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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs