By Bhuchung K. Tsering, March 11, 2013
With the appointment of the Chairman and the Vice Chairs of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on March 11, 2013, we now have a set of Chinese leaders in Beijing who would have a major say and be in direct charge of Tibet policy, if past tradition is any indication.
Mr. Yu Zhengsheng, one of the seven Politburo Standing Committee members, replaced Mr. Jia Qinglin as CPPCC Chairman. Currently, Yu’s only public statements relating to Tibetans are the ones he made when he visited Karze (Chinese: Ganzi) in January this year. He was quoted by Xinhua as telling a seminar there, “The fight against the Dalai Lama clique should continue in order to create a favorable social and political environment for economic development and the improvement of people’s well-being.” Yu also said, “The key for developing Tibetan areas lies in improving their infrastructure and public services as well as increasing the incomes of farmers and herdsmen.” Interestingly for its suggested nod to local concerns, Yu asked the local governments to focus on “problems for which the public demands prompt solutions.”
Among the 23 new Vice Chair s of the CPPCC are Mr. Ling Jihua, the current head of the United Front Work Department (UFWD), and Mr. Du Qinglin, the former UFWD head. Also, from the way Du Qinglin is being projected, it appears that he will have a dominant role in the CPPCC. Du led the UFWD from 2007-2012, a period when several rounds of talks between the Tibetans and the Chinese took place.
Thus, an assumption can be made that the three of them — Yu, Ling and Du — might be involved with Tibet work.
We also note that Mr. Phakpalha Gelek Namgyal (Ch: Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai), despite his old age (he is nearly 73 now), has been reappointed as a Vice Chair and is the token Tibetan in the CPPCC leadership. While the Tibetan leadership in Lhasa and Beijing has had a few turnovers, Phakpalha has been the one constant through all these years. He is among the first generation of Tibetans who were selected as leaders in the 1950s, soon after the Chinese Communists took over. Despite his standing in the hierarchy (or the one imposed on him by the Chinese leadership), we hardly know of anything concrete, particularly good, that Phakpalha has done for the Tibetan people. In comparison, Ragdi (Chinese: Raidi), who is considered a Chinese stooge, is appreciated by some Tibetans as having done something for Tibetans.
Among the Vice Chairs is Mr. Zhang Qingli, who was a Party Secretary in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
In the coming days we will see the new heads of the Chinese Government: the State Council, etc. Thereafter, I would think the leading groups, including on Tibet might be constituted, if that has not been done already.
Reprinted by permission. Originally published at http://weblog.savetibet.org/2013/03/11/of-chinese-leaders-who-might-have-a-direct-say-on-tibet-policy/