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Grave Concerns Over COVID Lockdown in Tibet

Grave concerns have been raised by international media and human rights activists after social media platforms were flooded with complaints on the Covid lockdown in and around Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. Tibetans have complained bitterly over the government’s handling of COVID-19 prevention measures and the suffering caused. 

The New York Times reports “infected patients quarantined alongside those who tested negative. No food for hours, despite repeated requests. Lines of buses, loaded with people, waiting late into the night to drop them off at makeshift isolation centers.These are the scenes described by residents of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, who have been locked down for one month as officials try to contain a coronavirus outbreak.”

Lhasa has reported 11 locally confirmed COVID-19 cases and 178 asymptomatic carriers as of September 18 as per a report  by China Daily.

Unable to bear the brunt of harsh and hasty Covid lockdown imposed by Lhasa Officials under national zero-Covid Policy since the begining of August, Tibetans in Lhasa have taken to Social Media platform such as Weibo and Tiktok to vent their frustrations and have made desperate calls for help. 

According to Radio Free Asia, the imposition of hasty lockdown in Lhasa has forced Tibetans to undergo hardships that they did not anticipate. The whole system is broken. The buses used to move Tibetans to the quarantine centers were too crowded. Videos circulating in social media reveal quarantine centers  that are unclean and with too many people and of people being deprived of proper food, sanitation, and medical care. 

“The suffering of Tibetans and others in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas must be immediately addressed and those brave enough to reveal the truth of what is happening under Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policy must not be persecuted. While the rest of the world has learned to cope with the pandemic, Xi’s stubborn approach is inflicting unnecessary suffering on so many people and will at the end seriously harm China,”  said Kelsang Aukatsang, President of the Asia Freedom Institute. 

Asia Freedom Institute is deeply concerned that the lockdown under the zero-Covid policy is being used to further repress Tibetans, Uyghurs and other non-Chinese communities in China.