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World News – CA – China preaches material rather than spiritual in Tibet

Nestled in the mountains of Tibet, villagers dressed in traditional robes and jackets spin prayer wheels covered with Buddhist mantras and gold plated It is the habit of tapping into good karma, and purifying the bad, part of the rhythm of life in a deeply religious region that has so long been stricken by poverty. It is also one of the most politically sensitive areas in China. Foreign tourists and journalists are only allowed on organized tours, like the one Reuters was recently invited to The tour aimed to showcase Beijing's efforts to eradicate poverty across the country by the end of this year. For centuries Tibetans have lived in a feudal society dedicated to their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama China seized Tibet after troops entered the region in 1950 in what Beijing calls "peaceful liberation" In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled China after a failed uprising From now on, the fight against poverty in Beijing is linked to social control and estrangement from religion Sonam Tenpa, 41, is one of the few who was allowed to speak to Reuters “I needed to work to give my family a better life, that's why I don't have time to practice my faith I can't say that I have completely quit Buddhism, I forgot about it when I was busy working, but I can't say I completely forgot about it. As a Tibetan, I can't totally quit Tibetan Buddhism, otherwise people will say that I left my faith behind. " Sonam, father of two, was relocated by the government 40 km from his high-altitude hometown According to government officials, the project aimed to move people away from areas considered unsuitable for life, to lower lands. Before moving, Sonam says he was an ordinary villager with no livestock and no land Now he and his family earn over $ 12,000 a year working in various jobs Portraits of the Dalai Lama, once commonly displayed in Tibetan homes, are now banned Chinese President Xi Jinping hangs high in Sonam's house "I have the portrait of the leader bigger than my politeness family portraits, we don't have the same rights as the leaders So, I wouldn't dare sit with them That's why I'm sitting here, and they're sitting up there In my heart we're living well now because of their favor That's why I didn't hang my family pictures on the wall " Among other stops on the tour: vocational schools and business projects like an air-conditioned mushroom farm that employs Tibetans But critics say that while this poverty reduction can increase incomes, the Chinese definition of a successful life is being forced upon a population that is ethnically and religiously different. Sophie Richardson is with the NGO Human Rights Watch "Let's be clear, the anti-poverty campaign shouldn't have anything to do with people's right to their religious freedom. I think it's very clear that the Chinese authorities saw the religion, the language, the culture, the traditions and Tibetan lifestyles as a threat mainly to the kind of political loyalty the party expects from people And so, eradicating these ideas has become a central part of the Chinese Communist Party regime in this region. " Officials say that once Tibetans see the benefits of a more materially advanced life, they are convinced Lin Bei, a local government poverty alleviation official, says they have the party to thank "Tibetans should know how to thank the party, which means we have to let them know what the benefits are and where they are from. After all, they need to know who is treating you well."
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