DHARAMSHALA, May 3: Following the ongoing wave of self-immolations and mass protests in Tibet, China is continuing to implement policies aimed at striking the social and cultural backbone of the Tibetan people.
In a latest development, Chinese authorities in Kardze, eastern Tibet, last month issued a notification requiring all non-governmental organisations in the region to be registered under set criteria, failing which the groups will be declared “illegal.”
According to the Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the notification issued on April 26 requires all non-governmental social organisations to register with the prefectural-level Bureau of Civil Affairs before May 31.
“The NGOs in Kardze Prefecture will get registration only when they meet the registration criteria listed by the government,” TCHRD said in the release.
The notification published in the Ganzi Daily News further announced that relevant government authorities will “investigate the nature and activities” of the NGOs and if found ineligible for registration, the NGOs will be closed.
In the published notification, the Chinese authorities maintained that the new registration policy was being implemented to “safeguard the legitimate rights and interests” of social organisations and “maintain social stability.”
The Kardze region has off late seen a significant growth in the number of grassroot Tibetan organisations aimed at carrying out educational, religious, environmental, and welfare activities.
The local Tibetan communities have hugely benefitted from these NGOs as their work mostly entailed the founding of old age homes, schools, and programs to protect the environment.
“However, the Chinese authorities view the activities of Tibetan NGOs as politically sensitive,” TCHRD said in its release. “For the Chinese government, any activity involving a large number of Tibetans, even if non-political or for the welfare of the local community is political in nature.”
In the past, there have been many instances where Tibetan NGOs have been declared illegal, forcibly closed and their members arrested.
On April 2, Chinese authorities in Kardze ordered the closure of a two-decade old Tibetan school, which held classes in Tibetan language and culture and put special emphasis on speaking pure Tibetan.
The school’s director, Nyendak and a teacher, Yama Tsering were also arrested by Kardze County Public Security Bureau officers.
On April 14, Chinese authorities in the same region closed the Tibetan group “Da-yul Thundin Tsogpa” which worked in resolving disputes between the local Tibetans and building unity and harmony among Tibetan in the region.
The government move to close the organisation led to a large scale protest, following which many Tibetans were injured and hospitalised. Over 33 Tibetans still remain detained.
In mid-February, the Tawu Environmental Protection Association was also forcibly closed down by the Chinese authorities in the region and four of its members were detained.
The group had earlier opposed rampant mining, deforestation, fishing in sacred rivers, and smuggling of wildlife products.