News / Asia

China Intensifies Digital, Human Surveillance of Tibetans

VOA News
China appears to be intensifying its monitoring of Tibetans, requiring them to provide real names to IT service providers and sending thousands of Communist Party members to villages to observe their activities.

State-run news agency Xinhua said Wednesday the government of the Tibetan Autonomous Region has registered the real names of all Internet users and subscribers of fixed line and mobile phone services under its jurisdiction. It said 2.8 million Tibetan phone users and 1.5 million Tibetan Internet users completed the registration process by the end of 2012, as required by a regional law.

Xinhua quoted regional official Dai Jianguo as saying China's monitoring of the identities of Tibetan phone and Internet subscribers is necessary to curb "rampant circulation of online rumors, pornography and spam messages."

But, human rights activists accuse Beijing of significantly expanding its surveillance of Tibetans in recent years to try to suppress an ethnic group it sees as a security threat.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Wednesday Beijing has sent more than 20,000 Communist Party members to Tibetan villages to "undertake intrusive surveillance of people, carry out widespread political re-education, and establish partisan security units."

The group's China director Sophie Richardson told VOA such activities are quite different from improving Tibetan living standards, which Beijing declared as a goal of the village program, launched in 2011.

"There is this explicit surveillance agenda of monitoring people's political views, whether they have photos of the Dalai Lama, whether they know anything about immolations, I think it is particularly alarming to us that even children have essentially been interrogated by these cadres," she said. "They have also set up yet another form of local quasi police teams, which raises a lot of questions about whether arrests of detentions or even interrogations are taking place on the basis of objective law as opposed to partisan agenda."

The Chinese government views the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, as a separatist and a traitor. The Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking dialogue aimed at establishing Tibetan autonomy.

Beijing has tightened security in Tibetan areas following a series of mass anti-government demonstrations and riots in 2008 against what many Tibetans see as Chinese repression of their religion and culture.

Chinese authorities also have faced a wave of at least 119 self-immolations by Tibetans protesting Beijing's policies since 2009. Richardson said those challenges have hardened the Chinese government's view of Tibetans.

"We have really seen the central government and local authorities perceive Tibetans much more in criminal terms -- that to talk about immolation is being criminalized, that to express criticism of the government's policies is regarded much more harshly now than it was. So this level of surveillance certainly stems both from those concerns but also from the central government's national drive of stability maintenance which we've seen cause all sorts of similar problems in other parts of the country," she said.

China says its huge infrastructure investments in Tibetan areas have measurably improved the quality of life for Tibetans in recent years.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Trade Talks Could Heat Up in 2015

With boosting trade a top priority for the Obama administration, 2015 may be the year that an agreement is finally reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership. But the trade deal, which is intended to boost trade between 12 Pacific countries, faces opposition as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school

All About America

AppleAndroid