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China detained Tibetan woman for social media criticism of official racism, corruption

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(, Jan03’24) – Chinese police in Kyegudo (Chinese: Yushu) Prefecture of Qinghai Province had in Oct 2023 placed a Tibetan woman under administrative detention after she criticized police and bureaucratic ill-treatment of Tibetan people, including for subjecting them to racial or ethnic discrimination, in her social media postings, according to Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Jan 2. It was only her latest encounter with Chinese authorities since at least 2017.

The matter apparently came to light on Nov 11, the day after her 15-day administrative detention ended, when Tsering Tso posted on her WeChat account a letter from the Yushu Public Security Bureau (the Chinese police). The letter was shown to allege that between Oct 8 and 25, 2023, she had committed the crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by posting a series of videos and personal statements on her Douyin account to “falsely accuse the government and spread misinformation on her private social media”.

These postings were stated to include an Oct 16 video in which she criticised the “feudalistic mindset” of the local officials, accusing them of corruption and thereby hindering the “hardworking and educated people from ordinary households to accomplish great deeds and realise their dreams”.

In another video, posted on Oct 19, Tsering Tso was stated to have sought to expose the unfair practices of the local government leaders while she tried to open and operate her tour business in Kyegudo city since 2016.

One of her widely viewed posts was stated to be a video she had captured at the Lhasa railway station in Jul 2023. In it, she was reportedly shown saying: “Lhasa authorities are violating the nation’s laws; they are engaging in racial discrimination. Chinese individuals with Identification Cards merely need to show their faces to pass. In contrast, Tibetans face restrictions despite possessing all requisite legal documents. Only Chinese individuals without Identification Cards are instructed to register. Meanwhile, we Tibetans, with all legal documentation in order, are denied passage. Look! The Chinese are permitted to pass without impediment. They encounter no issues. What does this convey? Does it not demonstrate a lack of racial equality? Is this not unmistakable racial discrimination?”

In yet another video, she was stated to be seen asking a police officer to show her the directive mandating that Tibetans [from Tibetan areas outside Tibet Autonomous Region] should obtain permits to travel to Lhasa, arguing that such a rule constituted discrimination against Tibetans.

Tsering Tso originally hails from Trika (Guide) County in Tsolho (Hainan) Prefecture, but now lives in Yushu City. She operates the Tibet World Tours and Travel, specialising in organising tours in various regions, including Lhasa City, Ngari, and other parts of Tibet, as well as destinations in other parts of the world, the centre said.

The centre said she was previously taken into custody in Nov 2020, from the provincial capital Siling (Xining), accused of disrupting “social stability”. She was at that time taken to Trika, detained there for ten days on a starvation diet, and fined 1000 yuan. Her 80-year-old father was also stated to have been intimidated during that period.

Way back in in 2017, Chinese police dispatched people to physically assault Tsering Tso after she called for Yushu residents to be legally granted travel permits. The police, while denying involvement, dismissed the incident by calling the perpetrators ordinary individuals under the influence of alcohol who engaged in unruly behaviour, the centre said.


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