|Maj Gen Thubten Thinley|
Of course, there was no ‘imperialist influence’ on the Roof of the World, but poverty was there.
What is surprising is that, 66 years later, the Chinese government still speaks about fighting poverty alleviation in Tibet.
An article in China Tibet Online recently noted: “Through the establishment of archives, and accurate identification of those requiring help, the number of poverty-stricken people has reduced by more than 500,000 in the last four years. The Tibet Autonomous Region's Poverty Alleviation Office has gradually established a targeted poverty alleviation system, whereby the causes of poverty are analyzed and the limited special funds are used on the poor people.”
Apart from the Targeted Poverty Alleviation, the article speaks of Industry Poverty Alleviation, Education Poverty Alleviation, Tourism Poverty Alleviation, Health Poverty Alleviation, while asserting: “Tibet explores the practice of ‘the rich helping the poorer to wealth’, and uses the capable people as one of the main driving forces of poverty alleviation.”
One Tsering, deputy director of the Lhasa Poverty Alleviation Office, told the website: "these capable people have experience, skills and the mind, and also have the ability to help the poor escape poverty. With some help they are running a series of projects, which can provide the poor families with an income salary as well as a bonus and other secure incomes. The results are clear to see.”
Perhaps, but there is another way to alleviate poverty.
Join the People’s Liberation Army
One of the surprises in the PLA list of 253 delegates to the 19th Congress opening today in Beijing, is the inclusion of the name of Maj Gen Thubten Thinley (土旦赤列 - Tu-dan Chi-lie).
Who is General Thubten Thinley?
|Maj gen Ngawang Sonam|
Thubten Thinley was admitted to the Communist Party in July, 1987 after spending three years in the lower ranks of the PLA.
Prior to joining the military, he completed a four year university course and then did a couple of mid-career stints at the Central Party School in Beijing.
Thubten Thinley entered the PLA through the back door rather than as a foot soldier.
He joined as an educated historian and would-be journalist just out of college and then gravitated, step by step, in the direction of political propaganda, military recruitment and the promotion of military-civilian relations.
It is here that his career is interesting: he has been specializing in military recruitment and the promotion of military-civilian relations.
It means that his job is to recruit Tibetans in the PLA.
It is part of the poverty alleviation program though not officially listed by the TAR government.
For China, it makes sense to enroll more Tibetans in the PLA (it is said that there are already 10% of ‘ethnic’ Tibetans posted in the Tibet Military District of the Western Theater Command).
How the Tibetans Diaspora will react to the new move, is not clear?
The shift will probably be ignored, which not be healthy in the long run.
For India, it means that the Indian Army will have to face more Tibetans in their future confrontations with the PLA.
A question however remains: how ‘safe’ is it for China to have too many ‘ethnic’ jawans in the PLA.
The selection of General Thubten Thinley is nonetheless a clear indication of the importance attached by Beijing to the 'poverty alleviation' program, via ‘local’ Army enrollment.
Bio of Maj Gen Thubten Thinley
Spent four years at what is now called Xizang Minzu University where he became a History major. The University is located outside all the Tibetan areas of China in Shaanxi Province near the city of Xian. It began in 1958 with the name ‘Tibet Public School’ and upgraded in 1965 to the ‘Tibetan Nationality Institute’. The university was again upgraded in 2015
Joined the Political Department of the PLA in Tibet where he edited a journal dealing with the Tibet Militia. His editorial status was equivalent to a full Platoon leader level.
Continued with the same editorial team but his work status was raised to Deputy Company leader.
Transferred and reassigned to the Secretarial Office of the Tibet PLA Political Department still at the Deputy Company leader level.
Promoted to full Company work in the Secretarial Office of the PLA Political Department.
Still in the PLA Political Department, transferred to its Masses Work Office keeping the same work status.
Promoted to Deputy Battalion leader in Masses Work Office.
Promoted to full Battalion leader work in the same Masses Work Office
Promoted to Deputy Head of the Masses Work Office
Was made concurrently Deputy Head of both the Secretarial and Masses Work Offices
Appointed Director of the Political Department within the Logistics Department of the Tibet PLA
January 2001 — March 2003
He attended training classes at the Central Party School in Beijing
Became Political Officer for Tibet PLA Army Committee charged with preparing for the induction and assignment of new troops
January 2006 — September 2008
He attended courses in the Graduate School of the Central Party School in Beijing
Deputy Director of the Tibet PLA Political Department
Deputy Director of the Masses Work sub-office under the General Office of the General Political Department (Central Military Commission) in Beijing (a full Division level position)
Political Commissar of the Lhasa Garrison Command
Member of the Lhasa Party Standing Committee, Political Commissar of the Lhasa Garrison Command of the Tibet Military District
Promoted to PLA Deputy Political Commissar in the Tibet Military District
TAR Deputy Political Commissar, Deputy Group leader for the TAR Leading Small Group on Conscription
Promoted to PLA Deputy Commander in Tibet (upgraded to 1st class 正军级 in 2016)