The presentation by Suhasini Haidar, Diplomatic and Strategic Editor, The Hindu, was made in the context of her visit to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in August 2014 as a part of a delegation of South Asian Journalists on a guided tour of Lhasa city and nearby provinces. This was her second visit to the region, the first being in 2007. Both the visits were courtesy invitation by the Chinese government. This time, the delegation was flown into Lhasa after another short guided tour in Beijing. Whereas, in 2007, she had journeyed on the much famed Qinghai-Tibet rail line that had been completed and opened for public use in 2006. Haidar described the 8 days journey as ‘eye opening’. Interestingly, the visit in 2014 coincided with another major event in Lhasa organised by the State Council Information Office – the ‘Fourth Forum on Development of Tibet’. The forum was held on 12 and 13 August 2014 and while she was not a participant, she informed that N. Ram, the Chairman of Kasturi Group and Sons participated in the event. The speaker mentioned that the delegation was housed in a hotel in a place called Zedan in Shanan prefecture.
At the outset, Haidar felt it important to announce some disclaimers pertaining to her presentation for she felt that, all being said, she was there on a short visit which was a guided tour and hence, she could not claim to have seen everything. Even so, she hoped to share honestly what she had seen. Having been on such guided tours quite a number of times, she felt confident about her ability to see things that were valuable. She also explained that she would not touch upon political issues. [Details]