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Internet-Censorship-in-ChinaParis: - Instead of restoring peace by abandoning its discriminatory policies against ethnic minorities, the regime persists in stifling the voices of dissidents who try to circulate information from within the Tibet enclave, the Paris based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a latest statement.

"All street demonstrations are banned and arrests are frequent. The increase in repression in Tibet is reflected in a wave of arbitrary arrests in Tibetan monasteries," said RSF.

"The arbitrary nature of the arrests in the region is becoming more and more flagrant, while the increase in police raids is pushing monks to acts of despair. Around 60 self-immolations are estimated to have taken place since the start of 2009. The exact number is not known because they authorities try to hide them from the international community.

In order to contain the information coming out of the region, the movements of the population are strictly regulated. Access to the city of Lhasa is getting harder and harder because its Tibetan inhabitants are required to have a specific identity card.

The authorities have banned schoolchildren in Hezuo, the capital of Gannan, a Tibetan prefecture in the western province of Gansu, from taking holidays outside of the region, and have suppressed mobile phone communication in the Tibetan part of Sichuan province, permitting only fixed telephone use.

Anonymous sources have reported that in Gannan virtually all communications have been blocked, the sale of SIM cards has been suspended and Internet cafés have been closed.

The Chinese government is particularly concerned to suppress any information about the frequent self-immolations by Tibetan monks.

Tibet Post International, a Reporters Without Borders-backed online newspaper based in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, learned on 1 November that four monks identified as Lobsang Choephel, Tsundue, Losel and Topden had been arrested in Tsoe Gaden Choeling monastery on charges of "disseminating information and evidence abroad." It is not known where they are currently being held.

Similarly, a 38-year-old monk identified as Jinpa, who had already been detained in 2008 for circulating information abroad, was arrested again for no clear reason on 25 October.

Two days before that, the 19-year-old Tibetan monk Tashi Norbu was arrested for making a call with a Smartphone, apparently because it can be used for connecting to the Internet. Smartphone owners have often been targeted during police raids on monasteries.

It has meanwhile been confirmed that Golog Jigme Gyatso, a monk who helped Dhondup Wangchen secretly film the 2008 documentary "Leaving Fear Behind," was arrested on 20 September when he returned to Gansu province."

China is ranked 174th out of 179 countries in the2011-2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and is on the 2012 Reporters Without Borders list of "Enemies of the Internet."

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com