China’s model in Tibet bears uncanny resemblance to Xinjiang Model
The Tibetans are being encouraged to give up their lands to state-run cooperatives and become shareholders in them in the name of poverty alleviation
From covering entire cities in surveillance cameras to suppressing religious minorities, China’s Tibet Model bears uncanny resemblances to what China did in Xinjiang back in 2012. An opinion post published in The New York Times takes cues from history to establish the fact.
Senior fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, in Washington, D.C. Adrian Zenz analyzed over 100 policy papers from Tibetan authorities and media reports to draw a conclusion that China is making policies such as mandatory training for farmers and herders in centralized vocational facilities and their reassignment to state-assigned jobs, some far away.
Zenz writes that Tibetans are being reduced to labourers through militarized labour programmes. Apart from that they are being taught “work discipline, gratitude for the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese-language skills,” he writes. After the training is over, the Tibetans will be assigned low-skilled jobs, for example in manufacturing or the services sector in lines with the 2019-2020 Farmer and Pastoralist Training and Labour Transfer Action Plan, he writes.
The Tibetans are also being encouraged to give up their lands to state-run cooperatives and become shareholders in them in the name of poverty alleviation. Once Tibetans fall in the trap, they can easily manipulate them to adopt Chinese culture.
Those who are trained to be labourers, will be posted in far-away areas in China with special quotas in place while their children study in boarding schools. This will, Zeng writes, will force Tibetans to give up herding and farming, and cut them off from ancient traditions and sacred landscapes.
China has so far trained over 5 lakh Tibetan nomads and herders between January to July this year and all this is happening because Tibet shares a land border with India who has given refuge to exiled Buddhist religious leader, Dalai Lama. China has also made it mandatory that the next Dalai Lama will only be accepted by China if he goes by the Chinese way of thinking.
Adrian Zenz says that all these policies bear great resemblance to the ones tried and tested in Xinjiang. For example, Beijing has drastically accelerated in recent years its efforts to minimize the teaching of the Tibetan language, including outside Tibet, he writes.
“I reviewed official recruitment notices for teaching jobs in Yulshul and noticed that the number of advertisements for posts for Tibetan and subjects to be taught in Tibetan declined by 90 percent between 2014 and 2019,” Zenz says in his article.
Those who oppose the policies are either imprisoned or exiled, he writes. For instance, Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan from the remote nomadic region of Yulshul in Qinghai Province was sentenced to five years in prison in 2018 following his persistent opposition of curtailment of Tibetan language education since 2015. He was jailed for ‘inciting separatism,’ Zenz writes.
In order to suppress the religion and culture of Tibet, Chinese authorities have spent over $40 million to set up surveillance systems in main Buddhist temples as part of their ‘intelligent temple management’ policy, he writes further.
“Forget organic and voluntary assimilation facilitated by economic incentives; now, minorities, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang, are being forced to comply by way of intrusive micromanaging by the state — a police state — armed with sophisticated surveillance systems, detailed databases and intense forms of social control,” Adrian Zenz says.
There have been many protests against the Chinese advances in Tibet. There reportedly have been more than 150 cases of self-immolation carried out in protest since 2011. So much so that the Chinese troops patrolling Tibet now carry fire extinguishers as part of their riot-control equipment, Zenz writes.