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World
31 Oct 2017

Xi asks Tibetan herders along Arunachal border to safeguard territory

President Xi Jinping has told herdsmen from a Tibetan settlement bordering Arunachal Pradesh to "set down roots" and protect China's territorial integrity.

"Without peace in the territory, there will be no peaceful life for millions of families," he wrote in a letter to two young girls belonging to a family of herders.

China may resort to border voluntarism as part of its border strategy.

In context

Xi reaches out to herders along Arunachal border

Letters

Xi's exchange with the two young girls

Two Tibetan girls, Zhoigar and Yangzom, had written to Xi while the historic Chinese Communist Party Congress was underway last week.

In their letter, they told Xi about their experiences in safeguarding the border and how their township, Yumai, had developed.

Xi responded by acknowledging their family's contribution to "safeguard the territory, and thanked them for the loyalty."

Xi hopes herders "become guardians of the Chinese territory"

In the letter, Xi "hoped that the family would motivate more herders to set down roots in the border area like 'galsang flowers', and become guardians of the Chinese territory and constructors of a happy hometown."

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Details

Letter indicates that China may use herders for territorial claims

China may use herders to justify its claims over Indian territory, especially in Arunachal Pradesh which it refers to as Southern Tibet.

Beijing has previously used herders for this in India and Bhutan, both countries with whom it was locked in a bitter standoff in Doklam earlier this year.

It also indicates that Beijing is trying to gain favor in the restive Tibetan region.

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