Amid tensions with India, Xi makes rare visit to Tibet with billions of dollars in investment

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Beijing – between greater control China On the Himalayan Buddhist culture, and with the aim of promoting economic development in the region, the President Xi Jinping made his first trip Tibet Ever since he came to office. It is the first visit by a leader of the country in 31 years and coincides with the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Tibet by Communist troops, an act regarded by Beijing as a peaceful liberation.

According to the agency, Xi arrived in the regional capital Lhasa on Thursday. Xinhua has. State media showed enthusiastic Tibetans welcoming Xi and visiting Drepung Monastery. He was also shown on a train with Liu He, the economic emperor of China, and Zhang Yuxia, the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi’s visit was not publicly announced and it was not clear whether he had ever returned to Beijing.

Robert Barnett, a British academic who writes about Tibet, posted a video of the Chinese leader talking to locals. “People of all regions and all races in Tibet will move towards a happy life in the future,” Xi said. “I am as confident as all of you. Finally, I will not delay your dance. I want to say this: I wish you all a happy life and good health.

The People’s Republic of China earlier this year marked the 70th anniversary of its assertion of sovereignty over Tibet. It was part of a wider effort by the regime to consolidate control over territory historically claimed by China before decades of colonialism, wars and internal conflicts.

In 2008, riots broke out in Lhasa over allegations of religious persecution, in which at least 12 people were killed. A wave of self-immolations by ethnic Tibetans followed a few years later.

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The region is at the center of border tensions with India, which, like China, is a nuclear power. The two sides reorganized their forces in the region after last year’s border clashes, the worst in decades, that dramatically changed the already strained relations between the two neighbours.

Earlier this month, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi agreed to continue discussions on the border standoff. The talks came after India redirected at least 50,000 additional troops to the border in a historic shift towards an aggressive military stance against the world’s second-largest economy. At that time, India already had about 200,000 troops concentrated on the border.

control of religious minorities

China has faced criticism for its policies in Tibet, which is subject to intense social, security and religious controls, as has its largely Islamic neighbor Xinjiang to the north. In May, Wu Yingjie, head of the majority Buddhist Communist Party in Tibet, praised Beijing’s investment in the development of the region, saying that the religion had been increasingly compatible with a socialist society.

In recent years, China has tightened control over Buddhist monasteries and expanded education in Chinese instead of Tibetan. Critics of these policies are often arrested and face long prison sentences, especially if they are convicted of having links with the Dalai Lama. The 86-year-old 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has been living in exile in India since fleeing Tibet in 1959 during a failed rebellion against Chinese rule.

China does not recognize the self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile based in the city of Dharamsala, on the slopes of the mountain range, and accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to separate Tibet from China.

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economic progress in tibet

Meanwhile, domestic tourism to the region expanded rapidly during Xi’s nine-year tenure, with the construction of new airports, railways and highways.

according to agency Xinhua hasIn Ningchi city, Xi oversaw ecological conservation works in the Yarlung Zangbo River basin, the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra, where China is building a controversial dam. He also visited a bridge and oversaw a project to build a railway from Sichuan province to Tibet before the installation of Tibet’s first electrified railway – from Nyingchi to Lhasa – which went into operation last month.

In September, Xinjiang’s lead researcher Adrian Zenz released a report alleging that Beijing was setting up a system of large-scale labor in Tibet similar to the one it imposed on Muslim Uighurs. The governor of Tibet, Qi Zhala, stated at the time that forced labor transfer did not exist, focusing on providing professional training to the local government.

In a statement, the International Campaign for Tibet Advocacy Group called Xi’s visit an indication of the high position Tibet occupies in Chinese policy considerations.

“The lack of news coverage of the visit indicates that Tibet remains a sensitive issue and that Chinese officials do not trust its legitimacy among the Tibetan people,” the Washington-based group said.AP, w post and AFP

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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