Qiangba Puncog, the chairman of Tibet’s regional assembly told reporters that all the reports about uprisings and self-immolation in Tibet are just being repeated by those who wish to separate Tibet from China.
“(We) welcome all of you to go to Tibet to see Tibet’s real situation. Listening is false, seeing is believing,” he said.
However, Qiangba Puncog failed to mention when the ban on traveling to Tibet by Westerners will be lifted.
Following the Beijing line that all the problems in Tibet are caused by outsiders the head of the Tibet regional assembly told reporters that the self-immolators were terrorists encouraged by the Tibet government in exile.
“The so-called Tibetan self-immolation problem was blown up in other countries, (they) say Tibet is burning, Tibet is not burning,” Qiangba Puncog said, adding that the self-immolators in the regional capital, Lhasa, were “imported” from other Tibetan areas and that the incidents were planned.
Of course, nothing of the demonstrations and self-immolations get out in the heavily censored Chinese media. But rumors do spread by word of mouth and mobile phone texting.
Beijing argues by controlling the media it is preserving the social structure of the country. But in reality what it is doing is increasing the instability of its political and social structures.
When the people have only rumors to go on, and when they trust those rumors more than the media, then instability grows. True stability in a society comes from the people being aware of what is going on and having events put in context.
Oddly enough, that is what free media do.
Therefore, if the rulers of China really want stability in their society they need to get their collective iron heel off the throat of the media.