The Diligent Shall E’er Find Footing
—Remarks on the Occasion of the 2022 Tibetan Water-Tiger New Year
On the first day of March, the highland is blessed with the graceful abundance of the sun.
In Tashi’s house in Lingnga Village of Bangdul Township in Taktse District, Lhasa City, hostess Dawa Drolmajust cannot hold back her excited contentment. It seems as if she has a large, sweet smile glued to her face, which is reflected back at her as she polishes the glass on her windows. Her husband, Tashi, is replacing the colorful prayer flags hung over their roof, which have been left out since last year. This is a normal Tibetan custom; to view the prayer flags as a symbol of hope and expectations for the dozen months ahead. They believe these colorful banners will again bring their entire families great happiness and prosperity.
Things like this are part of the pre-New Year hustle and bustle among common Tibetan households. Last year, known as the unforgettable and success-inviting Iron-Ox year, is now bidding farewell as locals welcome the mighty and lively Water-Tiger year dashing toward them.
Time seems to act as a sponge, absorbing a year’s worth of endeavors, enthusiasm, and efforts and then squeezing out cheerful harvests, happiness, and memories.
To the people of Tibet, the passing year was worth their pride and celebration. History was made on July 21 when Chinese President Xi Jinping’s charter flight landed at Mainling Airport of Nyingchi City, Tibet Autonomous Region. This was a momentous occasion for both the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the nation, as it marked the first time the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, president of the People’s Republic of China, and chairman of the Central Military Commission paid a special visit to Tibet in commemoration of its peaceful liberation. He investigated the banks of the Niyang River, stepped into the Urban Blueprint Museum, paid a visit to the village household of Dawa Gyaltsen, and took a ride on the Lhasa–Nyingchi Railway. His busy schedule demonstrated his action-driven approach toward leadership while steering the great vessel known as China, and it also showed just how much China’s central government cares about ethnic Tibetans far and wide.
To the people of Tibet, the passing year was replete with boundless joy. On August 19, a jubilation-filled gathering took place, with crowds of beaming locals flooding the open square of the Potala Palace. Over 20,000 people paid their solemn salutes to the rising five-starred flag and released thousands upon thousands of balloons to honor the 70th anniversary of Tibet’s peaceful liberation. The earthshaking changes that happened throughout the past seven decades have continuously empowered Tibet, turning it into an awe-inspiring eagle cruising in the sky as it soars to greater heights, growing fiercer all the while. Wang Yang(member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and also head of the delegation of the central government for the celebration of the peaceful liberation of Tibet) noted that the year 1951 marked not only a time for Tibet to commence its liberation process; it also symbolized the great victory of the entire liberation of the Chinese nation as well as of the unification of the people’s motherland. For Tibet, it marked the dawn of a new era and a turning point. Today, the task to “build a beautiful and happiness-embracing Tibet and fulfill the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” has taken center stage. The journey, however, will certainly be time-consuming. Only by keeping all eyes on the prize can there be any hope of living up to the affections of the era and the expectations of the Chinese masses.
To the people of Tibet, the passing year brought both innovation and revolution. On May 23, the Sichuan–Tibet Railway Technology Innovation Center was officially approved and inaugurated by the Chinese state. On December 17, the Tibet branch of the National Data Center for Qinghai–Tibet Plateau Science was officially opened in Lhasa. Once again, the year’s end also unveiled great scientific achievements by offering up the Tibet Autonomous Region Science and Technology Awards. Driven by scientific and technological innovation and high-quality advancement, Tibet, the once mysterious, exotic, veiled, and unspoken land, at least in Western contexts, is now showing its true face by entering the world scene as a modern, developing, and innovative powerhouse.
To the people of Tibet, the passing year is full of memories worth cherishing forevermore. The 4,000-kilometerborder line is home to many willing to spend all their life protecting their motherland. Their natural companions may be perennially snow-capped mountains, permafrost, and glaciers or even deep forests, flowing rivers, and valleys, but there they are, ready to patrol, poised to spring into action. Their sentiments are always the same: “Our footprints signify the best blessings of our motherland, and to safeguard our border’s security means we have successfully protected our homes!”
To the people of Tibet, the passing year symbolizes acceleration. In 2021, Tibet witnessed again the birth of another “Chinese miracle.” The Lhasa–Nyingchi Railway, the first electrified railway on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, was constructed and then opened to the public. This railway line marks a “traffic renaissance on the roof of the world.”To think that going by land from Lhasa to Lhoka would only take an hour and ten minutes and a trip from Lhasa to Nyingchi would merely last three and a half hours is something that should boggle everyone’s imagination. What a pragmatic approach to the benefit and convenience the local people! This is indeed what it means to be driven by high-quality development! It is also a prime example of the Chinese government’s “people-centered approach.”
To the people of Tibet, this past year was a time for spiritual cups to be filled with profound affection and compassion. Receiving the letter written especially by President Xi Jinping, the soldiers of the “Border-Force Highland Role-Model Battalion” experienced genuine, heartfelt love from the motherland. The timely donations of traditional Tibetan medicine produced by Tibetan Medicine and Pharmacy Group to Chinese compatriots involved in the nation’s humanitarian aid program for Nepal (and who also unfortunately came down with COVID-19), not to mention the Nepalese employees involved, inscribed words of affection and compassion extending across the Himalaya. Young Tibetan athletes Yongchin Lhamo and Tsering Dramdol braved the challenge of the Beijing Winter Olympics, pushing their speed and skills as they sang their spiritual odes to the snow and ice. Love and affection are fundamental human emotions. Using them in the right way allows people to calmly embrace the years ahead.
These are just a few of the myriad stories Tibet has to offer, but there is not enough wood to make the paper or storage available on the cloud to write of all the details worth recording.
Faced with the coming new year, all people in Tibet have sorted their wishes and expectations. No matter big or small, they have placed everything on the great Chinese dream. They are looking forward to the highland’s wind breeze to spread the significance of their efforts, and the roaring waters of the Yarlung Tsampo River encourage and empower them to move forward.
I admire the speed of horses’ hooves, the road so smooth below them.
The desert brings us camels’ might, upon whom bags are loaded.
Atop the snow-capped mountains great, where eagles dare not chance their grace, I see a yak that bounds with leaps, like tigers when they’ve found their keeps!
A phrase I’ve heard is now worth putting: “The diligent shall e’er find footing!”
Not only is this the tenacity and courage of the people of Tibet, but also the mystery, boldness, and verve of all of the Chinese people.
We are privileged to be the recorders of this grand, new era, and it is an honor for us all to sing this magnificent poem about Tibet.
In 2021, we composed millions of words, thousands of articles, and countless digital images with the intent of adding a vivid chapter to Tibet’s history books. We are using our own feet to measure and track the farthest journey into Tibet, and our eyes are set on Tibet’s most beautiful elements. Our aim is to record the truth about all things happening upon the highland, and our lenses are capturing the most profound affections, compassion, and emotions shared by all people in and of Tibet. We have maintained heart-to-heart, shoulder-to-shoulder, and hand-in-hand communication with the Tibetan people all this while, and we collectively share in our pride, happiness, affection, and compassion while pushing forward, strong as ever!
The coming new year will still bring endless stories. Nevertheless, the outlines of our once fuzzy dreams will become all the clearer. We wish all diligent people to seek their personal enlightenment as they construct a new Tibet with each building block. We hope all writers, with their mastery of the pen, may engrave most brilliant records of the highland’s history. The road ahead might seem, and could very well be, fear-inducingly dangerous, but courage and hope will always persevere, never to be impeded or suppressed. Before us may be mud, filth, and risk, but bravery conquers over all! The plateau is embarking on a new journey. It will not bow down to its past, however, and will stand up to the occasion and fight for its people!
To all friends everywhere the world round: Happy Tibetan New Year! Losar Tashidelek!
China Tibet Information Center
China’s Tibet Magazine
China Tibet Online