Beijing: Describing the situation in Tibet as "grave", China has ordered authorities there to prepare themselves for "a war against secessionist sabotage" by the Dalai Lama amid reports that security forces shot dead two Tibetans protesters.
Officials in the Tibet Autonomous Region have been ordered to recognise the "grave situation" in maintaining stability and to ready themselves for "a war against secessionist sabotage", Chen Quanguo, regional Communist Party chief of Tibet told official Tibet Daily.
The orders come ahead of the February 22 Tibetan New Year and this year`s Chinese Communist Party Congress to elect new leaders.
The Congress would elect new leaders replacing the President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao who are set to retire later this year.
Chen and other top officials called for extra vigilance to foil any attempts by the Buddhist Monks and supporters of the Dalai Lama pointing out that the Tibetan spiritual leader has a spoken of a "decisive battle" to be launched ahead of this year`s Communist Party Congress, likely to be held in November this year.
Meanwhile, US based broadcaster Radio Free Asia today said that two Tibetan brothers, who have been on the run after protesting against Chinese rule have been shot dead. Yeshe Rigsal, a 40-year monk, and his 38-year-old brother, Yeshe Samdrub, had been pursued by the authorities after they participated in January 23 protests against Chinese rule.
The two brothers had been on the run for more than two weeks, and had been hiding in the hills in a nomad region when they were surrounded and fired upon. The fight against the Dalai Lama clique is a "long-term, complicated and sometimes even acute" one, Chen was quoted as saying.
Xu Zhitao, an official with the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party Central Committee, told state-run Global Times that "secessionists led by the Dalai Lama appeared more determined to plot conspiracies this year”.
The Dalai Lama clique had claimed that they might carry out some schemes to wreck the upcoming Tibetan New Year, which falls on February 22 this year, Xu said.
This year, the region saw self immolations by Buddhist Monks calling for the return of Darla Lama from his self exile in Dharmasala. So far, 17 monks and nuns have attempted suicides. Many of these attempts were confined to the Sichuan province, neighbouring Tibet and the Tibetan officials fear that the restive monks would attempt something big during the New Year celebrations in Lhasa, the provincial capital.
Global Times which carried the Tibet story today with banner headlines `Tibet officials prepare for war` also mentioned discussions on Tibet during External Affairs Minister SM Krishna`s just concluded visit here to inaugurate
the new Indian embassy building.
“Separately, during a meeting with Krishna in Beijing on Wednesday, Zhou Yongkang, a senior leader of the party stated that the question concerns China`s national interests and that the Chinese government will crack down on secessionists and safeguard its territorial integrity," the Times said.
“Krishna reiterated that India recognises Tibet as a part of China and will not tolerate `anti-China activities` on Indian territory", it quoted a report by state-run Xinhua which also carried an interview with him.
Chinese Foreign Ministry also carried a statement Zhou appreciating India`s stand.
On beefing up the local administration, the daily also carried a stern warning that those officials in Tibet who were found to be lax will be punished.
"For those irresponsible officials who walk away from their duties, fail to implement policies or are found guilty of dereliction of duty in maintaining stability, they shall be immediately removed from their posts, pending punishment, regardless of how great the contributions they made in the past or what kind of position they held," Chen said.
Chen asked local officials to "improve the precautionary and emergency management mechanism”, and ensure the government`s ability to immediately and resolutely handle any emergency.
"We should make every effort to win the tough battle to maintain stability, and seize the initiative in our fight against separatism”, Chen said.
Xiong Kunxin, a professor with the Minzu University of China, said the further tightening could be related to a string of recent self-immolations in Tibetan areas of the provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai bordering Tibet.
"There are five regions that are inhabited by Tibetan people in China. Turbulence in one area can affect others," said Xiong, referring to Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces where Tibetan communities are located as well as Tibet itself.
An official surnamed Gou with the publicity department of Ganzi in Sichuan told the Global Times that cases of violence were isolated and that the majority of Tibetan people in the prefecture yearn for stability.
"Such tragic incidents in Sichuan`s Tibetan area have to do with geographic and historical factors, which made Tibetan people there more aggressive," Xiong said.
"Meanwhile, less strict management in this area also led to this problem," he said.
The Ganzi Daily earlier quoted Liu Daoping, Party chief of Ganzi, as saying that the Dalai Lama clique had claimed to wage "a decisive battle," posing great challenges to the stability-maintaining tasks.
Xiong said such violence and self-immolation cases have violated the creeds of Tibetan Buddhism.