China’s show of force in Tibetan town

Xiahe, November 25:

Chinese paramilitary police with riot shields and batons abruptly took up posts this week on the main street of this Tibetan town, disrupting the bustle of Buddhist pilgrims in a reminder of China’s determined control of the region.

With some Tibetans pushing harder against Chinese rule, the government is determined to pacify the area.

The show of force yesterday was meant to deter unrest while a local court sentenced a group of Tibetans for taking part in large anti-government protests in March in Xiahe, a small town abutting a sprawling complex of golden-roofed temples.

Though the verdicts were not publicly announced, the trial also seemed timed to answer the complaints of the Dalai Lama and other exiled leaders meeting in India over the weekend that Tibetans’ patience with China’s domination was thinning.

Helmeted police with tru-ncheons and two-metre poles stood outside the courthouse and government buildings. At a checkpoint, uniformed officers studied identification papers and stopped all but a few dozen vehicles from entering the one-street town.