Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of long-term stability and prosperity in Tibet during a meeting with senior military officials in Lhasa, state media reported on Saturday, the day after he made a previously unannounced visit to a strategically important region, including Nyingchi. town near the border with Arunachal Pradesh.
Xi, also general secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and chairman of the Central Military Commission, met with senior officials of the People’s Liberation Army’s Tibetan Military Command, which guards the Chinese-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh, and called for a training soldiers and preparing for war, ”reports the Global Times.
Xi, 68, made his first visit to Tibet as president Wednesday through Friday. But his important visit was kept secret by the official Chinese media until the end of the tour on Friday due to the delicacy of the trip.
As part of his trip, he first traveled to Nyingchi, a strategically located city near the border with Arunachal Pradesh.
Xi went to the Nyingchi Railway Station on Thursday to inquire about the overall construction of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway and how the Lhasa-Nyingchi section has been operating since June 25.
It was the first time in recent years that a senior Chinese leader has visited a Tibetan border city. From there, he traveled to the provincial capital, Lhasa, on a newly launched high-speed train.
On Friday, he concluded his visit to the politically sensitive region of the Himalayas with a meeting with “representatives of the troops stationed in Tibet.”
“Xi met with representatives of the troops stationed in Tibet and called for efforts to strengthen military training and readiness in all aspects and contribute to the lasting stability, prosperity and development of Tibet,” the state news agency Xinhua reported.
However, the CCP-controlled Global Times tabloid said that Xi, in a meeting with the PLA, “stressed that local troops should fully step up their efforts to train soldiers and prepare for war and contribute to long-term stability and prosperity. Tibet”.
Xi’s first visit to Tibet came amid the current Indo-Chinese military tensions in eastern Ladakh.
Xinhua reported that Xi visited the Tibet Autonomous Region on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet, “for the first time in the history of the party and country.”
He congratulated on the 70th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet, visited officials and ordinary people of various ethnic groups, and conveyed the care of the CPC Central Committee to them, the report said.
He said that at present, Tibet is at a new historical starting point for its development, and it is necessary to maintain the leadership of the CCP and follow the path of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
Xi said that over the past 70 years, Tibet has made historic advances in the social system and achieved full economic and social development, while the people’s standard of living has improved significantly.
“It has been proven that without the CCP there would be no new China or new Tibet,” Xi said. “The guidelines and policies of the CPC Central Committee regarding work in Tibet are completely correct.”
China has been accused of suppressing cultural and religious freedom in the remote and mostly Buddhist region of the Himalayas. China denied the accusations.
At his meetings in Tibet, Xi stressed that “the basic principles governing religious activity, the CCP, respect the religious beliefs of the people, and adhere to the principle of independence and self-government in religious affairs” are fully observed.
Xinhua said in the report that he also stressed that he leads religious affairs in accordance with the law and guides Tibetan Buddhism to adapt to a socialist society.
After becoming president in 2013, Xi pursued a firm policy of tightening control over Tibet’s security. Beijing is taking harsh measures against Buddhist monks and followers of the Dalai Lama, who, despite his exile, remained a widely revered spiritual leader and revered by the Tibetans.
Xi also pushed the Tibetan government and military to strengthen border security by improving infrastructure in border villages, including building new homes for residents.
Xi’s policy towards Tibet includes the “Sinification” of Tibetan Buddhism, bringing it in line with the policies of the ruling Communist Party.