"With economic development at the heart, with ethnic unity as the guarantee, with improving people's lives as our starting point, we must grasp tightly to development and stability as the two major issues," Chen said in Thursday's speech following his appointment.
The former Han-Boss and communist party chief in the Himalayan region, Zhang, commented on the 2008 peaceful national mass protests in Tibet. He has said that dealing with alleged separatist forces in Tibet is more complicated than fighting the Uighurs in Eastern Turkistan and required a different strategy. "China is locked in a "life-and-death battle" with Tibetans and their supporters," he added.
During his six years of dictatorship power in the region, the region's outgoing highest-ranking Han-official, Zhang, made verbal attacks on the Nobel Peace Laureate, the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Nearly 300 Tibetans were killed across Tibet as military crackdown escalated. Many people were given harsh prison sentences for their slogans like; "Long Live the Dalai Lama," "We want Freedom in Tibet," "Return the Dalai Lama to Tibet," and "Ensure human rights in Tibet." Many of those who protested were executed.
China has a system without democratic elections at the 21st century, eight more top officials will be appointed with the current Vice-President and Vice-Premier to be the highest next leaders of Red China. Despite the early change in tone, there is no reason to believe the move will herald any major change in China's policies for Tibet, which are set at the highest government levels in Beijing. Still, observers say Chen is an economist who is unlikely to display Zhang's level of ideological zeal.
Zhang, 60, is being moved to another position that official reports did not identify. No reason was given for the move, although Zhang has served five years in the position, roughly a standard term for provincial officials.
Chen is a longtime party official in the eastern province of Henan who last served as governor of Hebei province surrounding Beijing. Like all of Tibet's previous party chiefs, Chen is not Tibetan but another member of China's majority Han ethnic group.
For the Tibetan people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the pure spiritual leader after handing over his "legitimate political authority" to their democratically elected leader, Dr. Lobsang Sangay.