China Increases Crackdown On Tibetans; Arrests Guides To Restrict Contact With Foreigners

China continues its crackdown on Tibetans as it has now detained Tibetan guides in order to restrict contact between locals and foreign visitors. The Chinese police authorities detained a Tibetan tour guide, Pasang Norbu on unreasonable charges in a bid to restrict locals from coming in contact with foreign visitors to the tightly controlled Himalayan region.

Tibetan guides arrested by Chinese authorities

Norbu, who is a middle-school graduate in his 20s was arrested last Friday. He used to work in western Tibet’s Shigatse municipality and is a resident of Shigatse’s Gampa county in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Meanwhile, a Tibetan living in exile also claimed to Radio Free Asia that Norbu was beaten by the Chinese Police and he was accused of running an illegal business. Though, he had the permit to work in the region, the Chinese police ignored his permit and threatened him twice to shut down his business, according to the sources.

“Pasang Norbu’s business is legally registered by the official tourism administration in the TAR, and he even paid 18,000 yuan (USD 2,827.79) for a permit to run it,” RFA’s source said

Meanwhile, sources have also described Norbu as “a very decent person and always friendly with everyone.” “He owns seven tour bikes, all in very good condition, and his family’s livelihood depends on his tour guide service,” he added. Moreover, he shared, “He has a mother named Tsamchoe and his 13-year-old sister Choedon is still in school.”

The Tibetan guide’s arrest was also confirmed by Pema Gyal, a researcher at London-based Tibet Watch. Moreover Gyal also asserted that Norbu was not the only one to have been detained while stating that Beijing has recently increased its control on many privately owned Tibetan tourist services.

“It’s true that Pasang Norbu was arrested by Chinese authorities in Shigatse, but he is not the only one to have been detained. The Chinese government has recently been increasing its controls on many privately owned Tibetan tourist services and has been holding their owners on unreasonable charges,” Gyal said

Amid all this, the Tibetan tour business has come under growing pressure by the Chinese authorities. Another guide, Kunchok Jinpa, 51 was arrested for sharing the news of Tibetan anti-mining protests in Driru country within the Tibet Autonomous Region. He had been serving a 21-year prison term for sharing the news. He died on February 6, 2021, in a hospital in Lhasa after being transferred in critical condition from his prison. Tibet was invaded and incorporated into China by force 70 years ago, and Tibetans living in Tibet frequently complain of discrimination and human rights abuses by Chinese authorities and policies they say are aimed at eradicating their national and cultural identity.

With ANI inputs