Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. File: representative image

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Dharamshala – The Chinese authorities in Tibet use various means to deceive Tibetans in exile to return to Tibet, and then they are locked up in the country even if the Tibetans have family in exile. This aims to reduce the strength of the Tibetans in exile.

Tibetans who fled to India and studied there, after graduation, when they came back to visit their families and wanted to return, they were not allowed to return and were forced to stay in the country, where basic human rights such as freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of religion are non-existent. Those who are forced to stay in the country are unable to find good jobs, especially in the education and tourism sectors.

The Chinese authorities are concerned that these Tibetans may influence Tibetan children and provide information to tourists about the real situation in Tibet. Even if they have received higher education in India or other countries, they are forced to work in uneducated jobs in Chinese cities rather than in Tibetan ones and are unable to return home to their families once or twice a year.

TPI learned that educated young Tibetans who return to Tibet cannot become teachers or tour guides and get high-level jobs, even if they know Tibetan, Chinese and English well. Therefore, even if they return home, their years of education have become useless; they cannot do anything useful for the family and society.

On the one hand, the CCP is afraid that the return of Tibetans in exile will affect Tibetans who have never left the country, and on the other hand, the CCP does not want to have a lot of Tibetans out there contributing to the cause of Tibet, especially regarding the Free Tibet campaign. Although they do not look favourably on Tibetans who come from outside and do not allow them to find good jobs, there is recent information that the CCP uses various means to get Tibetans in exile to return.

There is a report state that, the Chinese authorities force the families of exiled Tibetans to "falsely claim that they are seriously ill", and let them return home to visit family members, then force them to stay in the country and forbid them to return, even if their wives, husbands and children are in exile. This measure is aimed at reducing the strength of the Tibetans in exile.

According to a human rights group, the Chinese government, in order to implement the policy of "returning Tibetans from abroad", the Tibetan Affairs Bureau of the United Front Work Department of so called the Tibet Autonomous Region has in recent years begun to force the families of exiled Tibetans to "falsely claim to be seriously ill", taking advantage of their relatives' eagerness to return home to visit them, and then not allowing them to return.

In fact, when they arrived, it was a lie and their relatives were not seriously ill, but the Chinese authorities banned them from leaving the country again after they returned home to visit their relatives and discovered that they had been deceived.

This policy aims to reduce the strength of Tibetans in exile and weaken the political activities and movements for a free Tibet by Tibetans around the world.

China's United Front Work Department (UFWD) collects intelligence on, manages relations with and attempts to influence the elite, both in China and abroad. The UFWD focuses its work on individuals or entities outside the CCP, particularly in overseas Chinese communities, who wield political, business or academic influence, or who represent interest groups. Through its efforts, the UFWD seeks to ensure that these individuals and groups support or serve the interests of the CCP.