Wednesday, July 3, 2013

From AIDS to Tibet: Jin Wei

Prof. Jin Wei (probably younger)
The name of Prof. Jin Wei has come in the news after she took an apparent softer approach on the Tibetan issue; she suggested that Bejing should talk with the Dalai Lama or his representatives.
But who is Jin Wei?
A publication of the Chinese Academy of Social Science and the International Development Law Organization based in Italy gives us some information.
The 2010 publication is entitled "Mapping Initiatives to Strengthen the Legal Environment for the Response to HIV in China" and deals with AIDS/HIV,  the main expertise of Prof. Lin.
Here some biographical information on Prof. Jin:
Professor Jin graduated from the Department of History at Beijing Normal University in 1982 and obtained her LLM degree (majoring in ethnology) from the School of Postgraduate Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1985.
Professor Jin went on to pursue her doctorate at the Peking University Department of Sociology, ultimately completing her PhD in 2008. Professor Jin Wei is a pioneer in the area of HIV and a leader in HIV-focused training activities.
Professor Jin Wei is the Deputy Director of the Teaching and Research Office of the Social Development Theory Institute, under the School of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (Central Party School). She is also a supervisor of PhD candidates.
The publication of the Chinese Academy of Science speaks of the activities of  Professor Jin, who has managed the training program for HIV prevention at the Central Party School since 2001. Each semester, the Central Party School invites public health experts, sociologists and researchers working at the forefront of the HIV response to present on HIV prevention and treatment approaches and policy.
Professor Jin has published several books and articles on the subject, such as "Implementation of Policy Advocacy for HIV Prevention in the Central Party School (Study Times, No. 10, 2006);or Strengthening the Capacity of Party Schools to Teach HIV Prevention and Social Policy (Study Times, No. 12, 2007).
Prof Jin has organized several international programs on HIV Prevention. For example, on 27 June 2009, the Social Development Institute of the Central Party School signed a cooperation agreement with the Hong Kong AIDS Foundation. It was the first time that the Central Party School had a collaboration with an organization outside mainland China.
In June 2005, Dr Peter Piot, then Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and UNAIDS Executive Director, awarded Professor Jin an Outstanding Contribution Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and continuous contribution in response to HIV and AIDS issues.
Where is Tibet in all this?
It appears that it is only in 2011/2012 that the lady professor of the Central Party School, the most prestigious school in Communist China, started to be interested in 'ethnic' and Tibetan affairs.
In December 2012, Caixin Online reported: "Aid Programs in Tibet Lack Efficiency, Says Scholar".
Reporter Lan Fang wrote: "Central government programs aimed at promoting economic development in the Tibet Autonomous region have had a disappointing effect on the local economy, according to an academic at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China."
He quoted Jin Wei in her new avatar, as director of ethnic religious studies at the Central Party School, saying: "the region continues to rely heavily on cash donations and has failed to create a foundation for sustainable growth."
I had mentioned on this blog that on December 15, 2012, a forum on ethnic minority development was held at Minzu University in Beijing. During the seminar, Jin Wei called for a policy overhaul of the aid programs in Tibet.
She said that in her study of 987 central government aid projects to Tibet between 1984 and 2005, she found that 70 percent of the projects had little immediate effect on boosting economic growth in the region.
She added: "The region still relies heavily on central government funding and other donations. The Tibetan government can only cover 7 percent of its local budget demand."
According to her research, Beijing's funding to the region grew to a total of 13.3 billion yuans by 2009 for 6,300 projects. The efforts have generated some improvements to the living standards of Tibetans in the region, but failed to establish business and industry networks to maintain sustainable development.
She affirmed: "Of the projects included in the study, infrastructure and social development programs accounted for 16.42 percent, transportation and energy-related projects accounted for 52.4 percent and 22.6 percent were projects designed to improve individual livelihoods while 9 percent were related to local business development."
Her conclusions were many of the programs failed because the planners had forgotten the cultural context and relied on government-oriented measures. She said: "The lack of financial incentives and supportive regulations [for the Tibetans] reduced the efficiency of projects."
Now a question arises: what is the connection of this research with HIV/AIDS?
Probably none!  Prof Jin is just versatile.
She recently asserted: "Tibetans' reverence for the Dalai Lama has not diminished even as their living standards under Beijing control have improved, an indication that the government should reassess its approach toward the issue. ...Talks between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the government are the best way to solve the problem."
Let us see what the future will be.