Simmering Resentments Led to Tibetan Backlash

The New York Times posted an article that looks at the long-term policy failures that may have contributed to the unrest in Tibet:

“…To many Tibetans and their sympathizers, the weeklong uprising against Chinese rule in Lhasa reflects years of simmering resentment over Beijing’s interference in Buddhist religious rites, its tightened political control and the destruction of the environment across the Himalayan territory the Tibetans consider sacred. If there is a surprise, it may be that Beijing has managed to keep things stable for so long.

Since the last big anti-Chinese riots in Tibet two decades ago, Beijing has sought to smother Tibetan separatism by sparking economic development and by inserting itself into the metaphysics of Tibetan Buddhism. But an influx of Han Chinese to Tibet, and a growing sense among Tibetans that China is irreparably altering their way of life, produced a backlash when Communist Party leaders most needed stability there, analysts say.

ABC News (Australia) has also run a story titled, “Resentment runs deep in Tibet.” Rosemary Righter of The Times has a column which comments on the history and future of China’s policies in Tibet:

The Dalai Lama talks about the Tibet problem in terms of “the identity of a people”. On this, if nothing else, Beijing agrees. It can end resistance in Tibet only by destroying Tibetan identity. It is deliberately swamping the population with Han Chinese and other immigrants, imposing “patriotic education” and Chinese-language qualifications for jobs, and stifling – other than as tourist exhibits – Tibet’s customs. The Dalai Lama seeks for Tibetans the autonomy to which they are lawfully entitled as an “autonomous region” of China. But that would up-end Beijing’s strategy. That is why China’s leaders accuse him of inciting Tibetans to challenge, they say, the “stability of the State”.

Meanwhile, the party chief for Tibet has indicated that these policies will only be intensified in coming years. From Reuters:

“We are in the midst of a fierce struggle involving blood and fire, a life and death struggle with the Dalai clique,” Tibet’s Communist Party secretary, Zhang Qingli, told a teleconference of the region’s government and Party leaders.

…Zhang also suggested greater political control in the region.

“We must continue to deepen our nationalist education and practically strengthen the building of political power at the grassroots,” he said.


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