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China now forces Tibetans into labour camps for military-style training

In August, Tibet’s regional government website last month had posted a notice which stated in the first seven months of 2020, almost 15 per cent of the region’s population --- half a million were trained in the labour camps which have been recently built by the Chinese government.

The quotas have been set for the mass transfer of the labourers from the rural areas of Tibet within the country but have also been sent out to other cities in China. (Photo source: AP)

China continues its human rights abuse. This time it is the Tibetan rural labourers who are being pushed off the land and are being sent into military-style training centres and are forced to work as factory workers. This is almost like the camps being run in the Western Xinjiang Region, which has been branded as coercive labour by the rights groups.

In August, Tibet’s regional government website last month had posted a notice which stated in the first seven months of 2020, almost 15 per cent of the region’s population — half a million were trained in the labour camps which have been recently built by the Chinese government.

While many end up in low paid work which includes agriculture, textile manufacturing, and construction, around 50,000 have been transferred into jobs within Tibet already.

The quotas have been set for the mass transfer of the labourers from the rural areas of Tibet within the country but have also been sent out to other cities in China.

Adrian Zenz, an independent Tibet and Xinjiang researcher has compiled the core findings about the program, which has been published by a Washington DC-based think tank The Jamestown Foundation. This foundation focuses on issues of strategic importance to the US.

Titled `Xinjiang’s System of Militarized Vocational Training Comes to Tibet’ published on Sept 22, 2020, states that the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) labour transfer policy has mandated that farmers and pastoralists have to be subjected to centralized `military-style’ vocational training. And, the aim of such training is to reform “backward thinking” and includes training in “work discipline,” law, and the Chinese language.

The report which quotes various documents and reports extensively indicates that the key policy documents state that cadres who fail to achieve the mandated quotas are to be subjected to “strict rewards and punishments”.

And the goal of the scheme is to achieve loyal workers for the Chinese industry.

Human rights agencies have identified these programs, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang, as having an outsized emphasis on ideological training and the government quotas and the military-style management suggest that the transfers have coercive elements.

The similarity between Xinjiang and Tibet

The author talks about similarities to the system of coercive vocational training and labour transfer established which has been established in Xinjiang. And the fact is that both Tibet and Xinjiang both share securitization mechanism and similar social control.

According to a UN report, it is estimated that more than one million people in Xinjiang, who are mostly ethnic Uyghurs, have been not only been detained in camps but have been subjected to ideological education.

It may be recalled, initially, China had denied the existence of such detention camps, however, has since claimed that the camps are vocational and education centres. And now claim the people in these centres have all `graduated’.

What is happening in Tibet is similar to Xinjiang, and the most import ink between the two is the former Tibet Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo. He is the man who had taken over the same post in Xinjiang in 2016 and was the main man behind the development of Xinjiang’s camp system.

At one of the vocational centre the training also includes `Political education, legal training and Mandarin language. According to state media reports of Tibet, in July alone the workers who have been transferred out of the state have been sent to construction projects based in Qinghai and Sichuan. And those who have been transferred within Tibet were being trained in other sectors including security, agriculture and textiles.

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