DHARAMSHALA, January 30: Beijing has appointed yet another hardliner Tibetan as the new governor of central Tibet, a move many believe augurs with China’s plans of maintaining its iron fisted rule over the region.
55-year-old Losang Gyaltsen’s name was announced on Tuesday at the end of the 10th annual meeting of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region’s rubber stamp regional assembly.
He replaces Pema Choling, who has now been selected as the chairman of the standing committee of the regional legislature. Fourteen others were elected vice chairpersons of the regional government, official state agency Xinhua said in a report.
According to his official biography, Gyaltsen is a former mayor of Tibetan capital Lhasa and once taught Marxist theory.
He reports to Tibet's top Han official, Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo, a position never held by a Tibetan.
In his first speech as the new governor, Gyaltsen toed the party hard line, saying that under him the regional administration will "resolutely struggle" against exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
According to Xinhua, he “urged maintaining vigilance in times of peace as well as taking a firm political stand and acting consistently to resolutely battling against the 14th Dalai Lama clique and unswervingly safeguarding the unification of the motherland and national unity.”
"All development and progress of Tibet since its peaceful liberation is the results of sticking to the leadership of the Communist Party of China , the socialist system, the regional ethnic autonomy system and the path of development with Chinese characteristics and Tibetan features," the report cited Gyaltsen as saying.
He also spoke about “reform and opening up” of Tibet, a claim which has been denied by Beijing based prominent Tibetan writer, Woeser.
Speaking to Reuters, she called Gyaltsen a “hardline” like all other officials. “There will be no real change in Tibet," she said.
With Tibet reeling under a wave of self-immolations, which has witnessed at least 99 known Tibetans setting themselves on fire protesting Chinese rule, Tibetans have been placed under growing restrictions and increasingly marginalising and discriminatory policies.
According to his official biography, Gyaltsen was born in Chagyab, Tibet, in July 1957 and studied at the Tibet University for Nationalities for five years and worked at the university for another 10 years.
Between May 1996 and January 2003, he was mayor of Lhasa and deputy secretary of the CPC Lhasa municipal committee.
From January 2003 to January 2013, he served different posts, including vice chairman of the regional administration and deputy secretary of the CPC regional committee.