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China’s Xi visits Tibet amid rising controls over faith

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BEIJING (AP) — Chinese language chief Xi Jinping has made a uncommon go to to Tibet as authorities tighten controls over the Himalayan area’s conventional Buddhist tradition, accompanied by an accelerated drive for financial growth and modernized infrastructure.

State media reported Friday that Xi visited websites within the capital Lhasa, together with the Drepung Monastery, Barkhor Avenue and the general public sq. on the base of the Potala Palace that was residence to the Dalai Lamas, Tibet’s conventional non secular and temporal leaders.

Xi’s go to was beforehand unannounced publicly and it wasn’t clear whether or not he had already returned to Beijing.

China has in recent times stepped up controls over Buddhist monasteries and expanded training within the Chinese language quite than Tibetan language. Critics of such insurance policies are routinely detained and might obtain lengthy jail phrases, particularly if they’ve been convicted of affiliation with the 86-year-old Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since fleeing Tibet throughout an abortive rebellion in opposition to Chinese language rule in 1959.

China doesn’t acknowledge the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile primarily based within the hillside city of Dharmsala, and accuses the Dalai Lama of looking for to separate Tibet from China.

In the meantime, home tourism has expanded massively within the area throughout Xi’s 9 years in workplace and new airports, rail traces and highways constructed.

China’s official Xinhua Information Company mentioned that whereas in Lhasa on Thursday, Xi sought to “be taught in regards to the work on ethnic and non secular affairs, the conservation of the traditional metropolis, in addition to the inheritance and safety of Tibetan tradition.”

A day earlier, he visited town of metropolis of Nyingchi to examine ecological preservation work on the basin of the Yarlung Zangbo River, the higher course of the Brahmaputra, on which China is constructing a controversial dam.

He additionally visited a bridge and inspected a mission to construct a railway from southwestern China’s Sichuan province to Tibet earlier than driving Tibet’s first electrified rail line from Nyingchi to Lhasa, which went into service final month.

Xi’s go to could also be timed to coincide with the seventieth anniversary of the 17 Level Settlement, which firmly established Chinese language management over Tibet, which many Tibetans say had been successfully unbiased for many of its historical past. The Dalai Lama says he was pressured into signing the doc and has since repudiated it.

It additionally comes amid deteriorating relations between China and India, which share a prolonged however disputed border with Tibet.

Lethal encounters final yr between Indian and Chinese language troops alongside their disputed high-altitude border dramatically altered the already fraught relationship between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

That seems to have prompted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to want the Dalai Lama properly on his birthday this month on Twitter and mentioned he additionally spoke to him by cellphone. That was the primary time Modi has publicly confirmed talking with the Dalai Lama since changing into prime minister in 2014.

In an announcement, the advocacy group Worldwide Marketing campaign for Tibet referred to as Xi’s go to “a sign of how excessive Tibet continues to determine in Chinese language coverage issues.”

The way in which through which the go to was organized and the “full absence of any speedy state media protection of the go to point out that Tibet continues to be a delicate problem and that the Chinese language authorities wouldn’t have confidence of their legitimacy among the many Tibetan folks,” the group primarily based in Washington, D.C., mentioned.

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