context: The picture painted of Party efforts in Tibet is usually a bright and shining one. This commentary is an exception, and that it took nearly two weeks to find its way into the flagship newspaper indicates that the views expressed may not be entirely or universally accepted in the central leadership.

A People’s Daily editorial drawn from remarks made by Wu Yingjie 吴英杰 Tibet Autonomous Region Party Secretary at the economic work conference on 4 Jan 2019 noted inadequacies in local governance.

Wu noted that

  • reimbursement of medical fees for some residents have been delayed for more than eight months because of disputes between relevant departments
  • during a recent visit to a district in Lhasa, he found more than 100 households living in poor conditions, with many dwellings bereft of sunshine
  • while departments can shut their doors and quarrel for three days and nights to reach consensus, it is unacceptable for the masses to feel that government agencies are inactive or slow to act, create difficulties for them and compel them to complain
  • concepts of construction need changing: while increasing investment in infrastructure construction has basically meet the needs of improving people’s livelihood, the biggest problem now is how to leverage these resources to provide better public services
  • while schools and hospitals are greatly improved, we should focus on improving teachers’ competence and enhancing their sense of professional responsibility, making more medical and health personnel available at the grassroots and provide quality services to farmers and herdsmen
  • power needs to be placed under strict supervision, and inadequacies, and omissions, slow actions and false actions rectified

Many problems arise, Wu noted, because of misguided focus on projects and economic growth, and failure to hear the voices of residents as to where their needs lie. Cadres need to focus on the actual daily interests of the masses, such as delivering charcoal in the snow to residents, to demonstrate that the Party and the government will solve difficulties.