Indian authorities announced that they had arrested a Chinese woman on suspicion of espionage. 

According to the Indian Express, the woman posed as a Tibetan nun. She blended into a Tibetan refugee colony in India as a Nepalese under the false name of Dolma Lama. Background checks revealed her real name is Cai Ruo, a 50-year-old Chinese national originally from a city in Hainan province. 

A police statement shared by the outlet says the woman entered India in 2019 under a Chinese passport, returned to China the following year, and came back to Delhi in September 2022.

As per the Indian Express, officials arrested Ruo on October 20 after noticing that she had been living alone without any source of income. 

An officer said, “We are investigating her involvement in espionage and anti-national activities and the motive for her stay here. In initial questioning, she has been evasive.”

Security agency sources told The New Indian that the woman said she was a fugitive upon interrogation. The fake Nepalese profile was her way of protecting herself. However, the story failed to convince officials. She also made other claims that officials are still trying to verify.

Sending secret agents among refugee Tibetans is one of the ways Beijing attempts to manipulate the community’s selection of the new Dalai Lama.

An officer privy to the interrogation of Ruo says, “As the apprehension of appointment of new Dalai Lama has been enhanced, China is trying to pump ‘spies’ among Tibetans to influence their choice of Dalai Lama, so that the next Dalai Lama can be a pro-China one.”

 In 2011, the Chinese Communist Party declared that it would be the sole appointer of Tibet’s highest spiritual leader. It kidnapped a 6-year-old Tibetan boy in 1995, shortly after the Dalai Lama recognized him as the reincarnated Panchen Lama. The boy’s whereabouts have remained unknown ever since.

Cai Ruo has been placed in judicial custody for 14 days.

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