ICT’s Tibet Roundup—2023 Issue 18 (Oct. 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.


1. Former political prisoner denied business license and beaten by police

The Yushu City People’s Government’s refusal to issue a car wash business license to former political prisoner and language activist Tashi Wangchuk led to his detention and a brutal assault by the city’s public security bureau.

Multiple sources reported that, following police instructions, Tashi Wangchuk went to the Yushu City government to apply for a license for his new car wash shop, which he had opened on Oct. 17. The city government rejected the license application, an incident that Tashi filmed and posted on the popular Chinese social media platform WeChat.

The authorities considered Tashi’s act of posting the video on social media an offense, although Tashi believes he has freedom of speech and the right to express his opinion. Tibet Watch reported that the Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau arrested Tashi for his post and handed him over to the Yushu City Public Security Bureau. He was kept in detention for three days, during which the head of Yushu PSB brutally beat him, resulting in cuts and bruises on his eyelid and palm.

As a former political prisoner, Tashi Wangchuk faces constant abuse and harassment from various organizations and levels of the Chinese government. In August of this year, a group of masked men attacked him in his hotel room in Darlag (Chinese: Dari) County in Qinghai.

2. Uptick in Chinese propaganda on controversial boarding schools

Chinese propaganda on the controversial boarding schools that seek to assimilate Tibetan children is seeing an uptick in recent weeks in both Chinese state media and social media handles on global social media platforms. The state propaganda apparatus is in full throttle to justify the boarding schools, which have been condemned globally by governments and non-governmental organizations. The Chinese state media propaganda justifies the boarding schools as providing educational opportunity to Tibetan children, giving them exposure to the Chinese market and life opportunities, providing Tibetan language classes alongside Chinese and bringing schools to the remote rural Tibetan areas. Ironically, the propaganda content provides evidence of heavy state intervention in education, educational institutions as a vehicle for assimilation, colonized Tibetans on state payroll praising the oppressor and overwhelming Chinese content in classrooms.

3. Military training performance in Tibet University for Nationalities

Tibet University for Nationalities, an “ethnic college” under the jurisdiction of the Tibet Autonomous Region, located in the city of Xianyang, Shaanxi province of China, conducted a two-week military training performance for the 2023 students, according to a Chinese state media report on Oct. 11.

Presented as national unity education, state media reported that students from different ethnic groups eat, live and train together, promoting the integration and unity of China. The military training performance pushes the students to join the army through national defense knowledge lectures, recruitment, and mobilization propaganda and other military training subjects.

The purpose of the military training, according to the deputy director of the Student Affairs Department of Tibet University for Nationalities, is an extension of ideological and political education, promoting China’s national unity and “anti-separatist” education to foster a strong sense of the Chinese nation’s community among students.

4. Chamdo City’s news and public opinion work symposium

On Oct. 13, the Chamdo (Changdu) City News and Public Opinion Work Symposium was attended by Gong Huicai, vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Secretary of the Municipal Party Committee where he stressed implementation of Xi Jinping’s cultural thoughts and the party’s news and public opinion work.

Gong Huicai stressed the importance of news and public opinion work as a major matter of governance and national security and upholding the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership. He stressed the need to maintain the political direction laid down by the party. The symposium involved studying CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s speeches and TAR Party Secretary Wang Junzheng’s speeches.

Chinese state media highlighted five points in Gong Huicai’s speech at the symposium that capture the purpose of Chinese media in Tibet.

  • Media must be the mouthpiece for the CCP and serve the interests of the CCP and its policies.
  • Media must promote the CCP’s vision for China’s future and its policies for achieving that vision. The media must not only report on the CCP’s activities and policies, it must also promote those activities and policies in a positive light.
  • Accelerate the integration of traditional media and emerging media. Accelerate the effective integration of media resources, talent teams and management methods.
  • Build a strong team of media workers loyal to the CCP and strengthen the construction and management of grassroots teams.
  • Stress the importance of coordination and cooperation among different media outlets in order to ensure that the CCP’s message is disseminated effectively.
5. Political criteria in job recruitment announcement

To cut out Tibetans with a history of activism and to suppress future activists, Chinese job recruitment announcements include political criteria of ‘anti-separatism’ and a pledge of ‘national unity’ as part of their policy. In a recent recruitment announcement on Oct. 30 for recruiting Tibetan college graduates by public institutions and state-owned enterprises in China’s Jiangsu Province, the Lhasa Human Resources and Social Security Bureau explicitly outlines these political criteria and pledges. According to the announcement, the basic requirements for recruitment conditions state that applicants should “support the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system, firmly implement the party’s guidelines, principles, and policies, and maintain a correct perspective on the country, history, ethnicity, culture, and religion. They should also align closely with the Party Central Committee led by Comrade Xi Jinping in terms of ideology and politics, take a clear stance on key political principles such as anti-separatism, safeguarding the reunification of the motherland, and national unity, comply with national laws and regulations, and have no criminal or other negative records.” Such a basic requirement is explicitly discriminatory against past, present and future Tibetan freedom activists.

6. Lhasa students in Beijing to develop a strong sense of Chineseness

Continuing China’s policy to “Sinify” Tibetan children, over 160 students from Lhasa Beijing Experimental Middle School visited Beijing Middle School to participate in the “Eagle’s Love Forum” under the slogan “Beijing and Tibet are of one mind, see the words as if face to face.” Launched by Beijing Tibet

Command, Beijing Youth Science and Technology Innovation Institute, and Lhasa Municipal Bureau of Education in collaboration with Lhasa Beijing Experimental High School, Chinese state media reports project camaraderie between Tibetan and Chinese children. According to state media, Beijing Tibet Aid Command organizes various exchange activities between Tibetan and Chinese children to “forge a strong sense of the Chinese national community.” This year more than 400 students have gone to Beijing, Xi’an and other places for exchanges to build “a strong sense of the Chinese nation’s community.”

7. Children activity for ‘ethnic unity’

On Oct. 16, Lhasa hosted the district’s children’s theme event aimed at fostering a strong sense of the Chinese nation’s community with the goal to instill in Tibetan children the value of “national unity” and affection for the CCP and the Chinese motherland from a young age.

A total of 3,463 collections of works were received for the theme event, according to state media, as part of activities for “Red Scarf Telling Stories,” “Red Scarf Comes to Visit,” “Red Scarf Learns Red Songs” and “Red Scarf Paints the Future.” The activities centered on building affection and loyalty to the CCP.

Zhou Yifeng, secretary of the Youth League Committee and director of the District Youth Working Committee, emphasized the importance of this event in promoting “ethnic unity” and progress among the region’s youth. He highlighted the role of the event in guiding children to develop a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, which seemingly is the central task of the Party Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

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