Authorities in western China’s Sichuan province are tightening controls over the residents of a Tibetan-populated county in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of a March 10, 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, sources say.
The restrictions in Dzamthang county in Sichuan’s Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture were put into effect at the beginning of the month, with armed Chinese police and officials now deployed in county villages to carry out surveillance, one local resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service on March 7.
“Chinese officials have also made preemptive visits to monasteries in Dzamthang, and local Tibetans are being required to report to the authorities and have their photos taken when traveling to other places,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Similarly, people coming into Dzamthang from outside have been told to register the times of their arrival and departure, and to tell the authorities the reasons for their visit,” the source said, adding, “Village shops have been raided, and Tibetans have been forbidden to sell gasoline or kerosene.”
Dzamthang’s Jonang monastery had previously been the site of several self-immolation protests challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, which led to increasingly severe restrictions by Chinese authorities in the area, sources said in earlier reports.
Armed police are now parading in county villages and towns in a show of force, a second Tibetan source told RFA, also on March 7.
“Chinese officials have been assigned to keep a close watch on the local people around the clock in the county, in the townships, and even in the sub-districts,” the source said, also speaking on condition he not be named.
“The officials also made several stops at the monastery today,” he said.
“They have said that the happiness of the people is linked to the security of the nation, and everyone is being urged to be patriotic and to abide by the law.”
Meanwhile, a notice posted in February by Chinese authorities at the sprawling Yachen Gar monastic complex in Sichuan’s Palyul county in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture also calls on residents to obey the law and quickly comply with identification checks, another source said.
Over the last 30 years, thousands of monks and nuns “were fully dedicated to their spiritual and religious practices” at Yachen Gar, where Chinese authorities tore down hundreds of dwellings two years ago to reduce the center’s size, another source told RFA.
“But this year, the authorities’ issuance of [their notice] has caused distress to the resident practitioners and devotees, as it interferes with their freedom of worship,” the source said.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.