Senior Chinese politician visits Tibet to combat Tibetan nationalism

Wang Yang
Wang Yang
Wang Yang
3rd June 2019

Chinese politician and Politburo Standing Committee member, Wang Yang has visited eastern Tibet in an attempt to "combat Tibetan nationalism"

A senior Chinese politician has visited eastern Tibet in what he called an effort to raise awareness for the government's new policies on religion and “national unity” in the region.

The visit from Wang Yang, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee which is made up of China’s top decision makers, took place between 25 and 27 May and was an attempt to “combat Tibetan nationalism”, Tibet Watch said.

Wang and his team of officials visited Tibetan townships and nomadic areas in Kardze, as well as the renowned Buddhist centre Larung Gar, where between June 2016 and May 2017, 4,828 monks, nuns and students were forced out and as many as 4,725 houses and buildings were demolished.

He spoke publicly about the importance of Xi Jinping’s new policies and programmes for Tibet which include “sinicisation of religion,” poverty reduction and the promotion of “lawful administration” and “unity” in the country.

The move to sinicise religion, which sees Christian, Buddhist and Muslim worship being regulated and given Han Chinese charachteristics, was introduced by Xi in 2015 in an attempt to bring religon under CCP control.

Wang promoted the drive during the visit. He spoke about the importance of making Tibetan Buddhism socialist and urged monks to “firmly uphold” the leadership of the CCP, Tibet Watch said.

The official told the people in the region to fight against the forces of “separatism” and ordered monastic leaders to improve their management to guard against infiltration by “foreign forces.”

Wang also advised that poverty alleviation programmes, where the CCP offers poor Tibetans state aid in return for learning the names of Chinese leaders, be continued to prevent “Tibetan nationalism,” Tibet Watch said.

The visit has come in the lead up to the politically sensitive 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests when the Chinese government used soldiers and tanks to crush a nationwide pro-democracy movement, killing hundreds if not thousands [no precise figures exist]. 

Tibetans defying China’s policies are also at risk. In February last year China introduced  new regulations against “underworld forces”, which can be used against dissidents and peaceful protesters in Tibet. In a report last year Human Rights Watch said that in mainland China the underworld forces policy has targeted the mafia, gun runners and gambling, but inside the TAR the campaign has been used against suspected political dissidents and civil society initiatives.

Wang’s visit to Tibet and the policies he discussed were “intended to reduce and intimidate the Tibetan people to bring submission… to the party dictate,” Tibet Watch said.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.

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In late April, Wangchen, a 20 year old from eastern Tibet, gathered with friends to commemorate the Panchen Lama’s 30th birthday. The group called for the release of the Panchen Lama, who was detained as a boy in 1995 and has been missing ever since. They also called for the Panchen Lama and the exiled Dalai Lama to one day be reunited in Tibet. For this peaceful act, Wangchen was arrested. When his aunt, Dolkar, shared the news of Wangchen’s arrest, she too was charged.