China detains 59 in Tibet for alleged rumor-mongering


Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - Page 5

China has detained 59 people accused of fabricating subversive rumors in Tibet, state media said yesterday, blaming forces allied to the Himalayan region’s exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama.

Since unrest broke out in Tibet in March, police have cracked 48 cases of “rumor-mongering” and detained 59 people, the Web site said, citing Xin Yuanming, deputy chief of police in Lhasa.

“A number of people with ulterior motives deliberately spread rumors and fanned ethnic sentiment,” he was quoted as saying, adding that the alleged rumor-mongers had been urged on by people close to the Dalai Lama.

The report said the rumors “seriously undermined the image of the party and the government and harmed the public’s sense of security.”

The term “rumors” in China is often used to refer to anti-government views.

In one example mentioned in the report, unidentified people had downloaded “reactionary songs” from the Internet and sold them in compact disc and MP3 format in markets in Lhasa.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since fleeing his homeland after a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule. China has ruled Tibet since 1951 after sending troops to the Himalayan region the previous year.

Tensions came to a head on March 14 this year when violence erupted in Lhasa against Chinese rule, before spreading to other areas of western China with Tibetan populations.

Tibet’s government-in-exile said more than 200 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in a subsequent Chinese crackdown, but China reported police killing one “insurgent” and blamed Tibetan “rioters” for 21 deaths.