The Tibetan government-in-exile is appealing to the international community to intervene in a massive Chinese security crackdown in Tibet.

Chinese state media said the "strike hard" campaign is targeting criminals. State media report that 81 people have been detained so far in the crackdown, which began on January 18.

But, in a statement Thursday, Tibet's government-in-exile said the 42-day campaign has been launched to prevent political protests.

According to state media, Chinese authorities have raided thousands of homes and businesses, and run checks on nearly 6,000 suspects.

State media report 51 people were detained for unspecified criminal activities, while another 30 were taken in for robbery, prostitution, and theft.

Two are being held for having "reactionary music" on their mobile phones.

Tibet's government-in-exile said the crackdown appears to be aimed at intimidating Tibetans ahead of the 50th anniversary of a crushed independence uprising in March of 1959.

It said the crackdown also appears timed to coincide with the anniversary of rare peaceful protests that took place last March in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas in China.

The protests later erupted into violence and China launched a massive crackdown.

Chinese officials say 22 people were killed in the unrest. Tibet's government-in-exile says 218 Tibetans were killed and nearly 7,000 were detained.