Dechen Pemba, writing at Global Voices, reports that the Chinese government has recently shut down a large number of prominent Tibetan language blogs and blog hosting services. Pemba tells us what is particularly suspicious and disturbing about this series of events:
Quite alarming to report that all of the most popular Tibetan language blog hosting sites (except one) have been inaccessible for almost three weeks now.
Although it is fairly common practice for Tibetan language blog hosting sites to be taken down (sometimes for “maintenance”) at times deemed sensitive by the authorities (see ‘All Quiet on the Tibetan Blog Front‘), this month holds no particular political significance as far as I can see.
Pemba includes a number of screenshots of the silenced Tibetan blogs. Additionally, and perhaps coincidentally, she reports that the Chinese government has, for the first time, launched a Tibetan language version of the state rag, People’s Daily.
As Dechen notes, this censorship is happening at a time where the online space is a particularly critical outlet amidst a tightly controlled Tibetan plateau. The Chinese government is shutting down not only the particular bloggers whose writing and politics they don’t like, but entire avenues for discussion online. The vacuum of news and discourse for Tibetans is simultaneously being replaced by official Chinese government propaganda outlets. These are not welcome developments and a clear sign that the Chinese government is seeking to tighten its control on Tibet as a means of preventing any further protests or disturbances by the occupied people.