Tibetan insurance


The Dalai Lama, the Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, gives a conference on August 14, 2011 at the Zenith of the French southwestern city of Toulouse. Beijing has blamed the spiritual leader for encouraging the string of Tibetan protestors who have set themselves on fire.


Pascal Pavani

China has released the details of a plan it hopes will calm tensions on the Tibetan plateau -- pension and social benefits for monks and nuns.

The move comes in the wake of massive unrest across the Tibetan region, and a wave of Tibetan religious people burning themselves to death in protest of Chinese rule of the region. China has increased its military patrols in the greater Tibetan region, and clamped down further on religious expression, according to rights groups monitoring the situation. Tibetans within China are not allowed to openly acknowledge the Dalai Lama as spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, one of many constraints on the religion and culture here.

Yet the Xinhua news agency is reporting this week that pension plans and other payment schemes will calm the situation. The new plan allows monks and nuns to pay into basic health care and pension schemes that giving them a small living allowance after retirement. Basic health care insurance will cost monks about $10 a year for limited coverage.

"It's a major approach to improve Tibetan people's livelihood," Wu Yingjie, deputy Communist Party secretary of Tibet, was quoted as saying.