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China Unicom Chief Joins Congress as Tibet Representative

Chang Xiaobing, chairman and chief executive officer of China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd., joins the Tibetan delegation at a sensitive time as a rising number of activists from the region are setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg
Chang Xiaobing, chairman and chief executive officer of China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd., joins the Tibetan delegation at a sensitive time as a rising number of activists from the region are setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

March 5 (Bloomberg) -- China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd., the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chang Xiaobing has joined the National People’s Congress as a member of the Tibet delegation.

Chang is not ethnically Tibetan, and China Unicom has no information on why he was chosen for that delegation, Zhou Xiaoke, Unicom’s Hong Kong-based director of investor relations, said in an e-mailed response to questions today. Chang has previously served on the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which advises the legislature, he said.

“Many large state-owned enterprises are headquartered in Beijing and their heads cannot be all elected to the Beijing delegation,” Zhou said in the e-mail. “There is some mechanism to allocate the qualified candidates to other delegations.”

Chang joins the Tibetan delegation at a sensitive time as a rising number of activists from the region are setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule. Chang is part of the nation’s ethnic Han majority and is from the northern province of Hebei that surrounds Beijing, according to a biography posted on the online encyclopedia Baike run by Baidu Inc., the nation’s largest search engine.

Last year, 83 Tibetans died after setting themselves ablaze, and at least three more died in January, the Tibetan government-in-exile said in a Jan. 25 statement.

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, has lived in northern India since fleeing in 1959, when China’s military took over the region. China accuses the Dalai Lama of waging a campaign for independence while the spiritual leader says he is seeking autonomy for Tibet.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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