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China steps up vigilance and control in Tibet prior to Congressional Gold Medal award ceremony for the Dalai Lama

October 16, 2007

China steps up vigilance and control in Tibet prior to
Congressional Gold Medal award ceremony for the Dalai Lama

October 16, 2007

Credible and confirmed information coming from Tibet indicates that
the Chinese authorities in Tibet have heightened the security measures
and intensified control prior to impending U.S. Congressional Gold
Medal Award Ceremony for the Dalai Lama on 17 October 2007.

According to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for
Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), the Chinese authorities of Lhasa
City on 15 October issued an official order stating students and
Tibetan employees in the government to refrain from seeking leave from
their schools and office or participate in customary Sangsol ritual
(incense burning ceremony that involve offering tsampa in the air for
success and good fortune) this week or face expulsion from school,
salary cut and even termination of their job.

In the same wavelength, on 14 October 2007, many elderly and retired
Tibetan people who usually gather outside the famous Ramoche Temple in
Lhasa City to offer Mani prayer were ordered to terminate the prayer
session and vacate the place immediately for an indefinite period.

According to confirmed information, an official notice was issued by
the Lhasa City government office to all the heads of neighborhood
committee directing people under their respective area to refrain from
taking part in any religious activities such as customary observance
of Sangsol, holding group prayer at the monastery or any act of
revelry this week in the light of US Congressional Gold Medal Award
Ceremony for the Dalai Lama to be held in Washington DC on 17 October
2007. The regulation and control over monasteries in the surrounding
areas of Lhasa City are intensified more than it had been in the past.

According to other sources, the stationed officers of Lhasa Public
Security Bureau (PSB) rounded up many former political prisoners
residing in and around Lhasa at the Local Police Station for
questioning. They were even known to have been ordered to refrain from
participating in any activities in the coming weeks. Since 25
September, it was reported that the number of People's Armed Police
(PAP) and PSB officials were also increased significantly to deal with
any untoward incident. Moreover, restriction and vigilance was also
stepped up in offices, schools, homes of ex-political prisoners and
those of people whom the government deemed suspicious or usually held
suspicious. The Chinese authorities are taking every precautionary
measures to ensure that no untoward incidents happen during the week.

These measures have resulted in violation of fundamental human rights
of Tibetans in Tibet.

The People's Republic of China (PRC) authorities have over riding
paranoia about maintaining stability in the region. Hence, in order to
avert any upheavals by Tibetans during major celebrations and events,
Chinese authorities resort to various precautionary measures including
heightened vigilance, closer supervision of suspected individuals and
former political prisoners, even resorting to arbitrary arrest and
Tibetans with background in political activities in the past are
especially susceptible for being rounded up and interrogated, made to
sign surety letter and their family members are made to stand as
guarantor that the individual will not carry out any political
activities. All these restrictive measures and heightened vigilance
have created an atmosphere of fear in different parts of Tibet,
according to information received by TCHRD.

In light of recent protest by the Tibetan people in Kardze region
particularly in Lithang County, the Chinese authorities have beefed up
the security measures and vigorously carrying out "Patriotic
Education" Campaign across all the monastic institutions and in
villages. According to a Tibetan in Lithang County who wish to remain
anonymous due to security reasons told TCHRD that, "Since the past one
week, a group of two to three local government officials were coming
regularly to each and every villages, outlawing activities such as
public gathering, or people talking in group and conducting prayer
session for the next twenty days.
When we asked the officials about the reason behind such measures, we
were told that they would let us know later without giving any
particular reason. "

In view of the recent heightened of security and vigilance and past
records depicting increase in number of arrest during important
events, most noticeably in the wake of the Dalai Lama's address to the
US Congress in 1987 and the conferment of the Noble Peace Prize to the
Dalai Lama in 1989, TCHRD fears that there will be numerous arrest of
joyous celebrating Tibetans this time also. The Centre will continue
to rigorously monitor the situation in Tibet.

TCHRD expresses its serious concern over the stepping up of
restriction and vigilance in Tibet. Such restriction and new
regulative measures often give way to serious violation of Tibetan
people's fundamental human rights in the name of maintaining stability
and security by the Chinese authorities. TCHRD appeals to the PRC
authorities to recall the official order and imposition of restriction
and not to hinder the normal life of the Tibetan people in Tibet.

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