Last week, ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, the regional government in the Tibet Autonomous Region
reportedly distributed more than 1 million portraits of the four generations of Communist Party leadership. The portraits were to be placed in homes, schools and temples. This highly sensitive move came amid escalating tensions in the region. Chinese state media reported this week that Tibetans had clashed with security forces in western Sichuan province, an ethnically Tibetan region. Prominent lawyer and former CMP fellow Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) wrote on his Sina Weibo account yesterday: “Temples in the Tibetan region . . . have been required to hang portraits of the leaders Mao, Deng, Jiang and Hu. In Yining, muslims are prohibited from wearing beards or headscarves, and they are subjected to repeated attacks. They claim to play down religious consciousness. Have the Han gone insane? Or is it the leaders of the Han who have gone insane?!” The post was quickly deleted. In this cartoon, posted by artist Crazy Crab (蟹农场) to his WordPress blog, a solitary Tibetan monk — an image of spiritual, cultural and political desolation — stands utterly diminished before four massive portraits of (in order from left to right) Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.