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Chinese Migrants A Cause for Tibet Protest : China
Phayul[Wednesday, September 17, 2008 15:21]
Phayul Bureau Report

New Delhi, September 17 - The Chinese authorities have admitted that the large-scale migration from China may have triggered the March protests in Lhasa. According to a report posted on its site by the International Campaign for Tibet, the TAR Deputy Party Secretary Zhang Yijiong acknowledged that there had been many 'problems' with management of the 'floating population' of Chinese migrant workers to Tibet, particularly since the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet railway.

Zhang, who was speaking at a government conference in Lhasa on September 2, specifically linked this problems to the security situation when saying that "All areas and all departments in Tibet should from the strategic high ground of protecting state security and protecting Tibet's stability deeply understand the important significance of carrying out well service and management work for the floating population in Tibet."

The comments suggests that the Chinese authorities are aware that large-scale migration from China was a destabilizing factor in the recent protests in Tibet, particularly on March 14 in Lhasa, when Tibetans burnt shops and houses belonging to Chinese, ICT said in its report.

“The authorities rarely acknowledge the issue of Chinese migration to Tibetan areas, and sometimes officials have denied the scale of it. Relevant statistical information on in-migration to Tibet is generally not published, and it is not known with certainty whether it is even compiled. Migration into Tibet is generally actively encouraged under China's ambitious 'Western Development Strategy’ and is enshrined in legislation as a part of the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law (REAL). This is in contrast to the situation in China, where the migration of people to cities and other areas is actively discouraged by means of a system of residency registration”, states ICT.

Meanwhile, a high-level team of senior leaders of Sichuan province visited a rural Tibetan area of Kardze prefecture in Sichuan last week in order to 'inspect grass roots police work', notably the construction of police stations in monasteries, reported ICT. A report on the Website of the Ganzi Prefecture government indicated that Sichuan Party Secretary Lui Qibao led delegation of leaders including head of the provincial United Front Chen Guangzhi, head of the provincial Public Security Bureau Zeng Shengquan, and head of the provincial religious affairs bureau Wang Zengjian, on an inspection of Nyarong township police station.

During the visit, Liu Qibao specified that the construction of police stations and headquarters for police in monasteries in the area should be extended to ensure that they are opened and in operation before the end of the year. While it is common for major monasteries to have police stations there were no police posts in smaller monasteries.

“The visit indicates the continued focus on the security crackdown in the wake of peaceful protests by monks and nuns in Kardze from March onwards, continuing into August. Sweeping new measures introduced in Kardze to purge monasteries of monks and restrict religious practice in the wake of these protests reveal a systematic new attack on Tibetan Buddhism that is reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution. The new measures, which apply to hundreds of monasteries in the region, strike at the heart of Tibetan religious identity at a time of unprecedented tension in Tibet”, ICT report stated.

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