16 Jan 2010

New governor in Tibet

6:58 am on 16 January 2010

China has chosen a former soldier to be the new governor of Tibet after the previous one resigned unexpectedly.

He's Padma Choling, 58, an ethnic Tibetan. He has been vice-governor since 2003.

Xinhua news agency reports he served in the People's Liberation Army for 17 years before joining the government.

The previous governor, Qiangba Puncog, was in office during deadly riots led by Buddhist monks in March 2008.

China says at least 19 people were killed by the rioters - but Tibetan exiles say that nearly 100 were killed by Chinese security forces.

Tibet borders India, Nepal, Pakistan and Burma. The BBC reports the region is notionally autonomous, but policy is tightly controlled by the central government in Beijing. China's troops entered the territory in 1950.

The most powerful official in Tibet is Communist Party boss Zhang Qingli.