China's clampdown on Tibet officials

Chen Quango, Communist Party Secretary Tibet
Chen Quango

20th November 2015

Party members with Tibet sympathies to face punishment

The most senior official in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo, has issued a threat to Communist Party members who are found to be disloyal to the state. Chen identified 'those party members who profess their devotion to the party while concealing other feelings, the “two faced people”, who look at minority matters in an erroneous way'.

Senior officials and government workers across China must be members of the Communist Party and the policy is intended to ensure that the government of the TAR - for which many Tibetans work - is composed only of those who fully accept China's occupation of Tibet.

The TAR is the Chinese province which covers the Western part of Tibet, including the capital, Lhasa.

Targeting officials

Since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, the government has pursued "anti-corruption" investigations and prosecutions across China. Although these campaigns do target genuine corrupt activity, they are also widely seen as a way of removing and punishing officials whose loyalty to Xi is suspect.

Earlier this year, a senior party official said

"Tibet has to be granted no favour treatment in the fight against corruption, and it is thus needed on the one hand to fight the splittist movement, on the other hand to fight corruption. This serves the purposes of maintaining a zero tolerance attitude against corruption."

"Splittism" is the crime under Chinese law of threatening to split the People's Republic of China. Almost any act of opposition to Chinese rule by Tibetans can lead to a conviction for splittism, which carries severe punishments, including the death penalty.

In January, a number of party officials in Tibet were punished for disloyalty.

Loyalty to China

In the recent comments,Chen Quanguo said the campaign would target

"those party members who profess not to believe in religion but secretly do, who join illegal organisations, who overtly infringe decisions taken by party members and cadres. Investigations will cover the groups following the 14th Dalai Lama, those party members who participate in or are in favour of sabotage; those party members who leave the country to worship the 14th Dalai Lama, those who join 'Buddhist groups', those who listens to or pronounce preaching, or those party members who send their kids to schools opened by the 14th Dalai Lama and his groups."

He concluded:

"Although Tibet is very far from Beijing, the hearts of all Tibetans are devoted to Xi Jinping. Everybody always listens to his directions, in any circumstance and at any time."

Take action against China's propaganda

Propaganda about Tibetan loyalty to Xi Jinping is routine inside Tibet. Outside Tibet and China, the Chinese government sometimes uses more subtle forms of propaganda, such as offering its friendship and help to school students. Help stop its international Confucius Classroom programme influencing hiding the truth about China's dark side and Tibet. Contact governments now to demand action.