Freedom of Speech: American Style
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An AP article ignored
CAMW Commentary:  This is a case of a good article ignored by many mainstream newspapers.  Despite that it's an AP article, San Francisco Chronicle was the only newspaper that carried it. The article mysteriously vanished after one day from the New York Times web site. The rest of our mainstream newspapers, including Washington Post, LA Times, never carried it.

During the same period of time we tracked the Washington Post, LA Times, NewYork Times carrying every AP article on Tibet that has a pro "free Tibet" slant. It indicates to us a problem:  If we relied on these major newspapers for information, we will be blocked from certain news.

Wednesday March 14 1:05 PM ET, 2001
By MARTIN FACKLER, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING (AP) - China wants to sharply raise incomes for Tibet's farmers and herders within five years, using development to combat ethnic unrest, a top official in Chinese-ruled Tibet said Wednesday.

Raidi, No. 2 leader of the Tibet branch of China's Communist Party, also confirmed that Beijing had contact last year with a representative of the Dalai Lama. He blamed the exiled Tibetan leader for lack of progress in talks.

Beijing has been struggling to quell separatist sentiment in Tibet since communist troops arrived in the Himalayan region in 1951. Its latest strategy is a development program for its poor west. The plan also covers the Muslim region of Xinjiang, where China is trying to crush a guerrilla struggle for independence.

A key goal in Tibet is to raise rural incomes by 50 percent to an average of $240 a year by 2005, Raidi said. Nationwide, the average rural income is about $300 a year.

Tibet is ``enhancing the material and cultural well-being of the people,'' Raidi told reporters, adding that ``victories in opposing attempts to split the motherland have been achieved.''

The Dalai Lama said in December that his brother had visited Beijing with an overture for dialogue with the Tibetan government-in-exile. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since fleeing Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He has in recent years campaigned for autonomy for the Himalayan region.

For contacts to succeed, the Dalai Lama must forswear independence for his homeland and not surround himself with ``forces trying to split the motherland,'' said Raidi, who like many Tibetans uses one name.

``The actions of the Dalai Lama have been masterminded and constructed by anti-Chinese forces in the West, headed by the United States,'' said Raidi.

The development plan for Tibet is expected to be approved Thursday by the national legislature, which is holding its annual session in Beijing.

The centerpiece of the plan is a proposed 693-mile-long railway to Tibet that will cross some of the highest terrain in the world.  Scheduled for completion by 2005, it will cost more than $2.4 billion, Raidi said.