10 Tibetans arrested in connection to coronavirus rumours

23rd March 2020

Crackdown by Chinese authorities continues. 


10 Tibetans have been arrested in Lhasa in central Tibet, according to Radio Free Asia.

The 10 Tibetans were reportedly arrested on 12 March for breaching control measures imposed across the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to combat the spread of COVID-19.

However, according to the report, the lack of information from Tibet or due process for those arrested has raised doubts over the real motivation for the arrests. There has only been one officially-recorded case of COVID-19 in the TAR.

The TAR is the most heavily-restricted part of Tibet, with heavy security and surveillance. Journalists and external organisations including Free Tibet and its research partner Tibet Watch have particular difficulty in obtaining news of arrests in the region.

The arrests follow a number of previous arrests in Tibet in connection to communications about the coronavirus. Authorities in eastern Tibet as well as the TAR have issued notifications stating that they will crack down on those who spread “rumours”, “information that endangers or undermines national security or national unity” or “attacks” on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) handling of the pandemic. 

COVID 19, also known as the coronavirus, has become a global pandemic in the past three months. The disease originated in Wuhan in China’s Hubei Province but has rapidly spread since then. The CCP has received criticism, including from Chinese citizens, for its attempts to suppress information about the scale of the outbreak in January.


Free Tibet is calling for international recognition for Tibet at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow in 2021.

Help us secure a place for Tibet at COP26. Sign our petition today and in the autumn we will take your signatures to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Environmental Affairs of participating countries.

Tibetans deserve representation and a say in their own environment.