Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stressing in Tibet: why not watch stars

Behind Xi Jinping, Wang Jianping, the PAP Commander
who spent years in Tibet
Two months ago, I commented on a fascinating manual exposing the psychological trauma faced by the People's Armed Police (PAP) in Tibet
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) had translated the gist of the manual.
I then thought that a similar manual should be distributed to the Chinese jawans and officers posted for years opposite the Indian troops in Ladakh (in the Ngari Military Sub-Command of the Xinjiang Military Area); those who pitched their tents in Depsang or steal cameras near the LAC.
Today, I wonder if the sudden death (heart attack) of the Commander of the People’s Armed Police in Tibet, Major General Guo Yili is also related to the 'Tibetan' stress.
Guo Yili was only 56 years old and had served his entire career of in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The situation is undoubtedly far more stressing today than 37 years ago when Guo started his career.
In the meantime, Xinhua reported the construction of an observatory expected to become the best astronomical observatory in Asia. 
The observatory will be based in Ngari prefecture (not far from Ladakh), which according International Astronomical Union's President, Norio Kaifu is an ideal place for astronomical monitoring due to its high altitude, transparent atmosphere and mild weather.
Kaifu believes that the Ngari observatory, at an altitude of 5,100 meters above sea level, can compete with Hawaii's Mauna Kea Observatories, the world's largest observatory for optical, infrared and submillimeter astronomy.
The question is: will the observatory be used to watch stars only or will it have a 'dual use' like most of the other infrastructures in Tibet.
Already a 3-meter KOSMA telescope has been built in the town of Yangpachen in Damxung County, about 90 km from Lhasa.
I had also reported new radars in Kampala in Nagartse County of Lhoka/Shannan Prefecture; this particular one not for 'dual use', but for PLA's exclusive use.
In any case, watching stars is good for the stress. 

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