By Jayadeva Ranade
Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies
Member of the National Security Advisory Board(NSAB) & Distinguished Fellow, IPCS
As China’s new leaders began settling into their jobs soon after the 18th Party Congress held in Beijing in November 2012, indications became available that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s senior leadership would focus attention on the Tibet issue. This included making some key personnel appointments, including in the now more powerful CCP Central Committee (CC)’s Secretariat. The CCP leadership is also confronted with the growing discontent among Tibetans in China.
Meanwhile there is speculation among sections of the Tibetan community in exile, based mainly on wishful thinking, that Chinese President Xi Jinping would be influenced by his family background and adopt a ‘softer’ policy towards Tibetans and the Tibet issue. While there have been signs that China’s leadership is taking some initiatives intended to diffuse the situation, there are no indications whatsoever that the present tough policy on Tibet will mellow. For example, Xiao Wunan, a senior CCP cadre affiliated to the CCP CC’s United Front Work Department (UFWD), fronted two overtures, including one made directly to the exiled Tibetan hierarchy in Dharamsala last year. Both were aimed at undermining the Dalai Lama’s influence and creating schisms among Tibetan Buddhists. There have very recently been two other events which merit attention.