I hope everyone had a happy Serfs’ Liberation Day. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, you haven’t been reading the People’s Daily. In the past week or so, the government has launched a massive PR blitz on Tibet, even as security was tightened in the province and Tibetan ethnic regions and riots were reported.
In case you forgot to celebrate Serfs’ Liberation Day, here’s how it happened according to the VOA website:
The Chinese flag was raised at a televised ceremony in front of the Potala Palace in Tibet’s capital of Lhasa, and a crowd of 13,000 heard testimonials from Tibetans who praised the Chinese administration and denounced Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
A flag raising and testimonials? Sounds like my kind of holiday!
To be fair, the holiday was celebrated in other ways, too. There was an exhibition for foreign reporters who wanted to learn about Tibet, the traditional Chinese blocking of Youtube, a dramatic reveal of a massive spy system targeting the Dalai Lama’s computers, the publishing of yet another report on Tibet’s development, and, of course, a barrage of news stories like these:
- Serfs Emancipation Day reminds West of darkness of old Tibet, says Chinese scholar
- Chinese president praises Tibet development, hails democratic reform
- On Serfs Emancipation Day, celebration, recollection, and wishes from across China
- Can Dalai Lama’s lie deceive the world for long?
And so on, and so on, and so on. There’s even a special channel on the People’s Daily website full of facts and figures in addition to a full complement of stories about the celebrations (There’s very little “story”, though, mostly photos of dancing women).
One wonders who all this propaganda is for, exactly. Does the CCP really expect foreigners to read this stuff and have a sudden change of heart?
Now that the holiday’s over, there’s something actually worth celebrating, though: Tibet is open to foreigners again:
“Tibet will resume receiving foreign tourists as of April 5, and we warmly welcome them,” Bachug, head of the tourism administration of Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China, told Xinhua.
“Reception work was suspended in March for the sake of travelers’ safety,” said Bachug.
“Tibet is harmonious and safe now. Travel agencies, tourist resorts and hotels are well prepared for tourists,” he said.
So far, more than 100 foreign tourist groups have been registered to visit Tibet, according to him.
Judging from that last bit, it looks as if the requirement that foreign tourists be part of a “tour group” with a guide will remain in place, but some access is better than none at all.
Also of interest:
-Speculation on what the world will be like if/when China is running it.
-John Pasden interviews Brendan O’Kane on being a translator as the first in his translator interview series.
-The Useless Tree contends that, despite what some conservative talking heads might say, Daoism is not an ideology.
-A letter-writer at Fool’s Mountain questions whether China exists.