Xi Jinping in Tibet, the first visit by a Chinese president since 1990

by time news

Time.news – After more than a decade, Xi Jinping has returned to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, leading an official delegation, on the 70th anniversary of the invasion of the region by communist troops, an event celebrated in Beijing as “peaceful liberation”. This is the Xi’s first visit as president of the People’s Republic: the first and last Chinese leader to go there was Jiang Zemin, in 1990. Xinhua news agency reported that Xi arrived on Thursday after visiting Nyingchi the day before, also known as the Switzerland of Tibet for its river valleys. and alpine gorges.

Costumed crowd with flags

In the video released by the state broadcaster CCTV, he is seen greeting a crowd in ethnic costumes and holding Chinese flags as he gets off the plane, greeted with a red carpet and traditional dances.

All regions and people of all ethnicities in Tibet will march towards a happy life“promised the president.

Although he arrived at Nyingchi Mainling airport on Wednesday, his visit was not initially mentioned in the official media. After a “warm welcome from cadres and crowds of all ethnic groups,” says CCTV, Xi went to the bridge over the Nyang River to assess the ecological and environmental situation of this stream and the Yarlung Tsangpo River.

The visit to the museum

The president also visited the local Town Planning Museum and other areas to examine urban development planning, rural revitalization and the construction of urban parks. He was also at the Nyingchi railway station to learn about the planning of the Sichuan-Tibet railway before taking a train to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet which is also the highest city in the world, at 3,656 meters above sea level. . Here Xi was accompanied by the head of the local Communist Party, Wu Yingjie, on a walk in the Bakhor district, near the Jokhang temple, amidst a massive presence of security forces.

Xi had already twice visited the autonomous region where Beijing is internationally accused of prosecuting the strengthening of its military presence and policies of ethnic and cultural assimilation: in 1998, as party leader of Fujian province and in 2011, as vice president. On this last occasion, he commemorated in Lhasa what he calls “the peaceful liberation of Tibet” and promised to fight the “separatist activities” linked to the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader in exile in India since 1959 and against whose influence on the Tibet China has been fighting for years, investing heavily in the region after the 2008 protests against the communist regime.

To date, the demonstrations have practically disappeared, except for the tragic gestures of some Buddhist monks, loyal to the Dalai Lama, who in recent years have set themselves on fire in protest.

Sustainability and development

Unlike previous visits, this time Xi shifted attention from the issue of separatism and internal security to internal dossiers, focusing on the issues of stability and development.

According to Junfei Wu, deputy director of the Tianda Institute think tank in Hong Kong, “the adaptation of Tibetan Buddhism to socialist society” and the strengthening of ethnic unity, by promoting ideological education, are Xi’s priorities in Tibet. . “The sinization of religions is already a cornerstone of the central government’s religious policy to forge a common Chinese identity”, explained the analyst, quoted by the South China Morning Post, adding that “it is carried out not only in Tibet but also in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia “.

On the development front, however, Xi intends to implement major infrastructure projects to boost economic growth and employment in the region.

Official data show that the public sector employs over 40% of the Tibetan workforce and analysts note that the development model needs to be revised to make it more sustainable.

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