(TibetanReview.net, Dec 25) — A major crackdown on information, especially through and from the internet, appeared to be underway in Tibet’s capital Lhasa with the reported arrest of 59 Tibetans so far. China’s official English-language newspaper China Daily Dec 25 said the 59 were apprehended for rumour-mongering. It cited Xin Yuanming, deputy director of the public security bureau of Lhasa, as saying at a press conference that after the Mar 14 protests in the city, “some people started making up stories and spreading rumours, posing a threat to the security of the region and its people”. No further details of any kind were provided.
However, Reuters Dec 25 cited the semi-official China News Service as saying the 59 were accused of acting under the influence of the Dalai Lama, and of downloading “reactionary” songs for distribution within Tibet. “After the violent incident in March, some people with ulterior motives under the scheming and encouragement of the Dalai splitist clique intentionally spread rumours and incited ethic feelings, threatening national and personal security,” it quoted the report as saying.
Exile Tibetans and rights groups say hundreds of Tibetans still remain behind bars, with many having disappeared, following China’s brutal crackdown on the Tibetan uprising in Mar’08.