using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : July 2017
As propaganda goes, the government-sanctioned poll seemed woefully transparent. Yet, it said something telling about Beijing’s current strategy for expanding its mastery over Tibetan life. “Their approach has become more sophisticated,” con- cedes Penpa Tsering, the North American representative of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Even if China’s ultimate aim remains the same: “To assimilate or exterminate the Tibetans, as a geopolitical necessity,” says Robert Thurman, professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and President of Tibet House U.S. It’s an objective that hasn’t really changed since 1951, when Mao Tse-Tung’s armies invaded Tibet. China had long claimed sovereignty over Tibet; now the Communists added the addi- tional rationale of liberating it from its old, semi-feudal ways. Today, Tibet is a vital part of the Chinese empire, geopolit- ically and economically. It serves as a buffer zone between China on one side and India, Nepal, and Bangladesh on the other. It is a crucial source of fresh water for China’s billions. The riches beneath the Tibetan plateau—minerals such as copper, gold, iron, mercury, uranium, and zinc, along with oil, natural gas, and coal—power China’s cities, factories, and exploding economy. China’s grip over Tibet has tightened, loosened, and tight- ened again over the decades. Today, Tibet suffers a level of oppression “unprecedented since the Cultural Revolution,” says Robert Barnett, director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Pro- gram at Columbia. In addition to the traditional tools of Chinese suppres- sion—soldiers routinely unleashed on peaceful protestors, unprovoked arrests and detentions, nightmarish re-education camps—Tibetans today face an even greater military presence and an increasingly Orwellian level of security and surveillance. The upshot, according to Human Rights Watch, is “dimin- ishing tolerance by authorities for forms of expression and assembly... (which) has led authorities to expand the range of activities and issues targeted for repression in Tibetan areas, particularly in the countryside.” There, as in the cities, the Chi- nese authorities hope to nip opposition in the bud. Examples of this approach, which Barnett calls a sophis- ticated “management” of dissent, abound. By targeting their families for persecution, China has curtailed the activities of activists and dissenters. Threats of severe punishment for fam- ilies of Tibetans who light themselves on fire have slowed the number of self-immolations. Three years ago, China instituted a “Grid Management” surveillance system, installing hundreds of police booths on residential streets. The system is designed to manage Tibetan society “without gaps, without blind spots, without blanks,” in the words of state media. In the same period, reports Human Rights Watch, some 21,000 government officials have been transferred to villages and mon- asteries throughout the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Thou- sands of additional police have been deployed in Tibetan com- munities, where the “double-linked households system” requires that party personnel befriend and guide families to adopt Chinese Communist Party orthodoxy and better themselves economically. Consequently, there has been a surge in the creation of local Communist Party organizations, government offices, police posts, security patrols, and political organizations, all designed to keep a watchful eye on the Tibetan population. The impact has been dramatic: in the past, most political prisoners were Buddhist nuns and monks. Now, the persecuted are as likely to be local community leaders, environmental activists, artists, or just ordinary villagers going about their lives. “Surveillance is at an all-time high,” says Tencho Gyatso, director of Tibetan Empowerment & Chinese Engagement Pro- grams at the International Campaign for Tibet. PHOTOABOVECENTERBY:XINHUA/ALAMYSTOCKPHOTO LION’S ROAR | JULY 2017 70