Chinese President Xi Jinping made an inspection tour of Tibet for two days earlier this week, state-run media reported Friday, in his first trip to the autonomous region since he took power in 2012.

Xi visited places in the capital Lhasa, such as the Potala Palace square, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The palace is a World Heritage site known as the former official residence of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (top) makes a speech during an event at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on July 1, 2021, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

This year marks the 70th anniversary of what Beijing calls the peaceful liberation of Tibet.

For two days through Thursday, Xi learned about the work on ethnic and religious affairs, the conservation of the ancient city and the inheritance and protection of Tibetan culture, while chatting with local residents, Xinhua said.

China's relationship with Tibet has been fraught. The region declared itself independent in 1913, shortly after the fall of the Qing Dynasty.

Tibet rejoined China in 1951 as an autonomous region under the rule of the Dalai Lama, who subsequently fled to India following an abortive 1959 uprising against Chinese rule that left tens of thousands dead.

The Chinese Communist Party declared the area an autonomous ethnic region in 1965 and has strengthened governance in Tibet. The region has been the site of frequent unrest.