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03may20107Dharamshala: Internet censorship requirements in Tibet have been heightened in accordance with orders from Chinese authorities for all internet cafes to install state-of-the-art surveillance systems, according to industry sources and local media. The nationwide policy requires that all computers installed for use by the public in the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) must install the system by the end of the month.

The department has dispatched engineers throughout Tibet to install the new system in individual Internet cafes, and to train business owners and technical staff in its operation.

The Chinese Government claims that one of the benefits of the new requirements is the prevention of minors accessing inappropriate material online, however, many believe that this is just a means prevent access to media and social networking content from outside China. The new system will allow for direct intervention from above if regulations change, taking access out of the hands of internet outlet proprietors.

The move comes after the implementation of the ‘real name registration system' web policy that is already functioning across Tibet, which requires all anonymous comments to be removed, and prohibiting forum moderators as well as forum users from using alias names.

"In brief I am not surprised because the whole world knows there is no freedom of the media or freedom of expression in China and Tibet" says Y.C. Dhardhowa, Editor-in-Chief and Founder of the Tibet Post International, an online Tibetan newspaper based in Dharamshala, India. "China is not only developing their technology and internet software but they are always trying to prove their ability to censor what is going on in China, particularly with regard to Tibet."

Referring to the arrest and expulsion of many journalists in China during the 2008 Olympics, and the prohibition of many websites, radio stations and news media, Dhardhowa expressed optimism about the capabilities of those outside China to ensure that the full story can be accessed.

"Visas were refused to those trying to research the true picture of events; they also banned news media, websites, and radio stations. But the Chinese authorities cannot bury these things as outside China and Tibet there are similar software developments in response. China cannot hide the reality."

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com