(TibetanReview.net, Mar08’19) – China is reported to have tightened security measures in different parts of Tibet to preempt possible protests around the 60th anniversary on Mar 10 of the Tibetan National Uprising Day. The Tibetan Service of rfa.org Mar 6 referred to measures enhanced in Tibetan regions of Sichuan and Gansu provinces as well as in Beijing.
In Dege County of Sichuan Province’s Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture, Tibetans have been banned from travelling out until after Mar 10. “Not only are they forbidden now to travel outside the county, but they are restricted from moving even between villages and towns on March 10 itself,” the report quoted a local source as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Besides, control over social media was reported to have been already tightened ahead of the politically sensitive anniversary.
“During this last week, cell phone users have not been able to open and listen to overseas news content shared on WeChat,” a social media platform especially popular in China, the source has said. “And word is going around that on Mar 10, all WeChat users will be blocked.”
In Beijing, Minzu University, a school for ethnic minority students, was reported to be under an order from the government to keep “a close watch” on Tibetan students during the run-up to Mar 10.
And in the Tibetan prefecture of Kanlho (Gannan) in Gansu Province, managers of online chat groups were reported to be under a government order to closely monitor content sharing and conversations on their groups.
“March is a significant month for maintaining security and stability, and the managing and regulation of WeChat should be strengthened to prevent any illegal content sharing and dissemination of information that harms the Communist Party and the nation,” the report a quoted a government directive as saying, threatening an eight-year jail sentence for violations.