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Beijing Controls Tibetans Using Skynet Electronic Surveillance

August 25, 2008

Qiao Long
Radio Free Asia
August 24, 2008

Skynet is now operational in Tibet. Beijing installed cameras in
every district to monitor Tibetans. Currently, Tibetans must obtain
passes from the government to enter cities.

The Skynet monitoring systems have been installed in Tibetan regions
such as Ganzi in Sichuan Province. According to the Ganzi
government's website, the Skynet Project is to reinforce the public
safety system and create a better environment for economic and social
development. Currently, the Project has completed another
installation in Batang County, which cost 1.3 million yuan (US$
170,000) and is in the testing stage.

Kelsang, Emergency Coordinator of the Central Tibetan Administration
(CTA) said, "The Skynet Project is a surveillance system to monitor
the Tibetans and the temples in the entire Ganzi region."

During the Olympics, officials in the Tibetan regions tried every
possible means to stop them from going to towns to protest, according
to Kelsang. The authorities told the Tibetans if they want to go into
towns or cities, they must apply for a special pass from their local

The reporter interviewed two residents from Baqing County in Naqu
Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region. One resident told the
reporter he needs a pass from the local government to go into town
but wasn't sure whether the rule applied to the monks. The other also
confirmed the same and expressed that it wasn't convenient for him to
talk about it on the phone.

"We also know that now all Tibetans in Tibet need the local
government's approval to go to other places, including going out of
town to shop," said Kelsang.

The authority didn't want to see any protests from the Tibetans
during the Olympics and the authority has exhausted all means to
prevent Tibetans in Ganzi from protesting. In the past five months,
there was a protest every couple of days in Ganzi.

According to the CTA Emergency Group, two Tibetan women, age 38 and
25, from Linlagen Village in Rongbacha, Ganzi County, applied for
passes to go to downtown Ganzi on August 2. The Rongbacha Township
officials denied their application. They went into town secretly that
night. The next day, the two called for the independence of Tibet in
public and distributed fliers to support the return of Dalai Lama.
The police soon arrested them.

According to Kelsang, the two women resisted the arrest and the
police fired anesthetic shots before they were put in the police car.
No information on these two women could be obtained by the time of
this report.
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