By Tenzin Monlam
A visa, revoked by Chinese authorities, held by a foreign-based Tibetan on February 22, 2018. Photo-RFA
DHARAMSHALA, February 24: Three Tibetans holding valid foreign passports and visas to visit China were detained and denied entry into the country at the Chengdu airport in Sichuan Province, reports Radio Free Asia (RFA).
The Chinese officials at the airport had detained them for hours for interrogation before expelling them on Thursday, a source told RFA. “No explanation was given for the move and the three Tibetans, who had hoped to visit their family members in Sichuan, were sent back to South Korea,” the source added.
Two of the three Tibetans held South Korean passports and the third a US passport.
“The authorities did not listen to any of their explanations, and the group feels that they were scorned and mistreated because of their Tibetan origins,” the source said, adding that they were detained in a small room for eight hours without water.
According to the source, the authorities took turn to interrogate the group and their web chat and notebooks were searched. The Chinese immigration officials also made copies of their telephone contacts.
It is a common practice for China to put Tibetan with foreign passports under extra scrutiny and impose various conditions to meet when applying for visas to visit China.
However, the source said that harassment is seen more frequently in the lead-up to politically sensitive dates, such as March 10 anniversary of 1959 Tibetan national uprising against Chinese rule.
Since 2008 pan-Tibet uprising, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) for the month of March remains close for all tourists, foreign or domestic, due to the political sensitive dates. It reopens for travellers in the first week of April.