Arrests have been made for sharing information online.
Following on from international coverage on China’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the CCP have tightened their crackdown on online communications in Tibet. The severe control and surveillance has left communications between Tibetans in Tibet and family members in exile even more restrictive.
Due to CCP’s sensitivity to criticism of its human rights violations and police state control in Tibet, such measures are being taken to ensure no leakages of critical information to the outside world.
Although details are not available as of yet, a large number of arrests have been made in the Tibetan area of Golog, Machen and Ragya, all of which are governed by Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. According to Free Tibet’s research partner, Tibet Watch, the arrests were allegedly a response to Tibetans sharing information on WeChat over the past month.
According to Tibet Watch’s sources, people within the region are now unable to share any information and pictures.
In an official announcement about WeChat, a list of instructions were laid out by the CCP about what is allowed and what is not. It warned of prosecution for those who failed to comply, in particular warning that the sharing of any views and information that are deemed harmful to the party and nation will be dealt with as part of the ongoing national campaign against underworld forces.
Any individual going against the laws and party instruction will face imprisonment from one to eight years, according to the announcement.
Although such instructions and warnings have been echoed by Chinese authorities to Tibetans in the past, the enforcing of such rules have notably been much more forceful for the past few months.
Recently, China’s border dispute with India has also led to restrictive measures on online communication by the Indian government. The Indian government has banned 59 Chinese apps, including We Chat. This has led to increased concerns for communications between Tibetans in Tibet and those in exile and many of them reside in India.
Free Tibet is calling for the media to stop spreading CCP propaganda. Some media publications have recently dropped China Watch from their print and online editions. We are urging The Economist and The Wall Street Journal to follow them and do the same. Help us urge them to drop CCP propaganda.