Intensifying crackdown comes ahead of March 10 anniversary of 1959 uprising.
By Sangyal Kunchok for RFA Tibetan
March 6, 2023
Tibetan woman Yangtso in an undated photo.
Chinese authorities in Tibet arrested a woman for contacting Tibetans outside the western autonomous region amid an increase in surveillance and security searches before a politically sensitive anniversary, a Tibetan with knowledge of the situation said.
Police arrested Yangtso, 23, from the town of Shigatse on March 2, after checking her cell phone and seeing that she contacted and sent photos to people outside the Tibet Autonomous Region.
She is being detained at the local police station of Namling county, said a Tibetan living in exile, who declined to be identified so as to speak freely about the matter.
“Yangtso’s family members have no contact with her at the moment,” the source said.
China rules Tibet with an iron grip, closely monitoring and restricting Tibetans’ political activities and expressions of cultural and religious identity.
The crackdown is intensifying in the run-up to March 10, known as Tibetan Uprising Day, which commemorates the uprising of 1959 during which tens of thousands of Tibetans took to the streets of the regional capital Lhasa in protest against China’s invasion and occupation of their homeland a decade earlier.
The failure of the armed rebellion resulted in a violent clampdown on Tibetan independence movements, and the flight of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and many Tibetans into exile in Dharamsala, India.
“As the March 10 anniversary is approaching, there is high-alert scrutiny and random interrogations in place all over Lhasa and Shigatse,” said the Tibetan who lives in exile.
“Everyone must carry their identity cards, and police are checking cell phones.”
Yangtso worked in a restaurant called “Gang-ri” in Shigatse city, according to an article in the Tibet Times, a Tibetan-language newspaper published in Dharamsala, residence of the Dalai Lama and the seat of the Tibetan government in exile.
Tibetans accuse Chinese authorities of violating their human rights and trying to eradicate their religious, linguistic and cultural identity.
Chinese authorities have cracked down on Tibetans during Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year celebrated Feb. 20-26 this year, with cellphone checks and raids in Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo, sources told RFA in an earlier report.
Before the holiday, authorities warned against holding events that could endanger national security and said they would take immediate action against them.
Translated by Tenzin Dickyi for RFA Tibetan. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.