China’s Xi visits Tibet for first time as president

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Tibet, on China’s border with India, is seen as having critical strategic importance to Beijing. Last year China and India saw the most serious clash in decades on their disputed border in the Himalayas, with deaths on both sides.

Photos released by Xinhua show Xi was accompanied by Zhang Youxia, a vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission and a senior general in the People’s Liberation Army.

Xi was last in Tibet in 2011, when he was vice president.

Beijing sent troops into Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and maintains a heavy security presence in the region, which has been prone to unrest.