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Chinese authorities implement 'zero covid' policy as Tibetans raise fears of spike in isolation centres

A security guard wearing a face mask takes the temperature of visitors as they enter a public park in Beijing, Saturday, April 30, 2022. [AP Photo]

Tibetans in Lhasa have raised concerns over a possibility of a spike in Covid-19 cases in China-made isolation camps.

The concerns come even as they face difficult situations under China's "zero-Covid" policy, where they are forcibly removed from their homes and placed in so-called isolation centres.

Reports indicate that although cases of covid-19 are increasing in Tibet and China, Chinese authorities in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, have been forcibly removing Tibetans from their homes and placing many of them in an isolation centre.

This is despite the fact that many have tested negative for covid-19 and Tibetans fear spreading covid-19 to other patients.

Media reports say some are given leftover and spoiled food and no one takes care of them, while some are beaten and tortured.

The harsh ‘zero covid’ policy, they say has subjected them to violent beatings, separation from family members, lack of food in the isolation centres, and ignorance of Chinese officials in the isolation centres.

As a result, Tibetans and some of the victims have courageously shown and told the truth about the situation of covid-19 in Lhasa through videos and social media groups.

The Chinese government imposed a lockdown in Lhasa in early August 2022. It has been more than a month and it is continuing, therefore, Tibetans are having a difficult time.

Victims claim that the lockdown order was given without sufficient preparation time, leaving people short of food in their homes.

One of the victims interviewed said the food in the isolation centre is sour and spoilt.

“The authorities are not treating us like human beings, even though I do not want to take the video, but I am helpless,” the victim said.

Another victim said they were taken to an isolation centre with over 800 people.

He said although the office should separate the patients and take care of them, the officials left them at the centre for three days without food.

"There are no medicines and good food in the isolation in the centre, and the officials do nothing for the patients. If the centres were taking good care of us of course, we would be happy to stay here, but nothing special or even worse. If we were at home, we could cook for ourselves and eat what we want to recover from the disease,'' the victim complained.

Two Tibetans were reportedly severely beaten by Chinese officials while delivering food to their nomadic family in Shigatse, under the disguise of the policy.

According to some sources, Tibetans are also being arrested for posting videos or writing articles related to the covid-19 cases in Lhasa and Tibet.

Under the same policy, Chinese authorities in early September locked down Chengdu, a southwestern city of 21 million people, following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Residents were ordered to stay home, and about 70 per cent of suspended in and from the city which is a major transit hub in Sichuan province and a governmental and economic centre.

The start of the new school term was also delayed, although public transport continues to operate and citizens are permitted to leave the city if they can show a special need.

Under the rules, just one member of each family who can show a negative virus test within the past 24 hours is allowed out per day to buy necessities.