China announces steep punishment of up to eight years’ imprisonment to Tibetans for online dissent
DHARAMSALA, 3 Sept: China has announced a severe sentence of up to eight years of imprisonment for dissent on online platforms for Tibetans in Qinghai.
Tibetans in Qinghai province now risks being put behind bars for one to eight years for posting and sharing any content online that the Chinese authorities may find “illegal or harmful to Chinese nation or the communist party, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said citing an official notice issued by the Chinese officials in occupied Tibet.
The notice particularly targets online groups with more than 10 members each and requires all members of such groups to publicise the contents of the notice, exercise “self-restraint”, “keep a tight lip by not sharing rumours”, and stop sharing “sensitive information”, the Dharamsala based rights group added.
TCHRD added that under the notice, all chat groups and individual users that are found posting and sharing illegal contents will be prosecuted as part of the ongoing nationwide crackdown on ‘black and evil forces’.
While the notice issued earlier this week in both Tibetan and Chinese has specially instructed the moderators of online chat groups to shoulder major responsibilities in managing the behaviour of group members and the contents doing the rounds, it also added that the Chinese officials from numerous departments including the internet authorities will be ‘closely monitoring’ all chat groups including their status updates or ‘moments.’
The notice has listed 10 rules that all online users have to observe by; not sharing sensitive political information; believe in, post or share them; send internal information to outsiders; send threatening information related to [above point]; share information related to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan before it is released by the government; share information related to the military; share documents related to state secrets; collect all kinds of unverified news reports; or send all kinds of photos and videos of various [government officials].
The centre added that the notice is somewhat similar to the one issued earlier in 2017 by the Public Security Bureau in Machu (Ch: Maqu) county, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture except for the 4th, 8th, 9th and the 10th point.
Meanwhile, the communist regime has also announced cash prizes of up to 300,000 yuan (approx. USD 44,000) earlier this year for reporting illegal online contents that the centre says effectively criminalises free speech in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region.