Zhang Qingli (张庆黎), the hardline governor of Tibet who oversaw some of the deadliest riots in the province, has been replaced, reports Xinhua News Agency.
The report did not identify which new position the governor was moving on to, and neither did it give any reasons for the replacement. But Zhang has completed five years in the seat, which is “roughly the standard term for provincial officials”, according to the AP. It is, after all, a highly stressful position.
Longtime readers of Shanghaiist will remember him as the man who once famously proclaimed:
“The Communist Party is like the parent to the Tibetan people, and it is always considerate about what the children need. The Central Party Committee is the real Buddha for Tibetans.”
He has also previously called the Dalai Lama a “wolf in monk’s robes” and the “scum of Buddhism.”
Zhang’s replacement is Chen Quanguo, the former governor of Hebei Province, a region not exactly known for being home to a large non-Han population, so he probably has little, if any, experience in dealing with minority issues.
Chen’s move to Lhasa is unlikely to signal any change in China’s Tibet policies, and there is no good reason so far to believe he won’t continue Zhang’s magic formula of harsh rhetoric, tight security and an iron-fisted rule.
Read more about Tibet here.