There has been an interest in the affairs of Tibet daily among Buddhists in Syracuse. Reports of oppression of Tibetan Buddhists in Tibet by activist groups alongside reports of spectacular economic development in Tibet by the Chinese government often has Buddhists here bewildered. This has created a desire in many Buddhists here who are fortunate enough to be well off financially to consider what it would be like to visit Tibet themselves to see what is really going on there.
A visit to Tibet via Beijing on American Airlines from Syracuse International Airport, after gaining Visa clearance from the Chinese government, may now be more of a possibility than ever. Such a visit to Tibet for Buddhists here in Syracuse may be easier to arrange now than ever before since Tibet Airlines has just begun operating flights. Phayul.com has reported “Tibet Airlines Company operates first flight”. Tibet Airlines Co Ltd (TAC), which is Chinese owned, operated it first maiden flight from Lhasa Gonggar Airport to Ngari Ali Khunsa Airport this week. It is anticipated TAC will soon have direct flights between Beijing and Lhasa.
The Chinese State-owned Tibet Investment Co. holds 51 percent of Tibet Airlines which was established in May 2010 while two companies, Tibet Sanli Investment Company and Tibet Ruiyi Investment Company, own 39 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. At this time the airline has one aircraft, an Airbus A319. The Chinese state media has reported the carrier plans to have about 20 aircraft by 2015. The general manager of TAC, Liu Yanping, told Xinhua that the carrier will be serving key cities in China by next year while flights to South Asia and Southeast Asia are anticipated by 2013. And within four or five years Tibet Airlines is anticipated to operate direct routes to Europe.
Keeping with the spirit of a rational approach to lives affairs as endorsed by the Dalai Lama it would appear wise for Buddhists to keep an open mind about the possible positive impact of Tibet Airlines on the future of Tibet. Clearly with an anticipated 15 million visitors to Tibet by 2015 Tibet Airlines will help open up new jobs and generate economic growth in Tibet.
The clearance by the Chinese Communist government for Tibet Airlines to operate means China is moving towards opening up Tibet to more foreign businesses and tourists. China is very sensitive to international opinions about human rights issues in Tibet and is most likely to work towards maintaining more humane conditions than ever before in the region if more foreigners are around to see and report on what is going on.
Mandel News Service