The top government official in Tibet has ordered all cadres in the region to be ready for duty around the clock next month in a bid to safeguard stability in the Himalayan region during the anniversaries of several politically sensitive events.
Padma Choling, the chairman of the Tibetan regional government, made the remarks during a meeting attended by senior officials on Monday - the last day of a week-long Tibetan New Year holiday that started on February 21, the Tibet Daily reported yesterday.
Parts of Sichuan, Yunan, Gansu and Qinghai with large Tibetan populations are also under the spotlight after more than 20 monks, nuns and other Tibetans set themselves on fire in the past year in protests calling for religious freedom and opposing Beijing's rule.
Padma Choling was quoted by the newspaper as warning all leading Communist Party and government officials to properly fulfil their mission, take good care of their agency and their subordinates, and take every possible step to prevent any destabilising event, big or small.
He also urged watchdog agencies to step up their security inspection work and hold those found absent from their posts without official approval or derelict in their duties responsible in accordance with party disciplinary procedures.
On February 19, just three days ahead of the Tibetan New Year's Day, an 18-year-old set himself on fire outside a monastery in Sichuan's Aba Tibetan autonomous prefecture after shouting 'free Tibet' and calling for the 'return of the Dalai Lama'.
March has been a politically sensitive time for millions of Tibetans at home and abroad since their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled the Tibetan capital Lhasa and went into exile in India on March 10, 1959, following a failed military uprising against Communist Party rule that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.
On March 14, 2008, mobs of angry Tibetans torched shops and killed nearly 20 shop-keepers and passers-by in the heart of Lhasa. Foreigners have been barred from entering Tibetan-populated areas next month and restrictions have also been imposed on ethnic Tibetans planning to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region.
The number of cadres from Tibet's Chamdo region who were fired for leaving their posts at a sensitive time earlier this month