibetans from different parts of Tibet. “Security is invisible and everywhere. It is no longer only armed police patrolling the streets; often we don’t know who the police are as they blend into society, and officials are in our homes, asking about every part of our lives.”

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