Dharamshala: In a recent notice, the Chinese authorities in “Tibet Autonomous Region” announced criminal prosecutions against individuals who use online communication tools to engage in activities against the Chinese Communist Party.
The notice dated 24 November was publicly posted about a week ago, on 24 December 2020, which said that the authorities would “strike hard” against offenders “in accordance with law”.
An English translation of the notice is as below:
Notice of the Tibet Autonomous Region on not using information networks to implement activities to split the country and undermine national unity
In order to further advance the governance of the Internet according to law, and severely crack down on the use of information networks to split the country and undermine national unity, illegal and criminal activities, in accordance with the “Criminal Law”, “The Law on Public Security Management Penalties”, “The Cybersecurity Law”, and “Computer Information” in accordance with the “Notice on the Twenty Prohibitions of Network Communication Activities in the Tibet Autonomous Region” and other laws and regulations, such as the Measures for the Administration of the Security Protection of Networks and International Networks, it is now prohibited to use information networks to implement prohibited activities that split the country and disrupt national unity as follows:
- It is prohibited to publish and spread information that distorts history, downplays national consciousness, uses religious content, religious activities, etc. to attack the party and state policies, and slander the socialist system.
- It is not allowed to provide virtual private network (VPN) and technical support or help for others to visit or browse overseas websites that promote, instigate the secession of the country, or undermine national unity.
- It is not allowed to join network groups that organize, plan, and implement secession, undermining national unity and national unity, and other illegal and criminal activities, and make, copy, review, and disseminate information that promotes, incites secession, and undermines national unity.
- It is not allowed to use instant messaging tools, social forum software, etc. to contact organizations or persons that endanger national security to carry out activities that split the country or undermine national unity.
- Do not engage in supporting activities that endanger national security, such as providing funds, state secrets, and intelligence information.
- Do not accept tasks from organizations or personnel that endanger national security to carry out separatist and sabotage activities.
- Do not promote or support organizations or personnel that endanger national security in various forms.
- Do not distort facts, spread rumors, or spread false information to provoke ethnic relations and undermine ethnic unity.
- It is not allowed to distort hype, attack and defame the party and the government by creating various social conflicts or using hot and sensitive events, and inciting disturbing public order.
- All other activities deemed by laws and regulations as being aimed at splitting the country and undermining national unity are not allowed.
For those who commit the above illegal and criminal activities on the Internet, the criminal offender shall be held accountable in accordance with the law.
Notice is hereby issued by
Tibet Autonomous Region Public Security Department, Tibet Autonomous Region Internet Information Office, and Tibet Autonomous Region Communications Administration
November 24, 2020
The restrictions are also imposed in other Tibetan areas.
China, the world’s worst abuser of Internet freedom, has imprisoned a number of Tibetans living inside Tibet for using the online platform to share their opinions in the past. Tibetans are under surveillance at all times both online and offline. Any talk of politics or critique of state policy is considered an act of separatism; any post related to His Holiness the Dalai Lama are grounds for a charge of religious extremism. Tibetans are also strictly discouraged from contacting the outside world.
The Chinese party-state, with the aim of maintaining “social stability”, outlawed many social media platforms and search engines such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter which allowed for more freedom of speech and information. In contrast, China has created its own platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, where the search results are restricted to match Party lines. Suspicious individuals are reported if they engage in activities such as critiquing the party, debating human rights, or advocating for Tibetan culture.
– Filed by UN, EU & Human Rights Desk/DIIR