Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Queen of Yume: Implications for India

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President Xi Jinping distributed a number of ‘July 1 Medals’ to people “embodying a staunch faith in the CPC.”
“Maintaining staunch faith is to stay true to the original aspiration and dedicate everything, even one’s precious life, to the cause of the Party and people,” Xi said.
One of the recipients was a Tibetan girl called Choekar (or Dolkar). She lives in Yume, in Lhuntse county of Lhoka City (Prefecture); she is already one of the 20 members representing Tibet at the National People’s Congress (NPC).
Important for India is that the place is north of Asaphila, one of the disputed places in Arunachal Pradesh (in Upper Subansiri district) and Lhuntse is the site of a soon-to-be-built airport (see my previous post, Thee new Airports near the Border pose threat).

How did Choekar reach this position?
This is rather strange that an unknown person of a remote hamlet comes so fast into pre-eminence, but it typically related to the Communist tradition of ‘model’ cadres, workers or soldiers.
But first a few words about the History of Yume village.
A year after the conclusion of the 19th Congress in November 2016, President Xi Jinping sent a letter to two young Tibetan herders, who had introduced their village, Yume, north of the Indian border, to the President.
According to Xinhua, Xi “encouraged a herding family in Lhuntse County, near the Himalayas [sic] in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, to set down roots [sic] 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." 

 What Choekar did for the border has never been clear, but never mind, the CPC’s Central Committee (and the Emperor) had decided.
The two Tibetan sisters, Choekar and Yangzom had told the CCP’s Secretary General in their letter 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 Asaphila and the remote Indian village of Takshing.
Xi had hoped that the girls’ family could “motivate more herders to set down roots in the border area ‘like galsang [Kalsang] flowers’, and become guardians of the Chinese territory and constructors of a happy hometown.”
The report also explained that Yume was the China's smallest town in terms of population.

Yume Village

Yume: 32 Inhabitants
Already in November 2016, China Tibet Online had mentioned Yume ‘town’ on the southern slope of the Himalayas, as the border area between China and India: "By road, you will have to drive 400 km south from Lhasa to Lhuntse, 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 1,976 km2, Yulmed has one subsidiary village, and only nine households with a total of 32 people. Yulmed has very few residents, but it is neither impoverished nor backward.”
Incidentally, Yume has today some 300 inhabitants (probably many of them Chinese).
The journalist added: “For a long time, there was only one family in Yulmed. After the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) 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.”

Dakpa Shelri sacred mountain

The Pure Crystal Mountain Pilgrimage of Tsari
Not far from Yume is the Tsari Valley, one of the most sacred places in Tibet and the location for a famous pilgrimage.
China Tibet Online, a Chinese website thus praised the area: "Dzari (Tsari) Township, 2,800 meters above the sea level, is located in Lhuntse County of Lhoka Prefecture. Tsari means the holy mountain in Tibetan language. Hailed as the Tibet’s Shambhala, Tsari Township boasts its lush vegetation, moderate weather, still lake, running brook, vast forest, holy mountains as well as a satisfactory variety of herbs."
But Tsari has been more than just this.
It was once one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Tibet and the site of the first clash between the Chinese and Indian troops in Longju in August 1959.
One of the characteristics of this pilgrimage was that it was running across the Indo-Tibet border (the McMahon Line); half being in Tibet, half in NEFA (India).

Tsari Pilgrimage
Tsari has always been synonymous of ‘sacred place’ in the Tibetan psyche. With the Mount Kailash and the Amye Machen in Eastern Tibet, the pilgrimage around the Dakpa Shelri, the Pure Crystal Mountain has, since centuries, been one of the holiest of the Roof of the World.
The ‘Pure Crystal Mountain’ lies at 5,735 meter above the sea in the Tsari district of southeastern Tibet.
Toni Huber is one of the foremost scholars who wrote a great deal about this region from which the Subansiri and the Tsari chu (river) flow: “The area of the two rivers into which [Gen] Tsarong [at the beginning of the 20th century] ventured for military and commercial reasons had for centuries defined a very significant territory for both Tibetans and neighbouring non-Tibetans ”.
Huber describes thus the region:

“[these] rivers encompassed the southern slopes of the famous Tibetan holy mountain of Dakpa Shelri at Tsari. The large-scale, 12-yearly circumambulation of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims around the mountain known as the Rongkor Chenmo, had the character of a state ritual for the Ganden Phodrang [Tibetan Government]. Pilgrims in this huge procession crossed the McMahon Line below the frontier village of Migyitün in Tsari district and followed the Tsari Chu southwards. They then turned back up the Subansiri westwards, crossing the McMahon Line once again to reach the first Tibetan frontier settlements in Chame district. In doing so, they traversed non-Tibetan lands during this entire southern leg of the procession. This was the territory of the Mra (Tibetan: Morang Loba) clan, which ran downstream along the Tsari Chu valley and around its junction with the Subansiri at Geling Sinyik, and also of the neighbouring Na (Tibetan: Khalo, Lungtu Lopa) community of Taksing, which extended upstream along the Subansiri heading westwards towards Tibet.”

The pilgrims went down the Tsari chu, past Migyitün which was recognised as the frontier of Tibet - to a place where the Tsari chu joined the combined waters of the Char, Nye and Chayul chus.
It is interesting to note that in the early 20th century, Migyitün was already considered to be the border with Tibet.
The McMahon Line, drawn a few months later (under the supervision of Capt Bailey, a British intelligence officer who had visited the area in 1913), only acknowledged this fact.
Bailey had noted:

“This was five or six days' journey. Then they turned up the combined rivers, towards Sanga Choling, which they reached about a fortnight later. Some pilgrims went very much slower, the minor official said; and I inferred there was merit in delay. The slower, the better.”

The terminus of the pilgrimage was Yume.

Longju Village on India's Territory

Tsari in the News for the Bad Reasons
Apart from the celebrity bestowed on Choekar, Tsari has been in the news when a few months ago, it was discovered that China had built one of its ‘Xiaogang’ (‘well-off’) border villages on the model of Yume, a few hundred meters within the Indian territory at the place where the Longju incident took place in August 1959.
Since 2016, Tibet has built 965 Xiaogang villages and relocated 266,000 people, many on India’s border. Official Chinese statistics said that by the end of 2019, “Tibet had lifted 628,000 people out of poverty and delisted 74 county-level areas from the poverty list.” ‘’Lifting out of poverty’ is a euphemism for relocating thousands of Tibetans.
Longju now is one of such villages; it was reported by NDTV that “China had built some 101 homes in the remote place of Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.”
The TV channel acquired satellite imagery dated November 1, 2020; analysed by several experts, the images confirmed: “the construction, approximately 4.5 kms within Indian territory of the de facto border [the McMahon Line].”
India should be seriously concerned, added the channel: “Though this area is Indian territory, according to official government maps, it has been in effective Chinese control since 1959 [which is not correct, it remained in India’s control for many more years]. However, earlier only a Chinese military post existed, but this time a full-fledged village that can house thousands has been built. The village, located on the banks of the River Tsari chu, an area which has been long disputed by India and China.”
The location of the new village of Longju is a highly symbolic; five months after the arrival of the Dalai Lama in India (March 1959), the Chinese attacked an Assam Rifles’ platoon; it was a first ‘punishment’ for granting asylum to the Dalai Lama.
Today, China wants to change the status quo of the Indian Northern Border and proves that it can do whatever it wants in what it perceives as its own territory. It has serious implications elsewhere on the border, particularly in the Aksai Chin area, where Beijing has started exploiting the largest zinc deposits in the Middle Kingdom. If India does not object now, it will be too late in Aksai Chin too.
If China was really interested by peace, as it pretends to be in international fora, it should reopen the Rongkor pilgrimage for world peace around the Dakpa Shelri, instead of opening new fronts against India.

Tsari Town

More about Tsari
On June 22, mentioned about the duties of “the immigration management police.”
It seems a bad joke as there is no question of ‘immigration’ in this area.
The article said that the Network Information Office of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and the Tibet Entry-Exit Frontier Inspection Station jointly searched for ‘the Most Beautiful Frontier People’.
Of course, the Tsari area has many of them.
The article stated that the Tsari Border Police Station is “responsible for border prevention and control, public security and rescue tasks for this small town in southern Tibet, China. The police station is located at an altitude of 2,800 meters, and its jurisdiction has natural scenery such as virgin forests and meadows, which is a typical subtropical climate. The climate here is humid and rainfall is abundant,” wrote a reporter.
What were journalists from Beijing doing in this most remote areas of Tibet is a mystery; but there is no doubt that something is cooking up.
The reporter followed the immigration management police “into the primeval forest to experience their different patrol roads. In fact, there is no way to enter the primeval forest. Everyone walks carefully on the rotted branches and dead leaves. It is extremely difficult to go uphill and downhill, and beware of dangerous wild animals such as black bears from time to time.”
A policeman told the journalists that the patrol route is different each time, during their own visit “[as we did not go] too far, the equipment was simpler, usually for farther places, the load is about 40 kilograms,” explained the policeman.
The article said: “During this period, the wild strawberries on the mountain were ripe. During the rest, the immigration management police picked fruits to quench their thirst, wild fruits are a rare pleasure for them while patrolling the road to the border.”

Patrolling the Border

Another article on Tsari had published another article the previous day.
The reporter wrote: “Tsari Township is close to India, with an altitude of about 2,800 meters. There are dense virgin forests and occasional snow on the tops of the mountains. The climate is warm and humid. The misty town is like a beautiful picture scroll in the south of the Yangtze River.”
The article continued: “The rapid development of infrastructure and the rapid improvement of people's lives have made this border town in the deep mountains more and more active. Jin Xianwei, a police officer from the Lhuntse-Tsari border police station, who has been working here for 11 years, has a good memory of his experience when he first came to report: [it was] a 14-hour drive from Shannan (Lhoka) City to Tsari.”
After two years, Jin Xianwei had the opportunity to go home in China on vacation for the first time. Then, there was no regular bus; Jin explained that “cooking at the time, we had to burn firewood, and to pay phone bills, we had to but phone cards, there was no continuous power supply, meat and vegetables would always be damaged before being eaten. It's like a village in the interior of China that has gone backwards for many years. …since 2016, the development of this border town has pressed the fast forward button, from a static development to a hot development.”
This corresponds to the time XI Jinping wrote to the two sisters.
The policeman said: “Vegetables do not need to be collected once a month, and our table is more abundant. Online express shopping can send special products from the south and the north, and the most remote duty stations also have the Internet.”
Jin Xianwei thought he would work here until retirement; he hoped that the living conditions was getting better and better and the area becoming more and more prosperous.
Kesang Wangmo, a local villager explained to the reporter: “In recent years, subsidies for border residents in Tibet have increased manyfold, and the subsidies for frontier residents have risen to as high as 6,000 yuan per person per year.”
Kesang Wangmo pointed out that the Central and the TAR governments had decided to invest in the borders. She also believed that even without subsidies, many people would still protect their homes (against India?).

Patrolling the Borders

Xiaogang Villages
In 2017, the scheme of setting up well-off demonstration villages on the border of Tibet has been implemented and villages have come up one after another
Kesang told the reporter: “The houses are built uniformly, which is more spacious and beautiful. The pavement in the village is hardened, and there are street lights, which is much more convenient.”
Tsari Township, close to her beautiful home, is still undergoing infrastructure construction.
Another interviewee, Dechen Dolma said that “The roads used to be difficult, and it was usual for the mountain roads to be blocked by snow in winter. His elder brother once took his son to the county seat to study in the elementary school."

Now it takes 4 hours instead of 2 days earlier: “In the past, the township primary school was only up to the third grade. From this year, our children here can complete primary school nearby."
According to the article, the traditional income of Tsari comes “from grazing, digging wild medicinal materials and weaving bamboo utensils. In recent years, the central government and the local government in Tibet have made this area more and more open [to tourism], and it has also brought more opportunities to local herdsmen. …more and more people doing business in the local area, and more villagers have bought construction trucks and transport vehicles, and private cars have also become family vehicles.”
Han tourists will soon flood this area ... and bring prosperity according to the Chinese propaganda.

There is no doubt that infrastructure development is going on full swing in the highly strategic area of the Indian border.
The need of the hour is not to ‘wait and watch’, a formula often used by Indian government officials, but to develop the border areas, in particular the Upper Subansiri district and provide decent roads, good schools and proper communication facilities to the local population. Agriculture (fruits) and arboriculture could also easily be developed and bring good recenues. 

Perhaps only mindsets of the local babus need to change. 

This is not an easy task, but let us not forget that the airport will soon serve the other side of the border.

Some photos of Chinese patrols in Asaphila area, south of Yume. Note that it is not Choekar and Yangzom who are patrolling the border.
Their role seems to be tourist guides (for Han visitors), more than 'Guardian of the Sacred Border'.

Tourists already arrive in Yume

Patrol in Asaphila Area

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Mr Xi, what have you gained in Ladakh?

My open letter to Chairman Xi Jinping (Mr Xi, what have you gained in Ladakh?) has been published by on the occasion of his 68th birthday (and one year of the Galwan incident)

'Why did your generals try to grab a few square kilometres of Indian territory in Ladakh?'
'And what happened to the hard work that you and Prime Minister Modi put into the Wuhan and Mamallapuram meets?'
Claude Arpi writes a letter to Xi Jinping, China's self-styled supreme leader, who turns 68 today, June 15.

Here is the link...

Comrade Xi Jinping
General Secretary, Communist Party of China’s Central Committee
President, People’s Republic of China,
Chairman, Central Military Commission (CMC)
Beijing, China

Dear Chairman Xi,
You may think it is presumptuous on my part to send a letter to you, the President of one of the two most powerful nations of the world, but being born in the country which invented Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and living in the one that believes in ‘Satyamev Jayate’ (‘The Truth will prevail’), it emboldened me to send you this letter.
I hope you will not misinterpret my audacity.

I was not sure how to address you, but here in India we see you first as the CMC Chairman, particularly since your Western Theater Command generals started an unnecessary confrontation with the Indian Army in Ladakh last year.
What has China gained from it? I don’t know.
What can the PLA gain in the future? Probably nothing.
In India, it has been taken very badly as it coincided with the chaos of the pandemic due to the COVID-19 which is said to have originated in Wuhan.
Till January 2020, ‘Wuhan’ was synonymous of ‘hope’: India and China could live together as partners in the changing world. It is why Prime Minister Modi invited you in Mamalapuram, to proceed on the sacred path of peace. It is no more the case today, after your generals forced India’s armed forces to spend a winter (and now a spring and a summer) in the previously paradisiacal and serene Himalayan mountains.
I am sure you realize that you lost a friend in the process.

A Community of Shared Future for Mankind

Mr Chairman, though I regularly read your speeches and follow your visits across your country, I must admit that I don’t always understand the actions of your Party.
Take your speech on the occasion of the New Year 2021.
Xinhua reproduced your article ‘Work Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind’ which had first appeared in the Qiushi Journal (the flagship magazine of the CPC’s Central Committee).
In it, you mention that “mankind is in an era of major development as well as profound transformation and change, and is also in an era of numerous challenges and increasing risks.”
Nobody can disagree with this.
When asked how to respond to this, you proposed “to build a community with a shared future for humanity and achieve shared and win-win development.” This is good.
You even added that “actions hold the key to building such a community, while  adding that “the international community should promote partnership, security, growth, inter-civilization exchanges and the building of a sound ecosystem.”
On this, everyone will agree with you in India; several thousand years ago, a rishi spoke of Vasudhaiva Kuṭumbakam (‘the world is one family’).
The Upanishad says:

One is a relative, the other stranger,
say the small minded.
For those who live magnanimously
the entire world constitutes but a family.

What I don’t understand is that if we share the same values, why did your generals try to grab a few square kilometers of Indian territory in Ladakh? What was the point that they were trying to make? Had they grasped the essence of your speeches?
And what happened to the hard work that you and the Indian Prime Minister put into the Wuhan and Mamallipuram meets?
Are you aware that the Ladakh episode has created a huge setback for the bilateral relations and that the Indian public will not forget soon?

About the Environment: the Irresistible Law
I wanted also to mention the all-important issue of environment
On April 30, 2021, you presided over a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee.
You had the occasion to speak of the construction of an ecological civilization; it is said to be a prominent objective for the Communist Party; you insisted on “comprehensively strengthening the construction of ecological civilization, and integrating the management of mountains, rivers, forests, fields, lakes, grasses and sand, and carried out a series of fundamental and pioneering activities.”
You further observed: “Ecological environmental protection and economic development are dialectically unified and mutually reinforcing. The construction of ecological civilization and the promotion of green and low-carbon circular development can not only meet the people’s growing demand for a beautiful ecological environment, but also promote the realization of higher quality, more efficiency, and more Fair, more sustainable, and safer development, and a civilized development path featuring production development, affluent life, and good ecology.”
The Chinese media emphasized your role in this: “General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important exposition on the construction of ecological civilization, with a lofty purpose, rich connotation, and profound thinking, is for us to deeply understand the significance of the construction of ecological civilization, fully and accurately implement the new development concept, and correctly handle the relationship between economic development and ecological environmental protection.”
On another occasion you ‘profoundly’ stated: “Humans and nature are the community of life, and humans must respect, conform to, and protect nature. Heaven and earth live side by side, and everything is one …When mankind makes rational use of nature and protects nature in a friendly manner, nature's rewards are often generous; when mankind develops disorderly and rudely plunders nature, nature's punishment must be ruthless. Human damage to nature will ultimately hurt mankind. This is an irresistible law."
Hundreds of millions on this planet agree with this.
It is why I can’t understand the announcement in The Global Times in December 2020 that your government was planning to build a cascade of mega hydropower plants (HPP) on the Yarlung Tsangpo: “The head of Power Construction Corp of China (POWERCHINA) suggested the planned hydropower station - which is expected to have three times as much generating capacity as the world-leading Three Gorges power station - aims to maintain water resources and domestic security.”
The information was confirmed by the administration of Metok County (of Nyingchi City); the project would be built north of the Indian border; a series of nine hydropower plants in cascade, which will threaten the life of India’s entire North-East region.
This would create unbelievable havoc not only in Pemakoe, the sacred Tibetan realm in the Great Bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo, but also downstream in Arunachal Pradesh (that you call ‘Southern Tibet’), Assam and Bangladesh. You are certainly aware that it is the most seismic area of the planet.
What will you achieve by going ahead with such a project?
You will certainly earn bad will from your neighbours while creating more anger, distrust, without speaking of the risk of a confrontation with India.

The Tibetan Issue

Mr Chairman, I am sure that you remember what your father the respected Xi Zhongxun wrote in The People’s Daily on February 20, 1989 after the untimely death of the revered Tenth Panchen Lama.
Your father condoled the death of the Tibetan leader: “Buddhist Master Panchen Lobsang Trinley Lhündrub Chökyi Gyaltsen died suddenly due to a heart ailment. The Chinese Communist Party has lost a loyal friend, and I have lost a colleague and intimate friend of 40 years standing.”
In the Panchen Lama’s obituary, your father noted “Over the past 40 years, the Panchen Lama and I established a deep friendship. Prior to his trip to Tibet to dedicate a statue at Tashilunpo Monastery, he took time to bid farewell to me and presented me with a khata (ceremonial silk scarf). It was his long-established habit to bid farewell to me when he left on trips, and to have a heart-to-heart talk with me when he returned. I knew him well. He was very enthusiastic, easily excited, and when he was working he could barely control his emotions. I advised him that because there was a severe lack of oxygen in this season in Tibet, he must be careful of his health, not get short-tempered, and that he should balance work and rest. He told me that he would die happy once his project was completed. I told him that Buddha didn’t want him to go yet, nor did Marx want him to go.”
That was the last time your father met the Tenth Panchen Lama.
In his long obituary, after mentioning the difficulties that both (him and the Panchen Lama) went through during the Cultural Revolution, your father wrote: “After the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Communist Party Congress in 1978, the Panchen Lama and I reunited. When old friends meet, all kinds of feelings well up. When the Panchen Lama saw me, he said uneasily: Because of my ‘70,000-Character Petition’ I got you in trouble, I’m very sorry for that. I answered: No one got anyone in trouble. We all got physically tempered, endured challenges and increased our experience. The Communist Party understands you.” At that time, we all hoped for a new China under reformist leaders like your father. Unfortunately, it has not yet happened, especially for Tibetans and the Uyghurs.
Your father had concluded: “I grieve the sudden death of the Panchen Lama, I hope that he is reincarnated. We must complete …make new contributions to a united, prosperous and civilized socialist new Tibet, and to the common prosperity of all ethnic groups.”
Today, the opposite is happening. It is difficult to understand why.
You must be realizing that the Tibetan question has been sullying the image of People's Republic for 70 years now. Why can’t you find a durable solution agreeable to all, it would be a win-win outcome.
The Dalai Lama is a sincere leader. Do you think that you can find a better interlocutor to bring about a radical change in the relations between Hans and Tibetans? I don’t think so.
I could, of course, mention several other issues, but it is better to leave at that today.

Mr Chairman, I feel that China has lost (or is losing) a golden opportunity to play a respectable place in the world, and this despite your vision of a shared future for humankind.

Yours sincerely
Claude Arpi

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Lhasa invaded again Han Chinese


According to China Tibet News Network, the permanent population of Lhasa is 867,891, an increase of 55.14% compared to the Sixth National Census.

It is an enormous increase, particularly because it only takes into account the ‘permanent’ settlers in the Tibetan capital.
The number of ‘migrants’ or ‘temporary settlers’ which can easily be manipulated, should ba added to these figures. It is a real invasion of the Tibetan capital.

On June 8, 2021, a communiqué released by the Office of the Leading Group for the Seventh National Census of Lhasa, announced the new figures were “in accordance with the Regulations on the National Census and the decision of the State Council.”
It was the seventh census and it was carried out on November 1, 2020.
China Tibet News says that “the national census is in accordance with the unified deployment of the State Council and the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Seventh National Census Leading Group.”
According to the same source, the staff who conducted the census was supported by “Lhasa City’s governments at all levels, census agencies and all census personnel.”
The communiqué adds: “With the hard work and selfless dedication, the majority of census subjects participated and actively cooperated, and successfully completed the tasks of the Seventh National Census in Lhasa.”

Let us remember that the data for the 'permanent' and 'temporary' populations are compulsorily contained in each individual's phone.
Even if it has probably been ‘polished’, the outcome is shocking.

1. Permanent Population
Today, the ‘permanent’ resident population of Lhasa is 867,891.
Compared with the 559,423 in the Sixth National Census in 2010, it is an increase of 308,468 or 55.14%; it means an average annual growth rate of 4.49% says the communique (arithmetically, 55% divided by ten (years) does not make 4,5%).
It must be a first time that an urban area witnesses a 55% population increase in 10 years. It is only possible, if formerly ‘migrants’ workers have been incorporated in these figures.
This raises many questions, in particular for the environment.
How much  increment of population can the Land of Snows take without choking? The natural resources are limited and the fragile ecology of the plateau has certainly limits.
Beijing has probably never taken this into account. 

The Chinese Government objective seems only to flood the local population with Han Chinese.

2. Family population

There were 292,976 households in the Seventh Census, for a population of 683,405 people. The average population of each household was 2.33 people, which was a decrease of 0.86 people from the 3.19 people in the Sixth National Census in 2010.
Only an expert in statistics could analyse this, but too me, it seems to indicate that many more single persons have settled in Lhasa during the last 10 years; It shows that tens of thousands more migrants have come to the Tibetan capital.

3. Gender composition
Among the city’s permanent population, the male population is 470,353, accounting for 54.19%; the female population is 397,538, accounting for 45.81%. 

The sex ratio of the total population (100 women, the ratio of men to women) rose from 105.68 in the Sixth National Census in 2010 to 118.32.
The gender composition also seems to indicate the massive arrival of migrant male workers.
Many of them have now be given the status of ‘permanent’ resident of the Tibetan capital and others married Tibetan girls.

4. Age composition
Among the city’s permanent population,

  • the population aged 0-14 is 143,069, accounting for 16.48%;
  • the population aged 15-59 is 651,141, accounting for 75.03%;
  • the population aged 60 and above is 73,681, accounting for 8.49%;
  • the population aged 65 and above is 48,170 people, accounting for 5.55%.

Compared with the Sixth National Census in 2010,

  • the proportion of people aged 0-14 dropped by 1.05 percentage points,
  • the proportion of people aged 15-59 dropped by 0.24%,
  • the proportion of people aged 60 and over rose by 1.29%.
  • The proportion of the population of and above increased by 0.85 percentage points.

Age-wise, if the statistics are correct, it seems a rather stable population.
These statistics should be read with Xi Jinping mega project for poverty alleviation.
On October 17, 2020, according to Xinhua: “Tibet Autonomous Region has accomplished the historical feat of eradicating absolute poverty. …By the end of 2019, Tibet had lifted 628,000 people out of poverty and delisted 74 county-level areas from the poverty list.”
Wu Yingjie, the boss of the Communist Party of China in Tibet called this achievement a "major victory." 

He said that the average annual net income of poor people in Tibet had risen from 1,499 yuan (about 220.44 U.S. dollars) in 2015 to 9,328 yuan in 2019.
Wu also mentioned that since 2016, a total of 39.89 billion yuan has been invested in over 2,900 poverty alleviation projects, which helped lift more than 238,000 impoverished people out of poverty and benefited more than 840,000 people.
For this, 965 ‘relocation’ villages (known as Xiaogang villages) were built and 266,000 people were moved to new houses. "The relocation programs were carried out entirely on a voluntary basis," Wu said.
This means that if these villages have to be inhabited, from where the populations have come, especially when the population of the Tibetan capital has already increased so drastically during the same period.
The answer is probably from China.
Though we do not have the figures for the other Cities/Prefectures and the Xiaogang villages, the same pattern in population increase than in Lhasa, must have taken place, if not worse. 

It means more Hans are daily arriving in Tibet to settle.

5. Ethnic composition
Among Lhasa City’s permanent population, the Tibetan population is 608,856, the population of other ethnic minorities is 25,953, and the Han population is 233,082.
Compared with the Sixth National Census in 2010, the Tibetan population increased by 179,752, the population of other ethnic minorities increased by 16,699, and the Han population increased by 112,017.
In their own admission, the ‘permanent’ migrant population has increased nearly as much as the Tibetans.

  • Tibetan increase = 179,75
  • Other minorities increase =  16,699
  • Han increase =  112,017

What about the ethnic composition in the border villages?

6. Population with education level
Among the City’s permanent population,

  • 147,800 people have a university education (referring to a junior college or above);
  • 107,840 people have a high school (including technical secondary school) education;
  • 174,689 people have a junior high school education; and those with elementary school education.

The population is 256,544 (the above-mentioned population with various educational levels includes graduates, undergraduates and students from various schools).
Compared with the Sixth National Census in 2010, the number of persons with college education per 100,000 people rose from 12,319 to 17,030; those with high school education rose from 8,817 to 12,426; those with junior high school education rose from 19,654
The number of people rose to 20,128; the number of people with primary school education dropped from 34,105 to 29,559.
There is no doubt that the level of education has improved.

7. Urban and rural population
Among the city’s permanent population,

  • the population living in urban areas is 605,511, accounting for 69.77%;
  • the population living in rural areas is 262,380, accounting for 30.23%.

Compared with the sixth national census in 2010, the urban population increased by 364,553, the rural population decreased by 56,085, and the proportion of the urban population increased by 26.70 percentage points.
These figures are for Lhasa City (ex-Prefecture) only.
Let us hope that we can soon access the figures for the other Cities/Prefectures.

8. Regional population
The last part of the report mentions the ‘region distribution’ of Lhasa’s ‘permanent’ population.
The fact that the report speaks of ‘permanent’ population shows that a large percentage of the migrant population is not accounted. This is even more worrisome.

The following figures show that the permanent population of Lhasa is 867,891, of which:

  • the permanent population of Chenggoin (Chengguan) District is 473,586, accounting for 54.57%;
  • the permanent population of Tolung Dechen (Duilung Deqing) District is 91065, accounting for 10.49%;
  • the permanent population of Tagtse (Dazi) District is 32,318, accounting for 3.72%. The permanent population of Lhundrup (Linzhou) County is 50,596, accounting for 5.83%;
  • the permanent population of Damshung County is 47,900, accounting for 5.52%;
  • the permanent population of Nimo County is 29,989, accounting for 3.46%;
  • the permanent population of Chushul County is 41,851, accounting for 4.82%;
  • the permanent population of Medro Gonkar (Mozhugongka) County is 49,511, accounting for 5.70%;
  • the permanent population of Lhasa National Economic and Technological Development Zone is 11,804, accounting for 1.36%;
  • the permanent population of Lhasa Liuwu High-tech Zone is 34,582, accounting for 3.98%;
  • the permanent population of Tibet Cultural Tourism Creative Park is 4,689, accounting for 0.54%.

The Tibetan Autonomous Region's Figures
Last month The China Daily had announced that the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) continued “to enjoy a demographic dividend as young adults make up a relatively high proportion of its population, providing abundant labor resources.”

It is probably due to migrant workers.
The article said that despite a steadily growing aging trend nationwide, less than 9 percent of Tibet's population is aged above 60: “The number of Tibet residents aged 60 or older on November 1, 2021 was 311,000, accounting for just 8.52 percent of the region's population and up by 0.85 percentage points from a decade previously. …Across the country, the average proportion of the population aged 60 or older was 18.7 percent.”
According to census, the TAR's ‘permanent’ resident population on November 2020, was 3.64 million, an increase of 645,900 or 21.52 percent over a decade previously. 

Between 2000 and 2010, the region's population increased by 385,800, or by an average of 1.39 percent a year.

Therefore, there is an acceleration of the migration in Tibet in general.

Vast Sea of Chinese Migrants
Remember in 1985, the Dalai Lama wrote in The New York Times that A Vast Sea Of Chinese Threatens Tibet.
The Tibetan leader then observed: "It is now more than 30 years since China forcefully occupied Tibet. In this period, our religion and culture has been destroyed. The people of Tibet have suffered tremendous physical and economic deprivation, and at least 1.2 million have died as a direct result of the occupation. But never, even in the worst of times, did the Tibetans lose their distinct national identity. That is the threat we face today: The complete assimilation and absorption of our people by a vast sea of Chinese settlers streaming across our borders."

The Tibetan leader continued: "Early this century, the Manchus were a distinct race with their own culture and traditions. Today, only two to three million Manchurians are left in Manchuria, where 75 million Chinese have settled. In Eastern Turkestan, which the Chinese now call Sinkiang [Xinjiang], the Chinese population has grown from 200,000 in 1949 to seven million, more than half of the total population of 13 million. In the wake of the Chinese colonization of Inner Mongolia, Chinese now outnumber the Mongols by 8.5 million to 2.5 million."

On June 8, Xi Jinping visited a Tibetan village in Amdo
In 1985, the Dalai Lama mentioned his native place, Amdo, an area visited yesterday by Xi Jinping: "The area where I was born, the Kokonor region of northeastern Tibet, now already has a population of 2.5 million Chinese and only 700,000 Tibetans, according to a recent Chinese newspaper report. The Chinese claim to be giving special care and attention to the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, which comprises only the western and central parts of Tibet, but they are sending large numbers of young Chinese colonists into the eastern and northeastern parts of our country."

The situation is far more dramatic today, but nobody seems to bother.


Friday, June 4, 2021

Is Xi Scared of Tiananmen 1989?

They gave Death
My article Is Xi Scared of Tiananmen 1989? appeared in

Why omit the Tiananmen massacre from the history of China's Communist party? asks Claude Arpi.

Here is the link...

Since the beginning of the year, China has started celebrating the 100 years of the Communist Party of China.
For the occasion, Chairman Xi, the new Mao, has decided to teach the history of Modern China to everyone in China; every citizen should “learn about a century of party history and write a new great legend [for the Party].”
An article in Xinhua states: “General Secretary Xi Jinping attaches great importance to the Party history study and summarizes the main content of Party history study into 16 words, namely, "learning history to be clear [about the role of the Party], learning history to increase credit [points], learning history to respect morality, and learning history to practice [Communism].”
The ‘credit points’ refer to the way the totalitarian regime is keeping a tab on its citizens, by crediting (or debiting) each and every Chinese for his/her actions; even the most seemingly insignificant deed is recorded into the Communist Party’s mega computers’ memory.
The News Agency adds: “…The new journey of a modern socialist country has started well.”
On March 1, 2021, Xi addressed the young cadres at the Central Party School in Beijing; he told them that they were the successors of the old comrades, “the glory of the party is in your hands”, and exhorted them to be the “faithful successor of the tradition and fine work-style of the Communist Party, constantly enhancing willpower, perseverance and self-control and making contributions in the new journey of comprehensively building a modern socialist country in the New Era!” And, of course, “loyalty to the party is the primary political quality of Communists,” he added.
The words of the new Great Helmsman sound good, but there is another side to it; there are black (or ‘bloodied’ red) holes in the official history.
One of the ‘red’ holes occurred 32 years ago, on Tiananmen Square.
If Beijing has forgotten, the world has not.

The Black Book of Communism

In 1997, French scholar Stéphane Courtois, along with other European academics, published Le Livre noir du communisme which was later translated in several languages under the title The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression.
The Black Book sold tens of millions of copies; it is still considered by many as one of the most influential publications written about the history of Communism in the 20th century. The authors documented the history of political repression by Communist states, including genocides, extrajudicial executions, deportations, killing populations in labour camps as well as artificially-created famines.
In the first chapter, The Crimes of Communism, Stéphane Courtois quoting Plato’s Republic and Thomas More as Communist examples of ‘utopian philosophy’, Courtois explains, “We must make a distinction between the doctrine of communism and its practice. As a political philosophy, communism has existed for centuries, even millennia.”
Courtois gave figures, people killed by Communist governments amount to more than 94 million, including 65 million in the People’s Republic of China, 20 million in the Soviet Union, 2 million in Cambodia, 2 million in North Korea, 1.7 million in Ethiopia, 1.5 million in Afghanistan, 1 million in Vietnam.
In China alone, there is no doubt today that the Great Leap Forward resulted in 40 to 50 million deaths. According to Frank Dikötter in his masterly Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 45 million people died unnecessarily. Yang Jisheng in Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958–1962 put the tally between 43 million and 46 million.

No candle vigil any more

In the past, Hong Kong used to commemorate the Tiananmen Square events, today, the former British colony have banned to do so.
A historical event is worth recalling.
Dr Zhisui Li, Mao's private physician recorded the death of Zhou Enlai, the Chinese Premier and Mao Zedong’s reactions to it in 1976, Dr Li wrote: 'Beginning in mid-March, knowing that the Qing Ming festival for honoring the dead would be celebrated on April 4, the citizens of Beijing began going to the Monument to the Revolutionary Heroes in Tiananmen Square to place mourning wreaths for Zhou. The movement was spontaneous, and the crowds grew larger by the day. The country had not witnessed such an outpouring of popular sentiment since before the Communists came to power in 1949.”
As April 4 approached, Dr Li visited Tiananmen clandestinely: 'The Square was filled with tens of thousands of people singing, making speeches, and reading poems. The mourning wreaths stretched from the Monument to the Revolutionary Heroes in the centre of the square all the way to Changan Avenue just in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace. …It was impressive and moving.”
A similar event occurred in 1989, 13 years later.
Though Hu Yaobang had been sacked as the secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party in January 1987, he was still a member of the Politburo and entitled to attend important meetings. On April 9, 1989, after uttering some strong words on the Communist Party's failures, the respected Hu Yaobang had a stroke. A week later he passed away (similarly, the Panchen Lama had a ‘stroke’ when he mentioned the misdeeds of the Party in January 1989 in Shigatse, Tibet).
The death of Hu Yaobang was the beginning of the largest spontaneous student revolution since 1919.
During the following days and weeks, the students demanded freedom of speech and the press, democratic elections, greater transparency in government dealings.
The students believed that Hu Yaobang had been sacked though he had followed 'correct' policies. They demanded that the government “should affirm as correct Hu Yaobang's views on democracy and freedom.”
When The People's Daily termed the first spontaneous demonstrations as 'turmoil', the events took a new turn. For the students, the word 'turmoil' (‘dongluan’) had a strong meaning in Chinese reminiscent of the black days of the Cultural Revolution.
Zhao Ziyang was then the Party’s General Secretary; having the same conviction as Hu Yaobang, he thought that a possibility of political reform existed in Communist China. During the following weeks, he constantly tried to negotiate a compromise with the students. This could have changed the Middle Kingdom's fate.
We know what followed: during the night of June 3, Premier Li Peng ordered the tanks to roll out on the Square. Several thousand students lost their lives that night. The Party was saved and the fate of China was sealed (at least for the next few decades). One of the many ironies was that Li Peng was Zhou Enlai's adopted son.
In the meantime, the history of Modern Tibet is also rewritten; forgotten are the hundreds of thousands dead or the complete destruction of innumerable monasteries; on May 23, the Communist Party celebrated the 70th anniversary of the ‘Liberation of Tibet’, when the Dalai Lama’s representatives were forced under duress to sign that Tibet had ‘returned’ to the Motherland (China).
On the occasion, the local press in Lhasa reported: “Early in the morning, in the Potala Palace Square, the golden characters of the Tibet Peaceful Liberation Monument shined brightly. As evidenced by the monument, the peaceful liberation of Tibet 70 years ago not only shattered the delusional attempts of external forces to separate Tibet from China, safeguarded national sovereignty and territorial integrity, safeguarded the unity of the motherland and ethnic unity, and opened up the liberation of millions of serfs.” The Communist newspaper added: “This is a new day, and the sun shines all over the snowy plateau.”
The Xinhua article quoted earlier, concluded: “Looking back on the party’s history …our party has always adhered to the original aspiration and mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, and it has never hesitated to advance toward this goal, thus winning the sincere and firm support of the people.”
If it was true, why omit the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution or the Tiananmen massacre from the history of the Party? It should at least have been analyzed to understand what went wrong; hiding a large portion of history does not give credibility to the Party.
Similarly, the Party is today hiding what happened in Wuhan.
It is time the world starts pressurizing Beijing to tell the truth.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

When the Chinese Glasnost died again

One the occasion of the 32th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, I re-post an article written in January 2005.
Two years ago, during the monthly briefing by senior Colonel Wu Qian, the spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of National Defence, a correspondent asked if the People's Liberation Army had any comment on the suppression of students 30 years ago.
Wu Qian replied: "I don't agree with the word 'suppression' in your question." 
He added "Over the past 30 years, the process of our reform and development and our stability and achievements have already addressed your question."
Even this was deleted from the official transcript of the Press Conference...
It shows that China has not been nervous for a long time...

From, The Day Chinese Glasnost Died.
Did Zhao Ziyang die on January 8 or did he die on the morning of January 17? That is a million yuan question!
On the same day in 1976, another Chinese leader, its Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, passed away.
When Zhou died, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution had just ended. Modern China had gone through its 10 most tormented years.
During previous months, Mao had refused to provide treatment for his premier who had cancer; the Emperor wanted Zhou to die before him.
Even in Communist China, there is protocol!
In fact, the problem was that the premier was more popular than the Great Helmsman with the masses. Zhou's death was observed by Dr Zhisui Li, Mao's private physician who commented: 'What worried me most was the power struggle to follow.'
In Beijing, memories of the Cultural Revolution purges were still fresh in the populace's psyche. Though resentment was growing, nothing could be done openly as yet.
At that time, the Chinese New Year was approaching. When Mao decided to celebrate the event with firecrackers, the crowd outside Zhongnanhai (the residential enclave where Politburo members live) thought the Chairman rejoiced over his premier's death. Anger mounted, but the people of Beijing had to wait a few more weeks to express their respect for the deceased leader.
Dr Li wrote: 'Beginning in mid-March, knowing that the Qing Ming festival for honoring the dead would be celebrated on April 4, the citizens of Beijing began going to the Monument to the Revolutionary Heroes in Tiananmen Square to place mourning wreaths for Zhou. The movement was spontaneous, and the crowds grew larger by the day. The country had not witnessed such an outpouring of popular sentiment since before the Communists came to power in 1949.'
As April 4 approached, Dr Li visited Tiananmen clandestinely: 'The Square was filled with tens of thousands of people singing, making speeches, and reading poems. The mourning wreaths stretched from the Monument to the Revolutionary Heroes in the centre of the square all the way to Changan Avenue just in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace, and thousands of banners were flapping in the breeze. It was impressive and moving.'
A similar event occurred 13 years later.
In 1989, though Hu Yaobang had been sacked as the secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party in January 1987, he was still a member of the Politburo and entitled to attend important meetings. On April 9, after uttering some strong words on the Communist Party's failures, the respected Hu Yaobang had a stroke. A week later he passed away.
Zhao Zhiang, then secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party, made the customary brief assessment of Hu's life: 'Comrade Hu was a loyal, tried and tested Communist fighter, a great proletarian revolutionary and politician, an outstanding political worker for the army.'
It was agreed that Hu would have a national funeral service with the norms of standing members of the Politburo. The plan was accepted by all the party's senior leaders including Deng Xiaoping. During that meeting, Zhao requested Qiao Shi, No 3 in the party and responsible for security, to 'keep a close watch on how Comrade Yaobang's death might impact society.' Qiao Shi is said to have replied: 'At the moment, society is in pretty good shape, Things are fairly stable.'
In the afternoon of April 17, 600 students of the Chinese University of Political Science and Law marched into Tiananmen Square with mourning banners and wreaths. They were 10,000 by the evening.
The next day, students and onlookers poured in from Beijing University and other places. Wreaths accumulated in front of the Monument to the Revolutionary Heroes.
The rest is history.

It was the beginning of the largest spontaneous student revolution since 1919.
During the following days and weeks, the students demanded freedom of speech and the press, democratic elections, greater transparency in government dealings.
The pretext for the explosion of the students' ire was the fact that Hu Yaobang had been sacked though he had followed 'correct' policies. They demanded that the government 'should affirm as correct Hu Yaobang's views on democracy and freedom.' When the People's Daily termed the first spontaneous demonstrations as 'turmoil', the events took a new turn. For the students, the word 'turmoil' (dongluan) had a strong meaning in Chinese reminiscent of the black days of the Cultural Revolution.
One man played a major role in the Tiananmen events -- Zhao Ziyang. Having the same conviction as Hu Yaobang, he thought that a possibility of political reform existed in Communist China. During the following weeks, he constantly tried to negotiate a compromise with the students. This could have changed the Middle Kingdom's fate.
One of his collaborators, Wu Guoguang, remembered in Time magazine: 'In the wrong place at the wrong time, Zhao Ziyang did the right thing. It was close to midnight on the night of May 19, 1989. China's leaders were finalising their plans to declare martial law and crush the Tiananmen Square democracy protests that had, in the preceding 48 hours, swelled to include more than a million demonstrators.
Zhao, then general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, might have remained with the commissars inside Beijing's Great Hall of the People as they called in the troops. Instead, stooped with fatigue, tears in his eyes, he waded into the throngs of students and in the gathering darkness pleaded with them to abandon their vigil before it was too late.'
Three days earlier Zhau had received Mikhail Gorbachev, then general secretary of the Soviet Union Communist Party. Was Zhao trying to emulate his Soviet counterpart when he spoke to the students? The Chinese leader told Gorbachev, 'Some young people now had doubts about the superiority of socialism, that these doubts arose from genuine problems with the Party leadership and certain entrenched habits, and that the only way out for socialism was continued vigorous reforms.'
This view was certainly not shared by all in the standing committee of the Politburo. Just after Zhao had met Gorbachev, an important meeting was held, the verdict was split: two members were in favour of using force against the students, two were for a continuation of the dialogue and one, Qiao Shi, abstained.
The next day, the matter was referred to Deng Xiaoping. Zhao had told Gorbachev: 'Even though Deng Xiaoping had retired from his Party posts in 1987, the Party had recognised that his wisdom and experience were essential and that for the most important questions he would still be at the helm.'
Deng decided to use force. On May 20, the martial law order was signed by Prime Minister Li Peng. Two days later, Zhao Ziyang was sacked and Jiang Zemin was called from Shanghai to replace him.
During the night of June 3, Li Peng ordered the tanks to roll on the Square. Between 3,000 and 10000 students lost their lives that night. The Party was saved and the fate of China was sealed (at least for the next few decades). One of the many ironies was that Li Peng was Zhou Enlai's adopted son.
On October 17, 2004, Zhao celebrated his 75th birthday. The Human Rights in China group reported: 'In the past three days large groups of people have been gathering outside Zhao's Beijing home, requesting permission to see him. The groups, which range in size from a dozen to upwards of 100 people, seem to be made up largely of Zhao's former subordinates and his close friends and relatives.'
On the same day, a group of senior Chinese citizens and Zhao's supporters wrote to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao about Zhao's continuous detention: 'We strongly urge that you unconditionally and immediately release Mr Zhao Ziyang from house arrest, restore his freedom, and resume all his civil rights!
'No matter how the CPC (Chinese Communist Party and its government would now judge the 1989 political storm and whether Mr Zhao was right or wrong at that time, as a citizen of the People's Republic of China, his civil rights ought to be respected and protected. Without due legal procedure, his freedom and civil rights are not to be deprived. We believe that you share this common view with us, and with all those who respect the constitution and laws of China.'
On January 8, 2005, the media reported from Hong Kong that Zhao had died. This was denied by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan as totally untrue: 'Zhao Ziyang is an old man who is over 80. He fell ill, but after attentive treatment, his condition is currently stable,' he told reporters. However, one can doubt the veracity of this declaration (Zhao's daughter admitted he was in a coma).
Probably, like Yasser Arafat, the announcement of his death will be stage managed to ensure that all arrangements for his 'non-official' funeral are complete.
Already news from the BBC says, 'A thousand policemen are to be deployed every morning on Beijing's Tiananmen Square to escort visitors to the flag-raising ceremony. The new rules may be designed to prevent any dawn protests on the square, scene of a bloody pro-democracy crackdown in 1989.'
All this coincides with the publication of a Gallup report which concluded: 'The people of China may be far wealthier than they were a decade ago, but they are not very satisfied with their quality of life, a survey showed.'
In the meantime, the European Union prepares to lift the arms embargo imposed after the Tiananmen events.
This will be the third time Zhao died. Politically, he died at Tiananmen Square in May 1989; he probably died in a Beijing hospital earlier this month; and the principles he fought for will be buried for the sake of selling a few weapons more.