| 15 April 2024, Monday |

China’s Xi visits Tibet for first time as President

According to the official Xinhua news agency, China’s President Xi Jinping visited the Tibet Autonomous Region on July 21-22, marking his first official visit as the country’s leader.

Xi arrived in Nyingchi on Wednesday and took a train to Lhasa the next day, passing along a part of the high-elevation railway connecting the hilly border region with Sichuan province.

According to Xinhua, Xi visited a monastery and the Potala Palace Square in Lhasa, where he “inspected ethnic religion” and Tibetan cultural heritage protection. The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, lives in exile and has been labeled a dangerous separatist by Beijing.

He also looked at rural revitalization and environmental conservation in Nyingchi.

Tibet, which lies on China’s border with India, is regarded by Beijing as being of essential strategic importance. Last year, on their disputed border in the Himalayas, China and India had their most deadly battle in decades, with deaths on both sides.

Xinhua released photos that show Zhang Youxia, a vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission and a senior general in the People’s Liberation Army, accompanied Xi on the trip.

When Xi was vice president, he visited Tibet in 2011.

Beijing dispatched soldiers to Tibet in 1950 for what it calls a “peaceful liberation,” and the region remains tense.

  • Reuters