(TibetanReview.net, Jan 26) – The authorities in Lhasa had rounded up and interrogated 5,766 Tibetans in the first three days of its latest 42-day winter “strike hard” campaign begun on Jan 18, reported Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) Jan 23, citing the official Lhasa Evening News (Chinese: Lasa Wen Bao) Jan 23. The purpose was stated to be to ensure public security and stability in the city. However, TCHRD contends that the main objective was probably to round up Tibetans suspected to be involved in the Mar’08 protests, former political prisoners and Tibetans from outside the city without permit.
TCHRD quoted the newspaper as saying, “Within three days of the launch of Winter ‘Strike Hard’ Campaign beginning 18 January 2009, Lhasa City Public Security Bureau (PSB) office had deployed 600 officers, around 160 police vehicles and conducted raids on 7 housing blocks, 2922 rented houses, 14 guest houses and hotels, 18 bars and 3 internet cafés in Lhasa. After conducting the raid on these locations, the PSB were able to round up 5766 suspects and questioned them. This figure highlights the result of the launch of the “Strike Hard” campaign in Lhasa since it was launched three days ago.”
The report noted that the city police had recently issued a notice, requiring all Tibetans from outside the Tibetan capital wishing to stay there for more than three days, and up to a month, to obtain a temporary permit from it.
The fate of those rounded up remain unknown.
The “Strike hard” campaign was first launched in China in 1983 to fight corruption and other crimes. However, in Tibet, it targets activities that oppose or criticize the Chinese government or its policies.