fredag 30. juli 2021

Xi Jinping in Tibet: A Sideshow About Water

President Xi Jinping made a surprise, unannounced visit to Tibet last week, and few Tibetans saw him. It was a quickly but carefully staged sideshow, heavily controlled by State Security. Tibetans in a militarized Lhasa were ordered to remain in their homes. Only CCP loyalists with special cards were allowed outside, their role being to dress in fancy costumes like extras in a movie, and hail Xi Jinping for the benefit of China’s state television. “It was like curfew, a Tibetan housewife said, those who were caught in the streets without the card were taken to the police stations.”

Xi also visited the holy places of Tibetan Buddhism, for photo opportunities with mandatorily cheering monks. Bitter Winter was told that he repeated the usual slogans that monks should love the Party and follow the Party, and warned that any relations with “separatists” abroad and the “Dalai [Lama] clique” will not be tolerated.

This is repeated to Tibetans by local CCP bosses every day, and would hardly have been a reason for a visit by Xi Jinping. Party insiders in Tibet believe that the real motivation behind the surprise visit was water. “Make no mistake, a bureaucrat who prefers to remain anonymous told Bitter Winter, the important visit was to Nyingchi, not to Lhasa.”