Video: Police "clean-up" in Tibet

Masked police in a Tibetan internet cafe
Masked police in a Tibetan internet cafe

21st January 2016

Chinese TV reports security sweep of township

Footage has emerged on exile-Tibetan social media of policemen in black balaclavas raiding businesses in Dzoge County, eastern Tibet and harrassing Tibetans. The footage is from a Tibetan-language state media TV report broadcast in December. 

Protection of "social stability"

According to the report, which has been translated by Tibet Watch, public security officials "investigated the social stability situation to prevent incidents, for the welfare of the people" over a period of several days. It reported that "every street, hotel, restaurant, public entertainment centre, tea-stall and Internet café" was "categorised for social security". 45 vehicles and 70 individuals were investigated.

The video shows policemen wearing balaclavas and carrying cameras and large batons invading businesses, including an internet cafe. They are seen checking papers and ordering Tibetans to remove their headphones. The report states that any businesses found to be committing crimes were "requested" to close immediately and "take steps towards rectification and reform".

Intimidation

Dzoge County is in Ngaba Prefecture, one of the most restive parts of Tibet and the site of a number of protests late last year.

Online activity is very closely monitored by the Chinese government across Tibet and, increasingly, in China itself. Chinese citizens and Tibetans are forced to prove their identity when setting up main or social media accounts online or using internet cafés. The choice to show the raid on the internet café on state media was a reminder to Tibetans of the risks they run if they use the internet for activities in support of Tibetan freedom.