The recent White Paper published by China boasts of the fund being transferred by the central government to Tibet for the past six decades and the five work forums held on Tibet. It is true that China has spent billions of Chinese yuans for the development of Tibet for these many years. However, when we look at the results of these projects we can see that these developments have hardly benefited the local Tibetans.
China claims that it has managed to pair state-owned enterprises and other provinces to provide assistance to specific areas in Tibet. On the contrary, a large number of employees in the state-owned enterprises are Chinese. Massive amount of the subsidies are required as incentives and extra wages for these workers to work in Tibet, enabling the Chinese government to strengthen Chinese demographic dominance and increase political control.
In the Second Work Forum when China for the first time introduced the forty three infrastructural programme in 1984, none of the forty three projects were designed for the benefit of the Tibetan people because the projects were mainly to build hotels in urban areas of Tibet while around 85 percent of Tibetans live in rural areas. So, Chinese living in urban areas benefited from this development.
According to the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) publication on human development and environment report, 2009, in 1984, there were 60,000 Chinese peddlers and craftsmen from over twenty provinces who flooded into Tibet to work on these forty three projects. In 1985, another 30,000 Chinese settlers were flushed into Tibet. The rapid increase of Chinese migrants into Tibet led to the loss of employment and business opportunities of the Tibetan people. Seventeen projects were planned in the urban areas of Lhasa, Shigatse, Nyingtri, Chamdo, and Nagchu where government cadres and Chinese migrants have settled in huge numbers. Only the Chinese migrants and military cadres could reap the benefits of such projects and these did not bring the slightest benefit to the Tibetan people.
The Third Tibet Work Forum in 1994 commenced the ‘aid-Tibet cadres’ programme. As per the Xinhua news dated 1/8/2013, China has launched the cadres aid programme for Tibet in 1995 and sent nearly 4,800 cadres from across the country to the southwest region in six batches. This programme further ‘de-Tibetanised’ the governance of Tibet. Political repression was increased with tighter internal security and harsher sentence for political activities.
Hence, it is very clear who would benefit more from this huge amount of money that is pumped into Tibet. In fact, the convening of such Work Forums in Tibet aim to increase Beijing’s political grip over Tibet in the name of development and stability.
Rinzin Wangmo is a research fellow at the Tibet Policy Institute. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Tibet Policy Institute.