Friday, November 23, 2012

No reconciliation for now

Jia Qinglin in Tibet (2005)

A few days before the beginning of the CCP's 18th Congress, I mentioned on this blog that Xinhua had reported that Jia Qinglin, the then No 4 in the Standing Committee of the Politburo and Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference called "for greater development in China's ethnic Tibetan regions, as well as more efforts to fight the Dalai Lama clique, in order to ensure the regions' lasting stability."
Jia had then told a press conference that "Tibet-related issues are of paramount importance for the Communist Party of China and the country"
Adding: "stability and development should be stressed in Tibetan regions." Xinhua explained that "China's Tibetan regions include the Tibet autonomous region and parts of the Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces."
The outgoing member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo had further stated: "Tibetan regions are at a key stage of development, adding that Tibetans' livelihoods should be improved and the regions' ecological protection should be emphasized."
What was not mentioned was that the Central Working Coordination Small Group on Tibet (or Leading Small Group) had a meeting before the Congress.
What is a 'leading small group' or LSG?
According to Wikipedia it is "an ad hoc supra-ministerial coordinating and consulting body formed to build consensus on issues that cut across the government, party, and military systems when the existing bureaucratic structure is unable to do so. The authorization for the formation of leading groups comes from Chapter IX of the Constitution of the Communist Party of China."
The online encyclopedia adds: "These groups provide a mechanism for top decision-makers to exchange views – both formally and informally – and to develop recommendations for the Politburo and the State Council. LSGs do not formulate concrete policies, but rather issue guiding principles about the general direction in which bureaucratic activity should move. ...Leading small groups have become increasingly important within the PRC after the 1990s, especially in the field of foreign policy where the LSGs have become a tool for coordinating the work of several agencies as well as insuring party supervision over government activities."
The job of the Small Group on Tibet is to implement the policies of the 5th Tibet Work Forum.
It now appears that the Group had a meeting on October 18, under the Chairmanship of Jia Qinglin.
It was attended amongst others by Ma Kai, Meng Jianzhu, Ling Jihua, and Du Qinglin and 'local' officials.
At that time, Ma, Meng and Du were the Vice Chairmen of the Small Group.
After the 18th Party Congress' leadership change, all these leaders have secured good jobs.
Ma Kai and Meng Jianzhu are part of the Politburo, (Meng will take the mantle of Zhang Yongkang as the boss of the Security apparatus).
Du Qinglin shifts from the United Front Work Department to the Party Central Secretariat while Ling Jihua takes Du's seat in the United Front.
Though the Group has to be officially reconstituted, it is the officials who will probably continue to influence China's Tibet policy.
This explains that no improvement can soon be expected in Tibet and the new guidelines mentioned below is another proof that the reconciliation path is still far away in the Middle Kingdom.
The Dalai Lama's Middle Path seems to be further away.
However let us see who will replace Jia as the leader responsible for the 'minorities' affairs', in the Politburo's Standing Committee.
In the meantime, one more Tibetan self-immolated yesterday in Qinghai Province (Amdo).
According to Xinhua, Libong Tsering, 19, set himself ablaze in Dowa township of Tongren county in the Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
Libong is the 80th Tibetan to commit suicide in such horrible way. 

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
22 November 2012
China punishes protest self-immolations, cuts off aid to Tibetans
The Chinese authorities in Malho (Chinese: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province have announced the cancellation of government aid to families of self-immolators as well as development projects in villages where Tibetans had carried out protest self-immolations.
In the past three weeks, nine Tibetans have died of protest self-immolations in Rebkong County. On 9 November, about 5000 Tibetan schoolchildren held a peaceful protest march against the alarming official apathy towards rising numbers of protest self-immolation in Rongwo town before gathering at Rongwo Monastery.[i] On 8 November, Tibetan schoolchildren in Dowa Township (Rebkong County) took down Chinese flags from their school building and the Township government office building.
In an official notification issued on 14 November by the Malho Prefectural office and Malho People’s government, local Party and government officials have been sternly given orders to punish self-immolators and their families; even those who had offered condolences and prayers to the bereaved family members and relatives.
A source told TCHRD that the notification, issued both in Tibetan and Chinese, was shown on Malho Prefectural TV channel. Only the Tibetan version is available with TCHRD.
The first point in the notification clearly states that government aid to the family members of a person who had self-immolated will be cut off for three years. In this regard, all prefectural government offices and related sections and staff have been ordered to act strictly. No one is allowed to arrange for the resumption of government aids to such families. Development funds will be cancelled to those villages where self-immolations took place; even those projects that had been approved earlier will be cancelled within three years.
In areas where these self-immolations took place, the County Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will carry out detailed investigation into the failure of Township or Village leaders and relevant Party officials to protect “stability” and “harmony”. If found responsible, these Township, Village and Party leaders will be investigated thoroughly and they will not be considered for any model worker prizes by the government in future. They will be relieved of their posts and new recruits shall be made in their place. The notification also said severe measures will be taken, according to rules and regulations of the Party and the government, against guilty officials for their inability to implement orders from the Party and the government.
The second point calls for thorough investigation to determine whether any government officials and staff had visited the homes of self-immolators to offer condolences or contributions for prayer ceremonies. Officials of the County and Township government as well as the CPC Committee should advise and guide these officials on the implication of such visits. The Public Security Bureau officers will “strike hard” on those who do not listen to such guidance.
The third point asks relevant government and Party officials to give advice and guidance to monks and lay Tibetans on the consequences of visiting homes of self-immolators to offer condolences and contributions for prayer rituals. If members of the Monastery Management Committees (MMCs) are found guilty in this respect, officials from the United Front Work Department, Religious Affairs Bureau and related government bureaus will handle these cases and punish them accordingly. If a village or a monastery has collectively organized prayer ceremonies and visits to the families of self-immolator, then the whole village will get no government aid. All development projects approved earlier in the village will be cancelled within three years.
The fourth point calls for a quick and thorough investigation to see whether any person, both monks and lay, had arranged and forced some officials to visit the prayer ceremonies for self-immolators. The guilty will be punished, according to the law, after detailed investigation. If village leaders are found involved in such acts, they will be relieved of their position and will be interrogated and investigated.
If high lamas [or abbots] and members of Democratic Management Committees are found involved in such acts, the notification says their monasteries will be closed following the relevant laws and required steps would be taken to purge these monasteries of instability.  Heavy punishment shall be given to those who attempt to organize themselves or form associations or groups.
The fifth point warns the average government cadres and workers from visiting homes of self-immolators and offering contributions for prayer rituals, the offence of which will attract immediate firing, followed by investigations and punishments. The government cadres and workers have been ordered to publicise the importance of the implementation of the measures listed in this notification. They are required to inform the Party and government offices in timely manner if they get any information about the matters listed in the notification.
In its introduction, the notification mentions continued incidents of instability in Malho Prefecture calling them a bad example for everyone, harming not only the stability of Gansu Province, but also that of the whole nation. As is usual in many of Chinese government pronouncements, the so-called “Dalai clique”, has been held responsible for instability in the region. “The Dalai clique, wearing religious robes, use self-immolations to create instability,” it said, adding, they are also responsible for inciting schoolchildren to create disturbances and instability. The notice expressed disapproval against the use of the word “martyr” by the “Dalai clique” to describe self-immolators. 

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