The fight against the Dalai Lama clique is a "long-term, complicated and sometimes even acute" one, Chen Quanguo, regional Party chief of Tibet, was quoted by local media as saying. "For those irresponsible officials who walk away from their duties, fail to implement policies or are found guilty of dereliction of duty in maintaining stability, they shall be immediately removed from their posts, pending punishment, regardless of how great the contributions they made in the past or what kind of position they held," Chen warned in a strongly worded speech.
Chen asked local officials to "improve the precautionary and emergency management mechanism," and ensure the government's ability to immediately and resolutely handle any emergency. "We should make every effort to win the tough battle to maintain stability, and seize the initiative in our fight against separatism," Chen said.
Xu Zhitao, an official with the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, told reporters that "secessionists led by the Dalai Lama appeared more determined to plot conspiracies this year."
The Dalai Lama clique had claimed that they might carry out some schemes to wreck the upcoming Tibetan New Year, which falls on February 22 this year, according to Xu.
It has become routine to strengthen work to maintain stability in March, but the situation is particularly tense this year, Xu said, referring to the anniversary of the deadly riots in the region on March 14, 2008.
Unrest broke out in the regional capital Lhasa and later spilled into other Tibetan regions, leaving 19 people dead and many businesses, houses, and vehicles damaged or looted.
Xiong Kunxin, a professor with the Minzu University of China, said the further tightening could be related to a string of recent self-immolations in Tibetan areas of the provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai bordering Tibet.
"There are five regions that are inhabited by Tibetan people in China. Turbulence in one area can affect others," said Xiong, referring to Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces where Tibetan communities are located as well as Tibet itself.
A Tibetan, said to be a monk, set himself on fire in Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan on Wednesday, news agencies reported. The man was allegedly taken away by police and his current condition is unknown.
Wang Zhongchen, a publicity official with the Sichuan provincial government, told the same agencies Thursday that he was not aware of such an incident taking place.
At least two mob attacks on police stations were reported late January in Tibetan areas of Sichuan, leaving at least two people dead and more than a dozen injured.
An official surnamed Gou with the publicity department of Ganzi in Sichuan told foreign news agencies that such cases were isolated and that the majority of Tibetan people in the prefecture yearn for stability.
"Such tragic incidents in Sichuan's Tibetan area have to do with geographic and historical factors, which made Tibetan people there more aggressive," Xiong explained. "Meanwhile, less strict management in this area also led to this problem."
The Ganzi Daily earlier quoted Liu Daoping, Party chief of Ganzi, as saying that the Dalai Lama clique had claimed to wage "a decisive battle," posing great challenges to the stability-maintaining tasks.
Xiong said such violence and self-immolation cases have violated the creeds of Tibetan Buddhism.
"To politicise Buddhism is the way for the Dalai Lama to cause a sensation, which would help them win support from the West," said Xiong.
"Such knockout incidents could boost their campaign and win them bigger chances to fulfill their political purpose. They fear being marginalised."
Meanwhile, Xu with the United Front Work Department also noted that it is understandable for security to be tightened since the 18th National Congress of CPC will take place later this year.
Xu and other top officials called for extra vigilance to foil any attempts by the Buddhist Monks and supporters of the Dalai Lama pointing out that the Tibetan spiritual leader has a spoken of a "decisive battle" to be launched ahead of this year's Communist Party Congress, likely to be held in November.
"Officials are supposed to be dispatched to the basic units at grass-roots level to ensure stability," said Xu.
He added that all the requirements are for officials and that the lives of the public would not be affected.
Separately, during a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna in Beijing on Wednesday, Zhou Yongkang, a seniour leader of the CPC, stated that the question concerns China's national interests and that the Chinese government will crack down on secessionists and safeguard its territorial integrity, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Krishna reiterated that India recognises Tibet as a part of China and will not tolerate "anti-China activities" on Indian territory.