|Padma Choling (center) in Latvia|
It is an interesting development which will probably take some amplitude in 2015.
Will it succeed in convincing the West, is another question.
China Tibet Online reported "Tibet Embraces the World With More Int'l Exchanges"
The website explains: "Tibet, known as the 'lost horizon' in the western world, has opened its mind to becoming more engaged in the international world. In 2014, ten Tibet-related international cultural exchange activities were conducted. A brand new face with more confidence has now been shown to the world."
Here is the list of the 'delegations' mentioned in the Chinese press:
Delegation to offer a true picture of Tibet in U.S.
Dradul, deputy mayor of Lhasa led a 'cultural exchange delegation' from Tibet; the delegation was on a four-day visit starting from Jan.10, 2014. In Los Angeles, the delegates met American reporters. According to Xinhua: "They described the true picture of modern Tibet and dispelled many common misunderstandings about the situation in China's Tibet Autonomous Region. ...Dradul denied the rumor that the hazy days in Lhasa last December were caused by overexploitation, saying it is too soon to talk about excessive development in Lhasa."
The mayor stated: "In fact, the economy of Lhasa started at a slow pace, and has shown limited development potential compared with its inland counterpart cities. Besides, the government of Lhasa has put hefty investment in preventing and reducing the side effects of pollution to the environment."
A delegation of the National People's Congress to Latvia
The Chinese 'Tibetan' delegation was headed by Padma Choling (alias Pema Thinley), chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibet People's Congress. He was received by Latvia's Speaker of Parliament Solvita Aboltina. Padma Choling was accompanied by some legislators of the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region. There were in Riga on March 20, 2014.
During his visit Padma Choling declared that his visit to Latvia was aimed to deepen mutual understanding and trust in a bid to further push forward the bilateral ties.
Solvita Aboltina would have said that Latvia attached a great importance to developing the relations with China; that Latvia adheres to the One China policy and respects China's core interests and major concerns. She would have added that Latvia hopes to communicate and cooperate with China in more fields.
In other words, do good business!
Tibet legislative delegation visits Poland
A delegation of Tibet People's Congress visited Poland and attended a seminar with some Polish politicians on March 17 and 18.
Xinhua reported that the delegation was also led by Padma Choling, who admitted: "In the international world there had long been a deep prejudice toward and misunderstanding of China's policies on Tibet, either because of people's ignorance of the real situation in Tibet or the difference in political beliefs."
The Polish parliamentarians would have said that "they had been paying attention to developing a strong relationship with China, and would enhance cooperation with China's National People's Congress, to boost the China-Poland strategic partnership."
A Tibetan delegation in Australia
A Chinese Tibetan cultural exchange delegation went to Sydney and Canberra on June 16 to 18. The delegates had meetings with the local Chinese as well as some Australian parliament members.
On June 16, the Chinese Tibetan delegation visited the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China.
Luorong Dradul, a professor from Sichuan University who headed the delegation delivered a lecture on 'China's Tibet-past, present and future'.
Tibet development forum in Lhasa
I have already mentioned on this blog the The Forum on the Development of Tibet held in Lhasa in August.
According to Xinhua: "The forum had three primary aims: to facilitate exchanges between Tibet and the outside world, to help people - especially foreigners - to further understand Tibet's culture, history, and current situation, and to attract more tourists to visit Tibet."
It ended by the infamous 'Lhasa Consensus'.
Chinese Tibetan cultural exchange delegation visits Belgium
A Chinese 'Tibetan' cultural exchange delegation went for a three-day visit to Belgium starting on September 21.
It was reported by Chinanews.com that the delegation met some officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium.
Zhang Yun, Director and Professor of the Institute of History Studies of China Tibetology Research Center, the delegation's leader "gave an overview of the economic and social progress achieved in Tibet after its peaceful liberation, China's ethnic policy, and the protection and traditional Tibetan culture."
The Chinese website says that "all of these issues are the central concerns of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
Tibetan culture on display in Strasbourg
The Chinese consulate in Strasbourg, France, "organized Tibet-themed conferences and cultural events with the aim of helping people in the city understand more about this vast region of southwest China."
It was held between September 24 to October 2.
Zhang Yun, who let the Tibetan cultural delegation said that these activities were organized "to promote understanding of Tibet and its position in modern, multi-ethnic China."
One Dr. Tsering spoke of the history and practice of Tibetan medicine, and one Mrs. Gesang outlined the development of Tibet in recent decades. A Buddhist monk explained the role of religion in Tibetan society.
Tibetan dances in AfricaThese events certainly indicate a new policy put in place by the Chinese Government which is keen to counter the tremendous negative image Beijing has earned for its policies on the Tibetan plateau.
Actors from the China Tibet Art Troupe performed traditional Tibetan dances in Harare, Zimbabwe on October 24.
Xinhua reported that the visiting troupe had been invited to perform in Zimbabwe and Mauritius:"The art troupe aimed to let the African people know about Tibet through art."
Nyima Tsering, head of the Tibet Art Troupe and also director of the Tibet Cultural Bureau "hoped the performance would promote cultural exchanges between Africa and China's Tibet." He invited African art troupes to perform in Tibet.
Chinese delegation in Canada
A 2014 China Tibetan Culture Week was held in Toronto, Canada. The delegation addressed the media on November 3.
Dorje Tsedrup, Vice Chairman of the People’s Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region stated: "I hope friends from the press get a real picture of Tibet through this cultural event. I sincerely invite you to visit Tibet, enjoy its beautiful landscape, and experience the great changes that have taken place over the past 63 years."
The Tibet Culture Week was organized by the Association for Promotion of Chinese Culture in Canada.
The event was held in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto: "It showcased various activities including Tibetan folk culture, Tibetan movies, Thangka exhibition and singing and dancing performances.
The event was the second of its kind hosted in Canada, aiming to offer Canadian people a glimpse of Tibet's beauty, culture, and economic development and to promote international friendship."
What is surprising is that the Tibetan diaspora did not take the occasion to engage the visiting delegations and start a serious dialogue with the Tibetan delegates.
It is possible that the visits and venues were kept secret till the last minute; this would explain the absence of fruitful discussions between the Tibetans living in the West and their official Communist countrymen.
If this is correct, this would mean that China is still very nervous to debate the 'true' situation in Tibet, despite the fact that Beijing pretends to show "a brand new face with more confidence to the world."
There is no doubt however that this 'delegation' policy will amplify in 2015.