(TibetanReview.net, Jun30, 2018) – Chinese authorities in a Tibetan region of Sichuan Province have detained in early June two Tibetans found to be in possession of pictures of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in a crackdown on criminal gangs, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Jun 27. The report cited a local Tibetan source as saying the two Tibetans, both restauranteurs, were taken away from their place of business called Rimakor in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture’s Draggo County.
The report named one of the detainees as Yama Tashi while the name of the other detained restauranteur is not known yet.
The report said the campaign to combat ‘criminal gangs and bad elements’ was launched in the region early this year. Chinese police found the photos from the homes of the two men during sweeping raids they carried out throughout the county under the campaign.
The campaign was reported to have been intensified ahead of celebrations marking the 83rd birthday of the Dalai Lama, which falls on Jul 7. The report quoted a local source as saying, “Local government officials in Draggo have been carrying out a clean-up campaign against ‘criminal gangs’ and ‘bad social elements’ at the direction of higher authorities, and we are now seeing an intensified crackdown with tightened controls imposed on all Tibetans.”
The raid to search for photos of the Dalai Lama other officially disapproved items was reported to have been carried out throughout Tibetan villages and towns in the county immediately after a ban was announced publicly.
Ban was also reiterated for any activity marking the Dalai Lama’s birthday, including with prayer gatherings or incense smoke offerings. Not only that, Tibetans were ordered to cut any ties they may have with what the officials call ‘separatist’ forces outside China.
The campaign on ‘criminal gangs and bad elements’, launched in Feb 2018, was reported to include newly tightened controls on access to the internet and other communication channels.