By Tenzin Monlam
The fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
DHARAMSHALA, MARCH 6: As China began its Fifth Session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in his annual report on Sunday quashed hopes of Hong Kong and Taiwan’s independence vowing to ‘resolutely oppose’ separatist activities.
Warning that quest for Hong Kong’s independence will lead nowhere, Premier Li said that China would be committed to its ‘One country, two system’ policy, adding that they would not tolerate any activity attempting to ‘separate Taiwan from the motherland’.
Premier Li, party’s no. 2 official, yesterday at the Great Hall of the People also acknowledged Chinese President Xi Jinping’s status as the ‘core leader’ of the Chinese Communist Party.
“We owe all the achievements made over the last year to the sound leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core," Li said.
Spokesperson of Tibetan government in exile, (officially known as the Central Tibetan Administration) Sonam Norbu Dagpo said that the announcement of Xi as China’s core leader was a formal announcement to an already known development.
Tibetan Prime Minister Dr. Lobsang Sangay had indicated earlier that there are possibilities of fruitful Sino-Tibet dialogue once President Xi solidifies his power into his second term as the Chinese president.
Tenzin Tseten, a researcher at the Tibet Policy Institute says that ‘core’ status has more to do with his ‘power struggle’ ahead of the cabinet reshuffle scheduled later this year. “His predecessor, Hu Jintao was not given the status of a core leader. He was considered as first among equals. I think it has more to do with Xi’s power to appoint those loyal to him at the upcoming 19th Party Congress. So I don’t see much changed viewpoint on Tibet issue,” he said.
The report also included China’s plans to invest 800 billion Yuan in railway construction and 1.8 trillion Yuan in highway and waterway projects including another 15 major water conservation projects.
“Environmental damage is bound to happen when they built dams, railways or roadways. China has often built mega dams in the name of progress and prosperity. When they construct such dams in Tibet, damage to the environment is inevitable,” added Sonam N Dagpo.
The fifth and final session of the 12th NPC will conclude on March 15.