Go to contents

Dong-A gets rare look in autonomous Tibetan provinces

Posted November. 30, 2012 07:50,   


"How did you get in here??"

A taxi driver in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Tongren in China`s Qinghai Province asked a Dong-A Ilbo reporter this at first sight. The question directly showed how restricted the heavily Tibetan-populated areas in Qinghai and Gansu provinces are to outsiders. Police are deployed on every road connecting the areas to the outside world, making the region one giant fortified concentration camp.

Even since Xi Jinping took over China`s presidency Nov. 15, Tibetans continue to resort to self-immolation, with about 20 this month alone and more than 80 since 2009. Those who have burned themselves include Buddhist monks, a 14-year-old boy and a mother of two children. The areas where they killed themselves are spreading from Lhasa to Qinghai and Gansu.

Details of the situation, however, largely remain unknown to the outside world because of heavy security and control of the region. The Dong-A reporter entered the Tibetan autonomous prefectures in Qinghai and Gansu to report on how Tibetans resist Chinese rule and their death.

After a three-hour bus ride Tuesday from Xining, the capital of Qinghai, public security officials showed up to block the road with barricades and check vehicles. A public security official who jumped on the bus demanded that certain passengers show ID in an effort to catch outsiders.

After about a 20-minute ride, another group of public security officials stopped the bus again to check passengers’ IDs, and got the bus driver’s signature before letting the vehicle enter the barricaded area. To avoid road checks, one must walk over snow-covered mountains up to 4,700 meters high.