The International Campaign for Tibet called today for continued sanctions against Chinese official Wang Junzheng following his appointment as the top Communist Party of China leader in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

China announced today Wang’s appointment as the party secretary in the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee, replacing Wu Yingjie. The announcement does not say when the change will take place but indicates that the Chinese authorities want to continue their repressive policies on the Tibetan people.

Wang Junzheng’s appointment as head of the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee indicates that the Chinese authorities intend to continue using an iron fist to control the Tibetan people,” said ICT, an advocacy group with offices in Washington, DC and Europe. “It is quite telling that China has never appointed a Tibetan to this most powerful post in the Tibet Autonomous Region since the occupation of Tibet began. This reflects the reality that despite over 60 years of occupation, the Chinese Communist Party has not been able to win over the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people.

“In an unprecedented, coordinated action in March this year,” ICT continued,“the European Union, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom all placed Wang on their sanctions list for human rights violations in Xinjiang (East Turkestan to Uyghurs). As he is transferred from there, ICT calls for his continued placement on the sanctions list, particularly as the EU and others may be reviewing their lists on an annual basis.

“ICT expects Wang to bring his experience to Tibet as part of the party’s Tibet-Xinjiang feedback loop. Chen Quanguo, his boss in Xinjiang, took his Tibet experience as the party secretary from 2011 to 2016 to Xinjiang, where he has led the Chinese government’s ongoing, horrifying genocide of the Uyghurs.”

The Tibet Autonomous Region spans about half of Tibet, a historically independent country that China has brutally occupied for more than six decades since forcing the Dalai Lama into exile.

Human rights violations

As the secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps—a state-owned economic and paramilitary organization—Wang has been accused of perpetrating human rights violations against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang.

For his involvement in these violations, Wang was put on an unprecedented coordinated sanctions list of the United States, Canada, Britain and the European Union in March 2021. The sanctions list subjects him to an asset freeze, and individuals and entities in those countries and regions cannot have any monetary transactions with him. Wang is also placed under a travel ban.

Wang’s background in Xinjiang might mean that his transfer to Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, indicates the Chinese authorities’ determination to continue stringent policies against the Tibetan people. China based scholar and historian Zhang Lifan reacted to Wang’s posting to the TAR saying on his twitter page, “A question: “Is the “iron fist governing of Xinjiang” that has been commended and the “re-education camp” experience being extended to Tibet? ……”

Tweet by Zhang Lifan

Zhang Lifan’s tweet reacting to the appointment of Wang Junzheng

Wang’s appointment as the top party boss in the TAR continues the Chinese authorities’ policy of not putting a Tibetan in the position. Wang is an ethnic Chinese from Shandong.

With this announcement, China has now announced the replacement of both the head of the TAR government (Che Dalha was replaced by Yan Jinhai) and the head of the TAR party operation (Wang replacing Wu Yingjie).

Brief biography of Wang Junzheng

Wang Junzheng, male, Han ethnicity, was born in 1963 in Linyi City, Shandong province. He graduated from Shandong University with a Bachelor Degree in 1985 and from People’s University of China with a Master Degree in 1988. He was student active-on-duty of Tsinghua University from 1998 to 2006 and gained an MBA doctorate degree from Tsinghua University in 2006.

He joined the Communist Party of China in 1987. From 2009 to 2012, he was secretary of the CPC Yunnan Province Lijiang City Committee. He served as vice governor of Hubei province in 2013.

In 2016 he became secretary of the Changchun CPC City Committee. In 2019 he was transferred to Xinjiang as the head of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission and oversaw law and order in the region.

In 2020, he replaced Sun Jinlong as political commissar of the notorious Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and chairman of the China Xinjiang Group.

He is an alternate member of the 19th CPC Central Committee.