(TibetanReview.net, Feb11’22) – Chinese authorities have tightened security on the already heavily surveilled Tibetans, with authorities in Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) Prefecture in Gansu province and the Ngaba (Aba) Prefecture of Sichuan province blocking their communications with exile Tibetans and checking local residents’ mobile phones for banned contents, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Feb 10. The report said the tightened crackdown was linked to China’s hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympics which opened on Feb 4.
“Tibetans in these places are barred from speaking with Tibetans in exile, and Tibetans who have been to India and then returned are being summoned each day for questioning by the local police,” the report quoted a local source as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
“The situation here is more intense than ever before, and local Tibetans are terrified now to receive calls from the exile community and communicate with them,” he was quoted as saying.
In Gansu’s Thewo (Diebu) County, police were questioning local Tibetans and examining their mobile phones and online chat groups for evidence of contacts outside the region, the report cited Trisong Dorje, a Dharmsala exile Tibetan with local contacts, as saying.
Besides, “Tibetans who have returned to Kanlho after traveling to India are never hired for government jobs, as the Chinese authorities believe they have a ‘separatist mentality’,” Dorje has said.
Also, in Ngaba, Tibetans who had returned after travelling to India were reported to be required to report to their local police station every day.
The report cited previous reports as saying Tibetans in Ngaba and Kanlho who had sent money to Tibetans in exile for use as offerings for prayer ceremonies were being routinely threatened by Chinese authorities, with their mobile phones confiscated and bank accounts closed.
Tibetans being punished for having mobile phone and online contacts with exile fellow-Tibetans have been reported from several parts of Tibet before.