The historically independent nation of Tibet was annexed by Chinese troops over 60 years ago, and China has continued its brutal occupation of the region to this day. To create an “impenetrable security barrier” between occupied Tibet and the outside world, China has adopted a strategy of creating “border defense villages”. According to reports, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadres will be stationed in these border defense villages to counter “infiltration by hostile forces.” One of the main areas of intervention of this plan is the development of the connectivity infrastructure. In 2019, the Chinese government built a major tunnel and bridge that would connect the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, to China’s Sichuan Province via a rail link. This new rail link is of great strategic importance for China and is located close to India.
The development of these border villages has serious implications for the defense of India. These border defense villages will change the demographics of border areas over time. The construction of these border villages is particularly worrying for India following the 2017 standoff between India and Chinese troops on the Doklam plateau. The plateau is only 9 kilometers from Yadong County, Tibet. This reason is considered strategically sensitive due to its location and its relative proximity to the Indian border.
“If China were to increase its influence over the region, it would allow Chinese forces access to the Siliguri corridor, known as the ‘goose neck’. If Chinese forces can exert influence over Yadong’s “goose neck”, it would be a great opportunity for China to completely cut off India’s access to the Northeast in times of war or strife. a source familiar with the developments told Zee News.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the nation’s borders must be well governed so that it can be properly administered across the country. Wu Yingjie, the head of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) CCP said that Tibet is a special ethnic border region and therefore is extremely important for China’s national security and forms an ecological security barrier. The plan to establish border defense villages in Tibet near the Indian border is described in the “Plan for the construction of affluent villages in border areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region (2017-2020)”. The plan was released in 2017 and according to it, China would create more than 600 of these border defense villages.
CCP cadres are to be stationed in these villages, and their main objective is to repel any infiltration attempt by “hostile forces” such as Tibetans loyal to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. By placing loyal cadres in these villages, the CCP hopes that the villages will follow or align with Chinese goals. These border villages are built on the roads that were once used by Tibetans to escape the oppressive CCP regime in Nepal and then in India. Another important role for the inhabitants of these villages is to keep an eye on population movements and activities across the border. Most of the border defense villages are being built in key border areas such as Nyingtri / Niyngchi. The region borders the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
The border defense villages also serve as a center for the CCP’s ideological campaigns. Villages organize intensive political education sessions in border areas. These political education sessions include the training of monks in Nyingtri. Through this method, the monks learn to go against the influence of the Dalai Lama. Penpa Lhamo, deputy director of the Institute for Contemporary Studies at the Tibetan Academy of Sciences, said Nyingtri is vital for Chinese counterintelligence operations due to the presence of numerous military sites in the region. According to Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations, the temples in Tibet have always been at the center of the Chinese government’s plan because they are essential to maintaining the stability of Tibet.
The infrastructure closest to the actual border is known as “front line” construction. According to Chinese state media, the majority of the border defense villages were built on the “first line”, while about 200 border defense villages were built on a slightly further “second line”. Chinese state media have also revealed that Tibetans are often forcibly displaced and resettled in border villages.
Zhu Hong, head of the organizing department of the Gar County Committee, when speaking about a new border defense village called Demchog in Gar County, said the goal was to turn those villages into “Party building position and indestructible fighting fortress”. He added that these villages would organize demonstrations at the border and keep the motherland (mainland China). In addition to passive security roles, these border defense villages also act as outposts that attempt to identify “secessionist” elements. Chinese media have reported that the amenities available in these villages like well-built houses, paved roads, electricity, television and the internet are said to be considered attractive to those across the border.
The construction and development of these border defense villages has been welcomed by President Xi Jinping. In a letter to two sisters from a Tibetan herding family, Xi said he wanted the girls to “take root” in the new village, as well as safeguard Chinese territory. Xi also added that he wanted the Tibetan settlers “to develop their hometown”. The Chinese have invested considerable sums in the development of these border defense villages. According to Mr. Taylor Fravel, director of the security studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the local budget for building these border defense villages is around 30 billion yuan or $ 4.6 billion. Zhuangyan, Deputy Party Secretary, Executive Chairman of TAR and Commander-in-Chief of the Xiaokang Village Construction Work Headquarters in March 2018, said the main objective of the construction of these villages was to ensure the consolidation of the areas. borders and guaranteeing border security. In this sense, these border villages are similar to the farms of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. They offer the same benefits to China by increasing border control as well as consolidation.
Beijing and the CCP have long believed that it is much easier to control an unruly population when they are settled and placed in well-connected villages. Through the use of modern technologies such as surveillance cameras and cell phones, the action of “resettled” villages can be effectively monitored and controlled. The Chinese government finds it much easier to control these settled Tibetans than it is to follow them while they continue their nomadic lifestyle.
The construction of these “border defense villages” is intended for Chinese encroachment on the lands of sovereign nations of its neighboring countries. These unilateral actions by Chinese expansionist President Xi Jinping are in flagrant violation of international standards. China may have chosen this period of adversarial global health as an “opportunity” to advance its expansionist ideology by speeding up work on establishing “border defense villages” apparently assuming it would pass. unnoticed.
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