China spending massively on surveillance in Tibet, say scholars

November 18, 2023 12:10 am | Updated 12:10 am IST - HYDERABAD

The nature and extent of surveillance that the Chinese government has on people in its restive provinces was in focus on the second day of the three-day All India Conference of Chinese Studies at the University of Hyderabad.

Apa Lhamo, research fellow at the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, described showed how the Chinese government has weaponised surveillance in Tibet by collecting even DNA samples and how it can be used to track the relatives of people who fall afoul of the law.

Using primary and secondary Tibetan, Chinese and English sources, Ms. Lhamo showed how the Chinese government has turned Tibet into a laboratory for testing technology and digitised form of surveillance.

In the absence of direct evidence; budgetary data and calculations were used by Devendra Kumar to understand how much the Chinese government is spending for its surveillance project in Tibet.

“Police, People’s Armed Police, irregular personnel and private security companies, and the militias are the key to the project of internal security in Tibet Autonomous Region. The growth of budget shows how the Chinese government sees the threat perception at sub-provincial level,” said Mr. Kumar, who is an associate fellow at the Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence.

Another interesting paper presented at the conference showed how the Uyghur women in Xinjiang are resisting the project to change the demography and culture of the region.

“The women resisted the forced policies of assimilation like marriages with Hans. They kept the Uyghur culture alive even during the Cultural Revolution,” said Ayjaz Ahmad Wani, who is a fellow in the Strategic Studies Programme at ORF.

The conference will end tomorrow.

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