By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, November 5: China’s top nine state-run media, including the official Xinhua
news agency and People's Daily Online
, are set to launch a major propaganda drive beginning today to highlight the social and economic development of Tibet over the last 30 years.
Chinese policemen in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. (Photo:Teh Eng Koon/AFP)
“China's major network media will on November 5th start a series report on the last 30 years of Tibet after the reform and opening-up policy in China,” China’s online Tibet news service. en.Tibet.cn reported on Nov 3.
The report said the massive state-sponsored move will help “international readers to better understand Tibet”.
“9 state-run media like Xinhua
and People's Daily Online
will take part in the report together with some media in China's network developed provinces or cities,” the report said.
The report said the purposeful coverage activity of Tibet by these networks is being jointly sponsored by the Publicity Department of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and the Publicity Department of the Party Committee of TAR, with the network sponsorship of China Tibet Information Centre (which runs en.Tibet.cn) and Chinatibetnews.
The report also said China Tibet Information Center will send journalists to Tibet to join in the coverage.
The propaganda drive comes even as Tibet remains off-limits for foreign journalists.
Following massive clampdown on anti-China demonstrations by Tibetans earlier this year, Tibet remained under intense military lockdown. China blocked communications and, kicked out journalists and tourists out of Tibet, making it almost impossible for the outside world to verify the number of dead and the situation inside the region.
China sent military troops in 1949 to occupy Tibet.
China’s ruling Communist Party, which maintains strict controls on the flow of information within the country and keeps the domestic press on a tight leash, says its presence in Tibet has resulted in modernization of the predominantly Buddhist Himalayan country.
Critics, however, say modernisation in Tibet has been crushingly imposed by the Chinese authorities along with draconian measures that continue to restrict freedom of expression, freedom to follow a religion of choice, curtailment of opportunity. They point out that, at no point of time, China has taken into account the needs of the people of Tibet and has sought to crush its culture and religion in the most appalling manner. Analysts say that most of the developmental progress taking place in Tibet does not bring benefits to the ethnic Tibetans, but rather to the growing population of Han Chinese in Tibet that lead to increasing poverty and marginalisation of Tibetan people within Tibet.