China completes Internet, phone monitoring scheme for Tibet

BEIJING Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:14am EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China has completed a monitoring scheme in restive Tibet that requires all telephone and internet users to register under their real names, state media said on Wednesday, as part of a campaign to crack down on what officials describe as rumors.

Tibetans are already closely watched, due to decades of often violent unrest in protest at Chinese rule, which Beijing blames on exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

By the end of last year, all 2.76 million fixed line and mobile telephone users and 1.47 million internet users in the remote region had registered for services under their real identities, Xinhua news agency said.

The scheme "is conducive to protecting citizens' personal information and curbing the spread of detrimental information" the report quoted government official Nyima Doje as saying.

The growing popularity of the Internet and mobile phones has "brought about social problems, including the rampant circulation of online rumors, pornography and spam messages", another official, Dai Jianguo, said.

"The real-name registration will help resolve these problems while benefiting the long-term, sound development of the internet," Dai added, according to Xinhua.

The central Chinese government last year passed a law mandating the use of real names to register for internet services and also began forcing users of Sina Corp's wildly successful Weibo microblogging platform to register their real names.

Enforcement of similar rules for cellphones, especially pay-as-you-go services, is often lax, though.

China has defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the remote region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation of serfs and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops "peacefully liberated" it.

The Dalai Lama fled into exile in 1959, following a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He denies Chinese charges of stoking violence in Tibet.

China's announcement of the successful completion of the telephone and internet monitoring program in Tibet comes as Chinese media and the government have expressed indignation at accusations of mass surveillance by the United States.

The explosive revelations of the U.S. National Security Agency's (NSA) spying programs were made by Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor now holed up in Hong Kong, a China-controlled city.

The former British colony is supposed to enjoy wide-ranging autonomy and broad freedoms denied to people in mainland China, including an independent judiciary and free press.

Since its return to Chinese rule in 1997, however, the city's pro-democracy politicians and activists have complained that Beijing has been steadily eroding Hong Kong's freedoms, despite constitutional safeguards.

China demanded on Monday that Washington explain its monitoring programs to the international community, though China itself routinely monitors its own population.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Comments (7)
AussieinChina wrote:
Nice try, but the same regulation applies to everyone in China.

Jun 19, 2013 6:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Free_Pacific wrote:
China has defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet … when Communist troops “peacefully liberated” it.

It doesn’t get any more bare faced than that. They worry about Japan ‘re-writing’ it’s history, but at least the Japanese are aware of WWII. In China, they just bury everything and then make absolute contradictory phrases like ‘peacefully liberated’. The scary part is, in official language with their neighbors, they use the same stoney faced lies for diplomacy on almost any issue, then claim they are victims.

Jun 19, 2013 7:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gli98 wrote:
“China has defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet”

China ruled over Tibet for centuries. Throughout the history, more native Indians were slaughtered by Americans than tibetans by Chinese. So most Chinese find the america’s stance on this issue quiet amusing.
Furthermore, living standard of Tibetans are pretty close to that of local Chinese; in sharp contrast, large majority of Indians are living in poverty when compared to white in the US.
Finally, I bet you rarely heard Indians complain about their current status, and that you never bothered to think why.

Jun 19, 2013 10:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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