China deploys mass surveillance
to secure streets around ancient
Nov 30, 2015
Once the site of violent clashes between Tibetans and
Chinese security forces, the ancient area of Barkhor in the
Tibetan capital has become one of the safest places in
China, officials say, thanks in part to an on-the-ground
Guard posts erected among shops and in courtyards
around the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa watch the comings
and goings of residents. The posts are manned by locals
who are selected by the residents’ management
commiRee, though some appeared to be unstaffed. At
night, the doors to the courtyards are locked, residents
Managing the remote Himalayan region of Tibet remains a
difficult issue for China, which has struggled with decades
of oTen violent unrest in protest at Chinese rule, which
started when Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950.
The government’s strategy, which was formally rolled out
across the region in November 2014, is a “grid
management” surveillance system aimed at managing
society “without gaps, without blind spots, without
blanks,” according to state media.
“This is a Chinese specialty, where the masses parYcipate
in managing and controlling society and they also enjoy
the results of managing their society,” said Qi Zhala, the
top Communist Party official in Lhasa.
Earlier this month, Reuters reporters, along with a small
group of journalists, were granted a rare visit to the region
on a highly choreographed official tour. Chinese
authoriYes restrict access for foreign journalists to Tibet,
making independent assessments of the situaYon difficult.
For the Han Chinese, many of whom have moved to Lhasa
in recent years, the scheme is popular.
TIBET DIGEST, NOVEMBER 2015 3
separaYst. The Nobel Peace laureate denies espousing
violence and says he only wants genuine autonomy for
Tibetan Buddhism holds that the soul of a senior lama is
reincarnated in the body of a child on his death.
China says the tradiYon must conYnue and it must
approve the next Dalai Lama. However, the Dalai Lama has
said he thinks the Ytle could end when he dies.
Chinese officials, however, have stressed that the current
Dalai Lama has no right to abandon reincarnaYon.
In a commentary, Zhu said the issue “has never been
purely a religious maRer or to do with the Dalai Lama’s
individual rights; it is first and foremost an important
poliYcal maRer in Tibet and an important manifestaYon of
the Chinese central government’s sovereignty over Tibet”.
As the Dalai Lama is the first poliYcal leader of Tibet,
“whoever has the name of Dalai Lama will control poliYcal
power in Tibet,” Zhu added.
“For this reason, since historical Ymes, the central
government has never given up, and will never give up,
the right to decide the reincarnaYon affairs of the Dalai
Lama,” Zhu wrote.
“It is not only necessary, but is in line with jurisprudence,
and has nothing to do with whether the rulers believe in
religion or not.”
The Dalai Lama has said his biggest concern was that
China would name his successor, saying, “The precedent
has been set”.
In 1995, aTer the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet as the
reincarnaYon of the previous Panchen Lama, the second
highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, China put the boy
under house arrest and installed another instead.
Many Tibetans spurn the Chinese-appointed Panchen….
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