Last week, the Irish broadcaster RTE transmitted several reports from Tibet. RTE was participating in a Chinese government-controlled media trip to the region, which RTE described as "carefully choreographed". In its reports, RTE challenged the authenticity of China's version of Tibet presented on the trip, saying a true picture "remains out of reach".
first of two video reports, RTE's Philip Bromwell reports from Lhasa, which he
describes as a "modern, sprawling city".During an interview at
the Jokhang temple, a monk says he hopes Dalai Lama will return to Tibet.
However, when he is asked why some Tibetans are protesting, the Chinese
interpreter interrupts, the monk looks concerned and only says, "This is a
difficult question for me".
In its report, RTE refers to the
self-immolation protests Which China blames the Dalai Lama for inciting. In
addition, China counters claims that it restricts religious freedom and
expression of culture in Tibet by stating it has brought development and
prosperity to Tibet. However, RTE notes China has responded to the protests
with"tighter security and surveillance" which is "far from
subtle", such as security cameras disguised as prayer wheels.
RTE also makes it clear that there is clear message the Chinese
government wishes to convey, as Tibetans provided for interview praise the
government. For example, a lecturer at a college of Tibetan medicine says,
"Tibet has received support from the government and has been well-developed and
grows very rapidly." At a thangka painting workshop, the manager says "Business
has been better than before because the government has fully supported this
Philip Bromwell concludes the first report
saying, "A carefully choreographed trip like this perhaps is only
ever going to reveal one version of events but even inside Tibet it seems a true
picture of what life is really like here remains out of
In the second report, Philip
Bromwell visits Kongpo prefecture (Chinese: Nyingchi) located east of Lhasa, to
examine recent changes in Tibet.
The report looks at the rapid
development of Tibet. Whilst showing images of construction on an industrial
scale, the report says of Tibet, "One thing is clear. It's changing, quickly." As well as economic
development, the report also highlights the issues of large-scale immigration of
Han Chinese and tourism. In 2013, almost 13 million tourists visited the Tibet
Autonomous Region, compared to a population of 3 million Tibetans.
RTE notes that China rejects
criticism that Tibet's unique way of life and its environment is being
threatened, by reiterating its claims to have brought prosperity to Tibet and is
protecting Tibetan culture.
concludes, "This trip
has given us a fascinating glimpse of a beautiful region, but in terms of seeing
the true Tibet, well, that may have already disappeared from view."
Inside Tibet - RTE's multimedia report
Tibet: A rare insight - RTE Radio broadcast (4 minutes)
Undercover reports from
ban, report from inside Tibet: December 2013 (video)
BBC: Lhasa under heavy
security and predominantly Chinese: Sept 2013 (audio)
France24: Seven Days in
Tibet - extended undercover report: June 2013 (video)