Fear and unease spread through Tibet over concern the campaign will lead to a crackdown on dissidents
This picture taken on March 1 shows Tibetan Buddhist monks awaiting a prayer for Monlam, the Tibetan New Year, at the Rongwo Monastery, in Tongren County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. (Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP)
Communist authorities have launched a campaign in Tibet that includes offering cash rewards for the public to inform on others suspected of being so-called underworld forces and spies.
Led by the region’s authorities, local governments in the Tibet Autonomous Region on Jan. 11 issued a notice about informing on crimes by underworld forces.
As part of the campaign, local governments are offering financial rewards while the Ministry of Public Security has established an online platform so that people can easily inform on others.
The state’s propaganda machine has been promising high rewards to encourage public participation in its campaign to catch what it calls gangsters and spies. Informers will receive a reward if their information proves correct.
The Chinese Community Party’s so-called underworld forces and spies are very vague concepts under China’s law or they are not defined at all. They are likewise arbitrarily based on the notice issued and can result in human rights abuses and even violate the CCP’s own laws.
This campaign to wipe out gang and vice activities in Tibet is like previous political movements.
Since anti-Beijing riots in Tibet in 2008, Chinese authorities have stepped up control measures by deploying military police and installing surveillance cameras.
Because of the nature of the campaign — and of so-called “striking hard” movements launched by the CCP in the past — there is fear and unease throughout Tibetan society.
Tibet is now going through something like what former party heavyweight Bo Xilai did just under a decade ago with his campaign against organized crime in Chongqing, southwest China. As happened there, it is feared that Tibetans will experience not only unjust and wrongful cases but also a crackdown on political dissidents and on anyone who dares criticize the CCP’s policies.
But this is not just occurring in Tibet. On Feb. 2, the CCP’s Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice issued a notice on the launching of a campaign against underworld forces across China. The notice describes the campaign as “a people’s war on wiping out gang and vice activities” which “must rely on the active participation of people.”
Crackdowns were later reported in various provinces with many arrests. All this has been underway while the communists have likewise launched anti-espionage campaigns targeting those deemed as spies. Sources say many arrests have been based on fabricated evidence and there have been cases linked to the interests of local government officials and court procuratorates.
In the notice issued by the central government, security offices have been created across China, as in Tibet, to implement what was required of the notices and to encourage people to inform on others. Regulations on how people should be rewarded have also been released.
The Tibet Autonomous Region Public Security Department on Feb. 7 issued a notice about informing on crimes by underworld forces.
Articles 2, 5 and 6 of the notice are related to the “Dalai clique” in reference to supporters of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.
Articles 3, 9 and 10 are related to religion while Article 4 is related to non-government organizations and the “Middle Way” — the path chosen by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile to resolve the Tibetan issue.
In a notice issued in neighboring Qinghai province, targets of “wiping out gang and vice activities” include those handing out photographs of the Dalai Lama, environmental protection and cultural protection.
Sang Jieja is a Tibetan writer, commentator and former Chinese spokesman of the exiled Tibetan government. He is currently studying in Spain.