China training local Tibetan youths to strengthen border security, surveillance

Chinese army marching in Lhasa, Tibet. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(, Jun18’21) – In the backdrop of the ongoing border standoff at the Ladakh border areas and given President Xi Jinping’s call to govern the frontier well to ensure stability there, China is carrying out a drive to recruit unemployed local youths in Tibet to form a “volunteer militia” in areas across the border from Sikkim, reported Jun 17, citing intelligence reports.

The intel inputs were reported to suggest that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and police authorities were recruiting unemployed youths from the Yadong County, located opposite Sikkim, and other neighbouring areas in the region.

The recruits were reported to be sent to police and PLA centres for training and subsequent employment.

The reports were said to suggest that those sent to police centres would be trained for duties at vehicle check posts, those related to immigration, and law and order at model “xiaokang (well-off)” villages, which have been built all along the border in keeping with President Xi Jinping’s vision for frontier governance.

“To govern the country well we must first govern the frontiers well, and to govern the frontiers well we must first ensure stability in Tibet,” Xi had said back in 2013.

The youth trained by the PLA are seen as being likely to be deployed as reinforcements for the regular Chinese army units when needed.

Some of the recruits were said to be trained by the PLA to keep a watch on border residents at the LAC — for the purpose of gathering intelligence — and could be put on duty at border trade markets and the xiaokang villages.

The report also referred to a previous report in Apr 2021 which said China had stepped up recruitment drives in the Tibet Autonomous Region with plans to create a Special Tibetan Army Unit.


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