Tibetans face further religious restrictions

The Chinese government has announced a new decree in December that warned Tibetans of possible clamp down on the spread of online religious content that the party deems ‘damaging’, reports Dharamshala-basedrights group Tibet Watch. The regulation ‘Measures on the Administration of Internet Religious Informative Services’, which comes into effect from March 1, bans all foreign organizations and individuals from spreading religious content online in China and Tibet, except for those who have acquired government licenses.

The report also highlighted the message president Xi Jinping gave last December during the national conference on ‘Work Related to Religious Affairs’ where the CCP head called for punitive measures against those who use social networks for religious purposes or criticizes government policy on religion. Tibet Watch further confirmed that authorities in Amdo region recently imposed a ban on sharing religious content on social media, especially the messaging app WeChat.

The Article 17 of the rule stipulates that people without license are “not allowed to organize and carry out religious activities on the internet” and also “not allowed to broadcast or record religious ceremonies such as worshipping Buddha, burning incense, ordaining, chanting, worshipping, mass, and baptism in the form of words, pictures, audio and video.” Anybody found guilty of flouting these rules could face severe punishment.

“With the inevitable closure of these WeChat groups, dispensing practical apolitical information, the hundreds and thousands of Tibetan group members will now have to depend on atheist Chinese government sources for religious discourses and content, effectively imposing further restrictions on the practice of Tibetan Buddhism,” the report stated accusing the CCP of ‘sinicizing’ Buddhism. An official notification dated January 20 in the Qinghai province called for immediate closure of WeChat groups that included civil society groups such as, ‘Good Conduct Group’, ‘Guru Sidhi Group’ and ‘Mani Group’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s