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Places in Arunachal Pradesh renamed by China have links to Spiritual Leader Dalai Lama and Tibet, says Expert

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Dalai Lama
The 14th Dalai Lama, Wikimedia

New Delhi, April 25, 2017: Recently, China has renamed most of the six places in Arunachal Pradesh, but surprisingly, all these places have some significance related to the Dalai Lama or Tibet, a China expert said on Sunday.

This is only an attempt to show China’s severe displeasure to India for allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh and address religious congregations there, said Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor of Chinese studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, mentioned PTI report.

Earlier this week, China given has a new name- Wo’gyainling to Guling Gompa, which is located on the outskirts of Tawang. This is the place where the sixth Dalai Lama was born.

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In Upper Subansiri district, Daporijo town was named Mila Ri. The town is located beside the river Subansiri, which is one of the principal rivers of Arunachal Pradesh as well as a major tributary of the Brahmaputra river.

Prof. Kondapalli said this place has been used by people from Tibet to enter into India and was a corridor that has not seen a military presence from either side for many years.

Challenging India’s claim

Renaming of Mechuka as Mainquka was to question India’s claim on the area as it is strategically located with heavy military presence, said Prof Kondapalli. The Indian Air Force maintains an Advanced Landing Ground there, which is located in West Siang district.

Bumla, the place where the Dalai Lama made his first stopover during his April 4-13 visit to Arunachal Pradesh, has also been renamed by the Chinese as Bumola.

According to the PTI report, Prof. Kondapalli said this area was invaded in 1962 by the Chinese troops who were subsequently pushed back by the Indian Army.

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Namaka Chu area has been renamed as Namkapub Ri, also the area has a huge possibility for hydro-electricity, he added. China is renamed the sixth place as Qoidengarbo Ri area but it is not clear which place in Arunachal Pradesh it refers to.

Besides hydro-electricity, these areas also have a huge potential for agriculture and fisheries. In the 1980s, all these places gained prominence, when numerous Chinese strategic scholars started mentioning about them in their writings, saying these places could solve problems related to electricity as well as vegetation in Tibet, he added.

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These lush areas are capable of producing vast quantities of food. The Chinese scholars mentioned these areas as the “apple of the eye” of the Tibet region, but these are generally dry, said Prof. Kondapalli.

He said this was part of a trend started by China of giving names to their claims — specifically the islands in the South China Sea where it has conflicting claims with South-East Asian countries, mentioned PTI.

Prof. Kondapalli proposed that India can hit back at China by renaming Aksai Chin and Mansarovar areas, which are under Chinese occupation but claimed by India.

– prepared by Ananya Banerjee of NewsGram, Twitter: @bannerjee_ananya

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Impoverished Tibetan Families Receive Cash Payments in Return to Display Xi Jinping Portraits

"The money will not be given if the families don’t agree to the required condition,” RFA’s source said, citing contacts in the region

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xi jinping portrait
China Offers Money to Tibetans to Display Portraits of Xi Jinping. Wikimedia Commons

Authorities in northwestern China’s Qinghai province are offering cash payments to impoverished Tibetan families to display portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping in their homes, in a move aimed at enforcing Tibetan loyalty to Beijing, Tibetan sources say.

The new campaign, now under way in Arte village in the Tsolho  (in Chinese, Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Serchen (Gonghe) county, has promised 6,000 yuan (U.S. $869) to more than 30 families to hang the portrait in a prominent place, a source in exile told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“The money will not be given if the families don’t agree to the required condition,” RFA’s source said, citing contacts in the region.

“Because of financial constraints and poor livelihood opportunities in the area, the Tibetans have no choice but to take the money and put up Xi’s picture,” the source said, adding that the portrait of China’s president must be placed as high any picture of the Potala Palace, winter home of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

xi jinping portrait
A portrait of Chinese president Xi Jinping is shown hanging on the wall of a Tibetan home in Qinghai. RFA

“The families are choosing to do this because they need the money to survive, but they regret this immensely,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Serchen county lies almost 142 km (88 miles) away from Xining city in Qinghai, a part of northeastern Tibet historically known to Tibetans as Amdo, and Arte village falls with four other villages under the jurisdiction of Arte township in the town of Chabcha.

Dalai Lama photos banned

Authorities in Tibetan-populated regions of western Chinese provinces have meanwhile launched a new push against possession of photos of the Dalai Lama, traveling to remote areas that had previously escaped police attention, sources told RFA in earlier reports.

The campaign, which began at the end of April, has targeted Serthar county in Sichuan’s Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, but is also being enforced in other areas of the eastern Tibetan region historically known as Kham, one source said.

xi jinping portrait, dalai lama
Displays by Tibetans of the Dalai Lama’s photo or public celebrations of his birthday have been harshly punished in the past. Wikimedia Commons

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Chinese officials from government bureaus monitoring religious practice are also visiting Tibetan schools and warning teachers and students not to keep or display the photos, adding that local Tibetans have also been urged to tell high-ranking Chinese visitors of the “big improvements in their living conditions” owing to government subsidies.

The Dalai Lama, who turned 83 on July 6, 2018, fled Tibet into exile in India in the midst of a failed 1959 national uprising against Chinese rule, and displays by Tibetans of the Dalai Lama’s photo or public celebrations of his birthday have been harshly punished in the past. (RFA)

Reported by Chakmo Tso for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.