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Authorities offer Tibetan informants over $40,000 for information on “illegal” activities

Lhasa. Credit: Asia Times

Tibet Watch has learned that local Chinese Communist Party authorities have offered rewards of up around to 42,750 US dollars to citizen informers who report online or digital based activities that are considered to be illegal by the state.

The policy was announced in a public notice on 28 February, issued by the Public Security and Communications Departments of the Tibet Autonomous Region. 

“Illegal” activities mentioned include using communication networks to create, publish or spread “malicious attacks on the Chinese Communist party” or providing funding to “ethnic separatist forces, religious extremist forces, violent terrorist forces and related personnel.”

The notice also bans using network communication tools to “form illegal organizations for ‘public welfare,’ ‘environmental protection,’ ‘education,’ ‘medical,’ and ‘poverty alleviation.’”

It said the government will offer anonymity and cash rewards to informers starting at around $8 for general information up to a maximum of around $42,750 for a “major information clue.”

The digital content to be monitored includes pictures, audio, video, signs, personal information and cartoons. While computers, mobile phones, instant messaging apps and wearable network devices are among the tools the notice highlights. 

It is unknown which groups in Tibet will be under most scrutiny and threat from the informers but it’s possible the measures will be used to target activists, freedom of speech and freedom of organization.

In January 2018 Beijing announced a crackdown on “underworld forces” across China and extended the drive to Tibet. It made traditional and social activities among Tibetans like local efforts to protect the environment and preserve language illegal.

Human Rights Watch said the policy, which continues today, has come with “unsubstantiated government claims that it is combating foreign manipulation and infiltration… [but] the new restrictions in the TAR are intended to increase the authority of the CCP.”

You can see the full notice (in Chinese) here.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch. 



Michael Selby-Green