Tuesday 23 October 2012

China reinforces ban on the Dalai Lama’s photos

Phayul[Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:22]
Ahead of China’s once in a decade leadership change next month, Chinese authorities in eastern Tibet have issued fresh notices reinforcing the ban on pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and materials advocating Tibetan independence.

The public notice dated September 17 was seen in Rongwo town in Rebkong region of eastern Tibet. The region has witnessed two known self-immolation protests this year and a number of mass protestsagainst the Chinese government.

According to High Peaks Pure Earth, the website which translated the note, the political message of the public notice, drawing attention to matters such as “splitting the country” is couched in the language of social concerns including warnings on sudden death as a result of exhaustion after spending too much time on the internet.

In the notice, Chinese authorities have said that the “special campaign” of striking against illegal activities is being carried out in order to create a “harmonious and stable social and cultural environment for ensuring the successful convening of the 18th Party Congress.”

The three-point notice begins with the reinforcement of the ban on selling photos, videos, and books of the Dalai Lama and objects publicising Tibetan independence.

“The various cultural enterprises and operating units in the cultural marketplace are strictly forbidden to sell the photos of the Dalai Lama, or videos, pictures, books, writings, hangings and other objects inciting to split the country, publicising Tibetan independence or spreading obscene, pornographic and vulgar messages,” the notice reads. “In particular, they are forbidden to print the aforementioned photos and writings without authorisation.”

Despite China’s ban, public display of devotion to the Dalai Lama has been rampant in Tibet. The 55 Tibetans, who have set themselves on fire since 2009 inside Tibet, have called for the Tibetan spiritual leader’s return, while thousands of Tibetans have attendedpublic enthronements of portraits of the Dalai Lama. 

The notice goes on to warn internet café owners from opening their café beyond business hours or from closing their windows and doors while in business.

The authorities have further warned that people operating illegally will be struck hard strike hard and severely punished.

In August this year, a Tibetan father of three, Logya was sentenced to four years in prison by a Chinese court in eastern Tibet for carrying a portrait of the Dalai Lama during a peaceful protest on January 23 in Ngaba. Prior to his sentencing without legal representation, Logya was kept in detention for several months during which he suffered beatings and torture at the hands of Chinese security officers.

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