Forcible recruitment of Tibetans by PLA won’t help China, say refugees living in India

Furthermore, in a bid to clamp down on information going out of Tibet, China is reportedly tracking the communications of Tibetans with those in exile

Published: 07th April 2022 04:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th April 2022 04:41 PM   |  A+A-

Indian policemen detain exile Tibetans during a protest outside the Chinese Embassy, in New Delhi. ( Photo | AP)

Indian policemen detain Tibetans during a protest outside the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi ( Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: China has been recruiting Tibetans into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for a few years now. It is learnt that some of the conscripts have not even hit their teens. The objective of recruiting them in the PLA is for deployment along the LAC, where they end up facing their own kin from the Special Frontier Force (SFF) on the Indian side - mostly around Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

"It is hard for one to pick up a gun against your own kin. China has been doing this strategically. But let me tell you that no matter how many Tibetans China forcibly recruits in their army, without trust it will be of no help," says Tenzin Lekshay, spokesperson of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

According to some reports, the conscripts are being recruited from Demchok, Tashigang, Langjiu, Chiakang and Rudok and are taken to boarding schools in Beijing where they are conscripted for anywhere between three to five years. They get access to higher education based on their willingness to continue with the PLA. Tibetans are better suited to stay in the high altitude compared to Han Chinese who have reported sick around the LAC.

Furthermore, in a bid to clamp down on information going out of Tibet, China is reportedly tracking the communications of Tibetans with those in exile. There are over 6 million Tibetans in Tibet at present. And even though they aren’t treated fairly, the area attracts over 33 million tourists from across the globe annually.

"Ironic as it may sound, on the one hand China is trying to wipe out our language, culture and identity and on the other hand, they are projecting increasing the tourist inflow to 50 million annually in the coming years, cashing in on the very culture they want to erase," Lekshay said, adding that they will never give up hope of returning to Tibet.

Meanwhile, in India, the government has extended Rs 40 crore relief to the Dalai Lama’s Central Tibetian Relief Committee (CTRC) for another five years up to 2025-26. This scheme was extended after the Galwan incident in June 2020 where 20 soldiers were killed in violent clashes with the PLA in Ladakh.

"The scheme provides for an annual grant of Rs 8 crore to the CTRC to meet the administrative expenses of settlement offices and social welfare expenses for Tibetan refugees staying in Tibetan settlements spread across 12 states/Union territories," said Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra in Parliament on Wednesday.

More than one lakh Tibetan refugees are living in India, Most of them live in Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal and Karnataka. They came to India following the Dalai Lama in 1959. The Indian government has given them asylum and temporary settlement.


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