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12 june 2012 005Dharamshala: Zhu Weiqun, part-time director of the Office of the Central Tibet Work Coordination Group and Vice-Minister of the United Front work Department since 2009, has been replaced by Zhang Yijiong. Zhang, 67, is Han Chinese by nationality, as Zhu was.

Both men have been long-time members of the communist party. Zhang will effectively take over Zhu position as the Chinese governments' representative in talks with the Tibetan government in exile based in Dharamshala.

Zhu had a long career with the communist party in China. He joined in 1970 as a 33 year old after getting a degree in journalism in the Chinese academy of Social Sciences and a master's degree in the same college.

Zhu worked his way up the administrative ladder and fulfilled many positions of influence and power in the intervening years. In June 2004 he was elected Vice- President and Secretary General of the China Tibetan Culture Protection and Development Association.

In 2008 Zhu became Vice Minister of the CPC Central Committee United Front Work Department (chair the executive work of the ministerial level), a position that Zhang Yijiong has just replaced him as.

The position, amongst other duties, negotiates with the envoys of the Tibetan government in exile in regard to talks on Tibet's future within China

Zhang is a native of Shanghai and joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1976. He was Deputy Secretary of CPC Tibet Autonomous Region Committee from 2006 to 2010.

On June 1st, 2012, two of the special envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen resigned citing frustration and a lack of positive response from their Chinese counterparts in recent talks.

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