Hackers have attacked the Tibetan government-in-exile's Chinese-language website with an unidentified virus, making the portal inaccessible, an official spokesman told AFP Tuesday.
"Our office cannot access the website and we are trying to figure out what kind of virus is responsible for the problem," Tashi Phuntsok, spokesman for the exiled government based in the north Indian town of Dharamshala, told AFP.
Tibet.net is the official site of the exiled government, whose spiritual head is the Dalai Lama. It covers the parliament, cabinet, administrative departments, and public offices.
Hackers have taken down the English, Tibetan and Chinese versions of the website several times in the past, according to Phuntsok.
"We are a prominent target for attacks by Chinese hackers," he said.
He could not confirm when the hackers had struck or if spying software had been installed on the computers and laptops of users trying to log on to the website.
Kurt Baumgartner, a researcher at Kaspersky Lab, a global manufacturer of antivirus software based in Moscow, detected the attack late Tuesday and said the website had been "strategically compromised" as a result.
Tenzin Taklha, the Dalai Lama's spokesman, told AFP that the 78-year-old spiritual leader's official website www.dalailama.com continued to function normally.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. He later founded the government in exile in Dharamshala after being offered refuge by India.
China vilifies the Dalai Lama as a "separatist" who incites violence in Tibet, while the Dalai Lama insists his sole focus is a peaceful campaign for greater autonomy for his homeland.