Tibet`s new Communist Chief avoids Dalai Lama in first speech

Chen Quanguo, made no reference of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama in his maiden public speech.

Last Updated: Aug 26, 2011, 18:31 PM IST

Beijing: Marking a shift from the angry
rhetoric of his predecessors, Tibet`s new Communist Party
chief Chen Quanguo, who replaced long term hard-line party
official Zhang Qingli, on Friday made no reference of Tibetan
spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in his maiden public speech.

Chen, who took over as the new secretary of the Communist
Party of China (CPC) Committee of Tibet Autonomous Region,
focused on development and stability in the region and made no
reference to the Dalai Lama.

"Tremendous efforts are needed to boost development in
Tibet and the region`s long-term stability," he said at a
meeting in provincial capital Lhasa, while taking charge.
Tibet holds political significance and is an important
strategic position, Chen said.

"The Party and the central government have high
requirements for the development of Tibet, and local cadres of
all ethnic groups have great expectations," state-run Xinhua
news agency quoted him as saying.

A retired soldier, Chine was regarded a moderate compared
to the hard-line image of his predecessor Zhang during whose
tenure Lhasa riots took place in 2008 in which Buddist monks
opposed the presence of mainland Hans in the region.

Zhang described the Dalai Lama as "wolf in monk`s robes"
and the "scum of Buddhism."

Analysts say that the change of party guard in Tibet is
significant as the Party Chief is the most powerful official
answerable only to the central leadership.

Chen, who has the reputation of "good at handling the
overall situation" is taking over just when the Dalai Lama
relinquished his political authority to new "Prime Minister"
Lobsang Sangay, a 43-year-old Harvard legal scholar who grew
up as a refugee in Dharamashala in India.

Analysts say that he may try to calm down the situation
in the plateau specially the restive monks. Two monks
committed self immolation in the recent months amid reports of
demonstrations in monasteries.

They say it is to be seen in the coming weeks, whether
China would bring about any change to its stand of ruling out
any kind of rapprochement with Dalai Lama who continued to be
popular among devout Buddhist Tibetans.

Chinese officials held few rounds of talks with Dalai
Lama representatives in the past but no progress was made
despite open assertions by the spiritual leader that he wanted
Tibet to part of China with broad package of autonomy.

Welcoming Chen, Zhang Jinan, vice minister of the
Organisation Department of the CPC Central Committee, said
"Chen is familiar with the work of the Party as well as the
economy, and is good at handling the overall situation."

"The decision by the central authorities was out of
consideration for the actual work needs, a spirit of cadre
exchange, and the real leadership situation in Tibet," he
said.

Chen, a Han studied economics before serving in Army and
worked as party chief of Henan Province and later the Hebei
Province, close to Beijing. There is no word about the new
position being assigned to Zhang.

The government "fully recognized" his work in Tibet Zhang
Jinan said, adding that he would be moved into another
position, without elaborating.

PTI