By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, August 30: The Chinese government has appointed Wu Yingjie as the new party secretary of the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region on Sunday after their annual closed-door meeting in Beidaihe.
The new party head will take over from Chen Quanguo, 61, who has reportedly been appointed as the new party head of Xinjiang during the reshuffle of party posts ahead of next year’s 19th party congress.
Wu, 59, is currently the longest serving Chinese official of TAR. He has been deputed in the TAR since 1974 and was appointed as Deputy Party Secretary in 2011. During his service he has worked for various departments including Education, Science and Technology, and a short stint in Propaganda department.
“By appointing Wu, the leadership in Beihaide has obviously played it safe, as he is not a controversial figure and has a long experience in Tibet,” Historian and Tibetologist Claude Arpi wrote in his blog.
He also highlighted an ‘interesting aspect’ of Wu superseding Pema Thrinley (Padma Choling), Chairman of the Regional Congress and Lobsang Gyaltsen (Losang Jamcan), Governor of TAR, for the top job.
He, however, added that the CCP follow a strict rule of no Tibetan for the Top job of the region, which they consider as politically sensitive due to the constant anti-Chinese protest.
“The Chinese authorities proclaim that people of ethnic minorities should hold power but in fact Han Chinese hold all the major posts in the region. Tibetans in high governmental post are mere rubber stamps,” said Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Secretary of Department of Information and International Relations.
Norbu who had been part of the Tibetan delegation to China in the past also feels that his vast experience of over 32-years of working in TAR has led to his being appointed as the new party secretary of TAR.
Wu’s appointment comes at a time when the consolidation of President Xi Jinping’s power approaches the party congress next year. With many of Xi’s political rival retiring from the seven-man Standing Committee of the Politburo Xi is expected to put his allies into key positions before the congress.