Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping vowed to crush any attempt to undermine stability in Tibet in a speech on Tuesday marking 60 years since China cemented control over the remote Himalayan region.
Mr Xi spoke a day after the exiled Dalai Lama, the region’s spiritual leader, concluded a visit to the United States during which he was welcomed warmly by President Barack Obama, angering China, which labels the monk a ‘separatist’.
‘We should fight against separatist activities by the Dalai group… and take measures to address root causes, and smash any attempt to undermine stability in Tibet and the national unity of the motherland,’ Mr Xi said.
Mr Xi, widely expected to take over as Chinese president by 2013, addressed an audience of thousands assembled on the central square of the Tibetan capital Lhasa in a speech broadcast live on national television.
Speaking beneath the iconic Potala palace, home of Tibet’s past theocratic rulers, Mr Xi praised the Communist Party’s leadership in the region and promised even more of the rapid development that has angered many Tibetans who fear their unique Buddhist culture is being swamped.