Category Archives: intimidation

“China Launches ‘Strike Hard’ Campaign in Tibetan Areas”

TCHRD reports that Chinese authorities in northeast Amdo have started one of their much-loved Strike Hard movements in response to the self-immolations:

This public notice, written in Tibetan and Chinese languages, was issued on 9 March 2012, a politically sensitive month for the Chinese authorities in Tibet. This notice, issued in all eight counties of Kanlho Prefecture, is prominently displayed in the streets, on the walls and even on the tree trunks.

The ‘Strike Hard’ campaign, also known as Yanda in Chinese, was first launched in China in 1983 to crack down on crimes such as gun and gang crime, telecom fraud, human trafficking, robbery, prostitution, gambling and drugs, etc. But in Tibet, the campaign is used for political purposes to forewarn Tibetans from taking part in any of protests and demonstrations during politically-sensitive months. Human rights activists have said that many human rights violations in Tibet occur during the implementation of the Strike Hard campaigns.

Below is a translation of the Notification:

Notification of Kanlho Public Security Bureau Encouraging the Masses of Kanlho Prefecture to Expose and Report on Anyone Committing Illegal Activities Harming Social Stability

To maintain Kanlho social and political stability, speed up and promote the building of a “harmonious Kanlho”, create a favorable economic and investment environment, prevent and strike hard on illegal and criminal acts that endanger social stability, to encourage the broad masses to actively expose the criminals, by reporting to PSB, which has been authorized by the relevant stability maintenance authority to issue the following notice:

I. The Public Security organs will strike hard on anyone engaging in the following acts, which seriously harm national security and disrupt social stability, undermine national unity:

1) Instigating inter-ethnic relations, creating unrest between nationalities, engaging in ethnic separatism and destroying national unity.

2) Inciting and advocating the public to split the nation by means of speeches, writings, drawings and films, etc. are acts that threaten social order and social stability.

3) Participating in and promoting illegal organizations or giving guidance and donations to such organizations are acts that endanger national security and harm social stability.

4) Fabricating and disseminating rumors on social networking sites, distributing harmful information through internet and phone, are illegal acts that harm social stability.

5) Devising plans to engage in illegal activities of “beating, smashing, looting, burning” and other violent means to disrupt social order and public security

II. The broad masses of the people should actively take action, and actively provide clues for the public security organs to expose these criminal acts. Anyone who reports such criminal activities to public security organs shall be provided personal protection and their identities will be kept confidential as well as rewarded a minimum Yuan 5,000.

III. This directive will be implemented from the day of the announcement.

Essentially, “if you act Tibetan we will destroy you.”

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Filed under ethnic conflict, intimidation, Self-Immolation Crisis, Tibet

“Chatting with China’s security apparatus”

Melissa Chan from Al Jazeera is still one of the best things to happen to China journalism in a long time- in her most recent blog post she describes a run-in with state security while trying to interview Chinese lawyer Pu Zhiqiang:

Al Jazeera’s team decided to speak to rights attorney Pu Zhiqiang, known for his work representing Ai Weiwei and himself an object of frequent police surveillance, to solicit his opinion.

What happened next was not surprising, but on this day, felt particularly ironic: plainclothes police officers prevented us from interviewing Pu on camera, even as we explained to them that this new legislation would curtail their state security powers.

The language used by the officers, who refused to identify themselves, might also be interesting to those unfamiliar with this kind of state apparatus: Orwellian, wrapped in code, and offering our crew “recommendations” that if disobeyed, could have meant some physical confrontation from the two men in sunglasses who were called up for reinforcement during the following exchange.

This took place in the private office of rights attorney Pu Zhiqiang. The officers present were from China’s “guo bao” — its national security/secret police ministry. They had no legal basis to be there.

Despite no prerogative to do so, we offered to allow the officers to sit in on the interview. We even offered them to record the questions we wished to ask Mr. Pu. I felt that the questions were very straightforward.

Read the rest to see what they said. Pretty unbelievable.

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Filed under courts, intimidation, law

February 2nd: Latest on Tibet Crackdown

Phayul reports that China has been making mass arrests in Kardze:

Chinese authorities have arrested a hundred Tibetans from Drango, eastern Tibet on suspicion of their participation in the January 23 mass protests in the region.

Chinese security personnel are reportedly arresting the Tibetans with the aid of photos and videos taken during the protests.

“We will arrest even if 10,000 people rise up,” US based radio service RFA quoted an unnamed Tibetan as being told by Chinese security officials.

The arrested Tibetans have reportedly been taken to the Ra Nga Kha prison in Bamei, located between Dartsedo [in Chinese, Kangding] and the Tawu [in Chinese, Daofu].

Exile sources say that the entire Drango region remains cut-off from outside world as phone lines and internet connections continue to be inactive.

This (Chinese language) blogger has amassed a number of pictures showing how heavy the police and military presence is in Lhasa.

ICT has new details from Golog, where Lama Sopa self-immolated two weeks ago:

Tibetan laypeople sought to protect monks in Golog (Chinese: Guoluo) from arrest by armed troops after a peaceful protest, according to new information on unrest and crackdown in the area in recent weeks.

On January 18, around 20 monks from Arkyang monastery in Pema (Chinese: Banma) county, Golog (the Tibetan area of Amdo), staged a peaceful protest in Pema county town. A Tibetan source in exile who is in contact with others in the area said that some monks were holding banners with inscriptions calling for the Dalai Lama to return home, for freedom, and for the Chinese authorities to release the 11th Panchen Lama. Some monks from another monastery in the area, Digung, also joined the protest.

The next day (January 19), a group of around ten armed police and officials from Pema county went to Arkyang monastery and called for the expulsion of monks who had taken part in the protest, threatening the monastery with closure. On January 20, armed police and troops came to the monastery again and attempted to detain monks. “At the same time, more than 500 local people came to the monastery and protected the monastery and monks from the troops. They were threatened by the armed forces but they did not back off,” said a Tibetan from Amdo who is now in exile and is in contact with sources from Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which neighbors Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi). It is not known whether the officials and troops succeeded in detaining any monks that day, or since then, due to the difficulties in obtaining information from the area and the intense climate of fear.

On January 21, officials came to Arkyang (a Jonang Buddhist monastery) again and ordered monks to carry out “legal education” instead of their religious practice. According to the same sources, a number of monks left the monastery on the first day of the “legal education” campaign.

On that subject, SFT has a transcript of the last recorded message left by Lama Sopa:

To all the six million Tibetans, including those living exile — I am grateful to Pawo Thupten Ngodup and all other Tibetan heroes, who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet and for the reunification of the Tibetan people; though I am in my forties, until now I have not had the courage like them. But I have tried my best to teach all traditional fields of knowledge to others, including Buddhism.

This is the twenty-first century, and this is the year in which so many Tibetan heroes have died. I am sacrificing my body both to stand in solidarity with them in flesh and blood, and to seek repentance through this highest tantric honor of offering one’s body. This is not to seek personal fame or glory.

To all my spiritual brothers and sisters, and the faithful ones living elsewhere: You must unite and work together to build a strong and prosperous Tibetan nation in the future. This is the sole wish of all the Tibetan heroes. Therefore, you must avoid any quarreling amongst yourselves whether it is land disputes or water disputes. You must maintain unity and strength. Give love and education to the children, who should study hard to master all the traditional fields of studies. The elders should carry out spiritual practice as well as maintain and protect Tibetan language and culture by using all your resources and by involving your body, speech and mind. It is extremely important to genuinely practice Buddhist principles in order to benefit the Tibetan cause and also to lead all sentient beings towards the path of enlightenment. Tashi Delek.

No need for Beijing to put any words in the mouths of the self-immolators now. Finally, ICT has a report about evidence of systematic job discrimination against Tibetans in Tibet:

New translations of job advertisements in Tibet, both online and as notices posted in public spaces, confirm overt discrimination against Tibetans. The ads also reveal that Tibetans are not even being offered menial, unskilled work in some sectors, or if they are, they are in some instances being offered a wage significantly lower than their Han counterparts.

The practice of advertising positions “limited to Han” is also observed in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region – referred to by its historical name of East Turkistan by many Uyghurs in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and in exile – although based on a basic survey of online employment agencies by ICT, the practice appears to be more common in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), and in Lhasa in particular.

In almost all of the ads the stipulation “limited to Han” (Ch: xian Hanzu) – or simply “Han” (Ch: Hanzu) – is placed among other requirements and qualifications for the job in question, such as age, experience or holding a driver’s license.

In at least one instance, Tibetan laborers were offered a significantly lower rate than their Han counterparts. A blackboard seen in an undated photograph outside the Hongqiao Employment Agency in central Lhasa clearly states Han laborers will be paid 50 yuan (US $8) per day while Tibetans will only be paid 30 yuan (US $4.75) per day (see here).

The practice of limiting recruitment to Chinese job applicants can be seen in other areas of the PRC which, like the TAR, are designated “nationality autonomous” in recognition of the fact that the populations of these areas are or were prevalently non-Han. In East Turkistan for example, an advertisement appeared on the Jimusa’er County government website seeking several Han health workers (see here) – according to the 2002 census, around 30% of the county’s population was non-Han, while Hotan City Tobacco Monopoly Bureau, also in East Turkistan, was hiring 10 people, and stipulated that eight should be Han and only two should be Uyghurs (see here) – Han make up less than 4% of Hotan Prefecture’s population according to official statistics, while Uyghurs make up almost 93% (See “Introduction to Hotan” (in Chinese) on the Hotan City Government website. A hotel in Ordos in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region advertised for almost 160 people in various positions, and stipulated for each of the positions that the applicants should be Han (see here). In a job advertisement for truck drivers seen on an job-search site in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the text reads “To make life easier (Ch: weile shenghuo fangbian), limited to Han”.

Putting a stop to practices like this would likely go some of the way towards lowering tensions in Tibetan regions, but doing so would involve having the government acknowledge the validity of minority concerns. Beijing is absolutely dedicated to denying them right now, and instead viewing problems as the fault of the Dalai Lama that can be resolved only by force.

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Filed under Dalai Lama, enforced disappearance, ethnic conflict, intimidation, protests, Self-Immolation Crisis, Tibet

“China boosts police presence in restless Xinjiang”

So… Beijing is worried that Uyghur activists will glance south, see what’s happening in Tibet and want to get in on the action themselves? AP reports:

Officials plan to recruit 8,000 officers to ensure every village in Xinjiang has at least one on patrol, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Their primary tasks will be “security patrols, management of the migrant population and cracking down on illegal religious activities,” it said. The officers will be joined in their tasks by security guards and local militia, who are typically unarmed, Xinhua said.

Xinjiang regional spokeswoman Hou Hanmin confirmed to The Associated Press that the 8,000 officers were being recruited under a “one village, one officer” campaign. She said their main job would be to improve public services.

The deployment also appears aimed at avoiding a Xinjiang crisis during a year that will see the start of a generational leadership transition in Beijing.

Given what a resounding success that strategy has been in Tibet, I can see why Beijing would try the same thing on Xinjiang.

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Filed under ethnic conflict, intimidation, Xinjiang

“The China Syndrome: The Sequel”

Evan Osnos has a writeup about the Christian Bale incident that happened yesterday, in which the Hollywood star tried to visit Chen Guangcheng and was roughed up by goons:

On Thursday, CNN reported that Bale contacted the station and asked if a crew would accompany him to none other than Linyi, the human-rights hotspot, to visit the home of blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who has been illegally held under house arrest since being released from prison in 2010. As with many of the journalists, lawyers, and activists who have sought to do the same, Bale and the CNN crew got only as far as a cordon of local thugs, who pushed the actor and journalists around and chased them away. “Why can I not visit this free man?” Bale asks repeatedly, in the tape of the encounter, while guards in central-casting brute suits of thick green winter coats bat at the cameras and order him to “Go away.”

It all adds up to the most intriguing collision of media, celebrity, and Chinese politics since Steven Spielberg pulled out of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics over his objections to Chinese policy in Darfur. When news broke of Bale’s trip to Chen’s village, some on the Chinese Web saw a publicity stunt—“If you’re studying marketing, learn from this,” a commentator wrote on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter—but the far broader reaction was positive. People praised Bale for taking an interest in a case that deserves it, and Murong Xuecun, a prominent author and liberal commentator, wrote: “Because of Christian Bale, I’ll support Zhang Yimou and go see the movie tonight.”

I suspect we’ve not heard the last of this story. In China, cases like these can proceed in unpredictable directions, and the days ahead are likely to include: 1) an obligatory editorial in the state press advising Hollywood actors to keep out of China’s “internal affairs”; 2) a nationalist backlash; 3) high-profile red-carpet questions posed to director Zhang Yimou about what he thinks of Chen’s case and his actor’s activism.

This story, by all accounts, has proved more surprising than the movie’s. Stay tuned.

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Filed under enforced disappearance, human rights, intimidation

“Four Uyghurs Arrested for Attending Koran Study Group in Urumqi”

Looks like Beijing is still mad about the attacks and protests last summer:

Four Uyghur men were arrested last Saturday in their apartment in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang, for “engaging in illegal religious activity.” The local police confirmed the arrests to Radio Free Asia but refused to give any details. An overseas Uyghur organization said that a “Hundred Day Crackdown” was launched in Aksu last week and so far 11 people have been arrested, including women, and that more than 20 people were fined for engaging in religious activities.

The authorities regard any study of the Koran done outside government-approved venues to be “illegal activity.” On Wednesday, Dilshat, the spokesperson of the German-based World Uyghur Congress, told Radio Free Asia that at least four young Uyghurs were arrested recently in Urumqi for engaging in religious activities. He said, “On the 26th, Urumqi police burst into Room 602, Unit 7, Building 2, on South Road in Dalan Town and arrested four people, accusing them of illegal scripture exposition and being engaged in religious activities. Police beat and insulted them, confiscated some religious publications, and are holding them at the police station on Minghua Street.” When our journalist called the police station, the police confirmed the arrests but refused to say how the case was being handled.

As a warning, the authorities are fining people who study the Koran, Dilshat said, and so far 23 people have been given fines of 2,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan. He said, “The Department of Public Health in the Yutian district of Hetian county issued a notice to investigate Uyghurs who wear veils. They even set up a special task group to detain and investigate serious offenders.” He also said that 27 retired Uyghurs officials in Hetian county were required to sign a statement pledging that they, as well as their spouses, children, relatives and friends, would no longer participate in religious activities. The Land Resources Bureau of Moyu county issued a notice forbidding officials and employees, as well as their families and relatives, to wear veils and other clothing with strong religious connotations, or to engage in any illegal religious activities.

The authorities’ main goal in the “Hundred Day” crackdown is to deter people from “engaging in illegal religious activities.” A Xinjiang resident surnamed Li said, “Aksu and Kashgar are in south Xinjiang and have high concentrations of Uyghur population – controls have always been tight. The definition set by the Aksu administrative offices of what constitutes religious freedom stems from the Communist Party; it’s not based on what the Constitution says about religious freedom.” Dilshat thinks that the government’s intention is very clear. He said, “The crackdown is clearly [meant to be] a provocation to the religious faith of the Uyghur people. The government wants to achieve its goal of controlling the area by suppressing religious activities and systematically persecuting the Uyghur people. I believe various forms of resistance will occur.” Winter has already set in in Xinjiang, but the authorities are not letting their guard down at all, according to Mr. Li. He said “It’s getting cold here. Right now we are mostly seeing a lot of vehicles patrolling the neighborhoods. There are a lot of police cars, SWAT unit vehicles and large trucks on the streets, while the number of beat cops has decreased somewhat.”

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Filed under ethnic conflict, intimidation, Islam, Xinjiang

“Beijing Police Tackling Interceptors, Black Jails”

I’m struggling to come up with an analogy here. It’s like the fox guarding the chicken coop… from dogs? And also all of the chickens are also foxes? Apparently someone is trying to get Beijing police to stop interceptors from preventing petitioners from reaching the government in Beijing… but the interceptors are also following orders from up top, so… what?!

Last year, Chinese media exposed the workings of one of China’s darkest industries: security firms that prevent citizens from filing complaints with central authorities, and resort to aggressive or violent tactics to detain them in black jails.

Reports at the time focused on how the Beijing-based Anyuanding Security Firm—at the behest of officials from other parts of the country seeking to hit state-mandated targets for social stability—manhandled and detained petitioners who had traveled to the capital to express discontent about their local governments. The firm made 21 million yuan in profits in 2008, and employed 3,000 people before media reports exposed its activities.

Now, Beijing police say they are cracking down on the informal business of “intercepting,” by strengthening regulations, requiring certification and levying fines for what they said is an illegal practice.

“We draw the line at interception,” said Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) official He Gang to Beijing Times. “This line cannot be crossed.”

“Security guard companies are a mess,” Zhang said, noting that some security guards resort to violence to catch and stop petitioners.

He Gang said no certified firms participated in intercepting this year. The new rules stipulate that firms will pay a penalty between 20,000 and 100,000 yuan for every illegal detention that occurs.

But if the petitioners reach the government and actually start petitioning, all hell breaks loose. Maybe this ‘increased regulation’ thing is just a way for Beijing police to extract bribes from interceptors without actually interfering in their intercepting? We’ll see what comes of this (likely nothing).

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Filed under bribery, corruption, enforced disappearance, intimidation