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China enforcing outside-contact gag order on Tibetans with mobile app

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(TibetanReview.net, Feb12’22) – Apart from banning Tibetans from maintaining any kind of contact with fellow-Tibetans living in exile, China has ordered those having relatives living outside the country to install a monitoring application in their mobile phones in at least two counties of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), said London-based Free Tibet Feb 10, citing its research section Tibet Watch.

The group said that Chinese police in Drag-yab (Chinese: Chaya) County and Chamdo (Changdu) municipal area of TAR’s Chamdo City had been monitoring families of Tibetans living in exile with special attention over the past two years.

The group said the authorities had made it compulsory for such Tibetans to download the mobile app, which allows unprecedented access to their phone data.

Tibetans found to carry photos or videos in their mobile handset deemed “politically sensitive” by police authorities and those found to have contacted Tibetans living outside the country had been arbitrarily detained for two to three months. And upon release, they were put under surveillance, including with restrictions on their movement, the group said.

A nun named Lobsang Tsomo was stated to have been arrested around mid-Nov 2021 in Drag-yab County on suspicion that she had contacted Tibetans living outside the country. She was released after three months of severe beating and interrogations. And she was banned from travelling outside her county. The report cited a local source as saying several other nuns were said to have been arrested with her, but that information gag made it impossible to find out about them.

Restrictions on movement and online censorship were stated to be pervasive and worsening in the two Chamdo areas.

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