BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s ruling Communist Party appointed a new senior official on Sunday to run Tibet, considered one of the country’s most politically sensitive positions due to periodic anti-Chinese unrest in the devoutly Buddhist Himalayan region.
The official Xinhua news agency named Wu Yingjie as Tibet’s next party secretary. New leaders were also appointed in two other key provinces, part of a broad reshuffle ahead of an important party meeting next year.
Wu has worked almost his entire career in Tibet, according to his official resume, having previously served as a deputy governor and propaganda chief, among other roles.
Wu, like his predecessor Chen Quanguo, belongs to China’s majority Han Chinese ethnic group. Xinhua said Chen would be taking another position, without giving further details.
Communist troops marched in and took control of Tibet in 1950 in what Beijing calls a “peaceful liberation”. Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 following a failed uprising against the Chinese.
China says its rule has bought prosperity and stability, rejecting claims from Tibetan exiles and rights groups of widespread repression.
Xinhua said new party bosses had also been appointed to serve in the strategically located southwestern province of Yunnan and the populous southern province of Hunan.
In Yunnan, which sits of the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, Chen Hao replaced Li Jiheng, while in Hunan, Du Jiahao has assumed the party’s top job, Xinhua said.
Both Chen and Du worked with President Xi Jinping when he ran China’s commercial capital, Shanghai, as its Communist Party chief for a year in 2007, according to their resumes.
The party will hold a once-every-five-years congress next autumn where Xi is expected to further cement his hold on power by seeking to appoint close allies into the party’s ruling inner core, the politburo and the politburo standing committee.
The year leading up to that will see Xi appoint more new people into major provincial and government positions, sources with ties to the leadership say.
(Story refiles to fix typo in fourth paragraph, drops the word ‘rather’.)
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Helen Popper