China introduces military style labour policy for Tibet replicating Xinjiang model

During 2019 and 2020, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) introduced new policies to promote the systematic, centralized, and large-scale training and transfer of “rural surplus laborers” to other parts of the TAR, as well as to other provinces, acc...

Reuters
The labor transfer policy mandates that pastoralists and farmers are to be subjected to centralized “military-style” vocational training, which aims to reform “backward thinking” and includes training in “work discipline,” law, and the Chinese language
New Delhi: China has introduced Xinjiang type military style labour policy and training mechanism in Tibet leading to further subjugation of local population under President Xi Jinping.

During 2019 and 2020, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) introduced new policies to promote the systematic, centralized, and large-scale training and transfer of “rural surplus laborers” to other parts of the TAR, as well as to other provinces, according to reports.

During the first 7 months of 2020, the region had trained over half a million rural surplus laborers from Tibet of all ages.


The labor transfer policy mandates that pastoralists and farmers are to be subjected to centralized “military-style” vocational training, which aims to reform “backward thinking” and includes training in “work discipline,” law, and the Chinese language, according to a report in US-based Jamestown Foundation which speciliases in China and Eurasian affairs. Examples from the TAR’s Chamdo region indicate that the militarized training regimen is supervised by People’s Armed Police drill sergeants, and training photos published by state media show Tibetan trainees dressed in military fatigues, according to the Foundation report.

“Poverty alleviation reports bluntly say that the state must “stop raising up lazy people.” Documents state that the “strict military-style management” of the vocational training process “strengthens [the Tibetans’] weak work discipline” and reforms their “backward thinking.” Tibetans are to be transformed from “[being] unwilling to move” to becoming willing to participate, a process that requires “diluting the negative influence of religion.” This is aided by a worrisome new scheme that “encourages” Tibetans to hand over their land and herds to government-run cooperatives, turning them into wage labourers,” according to the Foundation.

This draconian scheme shows a disturbing number of close similarities to the system of coercive vocational training and labor transfer established in Xinjiang, alleged the above mentioned report.
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The similarities to Xinjiang’s coercive training scheme are abundant: both schemes have the same target group; a high-powered focus on mobilizing a “reticent” minority group to change their traditional livelihood mode; employ military drill and military-style training management to produce discipline and obedience; emphasize the need to “transform” laborers’ thinking and identity, and to reform their “backwardness;” teach law and Chinese; aim to weaken the perceived negative influence of religion; prescribe detailed quotas; and put great pressure on officials to achieve program goals, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration on Wednesday appointed a senior U.S. human rights official as special coordinator for Tibetan issues, amid tense relations with Beijing. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Robert Destro, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, would assume the additional post, which has been vacant since the start of Trump’s Presidential term in 2017.

Destro “will lead U.S. efforts to promote dialogue between the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives; protect the unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of Tibetans; and press for their human rights to be respected,” Pompeo said in a statement.

US-China relations have touched lowest point in decades over a range of issues, including trade, Taiwan, human rights, the South China Sea, tensions along Line of Actual Control and coronavirus.
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