Chinese authorities spying on exiled Tibetans says report - Hindustan Times
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Chinese authorities spying on exiled Tibetans says report

By, Dharamshala
Feb 09, 2024 10:23 PM IST

The first of its kind report titled ‘Chinese Transnational Repression of Tibetan Diaspora Communities’, which was released recently uncovers various forms and trends of transnational repression experienced by exiled Tibetans worldwide. Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is a registered non-profit Tibetan human rights organisation based in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.

A recent report by the Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has revealed that Chinese authorities are spying on exiled Tibetans to gather personal information, which can then be utilised to infiltrate and undermine diaspora networks, potentially through disinformation campaigns, and even as a basis for blackmail.

The report, which was prepared over the period of two years, is based on 84 first-hand testimonies from exiled Tibetans having experienced transnational repression.
The report, which was prepared over the period of two years, is based on 84 first-hand testimonies from exiled Tibetans having experienced transnational repression.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been exploited for these purposes.

The first of its kind report titled ‘Chinese Transnational Repression of Tibetan Diaspora Communities’, which was released recently uncovers various forms and trends of transnational repression experienced by exiled Tibetans worldwide. Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is a registered non-profit Tibetan human rights organisation based in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.

The report, which was prepared over the period of two years, is based on 84 first-hand testimonies from exiled Tibetans having experienced transnational repression. Transnational repression has been defined as the phenomenon whereby “governments reach across national borders to silence dissent among their diaspora and exile communities. These testimonies were collected through TCHRD’s field officers in Tibet and abroad, as well as during the two-day workshop that was organised in Paris in June 2023 and New York City in November 2023.

The report has found that Chinese authorities weaponise their relatives in Tibet by harming, threatening, or otherwise manipulating them in many cases to control the actions of exiled Tibetans. It has found that Chinese authorities are seeking to further sever connections between Tibetans in exile and their relatives in Tibet by making communication technically impossible or dangerous.

In addition, as per the report, authorities in Tibet are exerting pressure on exiled Tibetans abroad, resorting to direct intimidation and threats targeting their relatives. This coercive approach often aims to compel them to renounce their activism.

Moreover, the report said Chinese authorities are undermining the livelihoods of exiled Tibetans on multiple fronts. They restrict material support by forbidding money transfers from their relatives and also impede their mental well-being by discouraging participation in cultural events such as teachings by the Dalai Lama.

The looming threat resulting from ubiquitous surveillance also fosters a constant feeling of unease that spreads fear and disempowers exiled communities. Knowing that spies are planted among their members undermines the trust essential to the survival of diaspora networks. Transnational repression poses increasing threats to Tibetan diaspora communities and, thereby, to the future of the Tibetan freedom movement.

Tenzin Dawa, executive director of TCHRD, said the goal of transnational repression is to undermine the legitimacy of overseas advocacy organisations and hinder their functionality by systematically employing economic, political or other devious means to dismantle their solidarity networks, perceived as threats to state authority, by often falsely framing them in front of the international community as enemies of the CCP intending to mislead the international community and consequently garner international support for CCP policies.

“The international community must provide concrete protection to specific populations, including Tibetan diaspora communities, that experience persecution and are targeted for transnational repression,” she said, while appealing to all democratic governments to protect human rights on their soil, through their own domestic agencies as well as creating awareness about transnational repression among various law enforcement agencies.

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