China ‘coercing’ thousands of Tibetans into mass labour camps – report

Published:Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 11:09

China ‘coercing’ thousands of Tibetans into mass labour camps – report

China is coercing hundreds of thousands of people in Tibet into military-style training centres that experts say are akin to labour camps, a study has said.

The report by the Jamestown Foundation is based on state media reports, policy documents and satellite imagery which Reuters news agency has corroborated.

The study also compares the situation to what has been documented among ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang region.

Chinese authorities have not yet commented on the findings.

The push to retrain rural workers is closely linked to President Xi Jinping’s vow to eliminate poverty in China this year.

Remote and mainly-Buddhist Tibet is governed as an autonomous region of China, which is accused of suppressing cultural and religious freedom there.

Beijing says it is fostering progress and development in the Himalayan region.

Tibet’s president-in-exile Lobsang Sangay has been among those who have previously alleged that Tibetan people are being forced into labour camps and training centres for “education”.

However, the scale of the programme as detailed in this study indicates it is much larger than previously thought.

What are the findings of the study?

The report, authored by Adrian Zenz, an independent Tibet and Xinjiang researcher, says that 500,000 people, mostly subsistence farmers and herders, were trained in the first seven months of 2020 and authorities have set quotas for the mass transfer of those workers within Tibet and to other parts of China.

According to Chinese government plans that have been cited, the training schemes are to develop “work discipline, Chinese language and work ethics”.