China expands restrictions on use of Tibetan language in apps and streaming services

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By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, March 24: The Chinese government has now extended its restrictions on the Tibetan language across various online platforms and video streaming services, as sources fear a new push for further assimilation of China’s so-called ethnic minorities into mainstream Han Chinese culture. RFA’s Tibetan Service cited sources that confirmed the Chinese government’s guidelines, “China-based language learning app Talkmate and video streaming service bilibili have now removed the Tibetan and Uyghur languages ​​from their sites.

The government ordinance of December 20 last year, according to the report, announced that foreign organizations and individuals, as of March 1, can no longer distribute “religious content” online in China or Tibet. until groups get a special license to do so. The regulation “Measures on the administration of the religious information service on the Internet” came into force on March 1.

The unnamed source also said the restrictions are imposed on a wide range of social media platforms in Tibetan areas. “Specifically, the platforms where users go live to perform and communicate with their audiences have seen more restrictions put in place. Tibetans are prohibited from speaking in Tibetan while communicating, and if any Tibetan artist tries to portray Tibetan culture and tradition on their social media platform, their accounts are disconnected, the source told RFA, adding that those live performances are immediately halted by the government. .

Section 17 of the rule states that unlicensed persons are “not permitted to organize and conduct religious activities on the Internet” and also “are not permitted to broadcast or record religious ceremonies such as the worship of Buddha, Burning Incense, Ordaining, Chanting, Worshiping, Mass and Baptism in words, images, audio and video.

Anyone found guilty of flouting these rules could be severely punished. An official notification dated January 20 in Qinghai province called for the immediate shutdown of WeChat groups which included civil society groups such as “Good Conduct Group”, “Guru Sidhi Group” and “Mani Group”, according to reports. previous.

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