Tailored video clip circulated on Chinese social media before spreading outside
(TibetanReview.net, May05’23) – China has released and put under house arrest with further severe punishments a Tibetan school teacher it had detained on Apr 10 after he had expressed delight on seeing a video clip of the Dalai Lama on social media even if with bad government intentions. China had allowed the posting on its heavily censored social media of a selectively clipped video shot which was designed to malign the Dalai Lama in his interaction with an Indian boy at a public event in Dharamshala on Feb 28. The tailored clip was stated to have circulated on Chinese government-controlled social media platforms before it spread in the outside world.
The secondary school teacher was held incommunicado at an unknown location in Ngaba (or Ngawa, Chinese: Aba) Prefecture of Sichuan Province before his eventual release. However, apart from being under house arrest, the Chinese government has terminated his employment, said Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy May 4.
The centre said his identity could not be released due to safety concerns.
The teacher was stated to have expressed his delight while addressing teachers and students during the school’s morning assembly, saying how fortunate it was for the Tibetan people in Tibet to be able to see His Holiness on the tightly-controlled Chinese social media.
The teacher was stated to have expressed himself thus: “A video of the interaction between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and an Indian boy is available on Chinese social media sites. Even though we lack the good fortune to meet His Holiness, it is a blessing to be able to watch him online, albeit in a distorted way. This is an auspicious sign that His Holiness will return to Tibet soon. Teachers and students alike must wholeheartedly pray as this opportunity to watch him online is as auspicious as meeting him personally. It is worth noting that the individuals who disseminated the video are not fond of him. However, it is important to acknowledge that the Buddha is perfect and without flaws.”
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The centre said that while “the edited video clip containing baseless accusations against the Nobel Peace Laureate has been allowed to circulate widely without any censorship, … attempts made by certain online users to acquire or locate the unedited video clip were met with more than immediate censorship.”
One such online user was stated to have posted on Apr 17 the full, unedited version of the video on Duoyin and written, “Watch the full video of the Dalai Lama and the child.” The user is now unable to post anything on his account which is still accessible for viewing other people’s posts, the centre said, withholding the user’s name for safety reasons.
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The centre said the “fabricated video circulated on various Chinese online platforms since Apr 9, long before it garnered international attention.”
It said that state-controlled media outlets such as Toutiao and The Beijing News, a branch of ByteDance, actively promoted and facilitated the sharing of the tailored video.
The centre further said that by Apr 16, the edited clip was viewed by over 200 million people, becoming the most viral video in China over Apr 14-17, during which time hashtags such as “How Dalai Lama’s kiss is nauseating” and “Dalai Lama is a demon” spread quickly.
The hashtag “Western media exposing the crimes of the Dalai clique” was also stated to have been used to disseminate false information, resulting in over 500 million views and millions of comments.
Around 500 million Weibo accounts engaged with edited and derogatory content, revealing widespread dissemination of false information targeting the Dalai Lama, the centre added.