The news out of Lhasa is that the Chinese Communist Party has started publishing a Tibetan edition of its mouthpiece People’s Daily from August 1. Of course, to those who know the nature of this publication one can only expect the straight official line. Thus, the Tibetan people will now be getting an opportunity to read the same, in addition to hearing and seeing them on radio and TV.
However, I am intrigued on two points by the latest announcement. First, this will be a Tibetan edition that will cover not just the Tibetan Autonomous Region but also all the Tibetan areas that are outside of it in present-day People’s Republic of China. Thus, this is a pan-Tibetan daily, so to say, in Tibetan. Secondly, the statement announcing this publication has the following interesting quote, “We will try our best to provide accurate and timely news that relates to local people.”
Of course, technically such a commitment would be contrary to the very nature of the People’s Daily for its sole purpose seems to be to convey to the people what the Party wants. However, since such a promise has been made in writing the readers, whether in Tibet or outside, can only wait and see whether it is really delivered.
The Xinhua report that carried the above quote is accompanied by a photo of four beaming women in Tibetan dresses holding a copy of the Tibetan edition of the People’s Daily. Although the Xinhua caption said, “Tibetan people read People’s Daily…” except for one of them, the rest of the four ladies are looking away from the newspaper and seem engrossed with each other and being amused with something. I hope they are not making fun of this latest venture that is “aimed to contribute to the economic development, social progress, ethnic harmony and stability in Tibet with its news coverage” for that would be gross anti-party activity.