China’s ruling Communist Party aims to silence the voice of the Dalai Lama in his Tibetan homeland by tightening controls on media and the Internet, a top official said on Saturday.
The party’s top-ranking official in the Tibet region Chen Quanguo vowed to “ensure that the voices of hostile forces and the Dalai group are not seen or heard,” in an editorial published in a party journal called Qiushi.
Officials would “make sure that the voice of the party is heard and seen everywhere in this vast 120 million square kilometre region,” Chen wrote in the editorial.
China has worked for decades to control the spread of information in Tibet, but some Tibetans remain able to access non-official sources of information including from exiles abroad by using radio, television and the Internet.
But the party will attempt to stamp out access to such sources by creating party cells in some websites, confiscating satellite dishes and registering telephone and Internet users by name, among a host of other measures mentioned in the the article.
China calls Tibetan exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and accuses him of masterminding violent efforts to seek independence for Tibet.
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, says he advocates greater autonomy for Tibetans rather than independence.
Chen referred to Tibet as “a front line of the struggle against separatism” and vowed to “strengthen the role of party committees at every level, as the sole power”, in the editorial.
Tensions between Tibetans and the Chinese government continue run high, with more than 120 members of the minority setting themselves on fire in protest in recent years, leading to a security crackdown.
Chinese police opened fire on Tibetans marking the Dalai Lama’s 78th birthday in July, shooting at least one monk in the head and seriously wounding several other people, overseas rights groups said.