“Chinese government to pump $47bn USD into Tibet”

And yet still not even begin to solve the Tibet problem. Via Shanghaiist:

Ah, the old accouterments of modern civilization bait n’ switch! How shrewd. Reuters is reporting that the Chinese government is going to make it rain something fierce on the Tibet Autonomous Region, to the tune of 300 billion RMB ($47 billion USD) over the next four years. The figure more than doubles the 138 billion RMB spent on Tibet from 2006 to 2010.

90.5 billion RMB will go towards infrastructure projects alone, including railways, highways and hydroelectric power stations.

Amongst the development schemes are projects like highways that will connect the region to China’s inter-province highways, and a railway extension that will link Tibet’s second-largest city of Shigatse to the capital of Lhasa.

The latest directives follow a pattern of economic and social modernization that’s already been taking place for years, which might be reductively described as throwing money at the problem of unruly Tibetans. Perhaps the theory goes that Tibetans will harmoniously fall in line if their standard of living is improved year-on-year.

We honestly don’t know how the schism between the materialist-minded Chinese government and the more spiritual citizens of Tibet and Xinjiang will ever be reconciled. Being Muslim or Buddhist means one ultimately heeds to an authority higher than any government–and if there’s anything the CCP hates, it’s competition.

Eh… I’m definitely onboard with the idea that money doesn’t make up for being beaten, or having your language disappear, or having your family members disappear. But it seems to me that there’s a whiff of orientalism in that last paragraph. There are plenty of spiritual Tibetans, sure, and religion and the monastic system have played a huge role in Tibetan resistance. But from my experience, most Tibetans are fed up with the government for a broad list of reasons, not just because they believe Buddha wants them to be. They’ve seen their culture assaulted, their towns invaded by PLA and PAP, their writers disappeared, and their nomads forced into ghettos. The environment is being destroyed by companies who are protected by the government with deadly force. A long line of Han rulers come from the Han-only Communist Party leadership and call all the shots in the Tibet “Autonomous” Region. The attacks on Tibetan Buddhism are one factor, sure… but there are many, many others.


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