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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China labels Tibetan human rights activists as gangsters and issues memo to snitch on them

February 12, 2018

By Jamie Fullerton

The Times, February 12, 2018 - Tibetan police are urging the public to inform on people they suspect of being supporters of the Dalai Lama and his “evil forces” across the region.

In a circular, Tibet’s public security bureau pledged to protect the identities of people who became police informers.

Tibet, which borders India and Nepal, is an autonomous region that Beijing considers Chinese territory. The Chinese government despises the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, whom it believes is a separatist extremist. 

The memo asked the public to report “criminal gangs connected to the separatist forces of the Dalai Lama”. It added: “Criminal gangs are cancers on healthy economic and social development, and gangsters are a chronic disease that severely disgusts the public.”

The wording of the notice appeared to suggest that anyone raising funds for Dalai Lama-approved causes could be breaking the law. It asked the public for tip-offs about “criminal gangs that raise funds and collect fines illegally, and force the public to pay money and provide financial support to a Dalai group. 

Spokesmen for the Dalai Lama were also to be targeted.

The Global Times, China’s state-controlled newspaper, said: “The targets are gangsters who threaten political stability and infiltrate politics, or encourage the public to go against the Party and government under the disguise of religion, or prompting ethnic extremism.”

The move to trace supporters of the Dalai Lama comes amid a crackdown on organised crime in China and Tibetans who express pride for their region.

Tashi Wangchuk, an activist, went on trial last month for appearing in a video where he promoted the use of the Tibetan language in schools. He faces up to 15 years in jail.

Beijing is growing increasingly concerned about how Tibet is portrayed outside China.

Marriott, which has more than 100 hotels across China, was forced to apologise to Beijing earlier this year after referring to Tibet as a “country” in a marketing survey. Last week, Mercedes-Benz also issued a public apology after publishing a quote from the Dalai Lama in an Instagram post.

The Global Times reported: “The Chinese government has been resolutely opposing secessionist activities by the ringleaders of the Dalai Lama clique in any country, in any capacity, and under any name, as well as being firmly against any contacts between any foreign officials and the clique’s leaders.”



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