Censorship in China a distant second to Tibet

11th January 2013

Tibetan voices are silenced and punishment for speaking out is swift and severe

With the recent media attention on press censorship in China, it’s easy to forget the Chinese Communist Party’s stranglehold on communications in Tibet.

The only other country as isolated as Tibet is North Korea. Foreign journalists are almost never allowed entry into Tibet, and when they are, they are closely chaperoned by Chinese officials.

Free Tibet is one of the few organisations that are able to source information from Tibet and the Tibetans who send information take huge risk in doing so.

Tibetans given lengthy sentences after e-mail attempt

In January 2012, five Tibetans were arrested for allegedly attempting to send information of a protest via e-mail from an internet cafe. It took 10 months before Free Tibet heard anything about the men: who received sentences ranging from 3-7 years in prison.

Television, radio, printed media and the internet are subjected to strict monitoring and censorship, while the Chinese regime uses propaganda bulletins delivered in the same media to threaten the population.

Fifth worst in Press Freedom list

Lobbying group Reporters Without Borders ranked China 174 out of the 179 countries on its Press Freedom Index 2011/12 and said “Out of sight of the world, a major crisis is unfolding (in Tibet). Even North Korea has an international media presence, which is not the case in Lhasa.”

Tibetans are often arrested for ‘crimes’ as innocent as owning a Tibetan flag or pictures of the Dalai Lama. Those arrested often disappear and when finally heard from, they report of being subjected to torture, a practice cited by the UN as widespread and routine.

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Global leaders avoid calling China to account over Tibet. Call on them to Break the Silence