“Please extend hospitality”: police codes in Tibet exposed

16th October 2013

Clampdown following shootings targets "tourists" in Lhasa

Police stations in Lhasa have been sent a notice outlining how they should monitor and control movements of Tibetans from Nagchu Prefecture, where peaceful protesters were shot and severely injured earlier this month.

Hospitality for tourists

The notice was issued on 8 October, the day of the shootings. It advises police to refer to Nagchu residents in the capital as “tourists” and relay their movements through Lhasa’s web of permanent police checkpoints so that their whereabouts are known at all times. The code urges policemen to “please extend hospitality” to Nagchu residents entering their area. The notice concludes with the instruction that they should “increasingly interrogate suspicious people from Nagchu”.

Micro-surveillance

The network of police stations forms part of the “grid” surveillance system designed to provide comprehensive intelligence to the authorities about the activities, loyalties and political views of Tibetans in Lhasa down to neighbourhood level.

Chinese flag

Demonstrations in Nagchu arose because authorities tried to force Tibetan residents to fly the Chinese flag on their houses. After a crowd gathered to try secure the release of Tibetans arrested during earlier clashes with the police, security forces broke up their peaceful demonstration using beatings and live ammunition. 60 Tibetans were injured.

Holiday destination

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