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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Meng Jianzhu visits Kirti Monastery

December 19, 2011

Meng Jianzhu, China’s Minister for Public Security, visited Kirti Monastery in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture during a tour of Sichuan Province in late November. Nine of the 13 self-immolations to have taken place in Tibet since February 2009 were by monks or former monks from Kirti Monastery. The monastery has been the target of a severe security crackdown since March 2008, when at least 10 peaceful protestors were shot dead outside the monastery by Chinese security forces.

Aside from a July 2011 visit to Lhasa by Xi Jinping, assumed to be the next president of China, to address celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the “peaceful liberation of Tibet”, Meng is one of the most senior central government officials to visit anywhere in Tibet since he himself went to Lhasa in late March 2008 in the immediate aftermath of the March 10 protests. (See ICT report, "Tibetan Protests Continue and Spread Further: Official and Estimated Detentions Surpass 2,000," March 27, 2008.) Meng also sits on the Central Tibet Work Coordination Working Group, a body of at least nine senior government and Party officials tasked with reviewing central government policy implementation in Tibet. (See ICT report, "Tibet at a Turning Point," p. 111, August 2008.)

His tour to Sichuan included a visit to a police station in Ngaba County – where Kirti Monastery is located – as well as visiting a police station within another monastery in Marthang (Chinese: Hongyuan) County.

The only report of his visit observed by ICT, published on the Ministry of Public Security’s website (In Chinese: “Meng Jianzhu emphasizes while inspecting Sichuan,” December 1, 2011) makes no mention of the self-immolations or other protests in the region, and he is instead quoted at length praising army, paramilitary police and ordinary police for “fighting hard on the frontline of upholding stability.”

He continued, “For many years, you comrades have fulfilled your duties, been brave and resolute and unafraid of hardship, and by sweating and toiling to promote ethnic unity and uphold social stability, you have made an important contribution. You have obeyed the Party, served the people, been dedicated, and been a corps that at key moments has been reliable, loyal, winning, and one that the Party and people can completely trust – loyal guards, worthy of the Party and the people.”

In what were termed as “discussions” with monks at Kirti Monastery, Meng claimed that historically, Tibetan Buddhism has been a major force for “unifying the Motherland,” and urged the monks “to continue the glorious tradition of Love the Country Love Religion and actively dedicate your strengths to ethnic unity, economic development and social progress.” There is no indication that Meng’s visit was used to develop any genuine understanding of the crisis in the Ngaba area, where the authorities’ hardline approach has created a climate of terror and continued tension.

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