(TibetanReview.net, Apr25’20) – With its credibility and even legitimacy severely challenged by its failure to stop the Covid-19 global pandemic, the Chinese party-state is cracking down severely on critics at home and strengthening repression on others under its control in the name of national security and unity. In order to coerce further display of loyalty, local Chinese authorities have distributed portraits of its top party leaders to Tibetan families in Dzoege (Chinese: Ruo’ergai) County of Ngaba (Aba) Prefecture in what is now part or Sichuan Province, and possibly elsewhere, with order to display them prominently in their homes.
Previously, this policy was only compulsory for Tibetan families that were dependent on state support under the poverty alleviation programme. The policy has been extended to the wider community since the beginning of the year, said London-based Free Tibet Campaign group Apr 22.
Under previous campaigns, Tibetan families, monasteries and others have been required to display pictures of top Chinese party leaders as well as the Red Flag of the party-state. Because of especially severe restrictions on communication networks and people’s freedom across Tibetan populated regions of the People’s Republic of China, only sporadic information about such repressive measures reach the outside world.
The group cited sources of its research group Tibet Watch as saying authorities in Dzoege had stated that people should “remember the gratitude of the party and in the spirit of following the party, all households, monasteries, schools and offices must display the portrait of top party leaders”.
The group said that villagers across Tibet had been called to assemble and images of party leaders were distributed to them to be hung on their walls or altars. Besides, images were also distributed to be hung in schools, monasteries and offices.
Authorities were stated to be inspecting each household to check whether or not this order had been carried out.
In Dzoege the framed images were stated to be that of President Xi Jinping, with a total of 14,000 having been distributed across the county.