Phakpalha Gelek Namgyal

Phakpalha Gelek Namgyal

Phakpalha Gelek Namgyal, a prominent Tibetan lama from Chamdo Jampaling Monastery, has been re-elected as chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Xinhua announced on January 15, 2003.

CPPCC and the National People’s Congress are the two main organizations below the Communist Party in China today. According to official Chinese documents, “The primary functions of the CPPCC are to conduct political consultations and democratic supervision, and organize its member parties, organizations and personages from various ethnic groups and walks of life to discuss and manage state affairs. All activities of the CPPCC are guided by the Constitution of the PRC.” However, observers say that CPPCC is at best a rubber stamp body with no real authority or influence.

The Chinese authorities have used the CPPCC as a means to incorporate prominent Tibetans — aristocrats and senior religious figures — as well as some Tibetans who have returned from exile into the governing system.

Following are the vice chairmen of the TAR CPPCC. Li Liguo (Chinese); Pasang Thondup; Lhomon Sonam Lhundup; Wangdu; Dhondup; Tsering Dolkar; Choekyab; Gyalpo; Drubkhang Thondup ; Khedup; Phuntsok; Zeng Zhongyi (Chinese); Yeshi Tenzin; Jing Yiming (Chinese); Qiao Yuanzhong (Chinese); Tsewang Palden; Tsemonling Tenzin Thinley; Dakmon Thinley Wangyal. Lobsang Dorjee has been elected as the Secretary-General.

Phakpalha is a vice chairman of the National People’s Congress.

In a related news, Sangye Gya, a former member of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, has been elected as the head of the Qinghai Province committee of the CPPCC. Qinghai Province is formed out of the traditional Tibetan areas of Kham and Amdo.

There are 11 vice chairmen: Cei Jule; Xun Xingcai; Han Shenggui; Wang Jiaoyu; Yue Shishu; Xina; Liu Guangzhong; Ma Fuhai; Bao Yezhi; Fu Wengcheng; Rinchen Namgyal. Shi Wangzhang is the Secretary-General. Only one of them can be clearly identified as a Tibetan.

There are no information about CPPCC elections in other Tibetan areas in Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan.

These elections seem to be in preparation for the CPPCC session to be held in Beijing in March. According to media reports, Jia Qinglin, a member of the Politburo, is slated to take over as the chairman of CPPCC from Li Ruihuan.