Visitors to China will be subjected to intense surveillance during the Olympic Games, which will take place in Beijing from February 4 to 20, according to a January 23 announcement by the Chinese central government’s Information Office.

According to the RFA, the Chinese government is increasing security in Tibet ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, deploying large numbers of police officers in the capital city of Lhasa: “In just a few days, security and limited Larger institutions have been introduced in the Tibetan areas of Lhasa and Shigatse, Chamdo, Draggo, Ngaba, and Rebkong,” as well as in China’s Sichuan and Qinghai provinces.

According to an unidentified source, those visiting the regional capital are being closely probed. He added, “Privately owned restaurants and shops are also being examined.”

A former resident of Sichuan’s Draggo county who is now living in exile said Tibetan movement is strictly controlled in Draggo and the Chamdo region of eastern Tibet. “And local Tibetans are hiding any pictures they may have of the Dalai Lama, which have been banned by the Chinese government.”

Many nations, including Australia, Canada, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have declared a “diplomatic boycott” of the Olympics in protest of China’s human rights violations. However, athletes are not banned to participate from the Olympics.

According to Tenzin Lekshey, a spokesman for the Dharamsala-based Tibetan government in exile, China made numerous promises to improve its human rights record in exchange for the privilege to host the Olympics. But those pledges have been broken, and the international community is now slamming China’s government.

Tenzin Phentok, a researcher at India’s Dharamsala Tibetan Policy Institute, said the COVID-19 outbreak, which began in China, has prompted condemnation from throughout the world. “Now China is using these COVID measures to hide their mistakes, which is very concerning. China must own up to the worsening human rights situation in the country.”

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