Stability in Tibet stressed

Updated: 2012-02-07 14:56


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LHASA - The authorities of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region have stressed the efforts to maintain stability following a series of self-immolations in other Tibetan regions and the coming of a sensitive anniversary of past unrests.

In a televised conference, a top regional security official on Monday warned that maintaining stability at the moment is a utterly important but gravely challenging task.

Hao Peng, secretary of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Tibet Committee, ordered local officials to boost security patrol, keep high alert, enhance personnel management, and tighten the control of the society.

Hao also demanded increased security measures in Tibetan monasteries and addressing to the disputes and grudges which might upset stability.

"Officials should widely visit impoverished herding families and monks in the monasteries to help them solve problems and do good deeds for them," he said.

Hao stressed again the need for rapid economic development to solve the hard problems in maintaining stability.

Tibet has achieved remarkable progress over the past few decades. The region's gross domestic product (gdp) hit 60.5 billion yuan ($9.68 billion) last year, rising 12.6 percent from a year earlier.

In January, Tibet announced that it has become the first Chinese region to extend its old-age pension coverage to all senior citizens.

The government also pledged to spend 1.42 billion yuan ($225 million) in health services in 2012, up 31.3 percent from a year earlier, providing free medical services for farmers and herders and improving the medical insurance system for urban resident.

But the authorities accused exiled Tibetan groups led by the 14th Dalai Lama of sabotaging Tibet's development by instigating unrests across the region.

A string of self-immolations broke out in Tibetan areas in the provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai bordering Tibet in recent months. And at least two mob attacks on police offices were reported in Sichuan's volatile Tibetan areas late January, leaving at least two people dead and more than a dozen injured.

Since then, authorities in Tibet have ordered tightened security to maintain stability in the region.

The regional government's supervision bureau on Monday said in a statement that party cadres and officials who hesitate to enforce stability-maintaining policies would be immediately sacked.

"Cadres and officials who walk away from their duties, chicken out of actions at crucial times, or who defy stability-maintaining policies shall be immediately removed from the posts, pending punishment," it warned.

The supervision bureau said it recently found two cases in which officials had neglected their duty, but no details of the cases were made public.

The tightened security also came as an anniversary of deadly riots four years ago draws near. On March 14, 2008, unrests broke out in the regional capital, Lhasa, and later spilled into other Tibetan regions, leaving 19 people dead and many businesses, residences, shops and vehicles damaged or looted.

The government blamed the Dalai Lama, who went into exile in India in March 1959, for coordinating the violence behind the scenes.

A top official from Lhasa recently warned of an "arduous" fight with the Dalai Lama group and ordered tightened security in the city.

Qizala, secretary of the Lhasa municipal committee of the Communist Party of China, said Lhasa is a top priority as it is often chosen by overseas separatists as a prime target for sabotage and infiltration.

He ordered the region's border checkpoints to require all people entering Tibet to carry identification starting from March 1 and urged officials to unite monks to promote the stability of the region's monasteries.