Beijing: China has upgraded the status of Tibet's top police force to that of a military body, recognising its key role in maintaining peace in the troubled Himalayan region which has witnessed anti-Beijing protests by Dalai Lama's supporters.
In an apparent move to beef up security in Tibet, China's high level Military Commission headed by President Xi Jinping has the upgraded the status of political commissar of the Tibet Armed Police Corps of the Tibet Autonomous Region to that of a military body.
Major General Tang Xiao, the political commissar of the Tibet Armed Police Corps, part of the Chinese People's Armed Police, now enjoys the "treatment" of a head of a corps-sized military body, which is equal to that of officials at a provincial or ministerial level, state-run Global Times reported.
Chinese People's Armed Police is composed of internal security forces and various police forces, including border security, fire fighting and security guard units.
It reportedly played major role in controlling a spate of immolations in Tibet in recent years which crossed over 100 demanding the return of the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama, 79, has been exiled from Tibet since he fled from the remote Himalayan region after a failed uprising against China in 1959.
China has since called him a "dangerous separatist". However, the Nobel laureate spiritual leader maintains that he wants only greater autonomy for Tibetan areas in China.
The recognition is aimed at better safeguarding regional stability, also showing their encouragement to the soldiers of the Armed Police in Tibet, said Niu Zhizhong, Chief of staff of the Armed Police of Tibet.
"Better 'treatment' for the head of Armed Police in Tibet is a major decision made by Central Military Commission based on the special environment and strategic position of the Tibet Armed Police," he said.