Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), the western half of ethnographic Tibet, remains a forbidden land for most of the Tibetans from other Tibetan regions while ethnic Chinese can enter and remain in it for any length of time they please, said New York-based Human Rights Watch in a report Jul 22. The group said several hundred Tibetans from eastern areas of the Tibetan plateau who lived in Tibet’s capital Lhasa had been arbitrarily expelled as part of a drastic security drive.
The report said that since May 27, 2012, when two protesters from eastern Tibet set themselves on fire in front of the Jokhang temple, security forces in Lhasa had been carrying out sharply increased identity checks on the streets. Tibetans from eastern Tibetan areas where protests had recently taken place had been ordered to leave not only the capital, but the TAR as well. The expelled Tibetans were not known to have been accused of any wrongdoing.
“This arbitrary expulsion of people because of their ethnicity or place of birth is clearly discriminatory and violates their basic rights to freedom of movement and residence,” said Sophie Richardson, the group’s China Director.
Many of the expelled Tibetans had valid business permits to live and work in Lhasa and had been running businesses there for years, the report said.
Apart from expelling Tibetans not having their registered residence, the Chinese authorities have imposed a range of limitations on movement in and around Lhasa, including the expulsions, as well as a ban on public gatherings of more than three people, the report said.
The report noted that after the large-scale unrest in Lhasa in Mar 2008, the TAR authorities had indicated that they viewed non-permanent residents as the biggest risk to social stability since they were less easily policed and monitored than the permanent residents.
Stringent security measures designed especially to prevent self-immolation protests include permanent stationing of the paramilitary People’s Armed Police (PAP) in the centre of Lhasa, with the positioning of snipers on rooftops around the Jokhang temple on dates considered politically sensitive, the report added. And while PAP officers frequently patrol the city, carrying fire extinguishers, all Tibetans arriving in the capital are subject to strict screening.
“Authorities in Beijing must understand that the solution to problems in Tibet does not involve more troops and discriminatory restrictions,” says Richardson. “It can only be found in respecting Tibetans’ rights.”
Above Report From Tibetan Review