China Is Coercing Tibetans Into Labor Camps for Military Training

China is coercing Tibetans into labor camps for military training

Research suggests that China is coercing Tibetans people into military training centers. Experts say that thousands of people are into labor camps. Jamestown Foundation sent out this report, based on state media news, satellite imagery, and policy documents. The research compares a situation against the documentation done on ethnic Uighurs that live in the Xinjiang region. However, Chinese officials haven’t commented on anything on the findings.

The urge to retrain rural workers relates to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s promise to eradicate poverty in China within 2020.

China governs remote areas mostly belonging to Buddhists in Tibet as an autonomous area of its country. China allegedly suppresses religious and cultural freedom there. Moreover, Beijing informs that they are fostering development and progress in the Himalayan area.

Lobsang Sangay, the president-in-exile from Tibet, earlier alleged that Tibetan people are forcefully put in training centers and labor camps in the name of “education.” But the study reveals that the situation is much larger than the earlier statement.

Findings of the study on how China is coercing Tibetans

Adrian Zenz, a researcher of Xinjiang and Tibet, updates on the current report. He said that more than 500,000 people, among whom most of them are subsistence farmers or herders, were trained within the first seven months of 2020. The authorities have set quotas for the mass transfer of such workers within Tibet and other parts of China.

According to the Chinese government, the cited plan is training schemes that will help people learn Chinese languages, work discipline, and ethics. Additionally, they wish to change attitudes like “can’t do,” “don’t want to do,” or “don’t dare to do” towards work. They also take measures to eliminate people who are lazy.

The study suggests that most workers, after such training end up into low paid jobs like textile manufacturing, agriculture, and construction. The warnings of the course indicate that Beijing is increasing an assimilatory cultural minority policy. Such steps might lead to the loss of original culture, spiritual heritage, and linguistics.

Comparisons between Tibet and Xinjiang

As per the report, the program resembles labor schemes in Xinjiang province. This troubled land is where Chinese authorities put people through mass detention. Moreover, the people here are mostly Muslims of the Uighur population.

In both the places of Tibet and Xinjiang, the poverty alleviation mandated by the state is made of a top-down scheme, which extends the social control of the government deep into the family units.

China detains hundreds of thousands of minority Muslims in Xinjiang and faces constant criticism. Beijing reports that these places are vocational schools for fighting religious extremism and terrorism. However, according to the Jamestown study, Tibet is into a labor scheme, which is supposedly less coercive. Some Tibetans are voluntarily a part of this as their incomes are rising.

Despite such differences, the report concludes by stating that there are clear indicators of forced steps and indoctrination. Moreover, it can lead to permanent changes in the livelihood of people and cause problematic situations.


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