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China says so-called separatism in Tibet is gang crime

Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet.

(TibetanReview.net, Jun19’19) – China said Jun 18 that had intensified its crackdown on gang crimes in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) as it entered a key year in its strictest national campaign. And it explained that in the case of Tibet, such crimes were usually related to what it called separatist forces. China considers any kind of civil society action it does not like or any call for respect for human rights or any criticism for violations thereof by Tibetans a separatist crime.

Citing a statement released on the Lhasa government website, China’s official globaltimes.cn Jun 18 cited Mr Zhu Weiqun, leader of an inspection team sent to the TAR, as saying at a briefing that the campaign against gang crimes in Tibet had made progress.

The inspection team to the TAR was among the 10 sent by central authorities from late May to early June to provincial-level regions, including Beijing, Shaanxi and Heilongjiang, marking the inspection coverage of all provincial-level regions in China, the report said, citing the country’s official Xinhua News Agency.

The report noted that China had launched a three-year campaign against gang crimes in Jan 2018.

The report cited Xiong Kunxin, a professor at Tibet University in Lhasa, as saying overseas secessionists may be the root of some gangs in Tibet. Local gangs collude with and receive support from overseas separatist forces. These gangs differ from normal ones because they aim to disturb the region’s social stability and prosperity rather than make money, Xiong has claimed.

Indeed, the report quoted Zhu as saying, “We strongly oppose and resolutely crack down on any separatist force in the name of ethnicity or religion, which are mainly organized by the Dalai clique.”

“Dalai clique” refers to any organization in the outside world which campaigns for human rights; religious freedom; protection of Tibet’s natural environment, cultural and ethnic identity; besides those campaigning for Tibet’s independence from Chinese occupation rule.

The report noted that a work report from the head of Tibet’s High People’s Court in January said that 360 people in 268 cases had been found guilty during the region’s crackdown on gang crimes in 2018. It added that another 25 people were also punished for inciting separatism or financial crimes which jeopardized national security.

No details of any kind about these cases have been reported.

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