US embassy cable - 01STATE134673

CHINA/TIBET: HU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN? (01-17, 8/02/01)

Identifier: 01STATE134673
Wikileaks: View 01STATE134673 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 2001-08-03 21:03:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: CH PINR PGOV
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 032103Z AUG 01
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC DIPLOMATIC POSTS
AIT TAIPEI 0000
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//FPA//
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 134673 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 7/31/11 
TAGS: CH, PINR, PGOV 
SUBJECT: CHINA/TIBET: HU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN? 
(01-17, 8/02/01) 
 
NSC FOR PATTERSON, TIGHE, NSA FOR MINER, LONDON FOR HALL 
 
THE FOLLOWING INR VIEWPOINT WAS WRITTEN BY AN ANALYST IN 
THE OFFICE OF EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC ANALYSIS AND IS 
PROVIDED FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND COMMENT. 
 
(U) CLASSIFIED BY PAULA CAUSEY, OFFICE DIRECTOR INR/EAP. 
REASON: 1.5 (D) 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY. VICE PRESIDENT HU JINTAO'S JULY 17-23 
VISIT TO   TIBET WAS POLITICALLY SIGNIFICANT FOR AT LEAST 
THREE REASONS: IT CONFIRMED CURRENT POLICY; IT ASSOCIATED 
HU PERSONALLY WITH THE CURRENT RELATIVELY HARD-LINE 
APPROACH; AND IT DEMONSTRATED HIS HEALTH AND VITALITY. 
 
2. (C) VICE PRESIDENT HU JINTAO MADE A HIGHLY 
PUBLICIZED TRIP TO TIBET IN MID-JULY TO COMMEMORATE 
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF TIBET'S "PEACEFUL LIBERATION," 
WHICH ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE IN MAY.   SOME FOREIGN 
TIBET WATCHERS HAVE SPECULATED THAT HIS TRIP WAS 
DELAYED WHILE RENOVATIONS AND CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS 
WERE BEING COMPLETED IN LHASA. WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE 
TO SUGGEST THAT SECURITY CONCERNS MIGHT HAVE DELAYED 
THE TRIP. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE MASSIVE "NATIONAL 
UNITY TRIPOD" WHICH HU UNVEILED MAY NOT HAVE BEEN 
COMPLETED IN TIME, BUT THE MOST LIKELY EXPLANATION IS 
THAT HIS TRIP WAS TIMED TO REINFORCE THE MESSAGE OF 
THE FOURTH NATIONAL TIBET CONFERENCE IN JUNE. 
 
3. (C) "PEACEFUL LIBERATION" OR "BLOOD AND TEARS"? 
HU, IN A    VARIETY OF INSPECTION TOURS, MEET-AND- 
GREET OCCASIONS, AND         PHOTO OPS, REITERATED 
BEIJING'S POLICY LINE ARTICULATED AT THE CONFERENCE, 
WHICH WAS ATTENDED BY ALL SEVEN POLITBURO STANDING 
COMMITTEE MEMBERS. HIS KEYNOTE SPEECH AT THE LARGE- 
SCALE LHASA COMMEMORATIVE RALLY UNDERSCORED TIBET'S 
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND IMPROVED LIVING STANDARDS. 
IN THIS SPEECH AND IN AN ADDRESS TO OFFICIALS WORKING 
IN TIBET, HU ALSO CALLED FOR STRONG EFFORTS TO 
MAINTAIN STABILITY, SAYING TIBET WAS "A GEOGRAPHIC 
BATTLEFRONT FOR FIGHTING AGAINST [ETHNIC] SEPARATISM." 
HE DENOUNCED EFFORTS BY THE "DALAI CLIQUE" AND OTHER 
"ANTI-CHINA FORCES" TO UNDERMINE STABILITY, A HARD 
LINE DRAWN EVEN MORE CLEARLY BY A PUBLICIZED VISIT TO 
PLA, PEOPLE'S ARMED POLICE, AND SECURITY POLICE TROOPS 
IN TIBET. 
 
4. (C) PRC POLICY WAS GRAPHICALLY SHOWN BY THE 
PRESENTATION TO THE PLA GARRISON OF A SILK BANNER WITH 
CONGRATULATORY CHARACTERS WRITTEN BY PRESIDENT JIANG AND 
BY THE UNVEILING OF THE 3.5-TON, 15 METER-TALL "NATIONAL 
UNITY TRIPOD," WHICH ALSO BEARS AN INSCRIPTION BY JIANG. 
AN EXILE SPOKESMAN DENOUNCED THE TRIPOD--WHICH MAY HAVE 
BEEN DESIGNED TO REMIND VIEWERS OF THE "GOLDEN URN" 
WHICH BEIJING INSISTS MUST BE USED TO SELECT HIGH- 
RANKING RELIGIOUS OFFICIALS--AS AN "INSULT TO TIBETANS." 
THE SPOKESMAN DENOUNCED THE 50 YEARS OF CHINESE RULE AS 
A TIME OF "BLOOD AND TEARS" AND SAID THE ANNIVERSARY WAS 
NO CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION. 
 
5. (C) ET HU, BRUTE? HU'S REMARKS PLACE HIM FIRMLY AND 
UNEQUIVOCALLY BEHIND THE CENTRAL POLICIES ON TIBET. SOME 
OBSERVERS HOLD OUT HOPE THAT HU MIGHT HAVE MORE LIBERAL 
LEANINGS ON TIBETAN POLICY, HOPES FUELED BOTH BY HIS 
POPULIST APPROACH AS PARTY CHIEF OF POVERTY-STRICKEN 
GUIZHOU IN THE MID-1980S AND BY IMPRESSIONS HE CREATED 
BEFORE BEING ASSIGNED AS PARTY CHIEF IN TIBET IN 1988 AT 
THE HEIGHT OF ETHNIC UNREST IN THE REGION. SOME ALSO SAW 
IN HU'S LONG ABSENCES FROM TIBET DURING HIS TENURE AS 
PARTY CHIEF A SIGN THAT HE WAS NOT FULLY BEHIND THE HARD- 
LINE CRACKDOWN UNDERWAY AT THE TIME. HU MAY, IN FACT, 
HARBOR MORE LIBERAL LEANINGS, BUT HE GAVE NO HINT OF ANY 
DAYLIGHT BETWEEN HIMSELF AND OTHER CENTRAL LEADERS DURING 
THIS TRIP. TO DO SO, OF COURSE, WOULD ONLY SERVE TO 
UNDERCUT HIS CHANCES IN THE PARTY LEADERSHIP RESHUFFLE 
COMING IN THE FALL OF 2002. 
 
6. (C) I'M FINE, REALLY... HU'S RETURN TO TIBET FOR A 
GRUELING WEEK-LONG VISIT MAY ALSO HAVE BEEN INTENDED TO 
SHOW THAT HIS HEALTH IS ROBUST. HIS LENGTHY ABSENCES 
FROM TIBET DURING HIS TENURE AS PARTY SECRETARY WERE 
WIDELY BLAMED ON AN INABILITY TO ACCLIMATIZE TO THE HIGH 
ALTITUDE AND RIGOROUS LIVING CONDITIONS IN THE REGION. 
BY NOT ONLY RETURNING TO LHASA, BUT TRAVELING TO 
SHIGATSE AND MAKING NUMEROUS INSPECTION VISITS, THE 59- 
YEAR-OLD HU PROBABLY HOPED TO DEMONSTRATE THAT NO 
CONCERNS ABOUT HIS HEALTH SHOULD STAND IN THE WAY OF HIS 
SUCCEEDING JIANG AS PARTY CHIEF AND/OR PRESIDENT. 

(CCLARKE)(CONFIDENTIAL) 
 
POWELL 

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