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174 Politics and international relations

Reports of ill-treatment and brutality continued to emerge from Tibet and monks and nuns, the standard-bearers of Tibetan national and religious identity, were frequently the targets. Five nuns, arrested after demonstrations in May 1998, were interrogated in Drapchi Prison and beaten with belts and electric batons after calling out Tibetan nationalist slogans when they were ordered to sing Chinese patriotic songs. They committed suicide.14

A young lama, virtually unknown outside the Tibetan community, left Tibet in December 1999 to join the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. The seventeenth Karmapa Lama who was fourteen years old at the time left the Tsurphu Monastery to the northeast of Lhasa, saying that he was going abroad to buy musical instruments and black hats worn by previous incarnations of the Karmapa. Unusually, the Karmapa Lama, Ugyen Trinley Dorge, who was the son of nomads, had been recognised in 1992 by both Beijing and the Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of the previous head of the Kagyu sect.15 The fl ight of the Karmapa Lama embarrassed the authorities and was followed by an additional political offensive against monasteries in Tibet. Thirty monks were expelled from the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa in June 2000 and the government threatened reprisals against anyone who had taken part in pilgrimages during the festival of Sagadawa. Children were told that they would be expelled from school, offi cials that they would be dismissed and pensioners that their pensions would be stopped. There were also reports of houses being raided and the seizure of religious objects and photographs of the Dalai Lama. Members of the CCP and teachers who had photographs of the Dalai Lama in their possession were fi ned.16 In September 2000, the Tibetan government-in-exile published a report, China’s Current Policy in Tibet, in which it claimed that Beijing was aiming at the ‘total destruction’ of Tibetan culture. The report also argued that the Dalai Lama had moderated the more extreme elements of Tibetan nationalism and that China’s refusal to have any contact with him could lead to more violent expressions of dissent.17

Qinghai–Tibet railway

Tibet’s isolation has been a decisive factor in the development of its distinctive culture. It is physically isolated from China by distance and by the diffi culty of developing land transport links from the lowlands to the high plateau. It is isolated from its near neighbour, India, to which it owes its historic Buddhist tradition, by the Himalayas. For some passionate supporters of the culture of Tibetan Buddhism this seclusion has been wholly positive and there are those who will argue that it is precisely Tibet’s contact with the outside world that threatens its ancient religious culture. Others, including many thoughtful Tibetans, have concluded that, on the contrary, this isolation has been at the root of Tibet’s problems at least since the early part of the twentieth century.

This being the case, the construction of a railway link between China proper and Tibet could never be discussed simply in terms of transport and communi- cations. The railway, which links Xining, the capital city of Qinghai province, to Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148  |  Page 149  |  Page 150  |  Page 151  |  Page 152  |  Page 153  |  Page 154  |  Page 155  |  Page 156  |  Page 157  |  Page 158  |  Page 159  |  Page 160  |  Page 161  |  Page 162  |  Page 163  |  Page 164  |  Page 165  |  Page 166  |  Page 167  |  Page 168  |  Page 169  |  Page 170  |  Page 171  |  Page 172  |  Page 173  |  Page 174  |  Page 175  |  Page 176  |  Page 177  |  Page 178  |  Page 179  |  Page 180  |  Page 181  |  Page 182  |  Page 183  |  Page 184  |  Page 185  |  Page 186  |  Page 187  |  Page 188  |  Page 189  |  Page 190  |  Page 191  |  Page 192  |  Page 193  |  Page 194  |  Page 195  |  Page 196  |  Page 197  |  Page 198  |  Page 199  |  Page 200  |  Page 201  |  Page 202  |  Page 203  |  Page 204  |  Page 205  |  Page 206  |  Page 207  |  Page 208  |  Page 209  |  Page 210  |  Page 211  |  Page 212  |  Page 213  |  Page 214  |  Page 215  |  Page 216  |  Page 217  |  Page 218  |  Page 219  |  Page 220  |  Page 221  |  Page 222  |  Page 223  |  Page 224  |  Page 225  |  Page 226  |  Page 227  |  Page 228  |  Page 229  |  Page 230  |  Page 231  |  Page 232  |  Page 233  |  Page 234  |  Page 235  |  Page 236  |  Page 237  |  Page 238  |  Page 239  |  Page 240  |  Page 241  |  Page 242  |  Page 243  |  Page 244  |  Page 245  |  Page 246  |  Page 247  |  Page 248  |  Page 249  |  Page 250  |  Page 251  |  Page 252  |  Page 253  |  Page 254  |  Page 255  |  Page 256  |  Page 257  |  Page 258  |  Page 259  |  Page 260  |  Page 261  |  Page 262  |  Page 263  |  Page 264  |  Page 265  |  Page 266  |  Page 267  |  Page 268  |  Page 269  |  Page 270  |  Page 271  |  Page 272  |  Page 273  |  Page 274  |  Page 275  |  Page 276  |  Page 277  |  Page 278  |  Page 279  |  Page 280  |  Page 281  |  Page 282  |  Page 283  |  Page 284  |  Page 285  |  Page 286  |  Page 287  |  Page 288  |  Page 289  |  Page 290  |  Page 291  |  Page 292  |  Page 293  |  Page 294  |  Page 295  |  Page 296  |  Page 297  |  Page 298  |  Page 299  |  Page 300  |  Page 301  |  Page 302  |  Page 303  |  Page 304  |  Page 305  |  Page 306  |  Page 307  |  Page 308
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