By Lopsang Gurung, Bitter Winter – 26 October 2021
On October 20, the readers of English-language Chinese propaganda mouthpiece Global Times could read the following news item: “Chinese officials spoke highly of the rapid development and prosperity of… Xizang Autonomous Region under the successful governance of the Communist Party of China over the past 70 years, .. welcoming people from different countries to visit, as long as they hold unbiased views.” Western readers may be forgiven if they at first believed that “Xizang” was a typo for “Xinjiang,” a region where in fact visitors with “biased views” are not admitted.
But in fact the only connection with Xinjiang was that the event the Global Times was referring to was held in Beijing to introduce to foreign diplomats (although the only ambassadors mentioned as attending were the Russian and the Nepalese) the new Chinese Communist Party (CCP) secretary of Tibet, Wang Junzheng. He was previously one of the top-ranking CCP bureaucrats in Xinjiang, and was nicknamed “the butcher of Xinjiang” for the violent repression of the Uyghurs and other Muslim peoples there.
As soon as he was appointed, Wang rushed to implement a directive coming from last August’s Tibet Work Conference and reiterated by the “Publicity Department” (the former “Propaganda Department”) of the CCP. From now on, the name “Tibet” in English and other Western languages translations of official documents should be gradually replaced by “Xizang.”
There is still some confusion within the CCP itself. The Global Times in the article consistently used “Xizang” and mentioned “Tibet” only in connection with propaganda by the West and the “Dalai clique.” However, it fell near the finishing line when it mentioned “the GDP in Tibet.” And on the same October 20, Foreign Minister Wang Yi kept using “Tibet.” However, CCP’s directives are always implemented, and we may expect that “Tibet” will be eventually replaced by “Xizang” in all Western-language Chinese documents. Read more...