Tibetan tour guide arrested and beaten by Chinese police — Radio Free Asia

A Tibetan tour guide working in Shigatse township in western Tibet was arrested by Chinese police this month as authorities step up efforts to limit contact between local residents and foreign visitors to the town. tightly controlled region of the Himalayas, Tibetan sources said.

Pasang Norbu, a resident of Gampa (in Chinese, Gangba) county of Shigatse in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), was arrested on March 11 and beaten by police who accused him of running an illegal business, said a Tibetan living in exile. FRG.

“Pasang Norbu’s company is legally registered by the official tourism administration in TAR, and he even paid 18,000 yuan [U.S. $2,827.79] to get a permit to mine it,” the RFA source said, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his contacts in the area.

The police, however, ignored his permit and twice warned him to shut down his business, the source said.

A college graduate in his 20s, Norbu was described by sources in Tibet as “a very honest person and always friendly with everyone”, the exiled RFA source said. “He owns seven touring bikes, all in very good condition, and his family’s livelihood depends on his tour guide service.

“He has a mother named Tsamchoe and his 13-year-old sister, Choedon, is still in school,” the source added.

No information was immediately available regarding Norbu’s whereabouts in custody or in his current condition.

London-based Tibet Watch researcher Pema Gyal confirmed Norbu’s arrest, also citing sources in the Shigatse area.

“It is true that Pasang Norbu was arrested by the Chinese authorities in Shigatse, but he is not the only one to have been detained. The Chinese government has recently tightened its controls on many private Tibetan tourist services and held back their owners for unreasonable fees,” Gyal said.

Growing pressure

Tibetan tourism businesses have come under increasing pressure in recent years from Chinese authorities concerned about unmonitored contact by foreign visitors with Tibetans who have returned to their home areas to work as tour guides after spending time in India, according to sources.

A guide, Kunchok Jinpa, 51, died on February 6, 2021 in a Lhasa hospital after being transferred in critical condition from his prison, where he was serving a 21-year prison sentence for sharing information about the Tibetan anti-mining. protests in Driru County (Biru) with RFA and other outside media.

He had gone to live and study in exile in India in 1989 and returned nine years later to Tibet, where he was widely respected in his community, sources told RFA in an earlier report.

Tibet was forcibly invaded and incorporated into China 70 years ago, and Tibetans living in Tibet frequently complain of discrimination and human rights abuses by Chinese authorities and policies which, according to they aim to eradicate their national and cultural identity.

Translated by Tenzin Dickyi for RFA Tibetan Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.