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China in show of strength in run-up to Tibet Uprising anniversary PDF Print E-mail
[6 March 2015] Chinese security forces have been deployed in large numbers in Tibetan areas of Gansu and Qinghai provinces, in an apparent show of strength to deter protests and self-immolations. The increased security presence is timed to coincide with a series of major Tibetan festivals and anniversaries, including the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan National Uprising on 10 March.

Chinese secuirty at Kumbum (2)
On 5 March, the final day of celebrations of the Monlam festival, hundreds of armed troops arrived at Kumbum monastery (all pictures this page), Kumbum (Chinese: Huangzhong) county, Amdo (now incorporated into China's Qinghai province). According to a source quoted by Tibet Post International, the security presence included an unprecedented large number of Chinese troops with machine guns, riot gear and military type vehicles.

Chinese security at KumbumAccording to Voice of America, the troops conducted drills and marched through the monastery. Despite tight controls and punishments for criticising government activities, local Tibetans expressed their feelings on social media. One said, "I was so afraid that I forgot to pray", and another commented, "With this many soldiers at a prayer festival, are you working for harmony or war?"

On 3 March, armed paramilitary arrived at a ceremonial unveiling of a religious painting at Tashi Kyil monastery, Labrang (Ch: Xiahe) county, Kanlho prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Gansu province). The event was reportedly attended by 12,000 Tibetans. According to Radio Free Asia, several hundred armed police were present plus many armoured vehicles" and "two vehicles equipped to spray tear gas and a fire truck. Drones were also observed photographing the crowds.

Other monasteries across Tibetan regions reported to be under surveillance at this time include Shitsang Garsar, Bora, Choney and Gomang monasteries.

A Radio Free Asia source said Chinese forces "are on high alert" in three counties in Qinghai province. Large numbers of police are said to have been deployed in Machen (Ch: Maqin), Gade (Ch: Gande), and Pema (Ch: Banma) counties, with checkpoints being set up at major crossroads and bridges.

Phayul reported that in Rebkong county (also in Qinghai), Chinese officials and police wearing red bands have entered Tibetan homes searching for banned pictures of the exiled Dalai Lama, prior to the festivals and Uprising anniversary.

Chinese security forces were deployed across Tibetan regions prior to the Tibetan New Year on 19 February, to prevent and suppress protests during a period of significant anniversaries. As well as the New Year, Tibetans have been celebrating Monlam Chenmo, a two week Buddhist festival, and 10 March is the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan National Uprising. To date there have been no reports of any protests or arrests.

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