Chinese tell of Tibet failures
John Garnaut, China Correspondent, Beijing
May 22, 2009
Source - The Age
LAST year's Tibetan uprising was caused by two decades of failed development policies that marginalised Tibetans and created a "new aristocracy" of corrupt and abusive government officials, Beijing scholars say.
Their report describes how Beijing's efforts to pour rivers of money into Tibet since 1989 to ensure "stability" have been spectacularly counter-productive.
It says private-sector jobs went to Han Chinese from other provinces, and public money flowed into the pockets of a new elite that systematically portrayed community discontent as "separatism".
"They use every opportunity to play the separatism card," says Phun Tshogs Dbang Rjyal, a founder of the Communist Party in Tibet quoted in the report.
"And they will try hard to apportion responsibility on 'overseas hostile forces' because this is the way to consolidate their interests and status and eventually bring them more power and resources."
The fieldwork was conducted by four Peking University journalism students who went to Lhasa and a Tibetan region of Gansu province last July.
The report was compiled and recently published on the internet by Open Constitution Initiative, a non-government organisation run by prominent lawyers and intellectuals in Beijing.
The uprising that embroiled much of the Tibetan plateau from March 14 last year is considered one of the most serious challenges to Communist Party rule since 1949.
The report's existence defies a mammoth Government propaganda and security blitz, which Tibetan exile groups say has led to hundreds of Tibetans being killed and thousands being incarcerated.
Propaganda authorities have blamed the violence on Tibetan "criminals", "hostile foreign forces" and "the Dalai Lama clique".
Xu Zhiyong, a prominent human rights lawyer who helped prepare the report, said he hoped it would be picked up by the domestic media, but doubted it would influence government officials.
Tibetans are nevertheless heartened that a balanced account of the causes of last year's uprising can now exist in China.
"As a Tibetan I feel this report is very important," said Tsering Woeser, a prominent Tibetan poet in Beijing. "This is a rare and treasured report under the current circumstances of one-sided official propaganda."
The report details how Beijing's heavy security and propaganda response further alienated Tibetans after the uprisings.
Monks, who Tibetans saw as "the divine clergy", were subjected to "socialist patriotic education". Even card-carrying Communist Party members were treated as security threats because of their ethnicity when visiting Beijing during last year's Olympic Games.
"Just because I was a Tibetan there was no hotels allowed me in. This made me so angry," said a Tibetan woman, Baima Jizhong, when quoted in the report.