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Chinese authorities in Tibet announces cash rewards to spy on Tibetans advocating for greater cultural or religious rights.

April 9, 2018

Radio Free Asia, April 4, 2018- Chinese authorities in Tibet’s Nagchu county are promising cash rewards for leads to “criminal” activity, including efforts to promote Tibet’s national culture or language or ties to exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, according to a recently issued official notice.

The March 13 document, a copy of which was obtained by RFA’s Tibetan Service, offers amounts up to 100,000 yuan (U.S. $15,856) for information on the activities of what it calls criminal gangs, a term loosely defined to include persons or organizations advocating “separatism,” a charge often leveled against Tibetans calling for greater cultural or religious rights.

Awards of 50,000 yuan are also promised for information, to be verified by police investigation, regarding gambling, drug trafficking, and “the abuse of religion, power, and family connections to illegally encroach on property,” the document says.

Other offenses listed include fundraising activities, environmental activism, the lending of money at high rates of interest, and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, according to the notice, which promises confidentiality in informants’ dealings with the police.

Calls by RFA seeking information from the telephone hotline number listed on the Nagchu notice rang unanswered on April 3.

A notice circulated in February by the Public Security Bureau (PSB) of the Tibetan Autonomous Region meanwhile targets Buddhist monasteries believed to be “using religion to control, to incite, or to coerce the masses to resist the [Chinese Communist] Party and government.”

The 22-point notice also criminalizes persons urging the protection of Tibetan culture and use of the Tibetan language, calling such efforts “reactionary and narrowly nationalistic,” and warns against contacts with the Dalai Lama and “foreign hostile forces” supposedly loyal to him.

Behavior specified as illegal includes support for the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way approach” calling for greater autonomy for Tibet while acknowledging Beijing’s sovereignty over Tibetan areas now part of China.

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