Tibetan Information Office (TIO) is based in Canberra.

Support for Middle Way a Crime in Tibet Under the Chinese Rule

Image illustration by Tenzin Phende, Photo-editor

Dharamshala: In addition to the innumerable crackdown on Tibetans in Tibet under the Chinese rule, support for ‘Middle Way Approach’ is listed as organised crime. , According to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) earlier this week, Chinese leadership took such measures for the first time.

The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) Security Bureau published a revised list of definitions of “organised crimes” in February, including “instilling in the masses reactionary ideas such as the ‘middle way,’” HRW said.

HRW said the new restrictions “aimed to strengthen the power of the Chinese Communist Party at a grassroots level, by eradicating the influence of traditional Tibetan leaders and Lamas.”

According to HRW, China has cracked down on organised community action in Tibet following protests by Tibetan monks against the Chinese authorities in the regional capital of Lhasa in 2008. Beijing has said that the measures are necessary to prevent “separatist” movements and to cut off support for the Dalai Lama.

The 101-page HRW report said that the newly-issued Security Bureau notice promised citizens anonymity if they reported “crimes by underworld forces” or “gang crimes” to the police.

“Another notice issued in the Tibetan city of Nagqu offered a 100,000 Yuan (HK$114,993) reward for tip-offs about any of the listed activities, which include challenging China’s territorial claims over Tibet, raising funds for the “Dalai clique,” and advocacy for the greater use of the Tibetan language. Additionally, traditional Tibetan welfare associations – known as “kyidu” – are now reportedly considered illegal,” said HRW.

According to HRW, China has criminalised social activism in Tibet since 2012 and just last month, Chinese authorities banned Tibetan students from taking part in religious activities over the summer holidays.