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WASHINGTON, May 6--Chinese authorities have tapped two new leaders of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) government and could install them at any time, Radio Free Asia (RFA) has learned.

The change appears to be aimed at handing control of Tibet to officials whom Chinese President Hu Jintao already knows and trusts, according to sources who asked not to be named. The rapid spread of the deadly SARS virus through far-flung Chinese provinces and autonomous regions could hasten the change, they told RFA�s Tibetan service.

The authorities would replace Guo Jinlong with Yang Chuantang in the number one spot, as secretary of the TAR Communist Party. Yang is currently deputy secretary. It would also replace Raidi (eds: one name) with Jampa Phuntsok in the number two position, as chairman of the Standing Committee of the TAR People's Congress.

Jampa Phuntsok is currently vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the TAR People's Congress. Raidi will move to Beijing to take up a new post as vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Both of the new leaders are expected to continue the Chinese government's current policies toward Tibet, which encourage economic modernization but keep a tight rein on political and religious activities.

Some analysts expect Beijing to appoint a new official to the number three position, as governor of Tibet, as well.

No further details were immediately available.

Chinese President Hu Jintao served from 1988-1993 as party secretary in Tibet, where he was charged with running the TAR after anti-Chinese riots there. Hu imposed martial law in 1989 and took a hard line against subsequent uprisings.

Yang Chuantang, designated as the new secretary of the TAR Communist Party, was transferred to the TAR to become its vice governor in 1993. He later became executive governor of the region and a deputy secretary. Jampa Phuntsok, a Tibetan, served as Communist Party secretary for Chamdo Prefecture (in Chinese, Changdu Zhuanqu) and was later transferred to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, as Lhasa City party secretary.

Guo Jinlong, born in Nanjing in 1947, served as deputy secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Party Committee before coming to Tibet in 1993. He also served as deputy secretary of the TAR Party until he was elected secretary of the TAR Party in 2000, replacing Chen Kuiyuan. Guo's next job wasn't immediately known.

Raidi is a Tibetan born in Driru, Nagchu (in Chinese, Naqu Zhuanqu) in 1938. He joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1961 and became deputy secretary of the TAR Party Committee in 1985. He was selected as chairman of the Standing Committee of TAR� People�s Congress in 1993. He has led the TAR delegation to the National People�s Congress, China's parliament, for years.


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