News and Views on Tibet

Pandemic mismanagement in Tibet exposes China’s failed Covid policy: CTA President

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By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 27: In the wake of the ongoing implementation of the so-called Covid-19 prevention measures in Tibet, the CTA President Penpa Tsering in a statement on Monday said that the Chinese government is disregarding the basic needs of the Tibetans and exposing its mismanagement of the pandemic. “The mismanagement of the pandemic outbreak in Tibet only exposes Beijing’s failed Covid-policy implementation resulting in the endangerment of Tibetan lives,” the statement read, adding that locals are suffering in conditions worse than prison as authorities are seen cracking down upon ordinary public for protesting against the Zero-Covid policy.

The Dharamshala-based human rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) on Sunday reported that a “Tibetan youth has jumped to death on around 24th September from a building in Lhasa in an apparent protest against China’s draconian measures to enforce Zero-Covid policy”. However, the rights group said that it has not been able to fully verify all the details; hence the investigation is still underway. There is also a viral video circulating online of an unidentified man jumping from a building, shot from an angle of another building, to which TCHRD researcher Ngawang Lungtok said that it cannot be confirmed if the two incidents are the same.

Although there are multiple footage coming from inside Tibet, the details of the same cannot be verified due to the block on communication channels and strict surveillance by China. The Tibetan government in exile said that the desperate need for Tibetans to tell the truth about their conditions has indeed “exposed these false campaigns” by the Chinese government. “On the internet, videos demonstrate overcrowded and tacky makeshift hospitals, as well as buses transporting large numbers of people to these facilities. In reality, these facilities aren’t equipped with basic necessities such as clean drinking water, food, health facilities and a healthy environment,” the statement further remarked.

Lhasa city’s deputy mayor Dradul earlier this month came forward to apologize for the mismanagement of the Covid outbreak during a media briefing. The Central Tibetan Administration called on Beijing administration to adequately acknowledge the public criticism made by Tibetans who have genuinely faced lack of sufficient facilities and protect them from reprisals for honest opinions of the government’s mismanagement. The CTA also said that it “remains steady to extend any assistance in the form of immunity boosters Tibetan medicines, medical equipment, nurses and volunteers without a second thought or hesitation to help Tibet fight the pandemic.”

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