Explained: China's four-pronged approach to restructure Tibet through repression

New Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Gravitas deskUpdated: Sep 24, 2020, 08:34 AM IST


Story highlights

China has not only set up mass jails in Tibet, but is repressing the locals in more than one way

China has not only set up mass jails in Tibet, but is repressing the locals in more than one way. China is changing Tibet with the help of four moves: 

Blocking foreign contact

First, China cut off Tibet from the world outside: Tibetans can't travel abroad, and many of them - don't even have passports.

“Getting a passport is harder for a Tibetan - than getting into heaven”, is what Human Rights Watch reported in 2015.

Deflecting international pressure

China has cut off any international support for the Free Tibet movement. China goes after anyone who speaks about it.  For example, in 2016, Lady Gaga met with the Dalai Lama in Indianapolis. Following this, the singer was added to a list of "hostile foreign forces".

Changing the demographic of the region

Beijing says it is making Tibet "more Chinese". According to multiple reports, there has been a large influx of Han Chinese into Tibet.

The Chinese state promoted interracial marriage and offered incentives. It adopted a series of policies that were favourable for mixed couples. They got social security, reproductive rights, vacations, prizes - and special treatment for their children. The Chinese government wants Tibetans to dilute their ethnicity.

A detailed list of benefits was advertised by China. For the children, China promised education, assurance of employment, and even a membership of the Communist Party. Chinese state media was used to push stories and promote these marriages.

Setting-up a system of mass surveillance

Chen Chwan-Gwoh was the man who designed the surveillance system in Tibet as the party chief. He was described as Beijing's man for restive regions.

Chen introduced a new policing strategy in Tibet. Two months after taking charge, he rolled out "convenience police stations". These were police stations installed at street corners which encouraged community based policing. In 2011, he advertised 2,500 police positions. More than 400 positions were for Lhasa, the traditional capital of Tibet. This region saw violence and protest in 2008, whereby Tibetan monks clashed with police.

So China installed police stations to ensure such an uprising never takes place again. It set up 161 convenience police stations in one town which means, you had one station every 500 metres. Then, he was sent to Xinjiang.

And now Chwan-Gwoh is the Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang.  He is also a member of the powerful politburo of the Communist Party, and the man who orchestrated the genocide of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Chen experimented in Tibet, and executed in Xinjiang. Tibet has now military labour camps for locals.  These camps are very similar to the mass jails in Xinjiang.According to a report, the compound of such jails is fully enclosed. It is surrounded by a tall perimeter wall and fence.

The world kept quiet about Xinjiang for way too long, now it's happening in Tibet.