Archive for ‘Tibet Autonomous Region’

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

17/04/2019

Across China: Favorable ethnic policies bring benefits for Tibetan children

XINING, April 16 (Xinhua) — Every morning, Sonam Tsering takes his backpack and earphones, boards the subway and arrives in a commercial bank — his workplace in Beijing.

Sonam, 30, is doing a successful job in the international business unit of the bank. His success in the capital city is inseparable from his education background.

Sonam was born in Jone County of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of northwest China’s Gansu Province. Thanks to China’s favorable ethnic policies, Sonam was able to study in a middle school in the northern Hebei Province.

“There were many ethnic classes in our school, and many of my classmates were from ethnic minority groups,” he said. After graduation, Sonam went for further study in Britain.

“I am from a small town, but education truly broadened my horizons,” he said.

Over the past decades, favorable policies have brought benefits for many children living in Tibetan areas.

In Sonam’s spare time, he likes watching NBA games. Sonam, who is fluent in Chinese, Tibetan and English, is also a fan of Tibetan rap, and he occasionally hangs out with friends at a bar in downtown Beijing.

When he was studying abroad, he met the love of his life. Now both Sonam and his wife are working in Beijing while raising a one-year-old baby girl.

“We plan to let our child study in Beijing,” he said. “We want her to get in touch with avant-garde thoughts, broaden her horizons and pursue a life she likes,” he said.

Like Sonam Tsering, Tsering Lhakyi also benefited from the country’s ethnic policies.

In the 1980s, due to a lack of talents and poor education foundation in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, the government decided to open classes for Tibetan children. In 1985, the first batch of Tibetan pupils went inland to study. Since then, an increasing number of Tibetan children came to pursue study in more developed areas in China.

Tsering Lhakyi, born in the 1990s, was raised in Tibet’s Nagqu Prefecture with an average altitude of at least 4,500 meters. Her parents sent her to primary school in Lhasa, the regional capital. After that, she got high scores in the entrance exam and was admitted to an inland Tibetan class. After the national college entrance exam, she applied for a university in Yantai City of eastern China’s Shandong Province because she “wanted to see the sea.”

“The inland class truly taught me a lot about many new things,” she said. As a fan of music, Tsering was once a singer in a bar and released two singles in Tibetan. She currently works for a state-own enterprise.

“After work, I love to write music with a bunch of friends,” she said.

In 2017, she went to a popular talent show called “Sing! China” and became quite a sensation in the music industry thanks to her unique style and great music. Before Tsering, there were no other Tibetan contestants on the show, she said.

“People thought Tibetan singers were all about ethnic music, but I wanted to break that stereotype,” she said.

After the show, Tsering became a celebrity, but she was quite patient in releasing new music.

“I don’t want to make music just to cater to the market,” she said. “I have been trying different styles of music recently, and I want to create something different.”

Liu Hua, with Qinghai’s ethnic and religious affairs committee, said that China’s favorable ethnic policies not only brought quality education to students in ethnic areas but also changed their lives.

“These graduates are using their wide range of knowledge and images to influence people around them and generations to come,” Liu said.

Source: Xinhua

31/03/2019

Construction of 2,240-MW hydropower station underway in upper Yangtze

LHASA, March 30 (Xinhua) — Construction started Saturday on the main structure of a 2,240-MW hydropower station on the Jinsha River, the upper section of the Yangtze River.

A cofferdam was built upstream of the construction site on Saturday in preparation for further building work.

The Yebatan Hydropower Station is located at the junction of Baiyu County in southwest China’s Sichuan Province and Konjo County in Tibet Autonomous Region.

It will be the largest hydropower station on the upper reaches of the Jinsha River upon completion.

With a total installed capacity of 2,240 MW, the power station will be able to generate about 10.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

The project is undertaken by China Huadian Corp., with a total investment of about 33.4 billion yuan (about 5 billion U.S. dollars).

Wei Yongxin, of Huadian Jinsha River Upstream Hydropower Development Co., Ltd., said the station’s first generating unit is expected to start operation in 2025.

The power station is expected to replace 3.99 million tonnes of coal and reduce 7.37 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year after it is put into operation, said Jia Zhongqi, another Huadian official.

To protect the fragile ecosystem along the upper reaches of the Jinsha River, more than 1.5 billion yuan will be invested in environmental protection projects such as fish ladders and fish breeding stations during the construction of the power station, Jia added.

Source: Xinhua

14/03/2019

China Focus: Tibetan Buddhism well respected, preserved: political advisors

BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) — Chinese religious figures serving as political advisors at this year’s “two sessions” are pleased with the country’s protection of Tibetan Buddhism in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

Political advisor Lhapa from Jokhang Temple is among the over 2,000 members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), who gathered in Beijing for this year’s session that started on March 3 and concluded Wednesday.

Jokhang Temple, in downtown Lhasa, the regional capital of Tibet, is a must for visitors to Tibet and a sacred site for Tibetan Buddhists. It attracts about 800,000 tourists and receives over three million Buddhist followers each year.

Built in the 7th century in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Jokhang Temple is home to plenty of historical relics and typical Tibetan architecture. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.

The Chinese government has attached great importance to the protection and preservation of the temple, said Lhapa, executive deputy director of the management committee of Jokhang Temple. Five years ago, for example, the government invested over 60 million yuan (8.94 million U.S. dollars) in gilding the five golden roofs of the temple.

The Buddha figures, Thangka and murals in the temple have also been well preserved. To better protect these precious cultural relics, a database for Buddha statues and Thangka in both Mandarin and Tibetan languages, launched in 2015, will be completed next year, he added.

Experts from Beijing and Xi’an have been invited to help build the database. More than 6,000 Buddha statues and over 600 Thangka have been included in the database, according to Lhapa.

“The government has invested 100 million yuan in protecting the cultural relics,” Lhapa said. “I’m really satisfied with the government’s role in protecting the temple, a treasure of the country.”

As a political advisor from the religious circles, Lhapa said he must serve all the people, including tourists, believers and researchers who visit the temple.

“We have personnel working 24/7 in the halls of the temple, including monks, firefighters and police officers to prevent the cultural heritage from being destroyed or stolen, and to ensure tourists’ safety,” Lhapa said.

The monks in Jokhang Temple usually spend about nine hours every day conducting religious activities such as chanting sutra and learning Buddhist doctrine, Lhapa said.

“Anyone who comes to Jokhang Temple will see worshippers crowd the square in front of the main hall throughout the year,” Lhapa said.

Every Tibetan New Year, Jokhang Temple opens for 24 hours to provide convenience for believers and tourists.

“On the Lamp Festival, we have Dharma assembly here and the butter lamps are lit on top of the temple. Believers come to pray for happiness and health,” he said.

Similar to Jokhang Temple, almost all the temples and monasteries in Tibet are under national or regional protection, according to Lhapa.

Living Buddha Drigung Khyungtsang echoed Lhapa’s ideas, saying today’s Tibet observes many traditional folk and religious activities. The Shoton festival at Zhaibung Monastery and the worship activities at Sera Monastery are among the most popular ones.

“Tibetan Buddhists, young and old, would sway their praying wheels and chant sutras when significant activities are launched,” said Drigung Khyungtsang.

As vice chairman of the Tibet branch of the Buddhist Association of China, Drigung Khyungtsang is in charge of the Kangyur printing. The precious wooden templates of the Kangyur have been well preserved and printing is suspended in winter because cold weather may cause damage to the templates.

Political advisor Lodro Gyatso, a senior monk from the Sakya Monastery, the earliest monastery of the Sakya Sect of the Tibetan Buddhism, in Xigaze Prefecture, told Xinhua that the monastery has two Buddhist colleges, offering various classes including Tibetan language, Tibetan calligraphy, Buddhist texts, astronomy, calendrical calculation and philosophy to monks and lamas.

Thanks to a digital archive project launched in 2017 in the monastery, the original sutra books and archives have been preserved while their digital versions are available online.

Living Buddha Jewon Koondhor has a story different from other political advisors. He had spent most of his life outside and returned to his hometown, the city of Qamdo in Tibet, when he was 60 in 2011.

“My hometown Qamdo has changed a lot and is continually improving. The traffic there today is much more convenient. I’m happy to be back,” he said.

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

15/02/2019

China Focus: Qomolangma reserve bans ordinary tourists in core zone

LHASA, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region has banned ordinary tourists from entering its core zone to better conserve the environment of the world’s highest mountain.

But for travelers who have a climbing permit, the mountaineering activities will not be affected, according to the reserve which was set up in 1988.

Covering an area of around 33,800 square km including a 10,312-square km core zone, the reserve is home to one of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

Recently, a report went viral online claiming the Qomolangma base camp was “permanently closed due to heavy pollution.” But local authorities denied the claim.

Kelsang, deputy director with the reserve’s administration, said ordinary tourists are banned from areas above Rongpo Monastery, around 5,000 meters above sea level. A new tent camp will be set up nearly two km away from the original one.

Between each April and October, villagers from Dingri County usually set up black tents at the foot of Mount Qomolangma, providing tourists accommodation as a means of earning money.

Though ordinary visitors can’t go beyond the monastery, it won’t affect them from appreciating the mountain.

“The new tent camp for ordinary tourists can still allow them to clearly see the 8,800-meter-plus mountain,” Kelsang said.

Travelers who have a climbing permit can go to the base camp at an altitude of 5,200 meters. Kelsang said the mountaineering activities have been approved by the regional forestry department.

Decades after the epic climb to the world’s peak, Tibetans at the foot of Mount Qomolangma have conquered poverty by receiving professional and amateur mountaineers and tourists, who have also posed an environmental challenge to the mountain.

To conserve the environment surrounding Mount Qomolangma, China carried out three major clean-ups at an altitude of 5,200 meters and above last spring, collecting more than eight tonnes of household waste, human feces and mountaineering trash.

This year, the clean-up will continue, and the remains of mountaineering victims above 8,000 meters will be centrally dealt with for the first time.

Meanwhile, the number of people who stay at the base camp will be kept under 300.

Currently, there are 85 wildlife protectors in the reserve, and 1,000 herders have part-time jobs patrolling and cleaning up garbage.

“These measures aim to strike a balance between various demands such as environmental protection, local poverty relief, mountaineering and education,” said Wang Shen, county chief of Dingri at the mountain foot.

Source: Xinhua

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