Hu Jintao’s presence in Lhasa Indicate moves to rule Tibet Directly from Beijing “Autonomous” Tibet enjoy less power than provinces
DHARAMSALA, 21 July, 2001: “Hu Jintao’s presence in Lhasa during the postponed 50th anniversary of the so-called peaceful liberation of Tibet is a clear signal that Tibet will be stripped of whatever autonomy it enjoys and will be ruled directly from Beijing,” said Kalon T.C. Tethong, the kalon for the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration based in north India.
“Moves to rule Tibet directly from Beijing have already taken place,” Tethong said. “The number of ‘aid Tibet cadres’ has been increased.” These cadres are directly appointed to sensitive and important posts in Tibet and are accountable to Beijing and not to the “Tibet Autonomous Region” authorities in Lhasa. In this way the ‘aid Tibet cadres’ can brush aside decisions and recommendations of the “TAR” authorities and directly impose Beijing’s directives in Tibet.
Tethong’s remarks were a reaction to the policy statement made by Hu Jintao on 19 July in the Tibetan capital. “Sending Hu Jintao to Lhasa to lead the 50th anniversary of the so-called peaceful liberation of Tibet is a signal that China wants Tibet to be in the forefront of the war against so-called separatists,” Tethong said.
Hu Jintao, slated to succeed Jiang Zemin as president of China, said “It is essential to fight unequivocally against the separatist activities by the Dalai clique and anti-China forces in the world, vigorously develop a good situation of stability and unity in Tibet and firmly safeguard national unity and state security.”
In fact the main thrust of Hu Jintao’s address was on stability and economic development in Tibet. China’s long-term strategy in Tibet is to speed up the pace of economic development in Tibet to firmly integrate Tibet to China.
“Hu Jintao re-affirmed Beijing’s hardline policies which came out of the fourth Tibet Work Forum held in Beijing from June 25 to 27 this year,” said Tethong. “But these hardline policies will not work. They will not solve China’s Tibet problem,” said Tethong. “The most sensible thing for China to do is to talk to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and settle the issue peacefully through a negotiated settlement,” Tethong said.
The 50th anniversary of the signing of the 17-Point Agreement was initially to be held on 23 May, the date when the document was signed. But the anniversary celebrations were postponed because of security reasons. On 21 and 22 May, on the eve of the anniversary, posters went up in Lhasa, denouncing the both the 17-Point Agreement and the anniversary. The posters said that the Tibetan people had nothing to celebrate about. For these 50 years the Tibetan people had known only “blood and tears.” Copies of these posters were mailed to the central Chinese leadership in Beijing.
Because of security concerns, Wang Chenbing, the second in command of the central government’s People’s Armed Police, arrived in Lhasa from Beijing on 9 July to oversee preparations for the anniversary. Lhasa was cleaned of beggars, pilgrims, tourists and those without residential permits. The public was told that if any trouble took place the whole neighbourhood in which the trouble took place would be severely punished. The residents of Lhasa were told to hoist Chinese flags on their rooftops. Failure to do this would be severely dealt with. About 3,000 Tibetans outside of Lhasa city were brought to Lhasa to participate in parades and to welcome the central Chinese leaders headed by Hu Jintao. About 3,00 monks who were considered “patriotic” were shown off during the welcome parade.
Because of Chinese nervousness of Tibetan reaction to the presence of Hu Jintao in Lhasa, the visit of the Chinese vice-president to Lhasa was not made public till the day he arrived in the Tibetan city. Plans for the celebration of the anniversary was also not announced in advance.
Contacts: Kesang Y. Takla Thubten Samphel Tel: (1892) 22510/22457