A senior official in the Chinese-ruled Tibet is ordering heightened security in Buddhist monasteries and along key roadways as the government tries to prevent protests that erupted in neighbouring Tibetan communities from spreading.
Inspecting security around the Tibetan capital of Lhasa this week, city’s Communist Party secretary, Qi Zhala, warned officials and clerics at monasteries that they would be dismissed if any trouble arose and told the police at a highway checkpoint to be alert for acts of sabotage.
Officials “must profoundly recognise the important significance of preserving stability in temples and monasteries,” the state-run Tibet Daily on Tues­day quoted Qi as saying. “Strive to realise the goal of ‘no big incidents, no medium incidents and not even a small incident’.”
The exhortations underscore China’s nervousness as it tries to squelch the most serious outbreak of anti-government protests among Tibetans in nearly four years.
Tibetan areas in the neighbouring province of Sichuan — saw large demonstrations last week. Police fired on crowds in three separate areas, leaving several Tibetans dead and ­injuring dozens, according to Tibet support groups outside China.
The violence has highlighted a new the government’s failure to win over State media announced on Monday that 8,000 additional police were being recruited in Xinjiang, a traditionally Muslim region north of Tibet that has its own separatist rebellion.
Qi spoke with members of the monasteries’ management committees.
“They who do not do their jobs responsibly, if any problems happen, will be fired immediately without exception and will be strictly held accountable,” Qi was quoted as saying.