Tibet’s political leader, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, welcomed China experts from Tibet, the United States (US), Canada, Taiwan, India, and China to the event at the Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA’s) staff mess, where they will discuss the direction in which the soon to be Chinese president, Xi Jinping, elected during the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCPs) 18th Party Congress last month, will steer the home of the world’s second largest economy.
Welcoming the international scholars, Dr Sangay said: “Your expertise will help us prepare and think through how we should prepare ourselves in the coming months and years.
“The changes in Chinese leadership will have global implications, and implications for India as well as for the Tibetan people.”
Discussing the representation of China’s minority ethnic groups, including Tibetans, in both the CCP’s Politburo (a group of 25 people who oversee the party) and its Central Committee (the CCP’s highest authority comprising 350 members), he said: “In the last Politburo there used to be at least one minority representative. In this Politburo, there is none. What does this mean?
“In the present Central Committee, there are 39 representatives from (ethnic) minorities, of these only 10 are permanent members. What does this mean?
“In the 17th Party Congress there used to be 16 permanent members in the Central Committee, of (ethnic) minorities, including two Tibetans.
“Minorities in China represent eight per cent of the population, but now membership in the Central Committee has decreased to below five per cent. Does that reflect their overall outlook towards minorities if they cannot even have a token representation in the Central Committee, far less in the Politburo group? Does the Chinese leadership see minority issues as resolved?
“We would like to hear from the experts here at a micro level.”
Outlining some of the other main questions to be discussed, the Tibet Policy Institute, described by Dr Sangay as “Tibet’s number one think tank”, which organized the conference, entitled ‘Leadership Transition in China: Implications for the Chinese, Tibetans and Others’, said in a statement: “China is in the midst of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.
“Wen Jiabao, the current prime minster, has called for the absolute necessity of political reforms for China to sustain its impressive economic growth.
“Li Yuanchao, head of the Organisation Department, joins the chorus by recommending that the authorities ‘comply with the will of the people.’
“Will the new Chinese leadership translate these sentiments into policy to steer China towards greater transparency and openness? Or will the new leaders adopt a don’t-rock-the-boat attitude?
“What are the Tibetan perspectives on the new Chinese leadership?” he added.
“What are their hopes and fears?”
Speakers will include US lawyer, television analyst and author of The Coming Collapse of China, Dr Gordon Chang, Taiwan’s former Deputy Minister of National Defence and author of China’s Nuclear Weapons Strategy, Professor Chong-Pin Lin, and Visiting Professor of Modern International Relations and International Law at Princeton University’s Institute of Advanced Study, Michael van Walt van Praag.