Thursday, January 4, 2018

China develops its border with India: Yume again in the news

Two months ago, I wrote about Yume, the hamlet north of the McMahon (Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh).
At that time,  Xi Jinping had written a letter to two young Tibetan herders who had introduced their village to the Chinese President.
It looks like it is helpful to receive a letter from the President.
The Global Times has reported yesterday: "A sparsely populated township in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has been connected to the state electricity grid, ending life without electricity for its 32 residents."
The village is Yume.
Incidentally, why do China has to always write "China's Tibet Autonomous Region". India does not write "India's Tamil Nadu" or "India's Uttarakhand" or even "India's Arunachal"?
Beijing must be feeling insecure.
To come back to The Global Times' article, it quotes the contractor, a Xining-based electric power company who worked on the project: "The 15-kilometer 10-kilovolt power line, which took five months to complete, is connected to remote Yulmed [Yume] Township in Luntse [Luntse] county, Shannan [Lhoka], via 108 electric poles over a 5,000-meter-high mountain."
According to the tabloid, Yume (also spelt Yulmed) is located "at an average elevation of 3,650 meters above sea level and its population was once just a three-member household. Currently, it has nine households."
It is further explained that in 2008, the local government built a small hydropower station, but the project failed to meet the increasing power demands of the 32 residents: "Due to improved living standards and growing need for electricity of the residents, power outages were frequent."

India's infrastructure development
While Beijing is going full steam to built infrastructure on its side of the McMahon Line, it complains about India building roads in the border area.
The same Global Times commented on the recent visit of Indian Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Nilang: "An Indian road construction project connecting all border posts along the China-India frontier could lead to new military standoffs between China and India, Chinese experts warned."
The mouthpiece of the Communist Party quoted The Times of India: "During his New Year visit to the 'Indo-Tibet Border Police' at Nelong [Nilang] valley in Uttarkashi district bordering China, Indian Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that a number of border posts had already been connected with roads and many would soon be linked."
China is unhappy because Singh asserted that "this would enhance the operational efficiency of the officers and reduce mountain-related sickness among them."

Chinese Double Standards
Of course, China is entitled to do whatever it wants on its side of the border.
China Daily recently reported: "Investment in infrastructure in the Tibet Autonomous Region is helping to lift 628 villages along the border out of poverty."
It further asserted: "After getting access to electricity and the construction of new roads, tea farmers and herdsmen in a village some 200 kilometers southwest of Lhasa in Tsona county founded a cooperative that provides skills training and job opportunities for villagers."
Tsona is located north of Tawang district of Arunachal.
The area has been extensively developed. I have mentioned it earlier on this blog.
China admitted: "Starting last year, more than 100 million yuan ($15,263) has been invested in infrastructure in the village of less than 100 families as a part of a broader construction project to build model villages with moderate prosperity in the border area. The construction of well-off villages along the border is designed to advance the living and working conditions in surrounding villages."
China Daily estimated that the road access rate in the area will reach 100 percent and the per capita disposable income will double by the year of 2020.
Is it not double standard?

My November 2017 post

Soon after the conclusion of the 19th Congress, President Xi Jinping wrote a letter to two young Tibetan herders who had written to him introducing their village, Yume, north of Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.
According to Xinhua, Xi “encouraged a herding family in Lhunze [Lhuntse] County, near the Himalayas in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, to set down roots in the border area, safeguard the Chinese territory and develop their hometown.”
Xi acknowledged “the family's efforts to safeguard the territory, and thanked them for the loyalty and contributions they have made in the border area. Without the peace in the territory, there will be no peaceful lives for the millions of families," he wrote.
The two Tibetan girls, Choekar and Yangzom had told the CCP’s Secretary General about their “experiences in safeguarding the border area and the development of their township over the years.”
Interestingly, the girls’ village, Yume (or Yumai or Yulmed) is located a few kilometers north of the McMahon Line, not far from the remote Indian village of Takshing.
Can this letter from Xi Jinping be considered as an acknowledgment of the McMahon Line, as the Indo-Tibet border? Xi clearly thanks the two herders for 'guarding' the border?
From the reporting of Xinhua, it seems so.
Xi further hoped that the girls’ family could “motivate more herders to set down roots in the border area ‘like galsang flowers’, and become guardians of the Chinese territory and constructors of a happy hometown.”
The report also explained that Yume is China's
smallest town in terms of population.

Galsang or Kelsang Flower
Yume on this blog
I had mentioned Yume several times on this blog, mainly because Yume Gompa was the last stage of the Tsari pilgrimage (see map below).
Already in November 2016, China Tibet Online spoke of Yume ‘town’ on the southern slope of the Himalayas as the border area of China and India: "If driving, you had to go south 400 km from Lhasa to Luntse of Lhoka (Shannan) City, then there was another 200 km of muddy mountain roads before you reached Yulmed.”
The Chinese site then asserted that “It is the least populous administrative town in China. With an area of 1976 square km, Yulmed has one subsidiary village, and only nine households with a total of 32 people. Yulmed has very few residents, but it is not impoverished nor backward.”
It added: “For a long time, there was only one family in Yulmed. After the Tibet Autonomous Region government dispatched officials and doctors, built the roads, and added a power station and a medical clinic, Yulmed became more and more lively. In 2015, the annual average per capita disposable income in Yulmed was 26,000 yuan.”

Four conclusions
By Xi Jinping admitting that Yume is a 'border' village, can it be concluded that Xi has acknowledged the McMahon Line? Probably not, but he has admitted that it was the present border (Line of Actual Control).
Another issue that I already brought up earlier on this blog: why not reopen the Tsari Pilgrimage and use it as a Confidence Building Measure between India and China?
Another conclusion is that China will develop very fast the 'border' areas in the years to come, I have often mentioned Metok County, but also Lepo village, north of Khenzimane on the McMahon Line.
Finally, it looks like the Communist Party has started to more and more use Tibetans in border areas and elsewhere yo defend the Middle Kingdom’s borders.
Delhi should be worried!


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