New Tibet clampdown rewards informers on activities critical of Chinese rule

Soldiers hold the flag-raising ceremony at the Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of Tibet March 28, 2011.

(, Apr10’20) – China had promulgated on Sep 12, 2019 but made public through state media only in late Mar 2020 a set of “Measures for Reporting and Rewarding on the Campaign for Eliminating Pornography and Illegal Content in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)”, said Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Apr 6.

Under the new measures people have been promised rewards ranging from 1,000 yuan to 600,000 yuan, depending on the type of information they provided. The information has to be on those who advocate for a “greater Tibetan area,” a “high degree of autonomy” or the “Middle Way,” including by “publishing, making, printing, reproducing, distributing, disseminating, mailing, storing and transporting publications (including online publications).”

The Middle Way approach proposed by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, decades ago, is the official position of the exile Tibetan administration and calls for genuine autonomy for Tibetans under Chinese rule through negotiations under China’s existing constitutional framework.

The new measures are based on a campaign adopted by China at the national level in 2018 and has been tailored by the TAR leadership to include specific references to the situation in Tibet.

The national-level measures allow Chinese authorities to treat anything published, posted online or broadcast—other than official state propaganda—as “illegal” and subject to punishment.

In the case of TAR, one section declares as illegal any content in any form of publication that is found to be “endangering national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity” or “attacking the system of regional national autonomy” by advocating for a “high degree of autonomy” and the Middle Way approach.

Another section targets individuals who criticize the overall Chinese policy in Tibet and lists as illegal the listed types of activities that are seen as “attacking the central government’s strategies for governing Tibet and the Party’s ethnic and religious policies.”

Rewards are also promised to those who report on individuals who copy or distribute overseas publications, including on subjects related to “Tibetan independence.”

Any attack or defamation of the Chinese Communist Party and state leaders, as well as any challenging of party leadership and China’s socialist system has been declared a crime, leaving no room for any legitimate criticism of the Chinese leadership.

Promising anonymity to informers, and new measures make it clear that “No unit or individual may retaliate against the reporter, and the offender shall be held accountable according to law and discipline.”


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