China Expands List of Activities Forbidden to Tibetans

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Map by RFA.

Chinese authorities are circulating a new list of 13 “unlawful” behaviors in a protest-hit Tibetan county in China’s northwestern Qinghai province, warning Tibetans against involvement in self-immolation protests and a range of other activities deemed supportive of challenges to Chinese rule.

An undated document listing the restricted behaviors, including filming self-immolation protests and seeking welfare donations, has been disseminated in all towns and villages of Rebgong (in Chinese, Tongren) county in Qinghai’s Malho (Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to a source inside the region.

A typed copy of the document was received on Wednesday by RFA’s Tibetan Service.

Prohibitions listed in the document are aimed at “strengthening the protection of social stability and maintaining discipline by cracking down on unlawful activities in the relevant areas,” the document, written in Tibetan, says.

Activities now forbidden include fund-raising “in the name of social welfare,” urging protection of the environment or the Tibetan language, and conducting prayer rituals or other religious ceremonies if these carry “overtones” of support for Tibetan independence.

Other unlawful activities listed as unlawful include “intimidating” government officials, inciting self-immolation protests, obstructing the “rescue” of self-immolators by Chinese security forces, and sending images or information about self-immolations to “outside separatist forces.”

The list particularly bars Tibetans from “taking pictures and filming the actual scene of self-immolation and mass gatherings” and “providing secret information to separatist forces,” apparently referring to Tibetan exile groups.

Some reports said the new list was based on points made by an unnamed senior Chinese official at a recent provincial-level meeting.

A total of 113 Tibetans to date have set themselves ablaze to challenge Chinese rule in Tibetan areas and call for the return from exile of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Earlier notices

In October last year, Chinese authorities in another restive Tibetan region in the Kanlho (in Chinese, Gannan) prefecture of China’s northwestern Gansu province offered large rewards for information on the “planning and instigation” of self-immolation protests, pledging to protect the safety of informants.

Notices, dated Oct. 21, 2012 and written in Tibetan and Chinese, asked residents to assist police in preventing the self-immolations.

At the same time, the notices blamed the fiery protests on the Dalai Lama and “separatist” forces.

Chinese authorities in Gansu early last year posted police notices in public places in Kanlho prefecture threatening severe punishment for "criminals" who "threaten the social stability of Gan Lho [Kanlho]" with "ideas of splitting the nation."

Also subject to immediate punishment was the "incitement of illegal activities and agitation between ethnic groups," the notice said.

The "destabilization of society" and promotion of "illegal organizations" were also cited as banned in the October notice, as were any forms of communication or information judged as being used for "criminal purposes."

These could include "speech and the distribution of written information," "cartoons," "homemade materials," "videos," "websites," "emails, and audio files," or "SMS text messages," the notice said.

Reported by RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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