A repressive campaign by the Chinese government mandates that every household, school, and monastery throughout Tibetan villages display portraits of Chinese communist leaders in their homes. Previously, it had only been ordered that impoverished families receiving government assistance were ordered to do so.
[Posted on T.T Tibetan site 14 April 2020] According to a report by Ngaba Zoege County Tibetan Language News Agency on the 13th, from the beginning of the year, every home, monastery, school, and office in Zoege County must display portraits of the top Chinese leaders, espousing their gratitude, obey to their orders while obeying them wholeheartedly.
A source in Tibet confirmed to Tibet Times that the campaign is currently underway and that meetings have been assembling since the beginning of the year where photos of Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping, have been distributed to each family. Earlier, only poor families on Chinese government financial assistance schemes were mandated to display photos of Chinese leaders. However, beginning this year, every home in Zoege County will be mandated to display portraits of Chinese leaders. The same source said that photos were distributed to every home in his village.
Similarly, beginning this year, in a bid to further strengthen the image of the People’s Republic of China and promote a sense of unity, the masses were called to embrace their gratitude to the party, obey their orders, and support them wholeheartedly while displaying the portraits of Zoege County’s leaders in every home, schools, monasteries, offices.
The Zoege County’s information and publicity office has diligently distributed 14000 portraits of Chinese leaders to every household including farmers, nomads, schools, and monasteries. The authorities have instructed every family to hang the portraits in a prominent place within their homes to symbolize their loyalty to the party.
Over the years, the Chinese government has undertaken several campaigns to enforce the display of Chinese leaders’ photos in homes, schools, and monasteries. This is part of the ‘9 Haves’ campaign introduced specifically for Tibet in 2012 by the Chinese government. The first article of the ‘9 Haves’ campaign mandates that every family must display the portraits of the four prominent Chinese leaders, Chairman Mao, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao.
In her article, Tibetan writer Tsering Weoser wrote, “The particular Chinese government campaign is in line with Mao’s political symbolism, and it attempts to equate the traditional practice of praying to the statue of Buddha with Chinese leader’s portraits. It also attempts to replicate pure faith with a staged display of faith. They believe they can achieve great results by simply exchanging one thing for another”.
In 2012, the Chinese government launched a campaign where poor families were required to display photos of Chinese leaders if they wanted financial assistance and instructed local Chinese authorities to inspect homes to see whether photos of Chinese leaders were displayed. When the campaign was aggressively implemented, a Tibetan woman in Sungchu County, Sichuan Province, was caught with a photo of the Tibetan leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She was subsequently advised that displaying a photo of the Dalai Lama would bring her misfortune and problem while following the Chinese government would bring prosperity to her. Every household was forced to hoist the five starred Chinese national flag, sources said.