DHARAMSHALA, January 30: Chinese authorities in Malho region of eastern Tibet have intensified their campaign on banning satellite dishes, particularly at the Rongwo monastery, as part of the government’s wider clampdown on communications to stifle information on the self-immolations against Chinese rule.
The satellite equipments used by Tibetans to receive foreign radio and TV programmes are the only source of information inside Tibet besides the state sponsored propaganda news.
Regional Chinese authorities issued a notice in the name of the Rongwo Monastery Management Committee on January 24 announcing monetary fines and “other consequences” in the event of Tibetans failing to surrender satellite dishes.
“If anyone fails to do so, then respective law enforcement agencies such as the Public Security Bureau will undertake investigation. [And] if found keeping such broadcast equipment, then keeping with government orders, punitive fine of Yuan 5,000 and other consequences should be borne by the monks themselves,” the announcement reads.
Authorities had installed new TV satellite dishes and cables in the quarters of the monks after an earlier notice was issued last month.
According to Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the recent crackdown on satellite dishes in Tibetan areas “appear not only to be a deterrent against self-immolation protests but also a part of the intensified ‘patriotic education’ campaigns and the ‘Nine Must Haves’ program under which government aid will be provided in terms of electricity, roads and pension in return for installing state provided satellite dishes and newspapers all of which feature state-controlled news and views.”
“These two state propaganda campaigns are emphasised and highlighted by many high-level Chinese government officials in Tibet,” the group said in a release Tuesday.
According to reports, a recently established secret intelligence office in Rebkong has issued the notice. The location and founding date of the office is not known but it is said that the office has employees from both the security and government offices.
Last month, Regional authorities of Malho had issued an eight-point public notice
banning the sell, purchase, and use of all “illegal satellite equipment” and initiated a massive drive destroying and burning hundreds of seized satellite equipments.
The Malho region has been at the heart of the recent spike in the wave of self-immolation protests, which has already witnessed as many as 99 Tibetans set themselves on fire in protest against China’s occupation of Tibet.