By Tendar Tsering
Chinese and Indian soldiers check a barbed wire fence at the Nathula Pass. (File photo)
DHARAMSHALA, July 4: China has tightened security in Tibetan areas bordering India and Nepal as a measure to block Tibetans from fleeing into exile after taking part in public demonstrations and protests in recent months.
“As a result of the chain of self-immolations and demonstrations in eastern and central Tibet, China has tightened security in the Tibetan areas bordering India and Nepal,” Passang Dolma, a Tibetan in exile said quoting contacts in the region.
Dolma said since early this year, China deployed extra armed and plain security officers in towns and villages in the border areas.
“Besides deploying armed soldiers, the Chinese government has also set up committees in every village and town to spy and report on Tibetan activities in the border regions,” Dolma added.
Thousands of Tibetans have taken part in multiple public protests since January this year, demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. In many instances, Chinese security personnel have opened indiscriminate fire on the unarmed protesters, killing and wounding scores of Tibetans.
Chinese authorities have also led large-scale manhunt of Tibetans suspected of taking part in the protests. In one instance, Chinese security personnel hunted down and killed two brothers for taking part in an anti-China protest. During the shootout, their mother also suffered bullet injuries and later she had to amputate her arm.
On March 29, Gonpo Rigzin, 25, stabbed himself to death after being hunted by Chinese authorities for taking part in a demonstration.
He had taken part in the January 23 mass protests in Drango and was apparently caught on Chinese police CCTV surveillance cameras.
Gonpo Rigzin had told his family members, while being hunted down, that he would rather kill himself than get arrested and tortured by the Chinese police.
The Chinese courts in the region have been passing down heavy sentences on Tibetan arrested for taking part in protests.
In the past few months, Chinese courts in eastern Tibet have sentenced several Tibetans to varying prison terms – from a few months to life-imprisonment, for their ‘involvement’ in anti-China protests.