New law enforcer to get tough on Tibetans

A hardline police enforcer has been installed as the new Communist Party secretary in the restive region of Aba, in Sichuan province, where many Tibetans have set themselves on fire recently in protest over Chinese rule.

Liu Zuoming, 54, is a law-and-order apparatchik who has worked his way up through the bureaucracy. His appointment comes as Beijing tries to bring the Tibetan areas to heel following violence and unrest in the region. He has called for a hard line against unrest, but also pledged to try to raise living standards.

On the local government website, he told cadres after his appointment at the weekend that they must "correctly handle the relationship between stability and development. There can be not the slightest relaxation on stability, nor the slightest paralysis or laxity".

Although Sichuan is not part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, it has a Tibetan population of about a million.

Mr Liu is ethnic Han Chinese, which is the dominant ethnic group in China. Tibetans in Aba are angry at what they see as efforts by the Han majority to swamp Tibetan culture and there has been a wave of self-immolations by Buddhist monks and nuns. There have also been street demonstrations, with shootings and killings.