“Severe” security clampdown in Tibet over the 60th anniversary of the national uprising

Chinese police doing a spot security check in Tibet. March 2019.
Chinese police doing a spot security check in Tibet. March 2019.
Chinese police doing a spot security check in Tibet. March 2019.
19th March 2019

Beijing boosted security in Lhasa for 10 March

Chinese authorities tightened security in Tibet and put more restrictions on movement in the country over the 60th anniversary of the 10 March 1959 national uprising this year, Tibet Watch has said.

Authorities did random checks on hotels and guest houses in the capital city of Lhasa, while almost a hundred police patrols moved through the city day and night on 10 March, Tibet Watch said.

Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims visiting Lhasa over the period came under particular scrutiny and were questioned about the purpose of their visit and length of stay. Some Tibetans reportedly moved away from Lhasa over the anniversary to avoid being wrongly accused of criminal activity.

Buskers and beggars were cleared from the streets amid fears from Chinese authorities that crowds would spark unrest.

Dege County, in the eastern Tibetan region of Kham, has been subjected to a “harsh” crackdown. Authorities are denying citizens permission to travel between villages or make longer journeys until after 10 March.

Villagers were ordered to stay at home and CCTV cameras were installed roughly every ten metres in streets and markets, one anonymous source told Tibet Watch.

Local government in the regions of Amdo and Kanlho ordered that WeChat and other communications be closely monitored. The Dzamthang Jonang Monastery was watched particularly heavily and the sale of petrol was banned around it to prevent the possibility of self-immolation protests. 

Authorities also deployed more security forces in some areas of Amdo on 14 March, the anniversary of the 2008 uprising, while shops, restaurants and hotels were randomly searched by police.

10 March marks the day Tibetans rose up against Chinese rule in a 1959 uprising which was suppressed with thousands killed in the crackdown that followed.  

Although the security is heightened every March, the situation is getting worse inside Tibet, Tibet Watch said. Adding that Tibetans returning from exile are frequently interrogated.

Tibetans in Tibet are under a severe clampdown and even small pieces of information are hard to get, Tibet Watch said.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch