News and Views on Tibet

10 arrested in Lhasa for spreading “rumours”, 75 WeChat groups shut down

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Chinese authorities check a Tibetan woman in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Region (Radio Free Asia)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, MAR 21: The Chinese authorities have arrested 10 people in Lhasa for spreading “rumours” about coronavirus outbreak on Mar 12. Lhasa police officially registered 7 instances of people violating Covid-19 prevention and control measures laid out by the government, with 10 arrested. Tibet Watch confirmed that at least two townships have been subjected to crackdowns amidst the virus outbreak, with citizens who use the Chinese messaging app WeChat targeted.

Dolma Kyab, a Tibetan legal expert, told RFA, “Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese government hastily issued new laws to severely punish those who go against government efforts to contain its spread.

“So this new law stipulates that those who come in the way of the government’s efforts to contain the virus will be dealt with, but they can use this law as an excuse to harass people in China and Tibet.”

Police officers and grid workers were mobilised on 4-5 Mar to search the Chinese messaging app’s “group chats in around 16 villages and 5 monasteries within Tharshul and Sumdo Townships, Mangra County, Tsolho Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, which is governed as part of Qinghai Province,” reports Free Tibet organisation.

Bawa Kalsang Gyaltsen, another China analyst told RFA, “Besides the arrests and those incidents occurred just prior to March 10, a highly sensitive political anniversary.” 75 WeChat groups have been shut down with 298 groups registered by authorities and 223 were forced to submit letters pledging they would not spread ‘rumours,’ Tibet Watch said.

Chinese authorities told online chat groups to undertake regulations given by the state; “Countering the Epidemic- improper speech posted on the Internet” and “Public Security Administration Punishment Law of the PRC” are among the names of the regulations, Tibet Watch said. The authorities have given no specific details about the 10 arrests, stating the breach of protocol as the only alleged reason.

One Response

  1. This is what happened to the Dr Li Wenliang when he alerted other doctors of the coronavirus. To his dismay, he was reprimanded and warned of serious consequences if he continued to “spread rumour” as they put it. This behaviour of the CCP ideologues who would do anything to cover up their arse to the extent of sacrificing the lives of millions of vulnerable people in China and around the world. The present crises of the coronavirus is the making of the Chinese despots who persecuted well meaning citizens who alerted to the presence of the deadly virus.
    The world is suffering only because of the reckless and bewildering communist system in China which has its hands in every thing and every institution. Nobody is able to do the things freely without the overbearing pressure of the most obnoxious regime on earth. The whistle blower was exonerated recently owing to public out cry but like the Tibetans in Lhasa, thousands if not millions of Chinese citizens have either been arrested, disciplined, coerced or imprisoned for speaking out against the pugnacious regime. It is reported that some fourteen million Chinese social media accounts like Weibo and Wechat have been wiped out. What happened? Did all these people die during the virus epidemic or have they been erased because of the danger they posed to the regime because they spoke their mind? The answer, I believe is many of them have been imprisoned and their accounts banned to stop the spread of anti-regime sentiment among the population. One of disgruntled citizen says, “I support Independence of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Tibet. There is no one. If anyone speaks about truth, they will be caught by the police. And be deliberated, detained, and legally adjudicated. If they decide 10 or 20 years, then it’s already decided. Even lawyers are useless. All righteous lawyers are caught by the Government. I know it’s dangerous for me to speak out. But I can’t take it anymore. I cannot”.
    “Even though they want to tell the truth, they can’t say anything because of the evil regime everywhere”. This explains that there were millions who felt the frustration of lack of free speech in China and they vented their anger on online. The regime spent millions to sift the social media contents and arrested and imprisoned thousands for speaking up against the regime. These Tibetans fall into the same catagory. Their only crime is speaking the truth but for the CCP regime, this is a serious crime because truth is their worst enemy

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