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China / 中国 17 March 2008

Crackdown in Tibet away from the eye of the media in new violation of Olympics pledge / 中国对西藏的镇压正在秘密进行,无国界记者谴责中国当局再次违反奥运承诺

Reporters Without Borders today strongly condemned steps taken by Beijing to prevent media coverage of demonstrations and an ongoing crackdown in Tibet and in provinces where Tibetans live. Foreign journalists have been stopped from entering the province and tight censorship has been imposed on the Internet and in the Chinese press.

The authorities have since 12 March refused to grant foreign correspondents permits to enter Tibet and at least 25 journalists, including 15 from Hong Kong, have reportedly been expelled from Tibet or Tibetan areas.

"The freedom of movement for foreign journalists had been one of the few positive developments ahead of the Olympic Games, but this is now being flouted by the Chinese government facing Tibetan protests," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

"Yet again the Chinese government is trampling on the promises it made linked to the Olympics and has preparing the ground to crackdown on the Tibetan revolt in the absence of witnesses."

"Online censorship is also veering into racism, with comment items urging the killing of Tibetan separatists, while all independent news on the events is being censored," the organisation added.

The authorities have refused entry to Tibet to foreign correspondents since 12 March and tourists are also being denied access, for security reasons, according to the authorities. One European correspondent confirmed to Reporters Without Borders that requests for permission to enter Tibet faxed to the Beijing authorities have gone unanswered. Officials responsible for giving permits for Tibet stopped answering phone calls from 14 March.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China said at least 25 journalists, 15 of them from Hong Kong, had been expelled from Tibet or Tibetan areas, particularly Xiahe in Gansu province.

Jonathan Watts, correspondent for British daily The Guardian, was today prevented from going through a police check point in this border province. "After checking my passport, the police told me to go back and I had to leave the region. They had obviously expected the arrival of foreign journalists, because one of the policemen spoke English," he said. At least six other foreign media have been forced to leave the regions where many Tibetans live. And Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that foreigners were being refused train and bus tickets in Gansu province or to be allowed to stay in Tongren, in the neighbouring province of Qinghai, where large numbers of Tibetans live.

A few foreign journalists are still inside Tibet but are unable to move around normally because the cities are under police and army control. A reporter with The Economist, who is in the capital, Lhasa, had obtained permission to travel to Tibet before the start of the demonstrations.

The decision of the authorities to close Tibet to the press is in contravention of the rules for foreign media adopted in January 2007, ahead of the Olympic Games. And in an introduction to the "Guide to services for foreign journalists during the Olympic Games in Beijing", the city’s mayor Liu Qi, wrote : "The freedom of foreign journalists to carry out their professional work, will be guaranteed".

Nearly 15 Hong Kong journalists representing at least six media were expelled from Lhasa, accused by the authorities of "illegal reporting". They were then forcibly taken to the airport and put on a flight to Chengdu in Sichuan province. "They were not very polite. They came and looked at our computers, searching for video footage," Dickson Lee, a photographer on the South China Morning Post, told AFP. They had earlier got footage out of Lhasa of the riots which left nearly 80 dead, according to the Tibetan government in exile. The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association (HKJA) has called on the authorities to reconsider the expulsions.

The Chinese authorities also forced most foreign tourists in Tibet to leave the province. Some of them who witnessed the first demonstrations had provided photos and footage of the protests and the crackdown. It is more and more difficult for the foreign press to gather news, particularly about the hunting down of demonstrators because telephone connections have been cut in Tibet. Foreign-based Tibetan websites, particularly phayul.com, have posted a number of accounts and footage of the events, thanks to networks within Tibet.

The video-sharing website Youtube has been censored since 16 March after footage was posted of demonstrations in the streets of Lhasa. The message, "incorrect address" appears when anyone tries to open it. The Youtube videos are also inaccessible from the website Google Video. The BBC, CNN and Yahoo News websites have been regularly inaccessible over the past few days.

Anyone searching for Tibet in Chinese can see videos on YouTube.cn and on others web sites which are hostile to the Tibetans along with insulting remarks about "separatists Tibetans" which are not censored. Chinese video-sharing platforms, the most popular of which are http://www.tudou.com and http://www.56com, have had all news referring to the latest events deleted. On the other hand one can find news websites on which racist comments have been posted about Tibetans, calling for the murder of the "separatists". Reporters Without Borders has been able to confirm that the cyber-censors have not been deleting them, although all messages referring to Tibet are undergoing advance filtering.

Finally, broadcasts within China of international television, CNN and BBC, were cut by the Chinese authorities on several occasions during showing of footage of events in Tibet. While official television has been showing only film of Tibetans attacking Chinese businesses, without referring to Tibetan casualties and the army deployment.

A disastrous state of press freedom in Tibet

Trying to get access to unofficial news is very hard for Tibetans. All media are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party or public bodies. A few underground publications run by Tibetans, particularly monks, are circulated secretly.

Chinese and Tibetan journalists in this Himalayan province are forced to comply with state directives much more than in the rest of China. Only articles on official religious demonstrations are allowed. Party members are to be found in all key posts of the administration and media in Tibet, ensuring there is no chance of any editorial freedom. Articles are submitted to "journalist-censors" before being published.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA), based in the United States, along with Voice of Tibet (VOT), based in India, are the three main radio stations that broadcast programmes to Tibet in the Tibetan language, but these programmes are systematically jammed.

Thanks to their acquisition of ALLISS aerials made by the French company Thalès, the authorities have been able to boost their capacity to jam broadcasts, particularly in Tibet. Radio Free Asia has as a result been forced to use around a score of different frequencies to try to get round this censorship. During an on-the-spot investigation in Tibet in 2006, representatives of Reporters Without Borders found that the Chinese authorities constantly tried to scramble broadcasts using thudding sounds and music. In Lhasa, RFA and VOT programmes in Tibetan were drowned out by broadcasts in Chinese. Many monks do continue to secretly listen to these broadcasts inside their monasteries.

The Chinese authorities are particularly watchful about Internet use in Tibet. Identity cards are systematically checked in Cyber-cafés and several websites and discussion forums were closed in 2007. One instance was the closure in December 2007 of the most popular discussion forums with Tibetan students (http://www.tibet123.com).


中国对西藏的镇压正在秘密进行,无国界记者谴责中国当局再次违反奥运承诺

中国当局严禁记者前往西藏以及其他发生抗议事件的藏人省份采访,外国记者被严禁进入西藏,中国媒体和网络则遭到严密控制。无国界记者对中国政府采取的这一系列措施表示谴责。

“允许外国记者自由采访本是奥运会前中国政府在新闻领域做出的一项难得的进步。但现在面对西藏的抗议事件,这项进步却显得一钱不值。有一次,中国政府违反了自己曾做出的奥运承诺,秘密镇压了西藏的抗议。”无国界记者发表声明。

“而中国政府对网络的控制和审查也同样令人忧虑,所有关于抗议事件的中立报道都被从网上删除,而谴责骚乱分子的声音却铺天盖地。”无国界记者在声明中表示。

从3月12日起,中国政府开始拒绝发放给外国记者前往西藏采访的通行证。游客也不被允许入藏,理由是为了其人身安全。一名欧洲记者向我们确认说交给中国政府的入藏申请一直没有回音。从3月14日起,负责审理入藏申请的中国官员们不再接听电话。

据在中国的外国记者俱乐部消息,至少有25名境外记者,其中有15名是香港记者,被从西藏和其它藏区驱逐出去,尤其是甘肃的夏河。3月17日,英国《卫报》的记者瓦特(Jonathan Watts)在甘肃在试图突破警察的封锁时被阻拦。“在检查了我的护照之后,警察要我原地返回。然后我就迫不得已离开了甘肃。他们很明显预测到会有外国记者要来,因为一名警察会讲英语。”瓦特解释说。另外还至少有六个记者团被强制要求从这个地区离开。而据法新社的记者讲,在甘肃,外国人被禁止购买火车票、汽车票以及入住酒店。仍有极少数外国记者目前留在西藏,但在警察和军人的封锁下根本就无法自由行动。有一名《经济学人》的记者在抗议爆发前获得了入藏许可。

中国政府不允许外国记者入藏采访的决定与他们2007年1月为奥运会而新通过的外国记者条例相冲突。在《北京奥运会期间外国记者手册》的前言中,北京市市长刘琪写道:“外国记者自由采访的权利将得到保障。”

3月17日,六家香港媒体的15名记者在被指“非法报道”之后,被驱逐出拉萨。他们被强行带到机场送上一架飞往成都的航班。“他们一点都不友好,搜查我们的电脑,是为了搜查照片和录像。”《南中国晨报》的摄影记者李迪克松向法新社描述道。这些香港记者带出了一些这次导致 80人死亡(据西藏流亡政府的消息)的骚乱事件的照片。香港记者协会抗议中国政府的驱逐行为。

大多数在西藏的外国游客都被强行要求离开。作为抗议和镇压的见证人,有一些游客提供了一些照片和录像。外国媒体越来越难搜集到关于西藏的消息,因为那里的通信服务已经中断。建立在外国的一些藏人网站,尤其是phayul.com因为在西藏有联系网络,在他们的网站上发表了很多关于骚乱的图片和录像。此外,Youtube的中文站点因为发表了关于拉萨街头骚乱的视频而于3月16日被屏蔽。访问该站点时屏幕上会出现“地址错误”的提示。现在通过 Google Vidéo 也不能访问到Youtube的视频。而BBC、CNN、雅虎等站点最近几日也一直被屏蔽。

而如果从外国访问YouTube.cn,如果用中文搜索西藏二字,能够打开的视频大部分都是关于藏族的负面报道,而那些谴责“分裂主义分子”的言论则没有被屏蔽。访问量最高的两个中国视频网站http://www.tudou.com和http://www.56com上面全都是谴责骚乱的新闻视频。而一些针对藏族的极端激进意见如呼吁枪毙分裂分子的言论则开始出现。无国界记者发现中国的网络警察在屏蔽掉所有与西藏相关的信息后并不屏蔽这些激进言论。

CNN和BBC等国际电视台在中国的落地转播在播到西藏的抗议事件时曾多次信号中断。而中国的官方电视台只播出藏族人袭击汉族人商店的镜头,一点都不提受害的藏族人以及派遣军队的情况。

西藏的新闻自由:十分糟糕在西藏几乎不可能获得官方以外的信息。所有的媒体都在中共的或是一些国营机构掌控之中。一些由藏族人特别是喇嘛搞的出版物在秘密中流传。

在西藏以及其它中国省份,不管是汉族还是藏族的记者都得服从国家的命令。涉及到宗教事务,只有那些报道官方的活动的文章才会被发表。在西藏,新闻出版局的重要职位都由党内人士担任,这使得社论没有任何自由。文章在发表之前都要由新闻检察官检查。

基地设在美国的自由亚洲电台、美国之音和西藏之音是三家主要的针对西藏的藏语电台,但他们的信号经常被干扰。

在从法国公司达乐斯购买了“阿里斯”天线技术之后,中国政府改善乐他们的干扰能力,尤其是在西藏地区。因此,自由亚洲电台不得不使用十几个不同频率的波段来突破干扰。在2006年访问西藏时,无国界记者的代表发现中国政府试图用音乐和噪音来干扰自由亚洲电台的信号。在拉萨,自由亚洲电台和西藏之音的节目则被中文节目覆盖。但还是有不少喇嘛秘密收听他们的节目。

中国政府对在西藏的网络建设格外谨慎。在网吧必须出示身份证,2007年有好几个网站和论坛被关闭。在12月,中国政府关闭了藏族学生访问量最大的论坛http://www.tibet123.com。




In this country
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“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years
12 May - China
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24 April - China
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25 March - China
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