By Tendar Tsering
DHARAMSHALA, October 18: In wake of the fiery episode of self-immolations in Tibet, China is reportedly planning to send 20,000 Chinese officials to Tibetan villages in the so called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to “re-sculpture the minds of Tibetans”.
"These Chinese officials will stay one year in the Tibetan villages to espouse patriotism and love for China," said Bawa Kalsang Gyaltsen, a member of Tibetan parliament and a China expert based in Dharamshala, the seat of Tibetan administration in exile.
According to Gyaltsen, Chinese national flags and photos of Chinese leaders in large quantity will be distributed in all Tibetan villages.
"Usually Tibetans in the villages put up photos of Chinese leaders on the altars and walls when Chinese officials visit the villages and pull them down once they leave," said Gyaltsen.
“But now, under constant watch, the villagers would be facing greater repression.”
This move of penetrating Tibetan villages is amongst the many policies being employed by the newly appointed Chinese party boss in Tibet, Chen Quanguo.
Chinese government’s patriotic re-education campaigns in Tibetan monasteries and nunneries have been widely opposed by Tibetans and condemned by international observers. It is to be seen how Tibetan villages, which have an ethnic Tibetan majority unlike bigger towns and cities in TAR react to the new policy.
Human Rights Watch in a press release last week had said that repressive policies and provocative policing techniques by the Chinese authorities were responsible for greater unrest and escalating tensions in the region.
In this year alone, nine Tibetans, including a 20-year old nun, set themselves on fire protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.