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Covid outbreak in Tibet: Spread of virus or attempt to impose security apparatus in the region?

ANI | Updated: Aug 19, 2022 01:06 IST


Lhasa [Tibet], August 19 (ANI): Despite strict adherence to China's notorious zero-covid policy, the virus struck Tibet once again after a gap of more than 900 days.
Beijing was swift to impose severe lockdowns on the big cities of Lhasa and Shigatse in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).
The zero-Covid policy imposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping has created unrest among people who are anxious about their livelihoods, as both regions are underdeveloped economically.
Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, has suffered due to lockdowns following an initial restriction announced on August 8 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Popular tourist attractions across Tibet such as Potala Palace, Norbulingka, Tsaparang and the Tibetan Museu were also closed to the public.
Under the guise of quelling the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese authorities are drawing on a security apparatus previously used to quell dissent against authorities in Beijing.

Broad surveillance measures used over the years against Tibetan Buddhists and mainly Muslim Uyghurs, both minority groups in China, are helping enforce lockdown rules among people long at risk of arbitrary detention, according to reports.
Though state media tried to pin the blame for the outbreak on neighbouring countries but fact remains that Tibet is a Centre of Han migration and a region where assimilation of Chinese culture and tradition has been pushed to extremes.
A Tibet Press report said that when the Chinese people were facing severe covid restrictions on the mainland, many opted to travel to regions where Covid protocols were relatively relaxed and lax.
This outbreak and subsequent restriction come on the heel of the 20th national congress, a pivotal movement for President Xi Jinping who intends to secure his unprecedented third term.
Tibet Press said the usage of Covid could be used as an excuse to eliminate threats emanating from protest and emotions of discontentment towards the ruling power.
Besides the intraparty political tussle, Xi would likely want to deflect the news to some other issue so that he can consolidate his position in the country.
Experts have argued that this is really just a ploy to bring its full might to the Tibetans and the other occupied regions in light of the 20th National Congress as they do not want any elements disturbing that monumental meeting. (ANI)

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