The situation in Lhasa is tense in the buildup to the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising in March, with the authorities carrying out almost daily detentions under a new winter “Strike Hard” campaign. The official Lhasa Evening News reported that the ‘Strike Hard Unified Checking Campaign’ had been launched on January 18, and included the detention of people for their “reactionary opinions” and for downloading “reactionary songs” onto their cellphones.
The new Strike Hard campaign is being carried out after 10 months of the tightest security in Tibet and most repressive political conditions since the Cultural Revolution. Strike Hard campaigns are typically carried out in various parts of the People’s Republic of China prior to major events, including traditional Chinese New Year celebrations and other national holidays, as well as before the main annual government and Party conferences, often with the stated intention of “cleansing the social environment.” However, with unprecedented levels of security already in place throughout Tibet, this latest Strike Hard campaign appears to be intended to intimidate Tibetans still further in the buildup to the Tibetan New Year in late February, followed a couple of weeks later by the 50th anniversary period of the March ’59 Uprising and the Dalai Lama’s flight to India, when the authorities fear further unrest following the wave of protests that swept across the plateau last year.
The Lhasa Evening News report, translated into English from the Chinese below, states that 5766 “suspects” were “thoroughly checked” over a three day period in a series of dawn police raids on rented accommodation, hotels and internet cafes. During the “investigation” on January 18, police detained “two people who had reactionary opinions and reactionary songs on their cell phones”. (Lhasa Evening News, page 3 – January 23.)
Winter strike hard unified checking campaign progresses steadily
5766 suspects thoroughly checked in three days
Author: Journalist Zhang Wei
Source: Lhasa Evening News
Lhasa Evening News Bulletin (By Zhang Wei) In order to strike hard according to law against all kinds of criminal activity and to vigorously uphold the city’s social order and stability, starting on January 18 the entire city’s investigative police jointly carried out three unified checking actions. As of dawn on January 21, the investigative police had mobilized more than 600 personnel and more than 160 vehicles, checking in total 7 large residential blocks, 2922 rented accommodations, 14 hotels and guest-houses, 18 bars and 3 internet cafes, carrying out comprehensive checks on a total of 5766 people.
A person in charge at the city investigative police told this journalist that during the checking campaign, the entire city’s investigative police departments worked on individually given tasks, mainly focusing on places where crime in concentrated, gathering areas for the floating population, rental accommodation, places with complex social order, and places of filth and iniquity. Fugitives in crimes involving guns and explosives, murder, theft and robbery were arrested, with a total of 66 suspects detained on suspicion of theft, burglary, prostitution and having reactionary opinions.
It is understood that during the action on January 18, the investigative police together detained a total of 30 suspects on suspicion of theft, burglary, and having reactionary opinions, among which were 5 people who were detained while in the process of stealing a motorbike, 2 people who had reactionary opinions and reactionary songs on their cell phones, 2 stolen motorcycles were recovered and 2 controlled bladed tools. On the evening of January 19, investigative police detained 2 prostitutes, 10 people suspected of criminal activity, and checked 59 people who had not carried out “temporary residence permits” procedures. During the campaign on March 20, one person was detained for prostitution, 5 were detained on suspicion of criminal activities, and 16 were taken in for investigation according to law.
At present, the entire checking activity is proceeding steadily.
Law enforcement personnel are carrying out checks of hotels according to law.