Much has been written or discussed about Chinese leadership changes prior to the 19th Party Congress that is scheduled to convene on October 18. By the same token, a few significant Tibetan leadership changes had also been taken place in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Standing firm with my previous analysis, Pema Thinley will not only retire during the 19th Party Congress but also step down from the 376 member strong Central Committee as a full-member due to the mandatory retirement age of 65 for provincial level leaders.
Customarily, the replacement should come from alternate members. By this calculation, Lobsang Gyaltsen, in terms of age and ranking order among the four Tibetan alternate members based on the number of votes they receive, will likely eclipse three other members to succeed Pema Thinley to become a full member.
Unlike the previous two Central Committees, it is possible to increase the composition of Tibetan representation in full-category of the Central Committee of the 19th Party Congress. Given this assumption, Che Dalha, one of the two Tibetan deputy party secretaries of the TAR would become a full member along with Lobsang Gyaltsen. The startling factor in this assessment is that former is yet to hold an alternate seat in the Central Committee meaning that he will surpass the current three Tibetan alternate members.
It is also possible that Che Dalha would eclipse Lobsang Gyaltsen to become a full member in the Central Committee if the composition in the full- category remains unchanged.
However, it is more likely to see that Che Dalha would be elevated to the Central Committee as an alternate member instead of replacing Lobsang Gyaltsen at the Central Committee full-category.
In terms of Tibetan representation in the Central Committee alternate-category, the current composition would most likely remain the same. The only change that will take place is that Lobsang Gyaltsen will be replaced by Che Dalha to become an alternate member. If age is considered an important factor, rest of the current alternate members will remain in the committee.
*Tenzin Tseten is a research fellow at the Tibet Policy Institute. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Tibet Policy Institute.