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Sinicization drive suspected to be behind Tibetan video-sharing app’s shutdown

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(TibetanReview.net, Nov16’22) – A popular Tibetan language video-sharing app in Chinese ruled Tibet Autonomous Region has announced an abrupt shutdown of its operations on Nov 10, ostensibly for financial reasons, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Nov 15. The real reason is suspected to be pressure from the Chinese government.

Promoting the national language, namely Mandarin Chinese, is a significant part of President Xi Jinping’s ongoing thrust on the Sinicization of ethnic minority regions, where the teaching or learning and use of local languages has been greatly marginalized.

The GangYang app is a short-video social media platform that can be used to record videos, livestream and shop online. It was registered and launched in about 2018 as a social media app after Chinese authorities granted permission to Tibetans in the region to create a social media app in their own language.

But now, despite being highly popular, a notice of closure made by the owner has been quoted as saying, “Despite the significance of such a Tibetan app that caters to the Tibetan community, due to growing expenses in order to keep up with the app, I have no choice but to close the GangYang App.”

The notice was stated to have thanked every user for supporting the app all the while and encouraged everyone to preserve the Tibetan language.

The report noted that Chinese government restrictions on the use of Tibetan language had spread to video services and other online platforms as it continued to push for the assimilation of the PRC’s ethnic minorities, including Tibetans, into the dominant Han Chinese culture.

“Since the social media platforms that entertain the Tibetan language have become major platforms for Tibetans to communicate among themselves, Chinese authorities are retracting the Tibetan language from these social media platforms,” Pema Gyal, a researcher at London-based Tibet Watch, was quoted as saying.


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