China Detains 81 People in Tibet Crackdown (Update 1)
At least 81 people in Tibet have been detained for suspected criminal activity amid a security sweep in the Himalayan region, including two who are being held for having “reactionary music” on their mobile phones, state media reported.
Tibet independence advocates said Wednesday the anti-crime crackdown appeared to be aimed at intimidating Tibetans ahead of sensitive anniversaries in coming weeks, including the 50th anniversary of a crushed independence uprising.
China has been preparing for the possibility of more unrest in Tibet since deadly rioting in the capital Lhasa on March 14 last year sparked the biggest anti-government protests among Tibetans in decades — and a major military crackdown.
Update: Maureen Fan of the Washington Post writes more on the campaign:
Chinese authorities carrying out a “strike hard” campaign in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa have raided thousands of homes and businesses, run checks on 5,766 suspects and detained at least 81 people, including two for having reactionary music on their cellphones, according to official reports and news accounts.
The state-controlled Tibetan Daily, in a Sunday report, and the Lhasa Evening News last week said the campaign targets criminal activity such as burglary, prostitution and theft, and is needed to uphold the city’s social order. But experts and activists who support greater autonomy for Tibet said the motive behind the campaign, which began Jan. 18, is to detain those involved in last spring’s riots and warn off others who support Tibetan independence.
[…]Lhasa’s entire investigative police force mobilized more than 600 people and 160 vehicles to check 2,922 rented apartments or houses, 14 hotels and guesthouses, 18 bars and 3 Internet cafes, the Lhasa Evening News said, according to a translation e-mailed by the International Campaign for Tibet, which advocates for more autonomy for the Himalayan region. The police push follows 10 months of tight security after rioting broke out March 14 last year, leading to the deaths of at least 18 civilians and one police officer and sparking anti-government protests and a massive government crackdown.