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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Ethnic repression in Tibet masterminded by faceless trio

March 24, 2008

Michael Sheridan, Far East Correspondent
The Sunday Times
March 23, 2008

The architects of Chinese repression in Tibet are three senior
bureaucrats little known to the outside world but destined to be the
focus of condemnation from human rights groups in the months ahead.

China preserves the facade of an autonomous regional government and has
paraded its ethnic Tibetan figureheads over the past week. Chinese
researchers say they are political nonentities.

The real mastermind of Chinese policy towards the restive ethnic
minorities is a 67-year-old lifetime communist functionary named Wang
Lequan.

Wang has proclaimed himself to be the top terrorist target in China.
Nominally, he heads the party in Xinjiang, which, like Tibet, is a vast,
remote and resource-rich region troubled by separatism.
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However, Wang sits on the powerful politburo in Beijing and has assumed
overall direction of policy in both places. He devised the model that
has stifled Muslim culture in Xinjiang, staged political trials and
executions, poured in millions of Chinese settlers and extracted mineral
and energy resources to feed the economy.

Wang almost never gives interviews and operates behind the scenes, but
on March 10 he gave away the extent of his responsibility by telling
China Central Broadcasting: “No matter what nationality, no matter who
it is, wreckers, separatists and terrorists will be smashed by us.
There’s no doubt about that.”

His henchman, now applying the master’s methods in Tibet, is Zhang
Qingli, the region’s sharp-tongued party secretary. Zhang is the man who
called the Dalai Lama “a wolf in monk’s clothes, a devil with a human
face”. He rose up the hierarchy in Xinjiang and was transferred to Tibet
in 2005 as a reward for his loyalty.

He accelerated campaigns against Tibetan culture and religion, brought
in more settlers and stepped up the commercial exploitation of Tibet’s
huge reserves of raw materials.

Zhang is on record as saying that “those who do not love the motherland
are not qualified to be human beings”.

The third most influential figure is Li Dezhu, the party’s racial
theoretician. Until recently the head of its innocuous-sounding Ethnic
Affairs Commission, Li wrote the textbook on destroying independent
cultures and disintegrating religious minorities by promoting materialism.

In 2007 he elaborated the theory of what he called “cultural security”
for China in an article in a party journal called Seeking Truth. In it
he unfolded a radical change in Chinese policy, stating that its aim was
no longer to preserve minority cultures such as the Tibetans but to
refashion them.

Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch says Li is the first leader
explicitly to state that the problem of minorities would be
“definitively solved” by mass Chinese migration.
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