Claude Arpi for Rediff News
On June 8, China’s Core Leader Xi Jinping visited the Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province.
Meeting a group of Tibetan villagers relocated in one of the Xiaogang villages (‘moderately well-off’ villages, looking more like ghettos), the general secretary of the Chinese Communist party told the Tibetan villagers: ‘The Chinese nation was closely united like the seeds of a pomegranate. We are all members of the community of the Chinese nation.’
We shall never know if the Tibetans agreed …but they had to clap, wave red flags and smile.
This was not the first time that Xi used this expression to talk about ‘ethnic unity’ in China, a country which is supposed to have 56 different minorities.
Already after the second Xinjiang Work Forum in Beijing on May 28 and 29, 2014, which was attended by the entire CCP politburo and over three hundred top CCP officials, Xinhua asserted: ‘The Party’s strategy on Xinjiang has been proven correct and must be continued in the long run.’
A commentator in the Jamestown Foundation’s The China Brief noted: ‘Yet, beneath the boilerplate, the language and policy direction outlined in the Forum statement marks a significant departure. Since the 18th Party Congress [in November 2012], Party officials have stressed that ‘new conditions’ in Xinjiang create ‘new requirements’.’
We know what happened to Xinjiang during the following years (and what still happens today).
During the Xinjiang Work Forum, Xi Jinping declared: ‘Xinjiang’s most sustained problem is the problem of ethnic unity,’ adding, ‘All ethnic groups should show mutual understanding, respect, tolerance and appreciation, and to learn and help each other, so they are tightly bound together like the seeds of a pomegranate.
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