After Xinjiang, Tibet: the Chinese authorities have set up in the Tibetan Autonomous Region a program of vocational training and manpower transfer which adopts some of the muscular methods deployed in recent years with the Uighurs. The two regions, which are autonomous in name only, are ruled with an iron fist by the Communist Party, and Tibet is forbidden to foreign journalists.
During an emergency summit on Tibet at the end of August amid tensions on the border with India, Chinese President Xi Jinping raised the level of alert concerning him with worrying formulas: he called for action. from Tibet a “Impregnable fortress of stability”, at “Relaunch the offensive against the separatist elements”, and to “To sinize Tibetan Buddhism”.
The new program, implemented in 2019, would have achieved 90% of its objectives in the first seven months of 2020, affecting around 500,000 “Surplus rural workers”, of which around 50,000 were “Transferred” to service or industrial jobs inside Tibet, and about 3,000 outside, according to an official report from the regional government. The beneficiaries of these policies are also encouraged to place their land in cooperatives, where appropriate, of which they would become “Shareholders”, in order to be able to get paid.
The population of the Tibetan Autonomous Region is 3.5 million, 90% of whom are Tibetans excluding the Chinese armed forces and seasonal workers. The “Surplus rural workers” targeted by the new program designate farmers or pastoralists whose activities are considered insufficient to enrich their households. Many young Tibetans, a population considered to be all the more turbulent in the eyes of the Chinese state as the monasteries absorb less and less, fall into this category.
A population that is more than 70% rural
The regions of ethnic settlement have long remained decoupled from the dominant model in China, based on the employment in factories of coastal China or large urban centers of tens of millions of young people from the countryside who send money to their families, save and settle in town. Because of the Tibetans’ attachment to their way of life and their culture, the language barrier, but also discrimination in employment and the preference of Chinese companies for the Han.
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