May 15, 2017
Officials in an area of eastern Tibet are being compelled to undergo a polygraph test, popularly known as a ‘lie-detector test,’ linked to an evaluation of their political loyalty to the CCP. The news, published in the state media, is evidence of a disturbing new level of intrusion into the private lives and thoughts of Tibetans, indicating the atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia in the official sphere and the CCP’s insecurities over the erosion of its authority.
The state media report from Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) stated that the lie-detector test was being imposed in order to establish the “true feelings” of Party cadres in the region. While it stated that this is a matter of establishing their “psychological stability”, the priority of the authorities appears to be to ensure political loyalty to the CCP and compliance with CCP policy.
The introduction of lie-detectors to test even Communist Party officials represents an escalation of the CCP’s efforts to assert its dominance in a climate it has created of fear and mistrust. It is also an implicit acknowledgement that in the official sphere as well as in the wider society, many Tibetans remain loyal to the Dalai Lama and maintain their strong sense of identity as Tibetans.