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pemaThe Tibetan official who was seen as a leading director of the harsh crackdown against the 2008 March protests in Lhasa was today appointed the deputy party secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).

Pema Thinley, 58, was formerly the executive vice chairman of TAR before today’s promotion. The report, which came in from the China Daily on Thursday, said that Thinley was named the vice secretary of the Region’s Party committee.

Thinley’s appointment was perhaps predictable but controversial, nonetheless. His notoriety among Tibetans may have started after his involvement against the March 2008 protests, but it continued well into last year when, in April 2009 during the confrontation between Tibetan protesters and Chinese security forces at Markham, a group of angry Tibetans outright ignored Thinley’s efforts to negotiate. Security guards had to escort Thinley back to Lhasa so as to avoid conflict.

Now, as the defending demonstrators from the March 2008 protests are churning through the Chinese court systems, Thinley has been quoted as urging “the usage of law as a tool to strike back at the enemies” (Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy). But it seems the jury is still out as to which “enemy” Thinley is referring.

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