ICT’s Tibet Roundup—2023 Issue 16 (Sept. 16-30)

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.


1. Forum for assimilation convened at InterContinental hotel in Lhasa
In keeping with the Chinese party-state’s relentless campaign of “forging the consciousness of the Chinese national community in Tibet,” Chinese state media reported the convening of the first “Tibet Chinese National Community Awareness Forum” at the InterContinental Lhasa Paradise, owned by the InterContinental Hotels and Resorts group, in Lhasa on Sept. 18. The forum, whose theme was “Creating the Soul of China and Co-Creating a Model District” ushered into Lhasa a total of 420 delegates, most prominently Chinese academics, to the forum from all over China to discuss and share ideas to “better strengthen national unity and safeguard the reunification of the motherland in Tibet.” State media highlighted numerous Chinese academics specializing in supplying ethnic policy ideas toward creating a Chinese nation. The forum, ironically held at the InterContinental Hotel in Lhasa, near the notorious Gutsa Detention Center where scores of Tibetan activists have been detained, was dominated by Chinese delegates who shared ideas on assimilating Tibetans in the Chinese nation. The party secretaries, five Han and two Tibetans, of the seven prefectural-level cities of the officially designated Tibet Autonomous Region spoke at the forum on policy implementation in the prefectures under their command to achieve Beijing’s policy of assimilating Tibetans in the Chinese nation.

2. Party-building in Tibet
On September 28, a CCP party-building conference was held in Lhasa. The discussions and directives from the meeting are expected to set the course for party-building, organizational work, and governance in the officially designated Tibet Autonomous Region, in accordance with the vision outline by CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping.

Wang Junzheng, CCP secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, pointed out that in recent years, the party committee of the region has thoroughly implemented the general requirements for party-building and the organizational line in the “new era” guided by the party’s political construction and according to its theory.

Wang also described the current and future periods as critical for “long-term stability” and “high-quality development in Tibet” and instructed all the party committees and organizational systems at all levels to adhere to Xi Jinping thought as the primary political task.

He also highlighted the focus on selecting and appointing “talents” to govern and stabilize Tibet. Besides “talent” acquisition, strengthening the political functions of the party organizations were highlighted for grassroots governance and building strong grassroots party organizations.

3. United Front Work Department reviews the first and deploys the second phase of indoctrination work
The United Front Work Department of the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee held a meeting on Sept. 15 to review the first batch and deploy the second batch of the central “theme education.”

Karma Tseten, minister of the United Front Work Department of the region, while praising achieving the objectives set for the first batch, emphasized the need to “continue to consolidate and expand the results of the thematic education.” Although the thematic education was not specified, it is almost certain that political programs like “forging the consciousness of the Chinese national community” and “Three Consciousness” will continue to be implemented in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

A similar United Front Work Department meeting convened in Dechen (Chinese: Diqing) Prefecture in Yunnan on the same date emphasized “studying and implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” The deployment was made by the Party Central Committee to implement the “spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Party.”

4. Top CCP leader in Tibet visits state media headquarters
Wang Junzheng, the top party leader in the officially designated Tibet Autonomous Region, visited the headquarters of Tibet Daily and Tibet Radio and Television Station on Sept. 25. Wang expressed his satisfaction over propaganda programming by the state media outlets. At the Tibet Daily headquarters, Wang inquired about a status update on construction of an all-media communication system and the development of deep media integration. He also emphasized the need to persist in using Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to govern the overall news and propaganda work. At the Tibet Radio and Television Station, after inspecting the high-definition TV broadcast center and the integrated media command center, Wang instructed the launch of more film and television works with revolutionary themes and patriotic education themes for subtle cultivation of sentiments of the one China family as envisioned by the party.

5. China’s Vice Premier in Tibet
Member of the Politburo of the CCP Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Liu Guozhong visited Tibet from Sept. 17 to 19. Liu’s visit to Tibet is one of several visits to Tibet this year by a member of the powerful Politburo of the CCP Central Committee.

Although state media projected Liu’s visit as an effort to consolidate the outcomes of the poverty alleviation program and effective linkage with China’s “rural revitalization” plan, the visit might have been aimed at accelerating the industrialization of rural Tibet.


6. Propaganda team for Sinification of Tibetan Buddhism
Drubkhang Thubten Khedup, vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and concurrently the executive vice president of the Tibetan Branch of the Buddhist Association, led a team to Nyainrong (Chinese: Nierong) County on Sept. 22 to conduct “Three Consciousness” education and propaganda activities for the monastic community.

Chinese state media reported that during the visit, the propaganda team, per the instructions of the “20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China” held in October 2022, carried out propaganda work to indoctrinate the official narrative of Tibet as a part of China throughout history. The propaganda work aims to build the foundation for the party’s campaigns for the “awareness of the Chinese nation community” and Sinification of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastics were told to be “patriotic,” practice the political instructions for “four standards” of monastics and follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics for Tibet’s “long-term stability and high-quality development.”

On the whole, the propaganda campaign was aimed at aligning the monastics’ religious practices with the core principles of the Chinese Communist Party.


7. Survey team for construction of two new airports
A delegation from the Civil Aviation Tibet Bureau and Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group went to Gertse (Gaize) county in Ngari (Ali) and Nagqu City on Sept. 17 and 18 to inspect new airport construction sites, according to Chinese state media. Although in the early stage, once constructed the airports will be included in the Chinese national and civil aviation plan.

Earlier in the year, the Development and Reform Commission of the Tibet Autonomous Region announced the “General Aviation Development Plan of the Tibet Autonomous Region (2021-2035).” According to the plan, 14 new airports will be built by 2025 and 58 new airports altogether will be built by 2035.

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