Saturday 2014/12/20

Radio / Tibet in Review

Tibet in Review is a weekly program that highlights past events that still matter to the lives of our listeners.



August 26, 2014

Tibetans Show Frustration Over China's Continuous Consumption of Endangered Species

In recent years, we have seen that tiger bones, rhino horns and some other ingredients that were traditionally used in medicine are shifting to being used as collectables, as investments, and as gifts to receive favoring in business or political,” says Grace Ge Gabriel; Asia Regional Director of IFAW, speaking to VOA Tibetan Service over the phone. Read more, here:

August 21, 2014

Development Structure in Tibet Disempowers and Destabilizes the Region: Scholar

In the question of what drives self-immolation and other forms of protests against China’s rule in Tibet, the exile Tibetan administration explains it as a sense of “desperation.” What makes them desperate is generally viewed as political, cultural, and religious suppression under Beijing’s policies. However, a Western scholar believes a large source of Tibetan people’s grievance lies in the realm of China’s economic and development policy

June 11, 2014

Tibetan Barley Contains Extra Nutritional Value

Tibetan Buddhism has been the spiritual diet for many western spiritual seekers for half a century, but there is an actual food in Tibet that might be the new attraction for westerners. Scientists found a special nutritional value in Tibetan barley, the staple food of Tibetan people, and began to experiment adopting Tibetan “barley blood.” Professor Patrick Hayes from Oregon State University is an internationally known barley breeder. He said that he has been working on hybridization of Tibetan barley verities so that it can grow in the United States. “We would [then] be able to share those traits with American people because the barley is a very healthy food. It can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and cholesterol level and so forth,” he told VOA Tibetan Service. Why Tibetan barley? Dr. Zhang Gouping, Executive Deputy Dean, College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, China, has been studying Tibetan barley for over a decade. “Actually, there is a difference between Tibetan barley and other barleys in terms of chemical composition,” said Dr. Zhang, talking to VOA Tibetan Service. He said barley has higher beta-glucans than the other grains, and that the Tibetan barley has the highest beta-glucans—containing more than 7 percent of it. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information and U.S. National Library of Medicine, dietary intake of beta-glucens reduces the risks and has potential for the treatments of diabetes and associated cardiovascular disease. There is also an agricultural advantage, according to Dr. Zhang. He said that the barley has high tolerance to salinity, drought and poor soil fertility, while containing high nutritional value for humans. But barley grass might be greener on the other side of the world. With China’s hunger in mass production, authorities in Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) developed a new hybridized barley verity called Tibetan Barley 2000, which they say was developed in 19 years. It was first tested in Lhundup County, near Lhasa, in 2012. According to Xinhua news in Tibetan language, in 2013 it was distributed to farmers in five prefectures in the TAR, and planted on a total field size of 106,000 mu (about 18,000 acres). The plantation is being increased in 2014, says the same report. John Navazio, a senior scientist with Organic Seed Alliance in Port Townsend, WA, warns potential consequences of such development. “So, all of sudden the new verity can supplant the older verities that the people have been growing for thousands of years,” he told VOA Tibetan Service. As of now, there is no report of making of genetically modified barley in Tibet, but Dr. Zhang sees benefits in GM. “Genetic modification is very important in improving yield and other aspects.”​

May 16, 2014

China’s Plan to Standardize Tibetan Terminologies is to Counter Exile Influence, says Dharamsala

Dharamsala officials said they welcome the establishment of a new committee in Beijing to standardize Tibetan “translational norms” and new terminologies in Tibetan language, as reported recently by official Chinese news. They believe China has been “pushed” to strengthen its Tibetan language terminologies in order to compete with the exiled Tibetan government based in Dharamsala, North India.   On April 28, China established a committee led by Ragdi, Vice Chairman of the 10th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China and a native Tibetan, to standardize new Tibetan terminologies. About 50 experts from five ministries and commissions of Chinese government as well as from Tibetan areas, including TAR, Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces gathered in Beijing, where they appointed 41 experts to oversee the project. “To unify terminology is firstly for the purpose of propagating the policies of the party and government,” Damdul, Vice Director of China Tibetology Research Center in Beijing, told Chinese state-run Kham TV. According to Lhasa TV, the committee also stressed that standardizing terminologies is an important task to fight against the “Dalai Clique” and stability in Tibetan areas. Such comments questioned Dharamsala about China’s motivation. “If their goal and focus are what they’ve said in the meeting, then perhaps their intention to create new terminologies is to counter what we’ve created here,” Karma Monlam, the head of Tibetan Terminology Project of Department of Education, Dharamsala, told VOA Tibetan Service, speaking in Tibetan. Since 2008, the Department of Education of the Central Tibetan Administration has published six Tibetan language terminology books. Kalsang Gyaltsen Baba, a MP and prominent China analyst in Dharamsala who had worked for China’s United Front Work before he left for India, said that Chinese authorities are aware of the new Tibetan terminology books published in exile. Nevertheless, both Mr. Gyaltsen and Mr. Molam consider that it is generally a positive move for Beijing to launch such project that concerns Tibetan language. Mr. Monlam said his group will treat new terminologies that China will have created as material for analysis and use any politically agreeable terms they find from it. It is unclear whether China has ever adopted any new Tibetan terms created by the exile government apart from “tashi delek,” a greeting word developed in exile. On the other hand, through Western media and publications of some Tibet supporter western groups, certain China’s political terminologies in Tibetan, such as “Tibetan nationality,” “Han Chinese,” “Middle Kingdom” and so on are today becoming vocabularies of exiled community. The newly established committee in Beijing said it will produce a "new Tibetan terminology vocabulary" book, but “controversial terms” will be excluded for further discussion in the next meeting.

May 05, 2014

Signs of Racial Discrimination against Tibetans in Their Country

Discrimination against Tibetans in China’s policies has long been reported. Today there are signs of starker segregating policy implemented against Tibetans in certain social contexts. An undated “leaked police” guideline distributed to the hotels in Lhasa shows the Tibetans from Chamdo Prefecture, Sog, Driru and Dragchen counties of Nagchu Prefecture, Qinghai, Gansu, Yunan and Sichuan provinces require police approval to stay in the hotels. The guideline specifically exempts Chinese (Han in Chinese). Free Tibet said the source of the one-paged-document in Chinese that reveals the situation is from a “highly reliable” person in Tibet. The same document was twitted by Beijing based Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser in December 2013. In October a similar announcement, reportedly to be from Lhasa Old Town Commend Center, shows police stations in Lhasa were instructed to target Tibetans from “Three Eastern Counties” of Nagchu Prefecture, namely: Sog, Driru, and Drachen, and monitor them by using special secret codes. London based rights group, Free Tibet, said this is an “explicitly racist” policy. “The fact is that this is racial profiling if it specifically excludes Chinese and target only Tibetan,” Alistair Currie of Free Tibet told VOA Tibetan Service. Many of the places mentioned in the letter are areas where there have been more protests in recent years. But Bapa Kalsang Gyaltsen, a former staff member of United Work Front in Ganze Prefecture and a current member of Tibetan parliament in exile in India, argues that the restriction against the Tibetans is not related to the unrests in those areas. “There are many protests take place in China… there have been instances of policy stations being destroyed in China--each year around three hundred thousand protests take place in China,” Gyaltsen says. “But no restriction applies to the Chinese [from those areas]. They are allowed to go anywhere they want to.” St. Regis hotel in Lhasa confirmed to VOA Tibetan Service that hotels in the Tibetan capital are required to deliver all information of the Tibetans from these areas to police station. China says Tibetans are enjoying freedom of religion and movement and accuses the Tibetans in exile for trying to “spilit” Tibet from China, but the Dalai Lama and Tibetan government in exile has consistently said they are only seeking for a “genuine” autonomy for Tibet.

April 18, 2014

Arrest Continues and Restriction on Gasoline in a Township in Sog County

Under an overwhelming presence of military and Chinese officials, in a rural Tibetan township of Trido, Sog County, 29 Tibetans have been reportedly arrested since February. According to Ngawang Tharpa and Rinchen, who are closely observing the situation in the area, there are currently about 30 police and government officials stationed in each village and checkpoints are set up between the villages. “There are three check points between Drilda Monastery and Trido township seat,” said Tharpa, the president of Dra-Sog-Drisum Association in Dharamsala. This is about 12 km long distance via Salween River, a remote mountain road mainly used by the local villagers. Trido Township in Sog County has become the latest focus of TAR security forces after a several Tibetan independence messages appeared on bridges, boulders, and frozen river since February. Also in Sog Tseden Monastery, located about 70 km from Trido Township, a monk was arrested on March 14 for burning a Chinese national flag and writing free Tibet messages on the door of a government office, according to Ngwang Tharpa. The officials had recently collected all the gasoline that people in Trido Township had kept in their homes, a common practice in areas where there is no gas station, Rinchen said. The measure is part of combating self-immolations.

March 17, 2014

Dalai Lama’s First U.S. Senate Opening Prayer

The Dalai Lama, who first visited the U.S. Congress 17 years ago, offered his first opening prayer for the U.S. Senate on March 6. He shared his “most favorite prayer”, which he said he prays daily: “For as long as space remains, and for as long as the sentient beings remain, until then, may I, too, remain to help dispel the miseries of the world.” Thanking for the prayer and blessings, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Dalai Lama’s messages are lessons for everyone in the world, and “certainly within this chamber.” He reminded those in his chamber that the Dalai Lama advises everyone to sit down and talk in order to resolve the problems. Senate Patrick Leahy, the President Pro Temore of the U.S. Senate, also praised the Dalai Lama, whom he called “old and dear friend,” as someone “who touches everybody’s conscience”. “He touches this Catholic every time I see him,” he said, calling the Dalai Lama the “gift to the world.” The Senate opening-prayer is usually conducted by the Senate Chaplain, but in 2007 a Hindu clergyman named Rajan Zed was invited to offer the U.S. Senate’s opening prayer. He was interrupted by Christian protesters, calling it “abomination,” according to CBS news. The morning-prayer in the Senate was one of many activities the Tibetan spiritual leader has engaged while visiting the U.S. Capitol, which included a talk to about 400 Congressional staffers, according to the Dalai Lama’s representative, Kardor Aukatsang. The Dalai Lama also met with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on February 21 for one hour. The White House said that President Obama reiterated U.S. position on Tibet being part of China, but he expressed his “strong support” for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religion, culture, linguistic traditions, and the protection of human rights for Tibetans. He also expressed his supports for the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama engaging in activities to separate Tibet from China by using his “cloak of religion”. However, the Dalai Lama says he only seeks for a “genuine” autonomy for the Tibetan people under which they can preserve their culture, religion, language, identity, and protect their environment.

February 05, 2014

Tibet’s Nomad Settlement Policy May Be Based On Bad Science

China is not the first country to see livestock grazing as the cause of environmental degradation. In the 1900s, many naturalists in the US arrived at the same conclusion and blamed cattle grazing for the ruin of alpine meadows. However today, even as China is in the completion phase of a massive program to remove millions of Tibetan nomads into new towns from the grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau, the United States and several other developed countries have started to reintroduce traditional grazing practices as a possible solution to restoring grassland ecosystems. The livestock grazing and ecology experts Tibet in Review interviewed, say that there have been positive changes to grassland environments around the world, including reduction of desertification and improvement of water quality, after reintroducing traditional grazing systems. Interview: Kent Solberg, livestock and grazing specialist of Sustainable Farming Association, MN; Wayne Monsen, a retired grazing specialist for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture; Julia Klein, Associate Professor at Colorado State University who conducted a research on grazing and ecology in Tibet. Other sources: Sustainable and Farming Association of Minnesota; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

January 27, 2014

China Encourages Nomads to Join Cooperatives as the Relocation is Completing

China says it has completed its massive relocation project of Tibetan nomads into new settlements in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The controversial project has been criticized as the way to control the Tibetans. China's official Tibet TV website announced last Thursday that 2.3 million people in the TAR have been moved into new houses. According to Qinghai province's five-year plan, 90 percent of the nomads living in that area are due to be relocated by the end of this year. As the relocation is complete or near to complete on the Tibetan Plateau, China is now encouraging nomadic herders to join "cooperatives." State-run Qinghai Online News this month said, “Local nomads [have begun] enjoying a new modern life in their crystal-clean new homes while all of their livestock are raised in the endless grassland under a cooperative style [system].” China has said moving nomads into permanent homes provides them with a better life and could help the fragile environment of Tibetan Plateau. However, Professor Julia A Klein at Colorado State University and others who conducted research on how traditional nomadic grazing system worked with the plateau environment found that grazing provided nutrients for the top soil which helped with the regeneration of grass. Critics say that the program ignores environmental realities, and is really a way for the authorities to control the livestock and land that belonged to the nomads. Wang Yongchen, a Beijing based Chinese environmental activist and journalist told VOA Tibetan Service that nomadic culture has sustained the area's environment thus far.


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Tibet in Review is a weekly program that highlights past events that still matter to the lives of our listeners. (in Tibetan).


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Headline News Dec 19, 2014i
བོད་རྒྱའི་གྲོས་མོལ་གྱི་འགལ་རྐྱེན། མཆོད་འབུལ་སྨོན་ལམ། ཨ་རི་དང་ཀུ་པ། ཨུ་རུ་སུའི་དངུལ་ལོར་གྱི་ཛ་ཐང་། དྲྭ་འབྲེལ་གྱི་འཇིགས་སྐུལ། ཨབ་གྷ་ཎི་སི་ཏཱན། རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་གྲོས་ཚོཊ་འཐུས་མིའི་བོད་དོན་རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་ཚོཊ་པ་སླར་གསོ། སྤྱི་འཐུས་ཀྱི་ཚོགས་ཆུང་ཞིག་ཐེ་ལན་ལ་ཕྱོགས་ཕེབས། སྤྱི་འཐུས་ཀྱི་ཚོགས་ཆུང་ཞིག་ཐེ་ལན་ལ་ཕྱོགས་ཕེབས། རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་མཁའ་དབྱིངས་ལས་གྲྭ རྒྱལ་ས་ལྷ་སར་དགའ་ལྡན་ལྔ་མཆོད།