Archive for ‘Tibet’

20/05/2019

U.S. ambassador to China to make first visit to Tibet since 2013 – report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad was due to begin visiting Tibet on Sunday for official meetings and visits to religious and cultural sites, according to a news report on Sunday.

Branstad was scheduled to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province, a historic region of Tibet known to Tibetans as Amdo, from Sunday to Saturday, Radio Free Asia said in a report.

The State Department did not immediately comment on the story.

Radio Free Asia said it would be the first visit to Tibet by a U.S. official since the U.S. Congress approved a law in December that requires the United States to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access to Tibet for foreigners. The U.S. government is required to begin denying visas by the end of this year.

In December, China denounced the United States for passing the law, saying it was “resolutely opposed” to the U.S. legislation on what China considers an internal affair, and it risked causing “serious harm” to their relations.

Since then, tensions have been running high between the two countries over trade. China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the United States on Friday, suggesting a resumption of talks between the world’s two largest economies would be meaningless unless Washington changed course.

On Saturday, China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that recent U.S. words and actions had harmed the interests of China and its enterprises, and that Washington should show restraint.

While the Trump administration has taken a tough stance towards China on trade and highlighted security rivalry with Beijing, the administration has so far not acted on congressional calls for it to impose sanctions on China’s former Communist Party chief in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, for the treatment of minority Muslims in Xinjiang province, where he is currently party chief. 

A State Department report in March said Chen had replicated in Xinjiang, policies similar to those credited with reducing opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet.

Beijing sent troops into remote, mountainous Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and has ruled there with an iron fist ever since.

Source: Reuters

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02/05/2019

Tibet launches venture base to promote cultural industry

LHASA, May 1 (Xinhua) — China’s Tibet Autonomous Region Tuesday launched its first innovation and entrepreneurship base for small and micro venture companies wanting to take a share of the booming cultural industry.

The base, established by the regional department of culture, prioritizes incubating locally-established cultural startups by providing innovation-oriented training as well as displaying featured cultural products.

Sambo, deputy head of the department, said the base aims to promote Tibetan culture through innovative companies and their featured cultural products.

Official data shows the number of cultural companies in Tibet exceeded 6,000 with more than 50,000 employees by the end of 2018. Their total annual output value surpassed 4.6 billion yuan (about 683 million U.S. dollars), with average yearly growth being maintained at over 15 percent.

Source: Xinhua

19/03/2019

More population to have electricity in Tibet

LHASA, March 18 (Xinhua) — The State Grid’s Tibet branch announced that 25,000 more people in the plateau region will be covered by the main power grid by the end of this year.

In 2019, Tibet plans to build 140 electric substations of 35 kilovolts and above and 7,000 km of power transmission lines as the region continues to expand and upgrade its electricity infrastructure.

By the end of 2018, 2.76 million people in 63 counties, or over 80 percent of Tibet’s population, were covered by the main power grid, thanks to an investment of 8.89 billion yuan (about 1.3 billion U.S. dollars) in the year.

If the plan goes well, the figure will rise to 66 counties by the end of 2019.

A 16.2-billion-yuan power interconnection project was put into operation in Tibet last November, linking the region with the national grid network for the first time.

Source: Xinhua

07/03/2019

Tibet has 667,000 people engaged in environmental protection

LHASA, March 6 (Xinhua) — To conserve the ecosystem while eradicating poverty, southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region hired 309,000 farmers and herders as forest rangers in 2018, bringing the total number of people engaged in environmental protection to 667,000.

Average annual subsidies in the jobs increased to 3,500 yuan (522 U.S. dollars), according to the regional department of ecology and environment.

Last year, Tibet invested 10.7 billion yuan in environmental protection funds, with 74,133 hectares of trees planted and forest coverage rising to 12.14 percent.

The region also invested 100 million yuan in enhancing the ecology along the upper reaches of the Yangtze, China’s longest river.

“Protecting the forests is equal to protecting our homeland,” said a local Tibetan forest ranger.

The implementation of a series of measures contributed to environmental protection, making Tibet one of the areas with the best ecological environment in the world, authorities said.

Source: Xinhua

07/03/2019

In sensitive year for China, warnings against ‘erroneous thoughts’

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party is ramping up calls for political loyalty in a year of sensitive anniversaries, warning against “erroneous thoughts” as officials fall over themselves to pledge allegiance to President Xi Jinping and his philosophy.

This year is marked by some delicate milestones: 30 years since the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square; 60 years since the Dalai Lama fled from Tibet into exile; and finally, on Oct. 1, 70 years since the founding of Communist China.

Born of turmoil and revolution, the Communist Party came to power in 1949 on the back of decades of civil war in which millions died, and has always been on high alert for “luan”, or “chaos”, and valued stability above all else.

“This year is the 70th anniversary of the founding of new China,” Xi told legislators from Inner Mongolia on Tuesday, the opening day of the annual meeting of parliament. “Maintaining sustained, healthy economic development and social stability is a mission that is extremely arduous.”

Xi has tightened the party’s grip on almost every facet of government and life since assuming power in late 2012.

ROOTING OUT DISLOYALTY

The party has increasingly been making rooting out disloyalty and wavering from the party line a disciplinary offence to be enforced by its anti-corruption watchdog, whose role had ostensibly been to go after criminal acts such as bribery and lesser bureaucratic transgressions.

The graft buster said last month it would “uncover political deviation” in its political inspections this year of provincial governments and ministries.

Top graft buster Zhao Leji, in a January speech to the corruption watchdog, a full transcript of which the party released late February, used the word “loyalty” eight times.

“Set an example with your loyalty to the party,” Zhao said.

China has persistently denied its war on corruption is about political manoeuvring or Xi taking down his enemies. Xi told an audience in Seattle in 2015 that the anti-graft fight was no “House of Cards”-style power play, in a reference to the Netflix U.S. political drama.

The deeper fear for the party is some sort of unrest or a domestic or even international event fomenting a crisis that could end its rule.

Xi told officials in January they need to be on high alert for “black swan” events..

That same month the top law-enforcement official said China’s police must focus on withstanding “colour revolutions”, or popular uprisings, and treat the defence of China’s political system as central to their work.

The party has meanwhile shown no interest in political reform, and has been doubling down on the merits of the Communist Party, including this month rolling out English-language propaganda videos on state media-run Twitter accounts to laud “Chinese democracy”. Twitter remains blocked in China.

The official state news agency Xinhua said in an English-language commentary on Sunday that China was determined to stick to its political model and rejected Western-style democracy.
“The country began to learn about democracy a century ago, but soon found Western politics did not work here. Decades of turmoil and civil war followed,” it said.
Source: Reuters
26/02/2019

China has 2.9 million teachers in rural areas

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) — China had over 2.9 million teachers in rural areas by the end of 2018, the Ministry of Education said Tuesday.

Close to 2.5 million rural teachers work at primary and secondary schools, while 420,000 teachers work at kindergartens, according to the ministry.

The ministry is striving to build a high-quality team of rural teachers and dispatched a great number of college graduates to the rural areas, especially the poverty-stricken regions, said Liu Jiantong, an official with the ministry’s department of teachers.

The central budget financed 4.5 billion yuan (670 million U.S. dollars) last year as an allowance for 1.27 million teachers from over 80,000 rural schools in China’s central and western regions, said Liu.

In 2018, 1,800 retired teachers in good health registered to teach at rural schools. In addition, 19 provincial-level regions dispatched 4,000 teachers to support education in Tibet and Xinjiang, said the ministry.

Source: Xinhua

25/02/2019

Smog continues in north and east China, snow to hit west

BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) — China’s national observatory on Sunday forecast that some northern and eastern parts of the country would be shrouded in smog in the coming days while snow will hit western regions.

Thick smog will envelop northern and eastern areas including Hebei and Shandong provinces until Thursday, according to the National Meteorological Center (NMC).

From Sunday night to Monday morning, thick fog will be seen in the provinces of Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Hubei, reducing visibility in some areas to less than 200 meters, the NMC said.

From Sunday night to Tuesday, snow will hit west China’s Tibet, Qinghai and Gansu, while rain will soak the south from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Bad weather could disrupt traffic after the Spring Festival holiday when many people are returning to work after the break.

China’s Spring Festival travel rush started from Jan. 21 and will last till March 1.

Source: Xinhua

15/02/2019

China closes its Everest base camp to tourists

Everest view from Tibetan sideImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMore and more people want to see the world’s tallest peak

China has closed the base camp on its side of Mount Everest to visitors who don’t have climbing permits.

Authorities have resorted to the unusual move to deal with the mounting waste problem at the site.

The ban means tourists can only go as far as a monastery slightly below the 5,200m (17,060ft) base camp level.

More people visit the mountain from the southern side in Nepal, but over the past years numbers have been rising steadily on the Chinese side as well.

The Chinese base camp, located in Tibet, is popular as it is accessible by car – whereas the Nepalese camp can only be reached by a hike of almost two weeks.

The world’s highest peak has been struggling with escalating levels of rubbish for years, as the number of visitors rises.

The Chinese Mountaineering Association says 40,000 visited its base camp in 2015, the most recent year with figures. A record 45,000 visited Nepal’s base camp in 2016-7 according to Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation.

Everest view from Tibetan sideImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionTourists are still allowed to go as far as the Rongbuk monastery

Ordinary tourists will only be banned from areas above Rongbuk monastery, which is around 5,000m above sea level, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.

Mountaineers who have a permit to climb the 8,848m peak will still be allowed to use the higher camp.

In January, authorities announced that they would limit the number of climbing permits each year to 300.

On Chinese social media, claims have spread in recent days that its base camp will be permanently closed to tourists – but Xinhua cited officials denying that.

Nepalese sherpa picking up trash on EverestImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe temperature and high altitude make clean-up efforts on Everest a tough task

The official announcement about the closure was made in December, on the website of the Tibetan authorities.

It stated that three clean-up operations last spring had collected eight tonnes of waste, including human faeces and mountaineering equipment climbers had left behind.

This year’s clean-up efforts will also try to remove the bodies of mountaineers who have died in the so-called death zone above 8,000m, where the air is too thin to sustain life for long.

Due to the cold and high altitude, these bodies often remain on the mountain for years or even decades.

Source: The BBC

09/02/2019

Relief reaches blizzard-hit Tibetan prefecture

XINING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — After days of snow storms, roads in many areas of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China’s Qinghai Province, are covered under snow as deep as 45 centimeters.

Tsertra, deputy director of the Yushu Disaster Relief Work and Emergency Headquarters, said one city and five other counties in Yushu were hit by the snow storms. Thousands of livestock were reported dead.

The local authority has sent vets, medicine and fodders to the blizzard-hit areas.

Drapa Sum, director of the health center in Gyeldo County, one of the worst-hit areas, said that he and his colleagues this week visited a number of blizzard-hit villages, some 5,000 meters above sea level on average.

“Villagers were relieved to see doctors and vets come to their rescue,” said Drapa Sum.

He said the trips were extremely dangerous, as roads were buried in snow.

By Friday, 4,653 tonnes of fodders had been transported to the blizzard-hit areas. The bureau of agriculture and rural affairs with the Qinghai Provincial Government has set aside 10 million yuan (about 1.48 million U.S. dollars) to purchase more fodders, said He Bo, deputy head of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefectural Government.

He said the primary relief work now is to clear the snow-covered roads to ensure supplies reach the disaster-hit villages. Strong winds are blowing snow to block the roads despite the efforts to clear them.

The snowstorms have also led to the deaths of wild animals by the hundred in the region.

The Administration for the National Park of Sanjiangyuan (Three-River-Source) has earmarked a fund of 100,000 yuan for helping wild animals survive the harsh winter.

Source: Xinhua

08/01/2019

China deploys vehicle-mounted cannons in Tibet along border with India

China has either deployed or plans to induct cutting-edge weaponry for its land border troops to use. Last August, China said it was building rockets for its artillery brigades that will be propelled by the “electromagnetic catapult” technology and can be used in the high altitude plateaus of the TAR.

WORLD Updated: Jan 08, 2019 16:41 IST

Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China,China army,China forces
China has equipped its forces in Tibet, which has a long border with India, with new vehicle-mounted howitzers to improve combat capability at high altitudes, reports sourced from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said on Tuesday.(Reuters File Photo)

China has equipped its forces in Tibet, which has a long border with India, with new vehicle-mounted howitzers to improve combat capability at high altitudes, reports sourced from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said on Tuesday.

It is the same cannon used by an artillery brigade during the 73-day Sino-India border standoff at Doklam (Donglang in Chinese), a state media report said, indicating that since then it has been inducted in high-altitude brigades on a wider scale in the border areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

The deployment comes at a time with China’s border issues, with India and Bhutan, remain unresolved and “…challenged by pro-Tibet independence forces and terrorists,” an analyst told the state media.

The deployed weapon is said to be the rarely seen PLC-181 vehicle-mounted howitzer cannons, capable of firing and then rapidly changing positions. It is said to be a new addition in the arsenal of the PLA ground forces (PLAGF).

The information was first released on a social media app by the PLAGF, saying the PLA in the Tibet Military Command is equipped with the new howitzer, which Chinese military analysts said is supposed to be the PLC-181 vehicle-mounted howitzer.

Song Zhongping, a military expert, told the nationalistic tabloid Global Times the howitzer has 52-caliber cannon with a range of over 50 kilometres and shoots laser-guided and satellite-guided projectiles.

“It will boost the high-altitude combat capability of the PLA in Tibet,” Song said.

“As part of military training in 2019, an artillery brigade in the Tibet Military Command ordered soldiers to take part in a military skills competition at a training ground on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 3,700 meters above sea level,” the report said.

Video from the China News Service on Sunday shows soldiers engaged in military boxing, standstill shooting and firing in motion, as well as assembling guns on the snowfields to improve their attack capability.

The information about the new deployment comes within days of President Xi Jinping commanding China’s armed forces to be ready for combat and be prepared for unexpected crisis and war.

The armed forces should have enhanced awareness of danger, crisis and war, Xi told a meeting of the central military commission (CMC), the top military organisation in the country of which he is the chairperson.

The deployment is not to provoke neighbours but defensive in nature, Zhao Gancheng, director of the Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies told the Global Times.

China has either deployed or plans to induct cutting-edge weaponry for its land border troops to use.

Last August, China said it was building rockets for its artillery brigades that will be propelled by the “electromagnetic catapult” technology and can be used in the high altitude plateaus of the TAR.

Calling the innovation “unprecedented”, the report said the catapult-propelled rockets, which can hit targets beyond 200 km, will be more powerful and effective than conventional artillery guns.

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