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26thaugust2011berlinBerlin: - Friday, 26 Agust, the Chinese government withdrew Zhang Qingli, longtime party secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), from his post. The replacement for the region's highest ranking official will be former Hebei Governor Chen Quanguo.

"Under the reign of well-known hardliner Zhang Qingli the Tibetan people suffered the worst times since 1989", says Tibet Initiative Deutschland's chairman Wolfgang Grader. "Zhang came into office 2006 during a period of relative peace. Two years later a large scale uprising erupted that quickly spread all across Tibet".

Like all prior Party Secretaries in Tibet, Chen Quanguo is a member of the majority Han nationality. He has a Master's degree in economics and joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1976. In 1998 he became Henan Province's vice-Governor until he was appointed Governor of Hebei Province in 2010. Furthermore Chen serves as an Alternate Member of the Communist Party's 17th Central Committee.

"Chen's appointment can be seen as a promotion", says Grader. "In China this post is generally seen as a litmus test for future Party leaders". A good example is current President Hu Jintao, who served as TAR Party Secretary from 1988 until 1992.

The Tibet Initiative Deutschland now hopes the tense political situation in the Tibet Autonomous Region will defuse and the borders to Nepal, that have repeatedly been closed off in the past, to remain open.

The Tibet Initiative Deutschland (TID), founded in 1989, advocates for the Tibetan people's right to self-determination and the protection of human rights in occupied Tibet. With 60 regional groups and nearly 2,000 members throughout Germany, the TID is a strong voice for Tibet.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com