Chinese government relaxes the coronavirus lockdown in Tibet

Coronavirus in Tibet
Coronavirus in Tibet
Coronavirus in Tibet
1st April 2020

Many Tibetans are concerned as this could spark a second wave of the pandemic. 

 

Free Tibet has learned of several notices being issued which relaxes the coronavirus lockdown in Tibet.

There has reportedly been the easing of the lockdown on travel, transportation, schools, shops, markets and so on across Tibet. 

The move follows attempts by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to claim credit for bringing the spread of the virus under control.

On 9 March, the Chentsa Dzong senior secondary school in Malho Prefecture, eastern Tibet, was issued a notice to reopen. The announcement  stated that the students had to register on 12and 13 March. Any student who failed to register on those dates was not allowed to attend school. The notice also stated that parents and outsiders would be barred from entering the school campus or meeting the students. 

On 18 March, also in eastern Tibet, the Transportation and Security departments of Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture jointly issued a notice to relax certain transportation roads which were previously locked down in Tawu County. Tawu had the highest recorded number of  coronavirus cases in Tibet,.

On 23 March, The Lhasa City Epidemic Prevention and Control Committee issued a notice announcing that the quarantine policy in the Tibetan capital will be relaxed. The official notice stated that people who are from low-risk areas and those who have been quarantined in the designated hotels for a week can now move outside.

Tibet Watch’s sources in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet have confirmed that people are now allowed to move around without any restrictions. 

Picture of notification
Picture of notification

This new coronavirus strategy is feared to be part of a wider propaganda campaign. The Chinese government is widely proclaiming that the coronavirus has been successfully controlled both in Tibet and other areas in China. This narrative seeks to glorify the government and President Xi Jingping for successfully combating the virus. 

Having suffered an economic slump for more than around two months now in China, the CCP has already started working towards a recovery of its economy. 

Manufacturing factories and businesses have been reopened and people have started to move around the country again. 

Tibetans who have been asked about the relaxation of the lockdown have said that they believe the decision has been hasty and that they fear it could harm the health of the public in Tibet. 

One resident of eastern Tibet : “The government says the virus has been contained and cleared. But we are under great anxiety. Nobody knows when or from whom we might be infected by this deadly virus. Moreover, so many Chinese workers and travellers are openly coming to Tibet. These people might be a cause of another outbreak in Tibet”.

Despite the official lifting of the lockdown and the fact that visitors are allowed to return to Tibet, Tibetans have also continued to be affected by restrictive measures on their movements. A Tibetan from Tso in eastern Tibet said that they found it irritating to visit shops or travel anywhere since they still had to produce their identity cards and continued to be questioned. 

It is not known yet if the pandemic is completely cleared off in Lhasa or other parts of Tibet.

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