By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, JAN 16: The Chinese Communist Party appointed Qi Zhala (Che Dhala), a long-serving member and former party head of Lhasa, as the new Chairman of Tibet Autonomous Region on Sunday.
With over 35 years of experience including Tibet Autonomous Region's Communist Party vice-secretary and the party head of regional capital Lhasa, Qi’s promotion as the new Chairman makes him the second most powerful figure in the region.
According to the Xinhua, the mouth piece of the Communist party, the 58-year old politician would be replacing Losang Jamcan, who was elected as the director of Regional National People's Congress during the 10th Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress.
Qi, who hails from Yunnan Province, during his reign as the head of Lhasa had imposed strong restrictive measures and had maintained its iron grip over the city.
He also had ordered crackdown on ‘separatists’ and ‘criminal activities’ that he linked to ‘Dalai Clique’, while keeping all the monasteries under severe clampdown and increased surveillance.
Three other members of the CCP of Tibetan ethnicity, Norbu Dhondup, Gonpo Tashi and Tenkho, were the three other candidates considered for the post.
Tenzin Tsetan, a research fellow at the Tibet Policy Institute, Tibetan exile government's Think tank, wrote in November last year, "My strong intuition pushes me to a debatable conclusion that Che Dalha has the highest possibility of getting the nod among the four other candidates. Although Norbu Dhondup is the senior most candidate in terms of party seniority, he hasn’t held any key Party positions like the other candidates. Gonpo Tashi is currently the vice-Chairmen of the TAR Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and head of the TAR UFWD. Tenkho will most likely switch posts with Gonpo Tashi to oversee the TAR UFWD on the basis of former’s experience in Qinghai UFWD. Che Dalha would either become Chairman of the TAR Government or Chairman of the TAR People’s Congress."