Asserting Tibentan identity has landed dozens of writers, artists, educators, and even singers in Chinese jails over the past two years according to a new report.
At the same time China, in what seems a pyrhic victory for anti-censorship campaigners, has restored Internet access to the Xinjiang region, home of the ethnic Uyghur minority.
The crackdown in Tibet follows widespread protests which swept the region two years ago
“Despite knowing very well the risks, [Tibetans] still dare to publish their own opinions, to exchange opinions among themselves, about the situation in Tibet. And this has been criminalized to an extraordinary extent by the Chinese authorities,” Ben Carrdus, senior researcher for the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), said in an interview with RFA.
“We’re seeing people sentenced to 15 years to life imprisonment for their ideas.”
Meanwhile China’s restoration of most Internet services to the troubled region of Xinjiang, 10 months after deadly ethnic rioting, was a political decision with no real impact on continuing controls on the Muslim ethnic minority Uyghurs, analysts said.
Official media announced Friday the full restoration of Internet services, which had been subject to a full and then partial lockdown since ethnic rioting was sparked last July by a Uyghur demonstration in the regional capital, Urumqi.
“It has been 302 days in all. We netizens in Xinjiang were isolated from the world,” wrote user Jiayi on the Sina microblogging service. “Today, I want to stand here and say, ‘We’re back!’”