Region 'will soon be under direct rule'


Monday, July 23, 2001


The Tibetan government-in-exile has said Vice-President Hu Jintao's presence in Lhasa last week during celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of China's "peaceful liberation" of the region indicates Tibet will soon be ruled directly from Beijing. Kalon T. C. Tethong, information and international relations minister in the exiled administration, said on Saturday that an increasing number of sensitive posts in the region were being filled by cadres directly accountable to Beijing rather than the Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Mr Tethong was responding to Mr Hu's statement last week calling for a renewed struggle against the activities of the Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile. "It is essential to fight unequivocally against the separatist activities by the Dalai clique and anti-China forces in the world, vigorously develop a good situation of stability and unity in Tibet and firmly safeguard national unity and state security," Mr Hu said last week. Mr Hu served as Communist Party secretary in Tibet from 1985 to 1992, and oversaw the imposition of martial law on the restive region in 1989. Regarded as a hardliner on the Tibet issue, he is widely tipped to succeed President Jiang Zemin next year.

After the PLA secured its control in Tibet, a 17-point agreement was signed to reaffirm Beijing's rule of the region. The 50th anniversary of the signing of the agreement fell on May 23. According to the Tibetan government-in-exile, the anniversary celebrations were postponed until last week due to security concerns in the Tibetan capital. Posters denouncing the 17-point agreement appeared in Lhasa on the eve of the anniversary, and copies were posted to the central leadership in Beijing. The city was cleared of beggars, tourists and people without residential permits. People were asked to fly Chinese flags from their rooftops. On Saturday, Mr Tethong called on Beijing to abandon its hardline stance on Tibet and pursue negotiations with the Dalai Lama. "These hardline policies will not work," he said. "They will not solve China's Tibet problem. The most sensible thing for China to do is to talk to the Dalai Lama and settle the issue peacefully through a negotiated settlement."

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