“Now that China has embarked on a new journey to build a modern socialist country, the development of Tibet is also at a new historical starting point,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping told residents of Lhasa city, the Tibetan capital, this Friday (23).
Without official announcement, Xi arrived in Tibet on Wednesday (21), making the first visit by a president of the People’s Republic of China to the autonomous region, located in the southwest of the country, in 31 years. The general secretary of the Communist Party visited the Tibetans in July 2011, but still as a member of the regime.
Date marks 70 years since the signing of the 17-Point Accord, a document that endorsed Chinese sovereignty over Tibet after invasion of the region – Beijing broadcasts as a mark of “peaceful liberation”, a version rejected by the Tibetans.
With the regime seeking to increase its authority over the region, however, the main factor in choosing the timing lies in another anniversary: the 100th anniversary of the first Communist Party of China congress in Shanghai.
Xi began his visit in the city of Nyingchi, where he inspected the public works, one of them being the region’s first electrified railway, and then continued by train to Lhasa. In the capital, one of his stops was in the square in front of the Potala Palace, the traditional residence of the Dalai Lama, 86, considered the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and exiled in India since 1959, when he fled the persecution of communists. diet.
Speaking to local residents, the Chinese leader emphasized the discourse against separatist movements in the region, but did not name them. He called for strengthening “national unity” and “patriotism” in Tibet.
“[Vamos] write a new chapter of sustainable stability and high-quality development, ”Xi said.
He also called on local authorities to work for residents to identify with “the great motherland, the Chinese people, the Communist Party and socialism” and pledged investments in infrastructure projects to boost economic growth and employment in the region, according to the state news agency. Xinhua.
In the middle of the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party, this decision is a new attempt to end the decades-long conflicts between Beijing and its autonomous regions. In Tibet, which has a population of around 3.5 million, clashes have never ceased since the 1960s, when the then independent region was annexed by China.
The regime has invested in domestic tourism in the region, nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, and has tightened its grip since March 2008, when Buddhist monks staged protests against Chinese rule. The wave of protests, with fires, shootings and widespread repression, has left 19 people dead, according to Beijing. According to the Tibetan government in exile, at least 140 people have been killed.
The Washington, USA-based International Campaign for Tibet called the Chinese leader’s visit a demonstration that the Communist regime is aware of its lack of capillarity in the region.
In a statement, describing the 17-point Accord as “the falsely presumed peaceful liberation,” he said: “the manner in which the visit was organized and the complete lack of any immediate media coverage of the visit indicate that Tibet continues to be a sensitive issue and that the Chinese authorities do not trust its legitimacy with the Tibetan people. “
In periodic reports, the campaign denounced Beijing’s surveillance of the autonomous region. The March document alleges that security cameras are being deployed on a massive scale to monitor monasteries inside and outside the properties, in an attempt to “keep a cumulative record and proactively quash any suspicion of dissent.” .
The organization, in addition to international observers, also denounces the Chinese regime’s attempts to erase Tibetan culture, especially the language. “The monastic community is prevented from forming and expressing its thoughts on Tibetan history and culture, and is instead forced to follow the party’s official version of Chinese history, culture and religion,” said one of the reports.
In January this year, a local businessman, Tashi Wangchuk, 35, was released after spending five years in prison on charges of “inciting separatism” while campaigning for the teaching of the Tibetan language during the war. ‘interviews with various newspapers, including the American New York Times.
According to an investigation by the Dui Hua Foundation, a US-based group that monitors human rights in China, between 1998 and 2016, Chinese courts tried around 12,000 people for separatism or inciting separatism. Only 15 were acquitted.
Tibet is not the only region that threatens the CCP’s attempt at unity. Besides Hong Kong, where a vibrant pro-democracy movement reigns, another critical point is Xinjiang, an autonomous region bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan and home to the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim minority.
Targets of a global campaign to turn them into obedient supporters of the Communist Party, thousands of people have already been sent by the Chinese regime to indoctrination camps. The towns and provinces of the region are surrounded by large police checkpoints, which monitor who comes in and who leaves.