Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Join the People’s Liberation Army get richer

Maj Gen Thubten Thinley
When the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered Lhasa in September 1951, General Zhang Jingwu, the representative of the CPC’s Central Committee told Sumul Sinha, the head of the Indian Mission in Lhasa that the Chinese had come to Tibet for two reasons only (he spoke of ‘a dual mission’): to eliminate all imperialist influences and to improve the standard of living of the Tibetans.
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?
He is a 56 year-old Tibetan, born in December, 1961 in Lhasa.
Maj gen Ngawang Sonam
He is the senior most serving Tibetan officer with Maj Gen Ngawang Sonam who is posted in Qinghai.
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
September 1980
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

September 1984
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.

August 1985
Continued with the same editorial team but his work status was raised to Deputy Company leader.

December 1986
Transferred and reassigned to the Secretarial Office of the Tibet PLA Political Department still at the Deputy Company leader level.

December 1988

Promoted to full Company work in the Secretarial Office of the PLA Political Department.

November 1990
Still in the PLA Political Department, transferred to its Masses Work Office keeping the same work status.

December 1991
Promoted to Deputy Battalion leader in Masses Work Office.

December 1994
Promoted to full Battalion leader work in the same Masses Work Office

April 1996
Promoted to Deputy Head of the Masses Work Office

October 1998
Was made concurrently Deputy Head of both the Secretarial and Masses Work Offices

March 1999
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

April 2005
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

May 2008
Deputy Director of the Tibet PLA Political Department

July 2008
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)

December 2009

Political Commissar of the Lhasa Garrison Command

April 2010

Member of the Lhasa Party Standing Committee, Political Commissar of the Lhasa Garrison Command of the Tibet Military District

March 2013

Promoted to PLA Deputy Political Commissar in the Tibet Military District

April 2014

TAR Deputy Political Commissar, Deputy Group leader for the TAR Leading Small Group on Conscription

June 2014
Promoted to PLA Deputy Commander in Tibet (upgraded to 1st class 正军级 in 2016)

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