Just in the last few days, more news has come out of China about further arrests and jail sentences of Tibetans for alleged “rumour mongering”. The unusually tough sentences, in particular, indicate Beijing’s determination to block news about the 3.14 Lhasa crackdowns. According to Beijing’s official version of events, the March riot in Lhasa involved Tibetans taking part in acts of assault, vandalism, arson and looting against Han and Hui nationals. Other versions of events, including attempts to analyse the cause of such violence, had been condemned as “biased reports by western media”.
ABC Radio Australia News confirmed that a Tibetan who worked for a Melbourne-based medical group to stop the spread of HIV in Tibet had been jailed for life for passing on information about the situation in the region to the outside world.
BBC News also reported on Christmas day that 59 Tibetans had been arrested. Some of them were accused of downloading “reactionary” songs from the Internet for distribution. They were also investigated for spreading rumours and for trying to stir up racial hatred and incite violence. As pointed out by the BBC report, the term “rumours” is often a euphemism for anti-government views in China.
A little bird tells me that the “reactionary” music is possibly the recordings of a New York-based Rap singer Namgyal Yeshi. Here is how one of the songs No Next Time starts:
The time is running and running,
I am getting older and older,
If we don’t fight back this time,
There might be no next time, yo!
The rest of the lyric is in the Tibetan language. You can find a Chinese translation HERE. There is also a recording of the song performed at a pro-Tibetan demonstration in New York on 10 March 2008: