Following nearly six months of protests across the Tibetan plateau since March, there is increasing evidence of ethnic tension and discrimination of Tibetan and Chinese people, due at least in part to misinformation and propaganda by the Chinese authorities that has resulted in an upsurge of Chinese nationalism and hostility against Tibetans. An official notice obtained by ICT from one area of Beijing and translated into English below states that every hotel and public bathhouse is required to check on the ‘circumstances’ of all Tibetan and Uyghur visitors, and their presence should be reported to local police. This official acknowledgement that Tibetans and Uyghurs are under suspicion simply because of their ethnicity is supported by numerous anecdotal and eyewitness reports of new discrimination against Tibetans and a breakdown in communications among Chinese and Tibetan colleagues in different workplaces, including at government meetings.
The Chinese authorities have consistently represented the uprising in Tibet as a ‘violent riot’. For weeks after March 14, state-run television showed selective footage of monks hurling rocks at police, protesters destroying shop fronts and plumes of black smoke from burned-out cars in Lhasa. TV newsreaders presented the official line that the violence was orchestrated by the “Dalai clique”. But in more than 125 protests across the Tibetan plateau since March 10, only the events of March 14 in Lhasa escalated to serious violence against Chinese civilians, according to ICT’s information, although there may be events that are not known yet. The majority of the protests have been non-violent.
A visitor who has just returned from Lhasa told ICT: “Tibetans now find themselves under relentless suspicion and disregard. Even when Tibetans on official business – by invitation from Beijing or Chengdu hosts – do travel into mainland China, cabs will pass them by or order them out when their ethnicity is discovered by their language; or ‘vacant hotels’ suddenly have no rooms, one hotel after another.”
One foreigner said that when they are with Tibetan friends in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, it is impossible to hail a taxi. On one occasion the foreigner asked an elderly Tibetan monk friend with them to stand back while hailing a taxi so the driver could not see them, but when the cab stopped and the monk stepped forward, the taxi sped away with the door hanging open. A foreigner in Beijing recently said that a bus emptied when a Tibetan monk got on board.
A translation into English is provided below of an ‘urgent notice’ issued in Beijing prior to the Olympics outlining the security checks required on Tibetans and Uyghurs “staying on business premises”. The notice was seen by ICT sources in Haidian in Beijing in June or July. It is not known whether it appeared in other areas or not.
To all hostelries and public baths in the jurisdiction:
According to the demands of the [Public Security Bureau] branch office, from now onwards hostelries and public baths under the jurisdiction of Haidian District [in central Beijing] should conduct checks on the circumstances of all Tibetans and Uyghurs staying on business premises. Efforts should be strengthened to verify the identification of all such people who check in, and at the same time [their presence] reported to the police station.
Note, all hostelries and public bathhouses should carefully check and correctly record information on guests’ ethnicity.
All hostelries receiving Tibetans and Uyghurs should immediately report to the police station.
Contact person: Officer Wu Hu, cell: 13801093916
Huayuan Road Police Station direct lines: 62014692 and 6203 2656
Huayuan Road Police Station