There’s been some noise today about reviled Party Secretary of Tibet Province Zhang Qingli being replaced by the former governor of Hebei. ICT seems somewhat hopeful:
Party Secretary Zhang Qingli, known by Tibetans for his political extremism and vituperative attacks against the Dalai Lama, has been replaced as Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) by Chen Quanguo, the former Governor and Deputy Party chief of Hebei province. Unlike Zhang who came to the TAR in 2006 after establishing his credentials as a hardliner in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonmous Region, Chen has no experience in China’s “minority” areas or distinguishing career highlights to suggest a similarly zealous ideological bent.
Of the ten individuals to ever hold the post of TAR Party Secretary, the most powerful political figure in the TAR, none have been Tibetan, and there is no Tibetan holding a Party position at the national level.
In a message conveyed on Twitter today in Chinese, the well-known Tibetan writer Woeser made the wry comment: “Someone from Henan called Chen Quanguo replacing someone from Shandong called Zhang Qingli to come and rule the TAR. He was the Governor of Hebei before… It’s like a play where the main protagonists come and go, while Tibet is nothing more than their stage and Tibetans can do nothing but passively accept.”
Every now and then the pure colonialism of it all just smacks you in the face. The Tibet “Autonomous” Region has never been governed by a Tibetan… that’s all you need to know about how autonomous it really is. I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high about a changing of the guard helping matters too much, but Chen might surprise us.