Veteran Tibetan communist leader dead

32, Mar 31’08

China announced on Feb 26 the death of Sangye Yeshi, better known by his Mao christened name of Tian Bao (‘Heavenly Treasure’), one of the first Tibetans to embrace communism and join Mao Zedong’s army, which later invaded Tibet. He was 92 and died of illness on Feb 21 in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, where he lived, reported the AP Feb 27, citing China’s state-run CCTV.

A native of Tibet’s traditional Kham Province, Tian was 18 when he encountered Mao’s army in 1935 as it was retreated through western China during the “Long March” and joined it. He held senior government and party posts in Tibet Autonomous Region and neighbouring Sichuan province after fighting during the Chinese civil war in the ranks of Mao’s army, which later seized control of Tibet. He was deputy secretary of the regional Communist Party in Tibet in 1965.


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