China’s Minority



China deploys mass surveillance

to secure streets around ancient

Tibetan temple



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

surveillance network.

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.


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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