Attempting to bring Tibet’s defiant Driru County under control, Chinese security forces have surrounded monasteries, detained monks, locked up over a thousand Tibetans, restricted communications, and instituted an intensive “political re-education” program, reports Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Since September, resistance has stiffened to a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) campaign to compel Tibetans to express patriotism and gratitude toward China and fly the Chinese flag from their roofs. Despite the presence of increased security forces to impose the measures, the residents have responded by throwing the flags into the river, protesting, and putting up posters.
The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), which is commonly referred to as Tibet’s government in exile, has compared the increased repression to that imposed during the Cultural Revolution.
Residents in Driru have endured gross human rights abuses, says the CTA, citing arbitrary detention, torture, unlawful imprisonment, and enforced disappearances.
“Over a thousand Tibetans from Driru county are now being held in detention,” a Tibetan living in Europe told RFA’s Tibetan Service. “All those Tibetans under detention are being questioned and given programs in political re-education,” he said.
More than a dozen monks have been arrested from monasteries including Tarmoe, Rabten, and Dron Na, and there was no information available about their condition, RFA’s source said. He added that those monasteries have been surrounded by Chinese security forces.
Security forces broke into rooms at Tarmoe Monastery while most of the monks were away, and ransacked their rooms, confiscating laptops, cellphones, and CDs. In other raids, security force took personal items from individual homes.
As part of an intense program to monitor the political views of rural Tibetans, authorities have instituted daily political re-education sessions for area residents, a source told RFA. An elderly Tibetan who protested the classes and told the Chinese to go home was beaten so severely in September that neighbors did not know if he would live.
Controls on information channels are extremely strict, residents say. In October RFA reported, “Chinese authorities have dispatched more than 200 paramilitary and police vehicles to villages [in Driru], setting up checkpoints on all the major roads,” following an incident in which police fired into an unarmed crowd, wounding at least 60.
“They have confiscated Tibetans’ cell phones and blocked communications by phone and the Internet. Now people have to bring their ID cards even when they go out to shop, and police are taking away all Tibetans who cannot show their ID, ” a source told RFA.
The situation in Driru is tense and because of the strict monitoring of information and harsh crackdown, it is difficult for sources to know details or to verify information, Phayul, a Tibet in exile website, reported.