Monday, March 16, 2015

Wang Qishan drops by at Tibet Meet

Left to right: Padma Choling, Jampa Phuntsok, Wang Qishan,
Wang Huning, Chen Quanguo, Lobsang Gyaltsen
A few days before the opening of the yearly grand messe, aka the National People’s Congress (NPC), China Tibet Online speculated: “You may wonder what China’s top leader will say [this year] about Tibet?”
The website affiliated to Xinhua answered by quoting the previous interventions of President Xi Jinping, when he met with the Tibet Delegation at the NPC in 2013 and 2014.

According to the website:
On March 9, 2013, attending a discussion held by the NPC’s Tibet Delegation, Xi Jinping stressed the need to "unswervingly consolidate ethnic unity and create a long-term mechanism to ensure such unity is upheld".
Xi further spoke of its strategy for ‘comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society’.
On March 4, 2014, Xi Jinping attended a meeting involving ethnic minorities of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s political advisory body. He emphasized that terrorism must be fought according to law in order to consolidate ethnic unity, social stability and national unification. The message was probably addressed to Xinjiang.
Yu Zhengsheng met the Tibet delegation on March 10, 2014.
China Tibet Online concluded: “The above provides some clues as to what one can expect of Xi Jinping regarding Tibet during the Two Sessions”.
Wang Qishan arrives in the Tibet 'room'

The 2015 Two Sessions
The Chinese government's work report (something like the State of the Union in the US) delivered by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during the Third Session of the 12th National People's Congress included some ‘highlights’ about the Tibetan-inhabited areas (note that the Chinese Premier did not refer to the Tibetan Autonomous Region alone, but to all the ‘Tibetan-inhabited areas’. This remains one of the main bones of contention between the Dalai Lama’s Administration in Dharamsala and Beijing).
Li Keqiang affirmed that Beijing would like:
  • To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding the Tibet Autonomous Region
  • To protect the source of the three major rivers - the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang [Mekong] River in Qinghai Province
  • To adhere to the policy of Regional Ethnic Autonomy
  • To protect the intangible cultural heritage and the rich resources that Tibet boasts of
The 'deliberations'
This year, the Tibet delegation did not get the CPC’s General Secretary’s visit, but the all-powerful Wang Qishan, the supreme boss of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s (CCDI) and member of the Standing Committee of the CPC’s politburo, paid a visit to the Tibet delegation and ‘participated in the deliberations’.
Xinhua (Chinese language) published a report.
On March 12 at 3 pm, Wang Qishan entered the room allotted to Tibet in the Great Hall of the People. He was received by some Tibetan delegates (Pub Tsering, Sonam Phuntsok and two monks) with a khata (ceremonial scarf) and escorted to the meeting room.
Here is rough translation of the article on Wang’s visit.
Wang Qishan participated in the deliberations of the second session of the Tibet delegation to the NPC meet.
A photo appeared along with the article. It shows Wang surrounded by Wang Huning (director of the Central Policy Research; member, politburo and close confidant of Xi Jinping), Jampa Phuntsok (Vice-Chairman, NPC's Standing Committee), Chen Quanguo (Tibet’s Party Secretary), Padma Choling (Chairman, TAR’s regional Congress), Lobsang Gyaltsen (head of the TAR’s government) and Wu Yingjie (Party’s Deputy Secretary).

According to Xinhua:
After listening to Qiangba (Jampa Phuntsok), Lobsang Gyaltsen, and other representatives, Wang pointed out that the pursuit of wealth and civilization is the eternal quest in the history of human development.
The CPC's ‘two hundred years’ goal is to meet the people's growing material and cultural needs. You should maintain close ties between the Party and the masses; you should strengthen national unity and safeguard the stability of the society, he said.
Party members and cadres should not forget the party's fine tradition and [work?] style; you should keep serving the people wholeheartedly and never mind having close ties with the masses. Implement the spirit of the eight provisions [?] with perseverance; improve your [life] style; this is a solemn commitment of the Party Central Committee; it is the ardent desire of the masses.
Correct the 'Four Winds': it is a struggle one cannot afford to lose; if we do, we will lose the trust of the people, causing in turn greater damage to the Party.
Wang said that the new word cannot forget the old word, improve your style.
Chen Quanguo presided over the meeting. He said that Wang Qishan’s speech was important as it provided China with an overall strategic focus, and helped thinking deeply. As for Tibet, according to Chen, Wang reaffirmed the importance of the development work for the future and this, under a stable and honest government.
At first sight, nothing very exciting or new in Wang's words, except for his insistence of the 'fine tradition of the Party' and the life style of its members.
Interestingly, Wang Qishan did not mention the new theory of Xi Jinping, ‘The Four Comprehensives’. Does it mean that it is not agreed by all in the Politburo?
It may be an issue, because The South China Morning Post reported “an apparent slip in the rhetoric led to a tough question about President Xi Jinping's political theory: quite how many ‘comprehensives’ are involved in the so-called ‘Four Comprehensives’ theory?”.
The Hong Kong newspaper explained: “The answer's not so obvious. …Yet surprisingly, copies of the work report of Premier Li Keqiang for delegates and the press contained no reference to ‘strict enforcement of discipline in the party’ [the forth comprehensive].”
One comprehensive was missing in action. The ‘error’ was later rectified.
During his speech to the Tibet delegation, Wang did not mention any ‘comprehensives’ (it would be very surprising, if he had mentioned it and it had not been reported,).
Why Wang and not Xi Jinping or Yu Zhengsheng (who usually monitors the United Front Work and 'drop by' last year) visited the Tibet delegation?
Perhaps a question of heavy schedule!
But it could also be that Wang’s visit to the Tibet Delegation is a prelude to a more active role of the CCDI in Tibet, in the months to come. In which case, some heads will roll down.
It is not easy to answer this question too.
The presence of Wang Huning, who is a member of the 'Tibet' delegation (don't ask me why!) is interesting, due to his closeness with Xi Jinping.
Last point, the Dalai Lama’s name was apparently not mentioned. It might be a sign of ‘softening’, but softening …with Chinese characteristics, which often translates into ‘no softening at all’.

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