ICT’s Tibet Roundup—2023 Issue 4 (March 16-31)

ICT’s Tibet Roundup is a twice-monthly compilation of curated news from various sources, including Chinese state media, official Chinese documents, briefings, information reported by Tibetans in Tibet and international commentary on Tibet. The roundup is organized in categories, including law, politics, culture, economics, climate and commentary. The focus is on presenting news and reports with limited analysis and editorializing. The frequency and format of the digest may evolve over time.


1. Governor of Tibet Autonomous Region emphasizes priorities during propaganda event
The Chinese-selected Governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Yan Jinhai, emphasized the Chinese party-state’s top priorities for Tibet as to “uphold national security, intensify the fight against secession, and modernize the system and capacity of social governance.” The remark was made during Yan’s speech marking the prime propaganda event “Serf’s Emancipation Day,” observed every year on March 28 and promulgated after the pan-Tibet uprising in 2008. According to Yan, “Chinese modernization is the only correct choice for building a strong country and advancing national rejuvenation.”
2. New Research Center for Consciousness of the Chinese National Community in Tibet
For the purported rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the Chinese party-state on March 21 established the “Research Center for the Consciousness of the Chinese National Community” in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The research center established in the Academy of Social Sciences of the TAR will be headed by Tsering Phuntsok. The purpose of the establishment of the research center is to coordinate and integrate various party and government organs to learn from past achievements and experiences to assimilate the Tibetan people in accordance with the party’s political theories to “build consciousness of the Chinese Nation Community.”
3. Top CCP leader’s instruction to Tibetan delegation to Two Sessions
Wang Junzheng, the Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region and head of the Tibetan delegation to the 14th National People’s Congress, emphasized the importance of building a socialist country that is ruled by law and the construction of Tibet under the rule of law during a meeting of the Tibetan delegation on March 7. He stressed the need for delegates to study and implement Xi Jinping’s thoughts on the rule of law and the spirit of the 20th Party Congress. Wang also instructed the delegation to actively explore and implement the CCP Central Committee’s decision to strengthen the protection of the ecological environment and promote national unity. Furthermore, he instructed the delegation to strengthen local legislation in line with the central authorities’ governance instructions by making changes to the TAR’s legal and regulatory framework for construction and government by the rule of law.
4. Tibetans ‘elected’ to leadership positions
Lobsang Gyaltsen is selected as one of the 14 Vice-Chairmen of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People’s Congress. Jamyang Lobsang Jigme Thubten Choekyi Nyima is selected as one of the 159 members of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People’s Congress. Phakpalha Gelek Namgyal is selected as one of the 23 Vice-Presidents of the Standing Committee of the 14th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Five Tibetans (Tashi Dawa, Dorjee Rebten, Che Dralha, Drokkhang Thubten Keydrup, and Panchen Erdeni Chokyi Gyalpo) are selected among the 299 members of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
5. TAR party secretary presides over United Front Work Leading Group meeting
Wang Junzheng, Party Secretary of the TAR, presided over a meeting of the TAR Party Committee United Front Work Leading Group on March 29. He emphasized the importance of holding high the banner of nationalism and socialism in building a new socialist modernized Tibet. Wang also stressed the need to study and understand General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important thoughts on United Front work, strengthen educational guidance and highlight key points of work. Besides the run of the mill campaigns already in progress for “long-term stability and high-quality development,” Wang laid out the goal to stimulate the vitality of private enterprises for economic growth by providing a supportive environment for their development via the Federation of Industry and Commerce. He also signaled the delegation of power from the central government to the local governments for more efficient decision making and implementation of economic policies.


6. State-controlled Tibetan Buddhist Academy’s special meeting on “three consciousness” for Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism
Days after the closing of the “Two Sessions,” the state-controlled Tibetan Buddhist Academy held a special meeting on “firmly establishing the ‘three consciousnesses’ for Sinicisation of Tibetan Buddhism” on March 17, 2023. During the meeting, nearly 1,000 employees, religious teachers and students were instructed to study comprehensively and systematically the “spirit of the 20th Party Congress and the just-concluded Two Sessions” to develop “three consciousness” for Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism. According to state media, the government of TAR and the Party Committee have called for Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism, guiding Tibetan Buddhism to socialism, and providing a strong ideology, mass foundation and spiritual power for “building a beautiful and happy Tibet and fulfilling the dream of great rejuvenation” of the Chinese nation. The Party Secretary of the TAR, Wang Junzheng, in June 2022 instructed indoctrination of “national awareness, civic awareness, and rule of law awareness” as a major measure to implement CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s instructions on Tibet work and the Party’s “basic and long-term work for strengthening and improving the ideological education of the masses in the new era.”
7. Three Consciousness symposium in Chamdo
On March 1, 2023, a symposium was held in Karuo District in Chamdo to discuss the development of “Three Consciousness” activities in religious circles. Ren Houming, member of the Standing Committee of the Chamdo Municipal Party Committee and Secretary of the Karuo District Party Committee, attended and delivered a speech. The symposium emphasized the importance of consolidating and expanding the achievements of the “Three Consciousness” activities in the religious circles to promote “healthy development” in the religious field in 2023. Representatives of religious circles were told to identify themselves as citizens of the People’s Republic of China and to aim to safeguard unity and stability of the PRC. They were told to actively implement the requirements of the party committees and governments for “national unity and progress” to promote “social and national harmony.”
8. Political indoctrination of monks and nuns at Kyikhung Yunring temple in Lhoka’s Gonggar County
As part of the “Propaganda of Legal popularization in Religious Activities Sites” campaign, the United Front Work Department of Lhoka (Shannan)’s Gonggar County Party Committee and the County Judicial Bureau conducted a political and legal indoctrination session for over 50 monks and nuns at Kyikhyung Yunring temple on March 20. The work team led indoctrination sessions and examination on the idea that “the state is greater than the religion, the national law is greater than the cannon law, and the citizens are greater than the religious people.” The indoctrination session also held studies on the Chinese Constitution, Regulations on Religious Affairs, the Three Consciousness, Regulations on the Establishment of a Model Area for Ethnic Unity and Progress in the Tibet Autonomous Region.


9. More expulsions from grassland in Qinghai
Chinese state media reported that delegate Gonpo Tashi made a proposal at the 14th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference meeting for the restoration of grassland in Qinghai to protect “China’s water tower.” According to the report, grassland is the most widely distributed natural resource in Qinghai. Grassland pastoral areas account for 96% of the land area of Qinghai Province, and the grassland area of Qinghai accounts for 14.92% of the national grassland area. Gonpo’s proposal, in line with China’s policy of coercive ecology protection, inevitably leads to removing more Tibetan pastoralists from the grasslands and sendentarizing them in government-built housing complexes.

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