At least five Tibetans in the regional capital Lhasa have taken their lives as a rigid Chinese government’s zero-Covid lockdown nears its second month, but Beijing is covering up the severity of the situation in Tibet, media reports said.
The Chinese government imposed a lockdown 52 days ago in Lhasa as Covid numbers there and throughout China continued to climb, RFA reported.
Netizens say the lockdown order came without enough time to prepare, leaving people in some cases short of food, while finding treatments for Covid positive patients has also proven difficult.
Reports of Tibetans jumping from buildings in Lhasa, which have surfaced on social media in recent weeks, are true, RFA reported.
“People have been forced into this lockdown, and all the sources of information in Lhasa are blocked. It is even impossible to find information on what is happening to one’s neighbor,” a source said.
“There are not just one or two people jumping from buildings… Actually there are many more.”
The Covid lockdown policies placed specifically on Tibetans are inhumane, a Tibetan living in the capital, who requested anonymity, told RFA.
“The Chinese government is trying really hard to cover up any information related to people dying during this lockdown, and family members are warned not to share any information,” the second source said.
“The family members are harassed and threatened over the phone that they will be punished if they ever share anything.”
The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy told RFA that it confirmed the veracity of reports about jumps from buildings.
“We have spoken to three sources inside Tibet who actually saw five Tibetans taking their lives by jumping off buildings,” Tenzin Nyiwoe, a researcher at the India-based rights organisation, told RFA.
Chinese state media have reported 111 more cases of Covid-19 as of September 25, with 60,597 people still held in quarantine in conditions described as harsh by sources inside the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
Meanwhile, 786 people have been prosecuted by the authorities for violating Covid lockdown directives in the TAR since the current outbreak was first reported on August 8, official sources said, RFA reported.