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Friday, March 5, 2021

China blocking Tibetan exiles with contact in Tibet from WeChat

(Photo courtesy: The Star)

(TibetanReview.net, Jun13’20) – May be activists do not need to urge exile Tibetans to boycott WeChat, a popular Chinese digital communication tool, because Beijing is said to be doing just that the other way: blocking them from the App to prevent them from contacting friends and family in Tibet.

Monks and nuns living in religious sites outside Tibet like Sakya Monastery in Uttar Pradesh, India, have been targeted in particular with their WeChat accounts blocked, said London-based Free Tibet group Jun 12, citing their research group Tibet Watch.

The accounts were said to have been blocked at the request of the Chinese government in an effort to further prevent communication between Tibet and the outside world, particularly targeting religious leaders in exile.

Despite years of campaign for its boycott by Tibetan groups, WeChat has continued to remain popular among exile Tibetans simply because there is no comparable alternative for them to maintain contact with friends and families in Tibet.

The platform, owned by Chinese corporation Tencent, is heavily monitored by Chinese authorities and many Tibetans in Tibet have been arrested and jailed for doing nothing more than exchange photos of the Dalai Lama over it.

It was previously reported by the group in May 2020 that Chinese authorities in Tibet’s Dingri County had investigated between 4,000 and 5,000 households having family ties with exiles in Nepal and India.

Tibetans living in Europe having contacts in Tibet have in the past stated that they were suddenly unable to use their WeChat accounts.

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