By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, September 9 : In a move to further intensify the crackdown on Tibetans; Chinese authorities have increased checkpoints between Driru County and Nagchu County making it difficult for Tibetans travellng on this route.
The increase in a number of checkpoints from four to eight has increased the travel time between Nagchu and Driru, separated by 270 kilometers, from four hours to seven hours.
“In the past, this distance could be covered in about four hours. Now it takes about seven hours to cover the same distance,” US funded Radio Free Asia cited a local source. “This is because of the addition of four more checkpoints for vehicles running between the two counties, the presence of traffic police at all these posts, and their intense scrutiny of drivers.”
The drivers were required to produce their license and vehicle registration documents, the source said. Failing to do so or not cooperating with the authorities led to Tibetans being beaten up by security forces or forced to undergo re-education programs for 2 to 3 weeks.
Moreover, the drivers were prohibited from stopping for rest, a breach of which would result in a fine of 7,000 Yuan (US$ 1,140) and non payment of the fine would lead to revoking their driving licenses and invalidation of vehicle documents.
The situation in Driru has remained tense since September last year with several arrests of Tibetans who had defied Chinese authorities’ order to fly the Chinese national flag on their houses weeks before Chinese national day celebrations last year.
In June, Chinese authorities in Driru have also issued a handbook of new laws titled “Two laws by People’s government of Driru County” (Driru Dzong Mimang Sishung gi Tenbeb Khag Ni) featuring new set of rules and punishments to avoid Tibetans from protesting against the Chinese government