Radio Free Asia – by Sangyal Kunchok
Authorities in western China’s Sichuan province are demanding that local Tibetans report the COVID status of relatives living outside the country, threatening them with the loss of housing subsidies and other support if they fail to disclose the information, RFA has learned.
Local officials in the province’s Drago (in Chinese, Luohuo) county have gone door to door to collect the required data, a Tibetan living in exile said, citing contacts in Drago. Sichuan shares a border Tibet, which was invaded and incorporated into China by force more than 70 years ago.
“Chinese authorities are now forcing Tibetans in Drago to disclose the COVID vaccination status of their relatives living abroad. The information should include proof of vaccination and details of additional doses,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
“Tibetan families must also reveal the cell phone numbers and social media accounts of their relatives living outside of China,” the source said. “They are being told that if they fail to hand this information over, they will be removed from household registries and denied any state assistance they may be receiving from the government,” he added.
The reason for the data collection is still unclear, the source said. “However, there have been a few Tibetans living overseas who have been submitting their COVID vaccination records in the hope of someday returning to Tibet.
“On the other hand, the Chinese authorities may want to collect data on Tibetans living abroad simply to gather information,” he said. Click here to read more.