China Opens Hundreds of ‘Security Centers’ in Tibetan Capital Lhasa

A police station in China
A police station in China (w:zh:User:GzdavidwongCC BY-SA 2.5)

Chinese authorities in Tibet’s capital Lhasa have increased police presence by opening several so-called “Security Centers,” with the aim of controlling Tibetans, sources in Tibet told RFA.

The Security Centers, also known as convenience police stations, serve to facilitate a stronger centralized state by subverting local indigenous populations through surveillance.

According to a 2019 New York Times report, about 700 of these small police outposts double as community centers throughout Tibet and the Xinjang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

A source in Tibet told RFA’s Tibetan Service that the Security Centers are popping up all over Lhasa and other Tibetan cities, bringing with them increased numbers of police officers.

“So far there are more than 130 such Security Centers in Lhasa alone. The CCP [Chinese Communist Party] is recruiting many police officers in Tibet these days, and if you are a graduate eligible to become an officer, then finding a job in Lhasa has become much easier,” said the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Another source said that the CCP is stationing more and more police in the city to defend the integrity of the state.

“Under [Chinese Leader] Xi Jinping’s policy where he said, ‘To protect once’ country one must protect its border and in order to protect the border one must main maintain harmony in Tibet,’ the CCP has stationed more police and military units in Lhasa. Though in reality, such high numbers of police and military units have been deployed to prevent protests against the Chinese government by Tibetans,” the second source told RFA.

Chinese state media reported recently that Lhasa opened the “First Youth Police School” in Lhasa on Sept. 23.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it was “very concerned” about the proliferation of the Security Centers all over Tibet.

“These activities will further control the basic freedom of mobility and human rights of Tibetans inside Tibet,” Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China director told RFA.

Reported by Lobsang Gelek for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Writen in English by Eugene Whong.


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