Tibetan passports confiscated in January not yet returned by the Chinese authorities in Tibet according to a report in Radio Free Asia. The Chinese authorities had confiscated passports of many Tibetans from the airports on their arrival back to Tibet during incident at the beginning of this year are still being held by them.
“Tibetan passports seized by authorities earlier this year in a bid to tighten control over travel outside China are still being held in spite of police promises that they would be quickly returned, Tibetan sources say.” said the report in RFA.
“The move affected hundreds of Tibetans traveling as pilgrims to India and Nepal and as tourists to other Asian countries, and came amid official concerns over Tibetans’ presence at a politically sensitive religious gathering led by exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in January.” added the report.
Chinese authorities strictly condemned the largest Tibetan Buddhists religious event by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 34th Kalachakra at Bodh Gaya, India. Therefore the authorities ordered thousands of Tibetans who had legally traveled all the way to India for the event to returned back to Tibet immediately just few days before the beginning of the religious event.
The Tibetans had to forcefully return to Tibet and their passports were confiscated right at the arrival to the airport and the report informs that those passports have not yet returned by the authorities.
Many of the Tibetans ordered home by China were told their families would be harmed if they failed to go back, sources told in earlier reports. And while the old passports, purchased at a cost of 5,000 yuan (U.S. $759) each and good for 10 years, have not been returned, no new passports are being issued, sources said.