Chinese security officials stopping and investigating Tibetans in the streets of Lhasa. (Photo/woeser.middle-way.net)
DHARAMSHALA, June 21: Lhasa, the ancient capital city of Tibet is reeling under a “drastic” security drive with Tibetans being expelled from the city, a global rights group has said.
New York based Human Rights Watch in a release Wednesday noted that China’s “extreme measures” adopted in response to the May 27 self-immolation protests by two young Tibetans, Dorjee Tseten and Dargye, could further “deepen” tensions in the region.
“Tibetans in Lhasa are being arbitrarily expelled from the city as part of a drastic security drive,” the global watchdog said. “Lhasa authorities should explain these extreme measures and be aware that additional arbitrary restrictions are likely to deepen tensions.”
The group further charged China of pursuing “discriminatory” policies and violating the basic rights of the Tibetan people.
“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,” HRW said.
On May 27, the ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet reached Lhasa
with Dorjee Tseten, 19 and Dargye, 25, setting themselves ablaze in front of the Jokhang temple, one of Tibet’s holiest shrines. While Dorjee Tseten has been confirmed dead, there is no information on the well-being and whereabouts of Dargye.
In earlier reports
received by Phayul, following the self-immolations, hundreds of Tibetans who were in the vicinity of the protest were rounded up and their mobile phones and cameras were confiscated.
Ven. Ngawang Woebar, the former head of the Tibetan political prisoners’ association, Gu-Chu-Sum, told Phayul that Tibetans from eastern Tibet, even those who have lived in Lhasa for many years with permanent residence and businesses, are being forcibly expelled.
Ven. Woebar added that Tibetans from central Tibet, who are not residents of Lhasa, are also being searched and asked to produce five different kinds of official papers, failing which they too are being sent back to their native villages and towns.
“It is not only the Tibetans from eastern Tibet who are being expelled from Lhasa but also Tibetans from around the capital region, if they are unable to meet the demands of Chinese authorities, are being thrown out of the city,” Ven. Woebar said. “Tibetans who are from places outside Lhasa have to produce five papers issued by Chinese government authorities in their native villages and towns and by officials in Lhasa to legalise their stay in the capital city.”
Woeser, the Beijing based Tibetan writer, in one of her recent posts quoted a Chinese tourist as saying that the security measures in Lhasa are “discriminatory” in nature.
“Lhasa is full of security check points and they check only Tibetans, not Chinese. That is discriminatory in nature,” the award-winning Tibetan blogger last week quoted one of her Chinese associates as saying.
Since the May 27 Lhasa self-immolation protests, four more Tibetans have set their bodies on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.
It has also been learned that Lodey, Dargye’s father recently travelled to Lhasa to find out his son’s condition but was turned back without any information.
“Lodey was not even able to confirm whether his son was still in Lhasa, much less find out anything about his condition,” the exile base of Kirti monastery in Dharamshala said in release this week.