An armored vehicle rolls down a street in Lhasa.

An armored vehicle rolls down a street in Lhasa. Hanging on the side of the vehicle is a banner that reads: “See the people as your mother and father”

Human Rights Watch has reported that restrictions on news, media, and communications in Tibet have been been stepped up by Chinese authorities in the lead-up to the 18th Party Congress, due to take place in late 2012 (view report).

The new restrictions reflect a broader and deeper strategy by the Chinese authorities not only in an attempt to prevent continuing unrest and self-immolations in Tibet, but also to strike at the roots of Tibetan allegiances to the Dalai Lama and their national and cultural identity.

Mary Beth Markey, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “In order to enforce ‘stability’ at the time of a leadership transition, the Beijing authorities have intensified security in Tibet where they assess the situation is so grave that they must ready themselves for ‘a war against secessionist sabotage.’ But this approach will likely make the situation more volatile and dangerous for Tibetans, but also having the effect of strengthening their resolve and solidarity.”

The full report may be found here.