Photo courtesy of Radio Free Asia.
Chinese authorities in the Tso-Ngon province of historical Tibet (Qinghai province in Chinese) have launched a massive effort to get rid of satellite dishes that broadcast foreign channels, without specifying their motivations. Our Observer believes this is meant to stop information from spreading about a wave of self-immolations
by Tibetans enraged with Chinese rule.
According to Radio Free Asia
, the campaign kicked off in December, and it has been ongoing ever since. Thousands of satellite dishes have reportedly been confiscated in several provinces. Photographs sent to the radio station by local residents show dishes being burned by the authorities (see above photo).
Notices explaining the seizures were widely distributed in Tso-Ngon province. The one below, written in Tibetan, reads as follows (translation via Tibet Times):
“1. From the day this document is issued, every organisation or individual must stop the illegal selling, installing, and use of satellite signal receivers for TV and radio. (…) 3. In our province, wherever there is a wireless connection or a connection with wires for satellites, people or organisations using the receivers must immediately proceed to inspections in order to have those receivers destroyed and replaced with a “common receiver” [Editor’s Note: these are state-sanctioned and do not provide access to foreign channels]. 4. No individual or organisation, without the permission of the province’s administration, is allowed to receive signals from any foreign TV."
Photo courtesy of Ling Lhamo.
Nearly a quarter of Tso-Ngon province’s population is Tibetan. Many Tibetans accused the Chinese government of disrespecting their religion and their culture, and want independence for Tibet and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The authorities do not allow foreign journalists to work in Tibetan areas.
This photo of a dismantled satellite dish was sent to foreign activists by sources in Tso-Ngon province. Courtesy of Ling Lhamo.