ICT’s Tibet Roundup—2023 Issue 20 (Nov. 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. TAR Education Department requires anti-Dalai Lama stance and non-Apple device from teaching job applicants

The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) Education Department announced the latest recruitment and dispatch of the 2023 education system agreement graduates on Nov. 14, 2023. The applicants are employed in teaching positions in the officially designated Tibet Autonomous Region after graduation. The TAR spans about half of Tibet.

The job notice, like past notices, carries the political requirements for the applicants to obey the CCP and to oppose the Tibetan freedom movement and the Dalai Lama. Condition 1 in the “Requirement Conditions” states: “Resolutely implement the party’s line, principles, and policies, maintain a high degree of consistency with the Party Central Committee and the autonomous region party committee in ideology, politics, and actions, and maintain political integrity in opposing separatism, exposing the Dalai Lama, and safeguarding the unification of the motherland and ethnic unity. Take a firm stance and have a clear-cut stand on issues of principle.”

In accordance with the Chinese government’s policy to limit the market of American company Apple Inc., the recruitment notice requires the applicants to bring a non-Apple laptop and smartphone during qualification review and for device use during the examination.


2. Ngaba County holds special training for religious circles on ‘Adhering to the Sinicization of my country’s Religions and Building a Strong Consciousness of the Chinese Nation Community’

On Nov. 25, a three-day special training class for religious circles in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) County on “Adhering to the Sinicization of Religion in my country and Building a Strong Consciousness of the Chinese Nation Community” officially opened, according to state media. The Vice Chairman of Ngaba Prefecture Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the deputy director of the standing committee of the Ngaba People’s Conference attended the opening ceremony.

The three-day training course focused on guiding the religious people toward aligning with the process of Sinification of religions and fostering a sense of the Chinese national community. The gathering underscored the significance of comprehensively studying and applying CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s directives regarding religious affairs, emphasizing adherence to the party’s fundamental policies on religious work. Moreover, the meeting emphasized the enhancement of the “five identities”—identification with the great fatherland, with the Chinese nation and Chinese culture, the Chinese Communist Party and socialism with Chinese characteristics—among religious practitioners and believers.

Overall, the training course in Ngaba county focused on integrating religious practices within the framework of Chinese values and national unity, highlighting the importance of religious adherence to Xi Jinping’s directives and the party’s core policies. The emphasis on the “five identities” aimed to strengthen the sense of belonging and commitment to the Chinese nation among those involved in religious activities.

3. CCP Panchen Lama gives political instructions disguised as religious sermons

The CCP orchestrated a recent extended visit by Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu to Tibet, where he toured Riwoche monastery in Ngamring county on Nov. 10 and three monasteries—Pokhang Monastery and Drangmejan Monastery in Panam County, and Lhading Monastery in Namling County—within Shigatse from Nov. 20 to 24. Chinese state media covered his activities during the visit, highlighting his delivery of religious sermons to the monastic community. However, the state media refrained from disclosing the content of these sermons, focusing instead on Norbu’s participation in rituals and other religious practices.

The underlying political intent of the CCP’s Gyaltsen Norbu surfaced through his purported religious messages. Norbu emphasized that monks should develop a “correct outlook on citizenship, the country, and life,” urging adherence to the country’s laws and regulations. Furthermore, a monk quoted in the state media report from Drangmejan Monastery elucidated the purpose of the visit, stating, “As monks, we must strictly adhere to the precepts, delve into the scriptures, actively promote the Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism, and contribute to the preservation and progress of Tibetan Buddhism.”

Similarly, during his visit to Riwoche monastery earlier in the month, the CCP-installed Panchen Lama is reported by state media to have said that the monks should “uphold the fine traditions of Tibetan Buddhism of patriotism and religion, carry forward the ideas of patriotism, love of religion, and protecting the country and benefiting the people, strive to be a good monk who meets the ‘four standards,’ firmly establish national consciousness, legal consciousness, citizen consciousness, concentrate on practicing law and strengthen spiritual practice, and promote religious harmony, social harmony, and national harmony.”

4. Buddhism seminar for adapting to the socialist society

The China Tibetan Advanced Buddhist College and the China Tibetan Research Center conducted the 2023 Seminar on the Interpretation of Tibetan Buddhist Doctrine from Nov. 9 to 10 in Beijing.

Buddhist teachers and students presented papers and shared their experiences in promoting the Sinification of Tibetan Buddhism and actively promoting the adaptation of Tibetan Buddhism to the socialist society.

According to state media, the Tibetan Buddhist College conducts study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. It cultivates monastics for four standards, which are political reliability, religious accomplishment, morally convincing and capable of handling critical situations. The Chinese party-state focus on training qualified monks and interpreting teachings to adapt Tibetan Buddhism to the socialist society.

The college plans to continue adhering to “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” They aim to implement ethnic and religious policies, using the college as a platform for monk development and Buddhist research. This includes interpreting religious thoughts and classics in line with contemporary Chinese contexts, conducting doctrinal interpretation seminars and fostering practical exchanges to guide Tibetan Buddhism toward synchronization with socialist society.


5. Lhasa Gongkar Airport crosses 5 million annual passenger throughput in 2023

Situated in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Lhasa Gonggar Airport’s annual passenger throughput surpassed 5 million on Nov. 23, 2023, according to state media. This marks a consistent increase from 1 million in 2006, reaching successive milestones of 2 million in 2013, 3 million in 2016 and 4 million visitors in 2018.

The airport has expanded its connectivity to 68 cities, encompassing five within Tibet, 63 outside Tibet and one international destination. It operates 135 routes, comprising 134 routes from China and one international route, according to state media.

Beijing promotes tourism to Tibet as a region of ethnic minorities and exotic culture. Lhasa alone saw 34 million tourists, predominantly from China proper, in the first three quarters of 2023.

Another significant surge in traffic occurred at Nyingchi Milin Airport, situated near the India-China border and the same airport visited by Xi Jinping in July 2021. State media reported a throughput of 600,000 passengers, marking a 120.21% increase in passenger traffic, from January to October 2023. The airport offers connectivity through 10 routes linking prominent Chinese cities such as Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou.

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