It has been a persistent position of the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet that “strong border is a political responsibility.” In this context, high-ranking CCP officials have been unusually active in the political life of the whole Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in summer of 2023.
Part of the Belt and Road Network?
Following the “standardization of names in Southern Tibet,” the TAR People’s Government announced that Milin County of Nyingtri (Linzhi) and Tsona County of Lhoka (Shannan) will be elevated to city status. These are two very important border states. By granting them city status, the administration in Lhasa of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) now has direct administrative control over them.
Nonetheless, the fact that the administrative promotion is unwarranted stands out. For starters, each city has a population of about 25,000. This suggests that Beijing’s decision to elevate their rank was motivated by bigger geopolitical considerations. Most notably, its plans for Tibet and its extensive border with India.
Border counties Lhoka and Shigatse were allegedly inspected by the Deputy Secretary and Executive Vice Chairman of TAR People’s Governments. Plans for a South Asian Grand Corridor were purportedly considered during this assessment. Many people see this as somewhat of an offshoot of the larger Belt and Road Initiative.
Living It Up, as It Were Faster logistics, infrastructure, and supporting facilities are a proof of direct administrative authority, says the CCP. This is consistent with the Xiaokang ideal of a “well-off life” popular in China. The Book of Songs, China’s first collection of poetry, dates back more than two thousand years and is where the idea was originally discussed.
Deng Xiaoping previously used the term Xiaokang to characterize China’s rapid development. After that, the 12th CCP National Congress in 1982 made Xiaokang’s realization a priority. After then Xiaokang became part of the national three-stage strategy for economic growth.
Beijing may be getting ready for “any border situation,” according to a detailed examination of recent events. The Party Committee and Propaganda Department cadre in the TAR have been working around the clock. Importantly, it has been focusing on the Tibetan border prefectures and counties. According to reports, higher-ups have been making the populace aware of the need to be on guard “for any initiative or periods of tension.”
Claiming a New Name
A new list of 11 “Sinicized” geographical names of localities in the Indian northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh was released in April 2023 by the CCP-controlled daily tabloid publication Global Times. This is what Beijing calls “Southern Tibet.” Ministry of Civil Affairs of China has “standardized official names” in Chinese characters in Zangnan (China’s name for Arunachal Pradesh).
They also said the “standardization” was in line with State Council, China’s cabinet, standards on geographical names. Chinese, Tibetan, and Pinyin versions of the announcement were also made available. It caused a surge of what can only be described as “nationalism” on Chinese social media.