DHARAMSHALA, March 23: Adding to the already tight security, the Chinese government is said to expand a new security system throughout the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
According to Human Rights Watch, the annual TAR work report released on February 7 announced a new system known as the ‘grid’ management that is designed reportedly to improve public access to basic services.
This system will increase surveillance and monitoring capacity over “special groups” in the region such as former prisoners and those who have returned from exile among others.
HRW said that the expansion of the grid system, alongside the construction across Tibet of over 600 “convenience police-posts” with high-tech equipment will monitor daily lives and increase already active volunteer security groups called ‘Red Armband Patrols’ (Tib: dpung rtags dmar po).
“The surveillance is now a pervasive part of life across the region,” HRW added.
On February 17, Yu Zhengsheng, Standing Committee member of the Politburo of CPC said that the system should be put into effect throughout the region to form “nets in the sky and traps on the ground.”
“Chinese authorities should dismantle this Orwellian ‘grid’ system, which has been imposed while the government continues to avoid addressing popular grievances,” said Sophie Richardson, the China director at HRW.
“China’s effort to impose pervasive surveillance on every street is not likely to make Tibet safer, but the increased surveillance will surely increase pressure in an already tense region, even while the Tibetan people are still waiting for Chinese attention to rampant violations of their rights,” Richardson further said.
The grid management system grows out of “social stability maintenance”, a China-wide drive to prevent protest and unrest. It is a part of the Communist Party’s objective to carry out “social management” alongside “stability maintenance”, which is usually presented as a way to provide ‘better services’ to residents. More: China: Alarming New Surveillance, Security in Tibethttp://www.hrw.org/node/114324