China has tightened restrictions on Tibetan residents of Sichuan province's Drago county. The county has long been the centre of resistance to Chinese rule. The Chinese government has therefore imposed measures to prevent the resident's contact with people outside the area, sources with knowledge of the situation said, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.
According to RFA, the communications clampdown in Drago county is the latest measure by Chinese authorities to bring locals to heel following the demolitions of huge Buddha statues in the area in 2021, sources in the region said.
Drago county is called Luhuo in Chinese and lies in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province, the historical Tibetan province of Kham.
"Beginning January this year, local Chinese authorities in Drago county have warned Tibetans living in the region to stop communicating with people outside Tibet," according to a source quoted by RFA.
"Their cell phones are randomly probed and restricted from sharing any kinds of information with the outside," he said. "They are also not allowed to contact their family members or send money," the source said.
Chinese authorities have ramped up repression of Tibetans and have been destroying significant religious structures while committing severe human rights violations in Drago county, according to a report issued in January by Free Tibet and its affiliated research arm Tibet Watch.
The demolition of Tibetan Buddhist sites escalated under Drago county Communist Party chief Wang Dongsheng, who had earlier overseen a campaign for the expulsion of Buddhist clergy and destruction at Sichuan's sprawling Larung Gar Buddhist Academy.
"Ever since Wang Dongsheng was appointed as county chief in Drago, the campaign against the Tibetans has gone from bad to worse," said another Tibetan who declined to be identified for fear of his safety, according to RFA.
"There have been massive communication clampdowns and other security measures have also been put into place. The staff and those with authority in the monasteries have been forced to attend re-education programs," he said.
A London-based non-profit independent think tank Open Forum organised a webinar on January 26 addressing the atrocities that China is making Tibetans go through. In the webinar, Tibet's activists in exile and campaign groups expressed how "systematically," and "brazenly" China is crushing Tibet's identity and culture when the world is busy doing trade with it.
Imagine demolishing the home you built with your own hand. This is the predicament of Tibetans living in the Drago county of the Tibetan province of Kham, 'known for their strong cultural and religious heritage, according to a ground-breaking report released by the London-based non-profit organization, Free Tibet on 23 January 2023 along with their charitable research arm, Tibet Watch. (ANI)