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China heightens ethnic separatism campaign in Tibetan areas outside TAR

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(TibetanReview.net, Aug28’23) – China may have territorially fragmented Tibet into Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR, or Xizang) and Qinghai province, and as “autonomous” prefectures in its Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan Provinces. Nevertheless, it wants to treat all Tibetan areas as one when it comes to applying its ethnic minority repression policy, as has been made clear most recently by the Communist Party of China’s internal security Czar Mr Chen Wenqing Aug 24.

Chen has called on provinces neighbouring TAR to help ensure stability in areas with large ethnic minority populations, reported the scmp.com Aug 27.

Chen, a member of the party’s Politburo and chief of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, sent out the call as part of an inspection trip to the northwestern province of Gansu, the report said, citing China’s official Xinhua news agency Aug 26.

Addressing a group of provincial security chiefs on Aug 24, Chen has said the officials must “take a clear stand” to safeguard the unity of China, oppose ethnic separatism and ensure national security.

He wanted them to “take the initiative to prevent and control risks” and “resolutely maintain the long-term peace and stability” of not only the TAR but also of prefectures with Tibetan majorities in the surrounding four provinces.

The meeting was stated to have been held in Gansu’s Gannan (Tibetan: Kanlho) Tibetan autonomous prefecture, the last stop of Chen’s three-day trip to the province.

The report noted that Gannan, one of 10 Tibetan autonomous prefectures in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is home to nearly 430,000 ethnic Tibetans, who make up 57% of the prefecture’s population.

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The report cited a researcher from Minzu University in Beijing as saying Chen’s trip indicated that China’s leaders believed TAR and Xinjiang were now largely under control after a harsh crackdown in recent years, and their attention was now turning to peripheral areas.

“Beijing started a major security crackdown in Tibet and Xinjiang after strings of incidents in the 2000s. After more than a decade’s work, President Xi Jinping has declared victory in China’s war on terror,” the researcher has said, declining to be named.

“This indicates that Beijing now can cast the net wider by directing more resources to the areas surrounding Xinjiang and Tibet, where many Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hui live.”

As head of the commission, Chen oversees the country’s police, prosecutors, judges, prison and top spy agencies. Before his October promotion, Chen was the country’s state security minister, also responsible for internal security.

The report said that Chen, a confidant of President Xi Jinping, had delivered a similar message about security on a trip to Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in June and in Ningxia Hui autonomous region in July, suggesting that the campaign is PRC-wide.

In the Hui Muslim region of Ningxia’s capital Yinchuan, he was stated to have held an “anti-separatist and anti-terrorism” work conference with “relevant provinces and municipalities”.

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