Claude Arpi for The Weekend Leader
Why are Members of the politburo of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Committee so attracted by Tibet these days? During the last two months, ten out of the twenty-five members of the politburo travelled to the Roof of the World.
One remembers a Party Secretary, who later became Chinese President (and General Secretary of the CPC), who during his three years posting in Tibet tried his best to avoid to fly to Lhasa; the young Hu Jintao did not like the place. He once told a journalist that he “disliked Tibet’s altitude, climate and lack of culture”. During his tenure, he shuttled between Lhasa and Beijing where the real power was; there was a common joke about Hu amongst Tibetan cadres: ‘Where is Hu?’ The answer was: ‘Hu is in Beijing Hospital.’ He often reported sick each time he was going to leave Beijing! That was some thirty years ago.
Today, ‘important’ cadres have to make sure that they are seen in Tibet. The ‘Emperor’ himself, the ‘Core Leader’, Xi Jinping paid an ‘inspection tour’ of Central and Southern Tibet between July 21 and 23; it was his first visit to Lhasa after a gap of ten years, though he had visited the Northeastern province of Amdo (today Qinghai) in June. Five members of the Politburo accompanied the General Secretary (concurrently serving as Chairman of the all-powerful Central Military Commission).
It is interesting to look at Xi’s delegation; the composition of which is a clear indicator of the purpose of the ‘inspection tour’, especially in a system where the information is entirely monitored by the State and where watchers are left to read signs.
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