from Paolo Salom
First visit by a Chinese president in 31 years: but the news of the trip was given only when it was nearing its end
Welcomed like an emperor: red carpet under the steps of his plane and dancers in traditional dress to welcome him. Xi Jinping’s semi-secret trip to Tibet – the first by a Chinese president in 31 years – started Wednesday: but only yesterday the official news agency Xinhua gave the news.
Why so much caution? The statements of the New Helmsman seem to seal the reached normality of an autonomous province that continues to dream of independence in the enclosure of houses and climbing temples on the Roof of the world. But for Xi, according to reports Xinhua, the full implementation of the Chinese Communist Party guidelines is the key to governing Tibet in a new era and to writing a new chapter of lasting stability and high-quality development for the region. Xi also remarked that it has been shown that without the CCP there would have been neither the new China nor the new Tibet.. Not only that: the policies of the CCP are completely correct. Therefore it is useless to expect changes in the future also because the visit is linked to an extremely symbolic moment, experienced by Chinese and Tibetans in a radically opposite way: the 70th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet. In 1951 it was Mao’s armies that had climbed the Himalayas for bring back to the Motherland that riotous region it had earned l’iindependence after the fall of the Qing Dynasty (1912), playing above all on the rivalries of the Western Powers engaged in the Great Asian game.
Xi went to Tibet for the first time since he was consecrated to the top of power in 2013. With his sudden arrival, he wanted to underline the indissoluble bond trto the Autonomous Region and China, with Beijing as the sole holder of its future fortunes. Which are certainly not in the direction of greater sovereignty (independence is a word that carries directly in front of a court): Xi first of all inspected, in Nyingchi, the works of the new high-speed railway line destined to connect Tibet to Sichuan, the province that rests on the buttresses of the plateau and the natural gateway to the rest of the country.
The next day, by train, the president arrived in Lhasa, the provincial capital. Accato him, Liu He, adviser for the economy, and Zhang Youxia, vice president of the Military Commission (of which the same Xi supreme guide), a way to emphasize the antithetical paths that Tibet could take: development supported by the central government, or even tighter military control.
In Lhasa, the president even took a walk along the shopping street he looks at to the overhanging Potala, the palace – today a museum – from where for centuries the successive reincarnations of the Dalai Lama have governed, until the escape of the last, Tenzin Gyatso, fourteenth in the line and current spiritual leader of the Tibetans, in exile since 1959 in India. Xi was recognized and greeted with repeated cries of good health. But the central artery of the old city in the videos that circulated did not appear very crowded. Tibet still remains a land of mysteries and possible surprises.
July 23, 2021 (change July 23, 2021 | 21:15)