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Upping online monitoring, China aims to stamp out Dalai Lama's voice in Tibet

Though the image and teachings of the Dalai Lama are banned in Tibet, many Tibetans have been able to access information about him via the internet or illegal satellite dishes. The Chinese Communist Party announced it will increase online monitoring to prevent access to this content.

By Ben BlanchardReuters / November 2, 2013

Visitors look at a room where a portrait of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is placed at Kumbum monastery, where the Dalai Lama used to live, on the outskirts of Xining, Qinghai province, on July 6. China aims to stamp out the voice of the Dalai Lama in Tibet by ensuring that his 'propaganda' is not received by anyone on the internet, television or other means.

Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters/File

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Beijing

China aims to stamp out the voice of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in his restive and remote homeland by ensuring that his "propaganda" is not received by anyone on the internet, television or other means, a top official said.

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China has tried, with varying degrees of success, to prevent Tibetans listening to or watching programmes broadcast from outside the country, or accessing any information about the Dalai Lama and the exiled government on the internet.

But many Tibetans are still able to access such news, either via illegal satellite televisions or by skirting Chinese internet restrictions. The Dalai Lama's picture and his teachings are also smuggled into Tibet, at great personal risk.

Writing in the ruling Communist Party's influential journal Qiushi, the latest issue of which was received by subscribers on Saturday, Tibet's party chief Chen Quanguo said that the government would ensure only its voice is heard.

"Strike hard against the reactionary propaganda of the splittists from entering Tibet," Chen wrote in the magazine, whose name means "seeking truth".

The government will achieve this by confiscating illegal satellite dishes, increasing monitoring of online content and making sure all telephone and internet users are registered using their real names, he added.

"Work hard to ensure that the voice and image of the party is heard and seen over the vast expanses (of Tibet) ... and that the voice and image of the enemy forces and the Dalai clique are neither seen nor heard," Chen wrote.

China calls the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, says he simply wants genuine autonomy forTibet, and denies espousing violence.

Chen said the party would seek to expose the Dalai Lama's "hypocrisy and deception" and his "reactionary plots".

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

Tensions in China's Tibetan regions are at their highest in years after a spate of self-immolation protests by Tibetans, which have led to an intensified security crackdown.

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