By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, Feb. 21: Tibet’s Government in exile Saturday asked China to withdraw, what it calls, “undeclared martial law in Tibet” and to call off the “strike hard” campaign launched last month, saying such moves would further provoke Tibetans ahead.
The remarks were made by Kashag
(executive cabinet) of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, based in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, in a statement
issued here today.
The statement expressed deep concern over the apparent build-up of security in Tibetan areas.
China is reportedly deploying thousands of extra troops and paramilitary forces across Tibetan regions to head off unrest after several recent protests against Beijing Government. Government and security forces in Tibet have been ordered to crush any signs of support for the Dalai Lama, Chinese state media has said.
“To our deep regret the situation in Tibet has deteriorated in view of the fact that the Chinese authorities have deployed additional troops across the Tibetan plateau” the statement said.
The deployment of additional troops are significant and conspicuous in the Tibetan capital city Lhasa, Labrang Tashikhyil (Ch:Xiahe), Rebgong (Ch:Tongren), Lithang in Kham and in other parts of Tibet, it said.
In the statement, the exile government said it was “convinced that this show of military force by the Chinese authorities and the accompanying strike hard campaign are acts of provocation.”
“In view of this, the Kashag once again ask the PRC authorities to call off the strike hard campaign and to withdraw the undeclared martial law that is there in Tibet to suppress the Tibetans,” the statement said.
Taking note of Chinese authorities' recent remarks that they “will wage a people's war" to crush any potential protest in Tibet, Kashag's statement said such remarks were “especially inflammatory” and “an incitement for ethnic tension.”
”The Kashag especially regrets the re-launching of the strike hard campaign, the focus of which is to force Tibetans in Tibet to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” the statement said.
China’s military last month began a crackdown in Tibetan capital Lhasa in the run-up to next month’s 50th anniversary of the failed uprising against Beijing’s rule in Tibet. According to media reports, Chinese security forces rounded up nearly 6000 “suspects” for questioning and detained up to 81 during operation “Strike Hard” by Jan. 24.
The Communist Party is increasingly nervous that resentment against Chinese rule — that has simmered among Tibetans since widespread demonstrations in March and April last year — could erupt into renewed unrest any time.
The authorities are also equally wary of a widespread movement among Tibetans to boycott festivities during the coming Tibetan New Year next week. The movement aims to use the occasion as a silent protest to mourn Tibetans who were killed during the government crackdown last March and express concern for those arrested or tortured.
Restrictions to ban foreigners from entering Tibet Autonomous Region and remaining Tibetan areas incorporated into neighbouring Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan provinces ahead of the tense 50th anniversary of an anti-Chinese uprising Chinese authorities are already said to be in motion.
Chinese security forces this week detained at least 21 Tibetans, including a 38-year old monk Lobsang Lhundup, in Lithang County, in Sichuan Province, after they shouted “Long Live the Dalai Lama”, “Independence for Tibet” and “No Losar Celebration” in the area’s main market street.
“We especially deplore the Chinese authorities' action taken against Lobsang Lhundup of Lithang who shouted slogans for the speedy return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and not to celebrate the Tibetan New Year to mourn the death of hundreds of Tibetans killed by the Chinese authorities in the wake of the massive and peaceful protests that erupted across Tibet since March 2008,” Kashag said in the statement.
“The authorities' refusal to permit tourists to visit Tibet is a clear indication that the situation in Tibet is not stable, despite their claims to the contrary,” the Kashag said.
The Kashag said it “supports the right of every Tibetan in Tibet and elsewhere to peacefully not to celebrate the Tibetan New Year,” saying such an act is “a mark of respect for those Tibetans who sacrificed their lives in the 2008 protests to highlight the deplorable human rights situation in Tibet.”
“At the same time, the Kashag would like to appeal to Tibetans in Tibet to do this with dignity that conform to the values embedded in Tibetan culture,” the statement said.
The statement called on the international community, including world leaders, Human Rights organizations and Tibet support groups, to “actively intervene and persuade the Chinese authorities to exercise restraint and to convince the Chinese authorities that force and military might will not resolve political problems and that tolerance and engagement are the only effective means to bring stability in Tibet.”