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from FaithWorld:

Report from Tibet: “We believe in Buddhism, Chinese believe in nothing”

Photo

lhasaTibet is richer and more developed than it has ever been, its people healthier, more literate, and better dressed and fed.  But the bulging supermarkets, snappy new airports and gleaming restored temples of this remote and mountainous region cannot hide broad contradictions and a deep sense of unhappiness among many Tibetans that China is sweeping away their culture. (Photo: A Tibetan woman spins her praying wheel as she walks around the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, March 10, 2010/China Daily)

Beijing has spent freely to bring development to restless Tibet, part of a grand strategy to win over the proudly Buddhist people by improving their standard of living.  Lhasa is starting to look like any other middle-tier Chinese city, with the same fast food outlets and mobile phone stores, and the same unimaginative architecture.

Large sums have also gone into restoring monasteries and temples, the centre of life for devoutly Buddhist Tibetans, bolstering government claims that China respects religious rights.

What China has failed to do is address the alienation many Tibetans feel in the face of breakneck economic progress.

from Changing China:

Bach on Beijing

DOSB president Bach addresses the media during a news conference in FrankfurtI caught up with IOC vice president Thomas Bach for an interview the other day in his Berlin office.

Bach has been one of the most eloquent opponents of any boycott of the Summer Olympics in Beijing -- leading a lightning pro-Games campaign earlier this year when tensions in Tibet flared.

from Changing China:

Nick (& Dave & Mark), the torch and Everest – Day 12

At an early press conference today the novel inclusion of information we hadn't heard before briefly raised spirits in what has become quite a downbeat media camp.

As the weekend snowstorms destroyed the careful preparations the Chinese had made on the mountain and a second week in Tibet became an inevitability, there has been a lot of talk about going home. Not just from journalists, either. Many of the officials who travelled with us from Beijing or joined us at Lhasa airport barely attempt to disguise their low spirits any more. I don't know whether the cause is the altitude, the cold, the increasingly predictable diet, the lack of showers or just day after day of telling news-hungry journalists that there is no news. One of the senior officials told me again today that he thought we were getting "closer and closer" to "our goal", while another said he thought our fond farewells would not be not too far away.

from Changing China:

Nick, the torch and Mt Everest – Day 1

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At last, 11 of us did get onto a plane to Lhasa last Friday. It was soon clear that while the Tibetan authorities were prepared to let us in, this was by no means going to be a free-ranging reporting assignment.

The hotel ‘near Lhasa airport' that we had been promised turned out to be 300 kilometres away in Shigatse (3,900m).

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