‘Xi Jinping is my spiritual leader’: China’s instruction drive in Tibet

LHASA, China, June 11 (Reuters) – Underneath crystal clear blue skies, rugged peaks and the stunning Potala Palace, 1 picture is ubiquitous in Tibet’s capital metropolis Lhasa: portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping and fellow leaders.

In a uncommon and tightly chaperoned federal government tour of the area final week, a Reuters journalist observed the portraits in classrooms, streets, spiritual establishments, residences, and the bed room of a Buddhist monk.

Far more than a dozen other reporters were also on the journey.

China is broadening a political education campaign as it celebrates the 70th anniversary of its management over Tibet.

Chinese officers say the campaign is essential to the potential of Tibet, a region which can make up in excess of 12% of China’s land mass but is property to just 3.5 million folks, largely ethnic Tibetans.

Civilians and spiritual figures who the governing administration organized to be interviewed on the five-working day vacation pledged loyalty to the Communist Occasion and Xi.

Questioned who his non secular chief was, a monk at Lhasa’s historic Jokhang temple named Xi.

“I am not drunk … I converse freely to you,” stated the monk named Lhakpa, speaking from a courtyard disregarded by stability cameras and federal government observers.

The portraits of Xi ended up obvious at almost all web pages frequented by Reuters all through the excursion to Tibet, wherever journalists are banned from coming into outside the house of this sort of tours. It was not very clear when the posters and flags have been put up.

“The posters coincide with a enormous political training programme which is identified as ‘feeling gratitude to the party’ training,” explained Robert Barnett, a Tibetan studies veteran scholar at the College of London’s Faculty of Oriental and African Scientific tests.

China’s foreign ministry claimed: “Tibet’s financial system and society has manufactured wonderful achievements under the care of China’s central governing administration and the strong assist of each individual Chinese human being.

“The proper to spiritual liberty of all ethnic teams in Tibet are secured by the Constitution and the law.”

In the course of the visit, federal government officers advised that this sort of photographs, along with tiny Chinese flags that lined numerous metropolis streets, have been a signal of the “patriotic feeling” in Tibet.

Beijing suggests it “peacefully liberated” Tibet in 1951, following Chinese troops entered the then-nation and took in excess of its administration.

Tibetan Buddhist monks walk on the grounds of the Potala Palace overlooking the town of Lhasa, for the duration of a authorities-organised media tour to Tibet Autonomous Region, China June 1, 2021. REUTERS/Martin Pollard

The Dalai Lama, the spiritual chief of Tibetan Buddhism, fled Tibet in 1959 soon after a failed rebellion towards Chinese rule, and has since founded a government in exile primarily based in Dharamsala, India.

Beijing has labeled him a dangerous separatist and has explained when he passes away the governing administration will decide on its individual successor.

Reuters did not see any photographs of the Dalai Lama, beforehand frequent in properties in the course of Tibet, on the trip from Could 31 to June 5.

Pictures of the non secular chief are now strictly banned, in accordance to legal rights groups and Tibetans who have since left the location.

The overseas ministry recurring China’s situation that the Dalai Lama was “attempting to separate Tibet from China.”

“Considering the fact that Dalai defected, he has not carried out everything very good for the Tibetan persons,” said Fan Chunwen, the secretary for Tibet’s Department of Training.


In Tibet’s College or university of Buddhism, a significant spiritual coaching college on the outskirts of Lhasa, Chinese flags flew atop temples and pictures of Xi showcased prominently in every dorm and classroom frequented by Reuters.

“We are less than the leadership of the Communist Bash now, of system, we should learn about politics,” claimed Kelsang Wandui, vice director of the college.

All-around 40% of the school’s examine plan was focused to political and cultural training, Wandui explained, introducing the monks will celebrate the approaching 100th anniversary of the Communist Bash on July 1.

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the title of the exiled Tibetan govt which oversees up to 150,000 Tibetans in exile, reported the “political re-education and learning marketing campaign has been reinvigorated to Sinicize Tibet.”

Beijing has continuously strongly denied any accusations of legal rights abuses in Tibet, and claims people in China are totally free to practice permitted religions, like Buddhism.

In a Lhasa large university political ideology course frequented by Reuters, a instructor preached the rewards of China’s coverage in Tibet and led them in chants of arrangement.

“Our youthful persons must cherish the celebration, hear to the party and be guided by the party and be loyal to our stunning new Tibet,” stated Wang Zhen, Director of the Division of Education in Tibet.

Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard in Lhasa, further reporting by Cate Cadell in Beijing and Pak Yiu in Hong Kong Modifying by Jane Wardell

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