Political directives and policies issued by the Chinese government have a way of taking on a whole new meaning by the time they reach Tibet, and President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign may be the latest one to
undergo that transformation. In statements made by party officials, the corruption campaign is being interpreted as another way to attack religion and those who hold religious beliefs.
Tibet’s ethnic Chinese party boss Chen Quanguo vowed to crack down on officials who “profess no religious belief but secretly believe” and promised to go after officials who revere the Dalai Lama, listen to his sermons,
and send their children to exile Tibetan schools in India.
Xi’s campaign to combat deep-seated corruption since 2012 has resulted in thousands of officials being investigated and jailed for misuse of power and stealing billions, but high ranking officials stationed in Tibet have largely escaped the campaign so far.
Since 2012 only 15 minor party officials in Tibet have been investigated and punished for relatively minor embezzlement and corruption schemes, leading some to comment that party officials in Tibet are deliberately misinterpreting Xi’s corruption campaign
by deflecting focus onto often imagined “separatist threats”, and thus shielding themselves from the very real corruption investigations.