In Tibetan Areas, Parallel Worlds Now Collide

Howard French for the New York Times reports on the economic disparity and ethnic tensions that exist in many of China’s mixed communities.

In Tibet and in neighboring provinces, like Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan, where Tibetans and other ethnic minorities live in large numbers, Tibetans and Han live in closer proximity than ever before, but they occupy separate worlds. Relations between the two groups are typically marked by stark disdain or distrust, by stereotyping and prejudice and, among Tibetans, by deep feelings of subjugation, repression and fear.

To be sure, there is no legalized ethnic discrimination, but privilege and power are overwhelmingly the preserve of the Han, while Tibetans live largely confined to segregated urban ghettos and poor villages in their own ancestral lands.