By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 2: Chinese authorities in Tibet have reportedly ordered Tibetans to turn over names and personal information of relatives living in exile or risk losing state benefits, according to sources cited by Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Saturday. The recent campaign was launched in Dingri County in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) Shigatse prefecture in April, where Tibetans who complied with the officials were further interrogated.
“Families who agreed to provide the details of their relatives living abroad were interrogated again when Chinese authorities showed up after 15 days and confiscated their mobile phones,” RFA’s source said on condition of anonymity. The same dictum was previously imposed in other parts of Tibet, including Nagchu prefecture in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Lithang County in Sichuan’s Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
The names and other details are being collected in order to lure them back to Tibet, a Tibetan source said, citing contacts in the region. The local residents in Dingri were also denied the benefits they were initially promised, “Despite having given the authorities all the information they asked for, they were denied the benefits they were promised anyway.”
In June, Tibet Watch reported that several Tibetans in Driru County, Nagchu prefecture were arrested for communicating with Tibetans in exile, including a 44-year-old father named Gyajin. Earlier this month, HRW reported of an unprecedented jail term of up to 20 years to four Tibetan monks from Tingri County in 2019.
According to the report, the key motive of unearthing exile contacts is to prevent Tibetans from sending donations to projects associated with the Dalai Lama or Central Tibetan Administration in India. Many Tibetans have been subjected to harsh consequences as the government misconstrues exchange of funds or messages as support of activism in exile.