DHARAMSALA, N0v 23: A confidential letter received from Tibet by the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) has revealed that the Tibetan capital, Lhasa was placed under severe lockdown with free speech severely curtailed in the days leading up to the recently concluded US Congressional delegation’s visit to Tibet.
“Lhasa was placed under extreme repression and the people were being constantly indoctrinated in political thoughts, using both violent and softer approaches. Free speech was also severely curtailed. So much so that people felt it difficult to even move their bodies,” CTA quoted the letter as saying in a report published on its official website, Tibet.net.
The letter also notes that the authorities’ reduced the number of security personnel at the otherwise heavily guarded entrance gates to Barkhor in an attempt to depict a relaxed environment to the visiting delegation.
“Moreover, the usual entrance gates to Barkhor which were constantly guarded by security personnel were all of a sudden removed and replaced with new doors and lesser security,” read the letter, adding “We were confused at first for the cause of these replacements. However, we realized their intent after learning about the US delegation’s visit.”
The letter welcomed the US delegation’s visit to Lhasa and expressed the Tibetan people’s desire to meet the delegation. However, it acknowledged that it would be difficult for the delegation to gauge the genuine aspirations of the Tibetan people as the visit was guided and controlled by the Chinese authorities.
Stating that Tibetans inside Tibet have placed their final hopes on the two ‘jewels’ in Dharamsala, referring to His Holiness and the CTA, the letter urged Tibetans in exile, under the guidance of His Holiness, to exert concerted efforts to strengthen the Tibet movement.
“Tibetans inside Tibet are going through a difficult time. However, we will never betray the country under pressure. Therefore, under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetans residing in the free world should exert concerted effort with renewed vigour for the Tibetan movement,” it said.
“Our final hopes and aspiration rests upon the two jewels of Dharamshala: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration,” it added.