Potala, the Palace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Lhasa, the Capital of Tibet. Photo: file

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Dharamshala – Chinese authorities began to tighten control on the Internet in the next 100 days, by searching phones and arresting people in the name of "cleaning up the Internet and preventing rumors". Recently, a Tibetan man was arrested for expressing his joy at seeing His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Chinese social media after decades.

According to Tibetan sources published on April 18, 2023, Chinese authorities have tightened control over Internet use and access to information. Chinese authorities announced that they would tighten Internet control in the next 100 days to "clean up the Internet and prevent rumors" because the Internet environment has become a "threat to China and its government."

The Chinese authorities said that there has been an increase in "illegal actions" and "rumors" online in recent years, so they have banned and blocked individuals and groups on social media. But in reality, they have banned actions that they believe are against the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly in China and Tibet.

Chinese authorities have arrested, tortured and convicted Tibetans in occupied Tibet for merely expressing their opinions and faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet in exile, and the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan government in exile, and other high lamas in the exile.

Chinese authorities have tightened rules on Chinese social media applications, including Wechat, which most Tibetans use to communicate with each other and with their families and relatives in exile around the world. They have banned Chinese social media groups (Wechat), which were created to preserve the Tibetan language, talk about religion and other things.

Chinese authorities arrested three young Tibetans, Dadul, Sangye Tso and Kansi, from Kyegudo, eastern Tibet, on February 17, 2021 after failing to register a WeChat group with the local authorities. One of them was hospitalized after being beaten by Chinese police. The Chinese authorities sentenced a young Tibetan man named ThupSam to two years in prison in 2022, for allegedly sending information to Europe and India via the Chinese social media application (Wechat).

Chinese authorities detained at least 25 Tibetans, including 15 monks and 10 lay people, in Lithang County, eastern Tibet, in July 2021, on the birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet. These detained Tibetans posted and sent photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on social media (WeChat) before and during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday on July 6, 2021.

Chinese state-owned news agencies in China published the recent viral video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on social networks. Tibetans are overjoyed to see their spiritual leader online and express their joy, after decades of banning photos, speeches and books of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in occupied Tibet and China, but Chinese authorities have arrested those who expressed joy at seeing the Dalai Lama and are now monitoring the internet more closely.

Tibetan activist Tenzin Tsundue wrote, ‘When the CCP media showed Tibetans the video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetans expressed their joy because they could see His Holiness in the official media after decades. Today, China has detained a (Tibetan) teacher who expressed joy and did not buy the CCP propaganda.’