(TibetanReview.net, Mar11’22) – As Tibetans across the free world commemorated their 63rd uprising day on Mar 10, China greatly tightened security in Tibet’s capital Lhasa to ensure that no incident to recall that fateful 1959 event took place. The authorities appear to have been particularly concerned this year after a 25-year-old popular Tibetan singer, Tsewang Norbu, shouted slogans and torched or tried to torch himself in front of the Potala Palace on Feb 25. The singer is known to have died, but there is still no information on when, where and why.
“There is a huge Chinese military presence in Lhasa today and the driver of every car or vehicle passing through is being interrogated and told to show their identity card,” the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Mar 10 quoted a source with knowledge of the situation as saying.
Military vehicles were stated to be out in force, with many streets blocked off.
Unemployed Tibetans living in settlements in the outskirts of Lhasa were stated to have been hired by the authorities since last month to enter the city to “monitor the situation” for any signs of unrest, with particular focus on areas around the big monasteries of Sera, Drepung, and Ganden. Some were stated to have been sent to Shigatse City to carry out the same task.
They were said to have been each paid 500 yuan (US $80) per day, with additional rewards if they brought especially useful information. The job was said to mainly involve eavesdropping on conversations of people in case they involved politically sensitive topics, in which case they had to report people who engaged in them.
The police themselves were stated to have put the monasteries under a 24-hour surveillance, along with the imposition of other security measures.
While the Potala Palace remained open for visitors, it was stated to be teeming with Chinese police personnel, both uniformed and in plainclothes.
Wang Junzheng, who became the communist party state of China’s top leader of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in October last year, had visited monasteries in Lhasa on Feb 17 to warn monks against engaging in activities which could be deemed as anti-China ahead of the Tibetan New Year on Mar 3 and especially the 63rd anniversary on Mar 10 of the Tibetan National Uprising.