Friday, April 04, 2008

Beijing's Reality Intrudes on Shangri-la

By Don North
April 5, 2008

At 16,640 feet above sea level, the train crosses through the Tanggula Pass into the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region. Three diesel locomotives power the rapid ascent of the highest rail line in the world.

Read on.


Anonymous said...

Nice article. I think the author might enjoy reading Thomas Laird's Into Tibet: The CIA's First Atomic Spy and His Secret Expedition to Lhasa. It will give an entirely different perspective on the Chinese invasion of Tibet.

Anonymous said...

The ethnic Tibetans are being "marginalized" by Han Chinese homeless and prostitutes? That's pretty rough! I wonder how it works? I mean, if Tibetans are claiming that they can't compete for jobs and in business with what we are lead to believe are the dregs of Chinese society, then what does that say about ethnic Tibetans themselves?

Are there regulations or subsidies that preferentially favor Han Chinese over ethnic Tibetans wishing to start businesses in Tibet? Does the tax code unfairly burden Tibetans? Are there employment rules that make it tougher for Tibetans than Han Chinese to land good jobs? Or do employers simply prefer to hire people who occasionally brush their teeth and can read? Honestly, I don't know, but want to find out.

I keep hearing claims that the Han Chinese are exploiting the ethnic Tibetans, but details of this exploitation are pretty hard to come by. By exploitation, are we talking about slave labor in the copper mines, or are we referring to dressing Tibetan kids up in colorful traditional costumes so the tourists can take pictures of them? One would be worth rioting over, the other, not so much.

I will continue to look for evidence of this "marginalization" and "exploitation". Until I find some evidence, though, I have no choice but to consider these claims nothing more than cheap justifications for bad behavior.

Anonymous said...

In Tibet (TAR) and surrounding areas where Tibetans live, Exploitation is often alleged. But the fact is, the railroad connects ONLY to TAR, and mostly to the large cities. Tibetans by the MILLIONS live in the countryside and the surrounding provinces.
I thus do not believe "exploitation" theory.
On the counter point, in Tibet and the same provinces, Hui Muslim Chinese actually do better than most Han Chinese in businesses. There is no special funds for the Hui Chinese that the ethnic Tibetans couldn't get access to.
*Granted, schools in Tibet perhaps are fewer. But we are still talking about TAR, Not the surrounding provinces with MILLIONS of Tibetans. TAR is geographically remote, building new schools and finding teachers willing to go naturally take time. (On that point, more Chinese teachers in TAR, more the Dalai Lama complain about "cultural genocide.)

In the reformed Chinese economy, perhaps like Capitalism, "Exploitation" does occur, but it is a market of equal opportunities.
Unfortunately, some ethnic groups find it tough to adjust to the new system.
But they are not alone, it didn't take Hui and Han Chinese over night to get good at it, nor did it take over night for the Chinese economy to start taking off.
A lot of older generation Chinese simply could not cope with all the new ideas of market economy.
But the new age of China is also about "personal responsibility". Chinese cannot blame their government any more for their own lack of "share in the profits", or if they get left behind by the Progress.
Nor can any one group in China.