Saturday, October 25, 2014

An important Visit to Tibet ... with Chinese Characteristics

Guo Jinlong in front of the Potala
Here is a report published in The Tibet Daily on the visit of Guo Jinlong, a member of the Politburo who was in Tibet between October 15 to 18.
The news has not appeared in the English-language Chinese press.
It was not only one of the most important visits of the year, but it took place just before the crucial Fourth Plenum of the 18th Congress which discussed 'the rule of law' in China.
Are the two events linked?
The timing of the visit is also surprising  because Guo, as Beijing Party Secretary is responsible for some of the arrangements for the forthcoming APEC meeting. He may have come to 'learn from Tibet': how to have a clear blue sky during an important function!!
Three other members of the Politburo ‘inspected' Tibet during the last 4 months (General Fan Changlong, General Xu Qiliang and the security boos, Meng Jianzhu came earlier).
Guo Jinlong, also Beijing Party Secretary, was accompanied by a delegation from the Chinese Capital to look at the Tibet Aid Work, a scheme which encourages Chinese provinces to help Tibet. The objective of Guo's tour was to “further deepen exchanges and cooperation between the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Beijing, as well as promote common development.”
What is interesting is that Guo Jinlong served more than 10 years in Tibet and was Party Secretary in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) between 2000 and 2004.
During his visit, Guo spoke of thoroughly implementing the decisions of the Central Work Forum on Tibet (held in January 2010) and mentioned the importance of the 20th anniversary of the Aid Tibet program.
The Politburo member was accompanied by all the TAR big bosses: Party Secretary Chen Quanguo; Padma Choling, Chairman of the TAR People's Congress; Lobsang Gyalsten, the Chairman of the TAR’s government; Wu Yingjie, deputy secretary and Deng Xiaogang,  secretary of the Politics and Law Committee (and also deputy secretary).
As he arrived in Lhasa, Guo Jinlong was escorted by Chen Quanguo and Padma Choling to the residence of the old CPPCC Vice Chairman Pagpalha Delek Namgyial (Rinpoche). Guo formally briefed Pagpalha about Beijing support to Tibet.
Pagphala remains a father-figure in Tibet, though he plays only a ceremonial role in the Party today.
The next day (October 16), the Beijing delegation visited the Lhasa Beijing Experimental High School. In September, the first group of students joined the institution. The school facilities are said to favorably compare with a middle school in Beijing; Beijing has sent teachers and the management from Beijing “so that students can enjoy Tibet quality educational resources”.
Guo Jinlong had a cordial exchange with the teachers and students: “I hope that the students learn the knowledge to serve the motherland,” he told them.
Beijing also funded Lhasa cultural and sports center with a total investment 735 million yuan; it is the largest engineering project funded by a province; it has greatly improved the local sports facilities of the Tibetan capital, says The Tibet Daily.
Later in the day, Guo Jinlong inspected the stadium, gymnasium as well as the Yak Museum and a children's playground.
The local press reported that Beijing has adopted Tamar Village, in Chengguan District of Lhasa Prefecture and invested 13 million yuan for proper pavement, installation of lighting facilities, water supply, etc.
Having a cup of 'fragrant' tea
Guo Jinlong met (by chance?) a villager Dawa, walked to his home, met his whole family and had a cup tea; Guo commented: “It feels particularly fragrant.”
Then the Beijing delegation visited the new campus of the Tibet University, the Lhasa Urban Planning and Construction Exhibition Hall and the Potala Palace Square police station.
All dignitaries have to visit this Police Station. It must be particularly well kept.
On the 17th, Guo Jinlong and Chen Quanguo took a ride on the train to Damchung County (North of Lhasa); Guo met nomads who have apparently been resettled near the National Highway.
Beijing spent 30 million to reconstruct local houses for the project, “so they lived on a spacious two-story, in addition to raising yaks”. The Tibet Daily reported that one of the Tibetans, that Guo met, ran an outside transport company and get two three hundred thousand yuan annual income from his new occupation.
I have discussed elsewhere the horrendous scheme to ‘park’ nomads in cubic houses.
Guo Jinlong said: “you now have to follow a scientific development [path], I really sincerely feel happy for you.”
Nomadic life was probably not ‘scientific’ enough.
Guo also visited Damchung County People's Hospital, where more than half of doctors come from Beijing (since 2007 Beijing has sent 19 doctors to work in this hospital).
Guo spoke highly of the doctors in Tibet “who are not afraid of hard work, who are willing to sacrifice the life.” He told them to reasonably rest and to take care of themselves.
He also visited the Duilongdeqing (Doilung Dechen?) Industrial Park, Guo Jinlong said: “Seeing comrades in Tibet was particularly nice. I have spent here eleven years on the magical snow-covered plateau. This has become part of my life forever and I remain nostalgic.”
He said that he was happy to return to Tibet ten years later and see by himself the sustained and healthy economic development which has taken place; the great improvement of the infrastructure; that the people's life has significantly improved; the construction of an ecological civilization is remarkable, he added.
He sincerely admired the sustained overall social harmony and stability of Tibet, and was happy to see the results of the ‘reform and development’ program. He added that he deeply felt that these achievements demonstrate the successful practice of solving ethnic issues with Chinese characteristics; Tibet is on the right path, he concluded.
Addressing a Forum, Guo Jinlong quoted President Xi Jinping.
First, we (Beijing and Tibet) should work together to build the roof of the world; work together to maintain stability of this 1.2 million square kilometers sacred territory.
Second, we should take a long-term view on Tibet; the target should be a well-off society; one should focus on the weak links in economic and social development
Third, one needs to promote Aid Work (with Beijing and other provinces) with the same standards than the capital city. One needs to adhere to a high starting point, to have high-level planning, quality construction, to make aid work stand the test of history and the people, he argued.
Fourth, you should serve the Tibetan people heart and soul. Get things done with your heart, so that it will benefit people of all nationalities.
Guo affirmed that on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Aid Program, he wanted to open a new era for Beijing Aid Work.
First, focus on improving the livelihood of the people; adhere to the support of the grassroots, of the farmers and herdsmen; focus further on their education, employment and health care, so that the masses directly benefit (from the Aid Work).
Second, Guo asserted, “we should build a moderately prosperous society by doing Aid Work; deepen the introduction of technology in Tibet; encourage and support collaborative innovation; promote scientific and technological achievements for Tibet; increase industrial efforts to support the development of tourism and culture, health and ‘Pure Land’ industries (mineral water bottling?)."
He argued: "Tibet needs to take advantage of its own characteristics and utilize this to help local industry to brand ‘Tibet’ in order to expand its own market."
Third, focus on infrastructure to do Aid Work; focus on improving transport infrastructure to facilitate the travel of the masses; to support the construction of drinking water safety in rural and pastoral areas, so that the people drink safe water; actively participate in Lhasa urbanization work to help grasp the transformation of old villages and housing construction, so that more people of all nationalities enjoy the results of leapfrog development.
Fourth, blend well with the rest of the nation through contacts and exchanges; increase cultural links and strengthen the protection of Tibetan culture, promote cooperation and exchange, etc., to promote rich cultural life of the people of all ethnic groups; promote the ‘Beijing Tibetan family’, he empathized.
Guo also said that one should have a high political consciousness, to establish long-term mechanism and then pay close attention to implementation of the tasks.
Beijing follows the central demands, to do the work of their counterparts in Tibet to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two provinces, and strive for Tibet and support leapfrog development and long-term stability.
Chen Quanguo extended a warm welcome to the delegation and thanked Beijing for its old, strong and selfless support.
Chen Quanguo said in recent years, following the orders of Xi Jinping, "Tibet continued efforts to achieve stable, long-term stability, and overall stability".
Chen Quanguo pointed out that Beijing has always attached great importance to Aid Work, Beijing's assistance to Tibet is an important political responsibility.
During the forum, Beijing Municipal Committee, vice mayor Li Xiang also spoke while Lhasa Party Secretary, Choedrak gave a description of the economic and social development of the Tibetan capital.
On the 16th, Guo Jinlong listened to reports and gave another speech ...with Chinese characteristics.
Guo emphasized that the Aid Work is an important strategy to implement the central government policies: “We need to learn from each other and provide mutual support.”
He added that “there should be no sense of superiority. To fully understand our counterparts in Aid Work is our duty; it should be done with a sincere heart as a sincere service. To get this done with one’s heart, will further enhance the nation's solidarity and cohesion.”
All this sounds nice, but is the reality matching with the speeches is another question.

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