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satellite-dishes-tibet-2013Dharamshala: - Chinese authorities have launched a massive crackdown on satellite equipments used by Tibetans in Rebkong in Malho region of Amdho, north-eastern Tibet. The move is believed to be part of a government clampdown on communications to stifle information on self-immolation protests against the Chinese government's rule.

Chinese authorities have stepped up major crackdowns in Tibet to against oversea Tibetans and the western media since 2008 Tibet crisis, for alleged distortion of the Chinese Communist Party's repressive Tibet. In the past five years, several popular and independently run Tibetan websites and blogs were closed down, and some public internet facilities were closed in many Tibetan areas.

Hundreds of satellite dishes and receivers have been seized from homes in Rebkong areas in Malho (in Chinese, Huangnan) prefecture in Qinghai province and destroyed or burned as part of a "cleansing" operation launched on the orders of the ruling Chinese Communist Party following a surge in Tibetan self-immolation protests, according to a report published by the US based RFA.

"The measures appear to be an effort to cut off Tibetans in Tibet from any news on Tibet, not subjected to the government's domestic monopoly on information. They are presented officially as an attempt to prevent the views of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama and exile Tibetans from reaching Tibetans inside Tibet, particularly those living in rural areas," Sonam, an exile Tibetan currently living in Switzerland told The Tibet Post International.

satellite-dishes-tibet-2013-2The campaign was centered on Rebgong (in Chinese, Tongren) county where a record number of Tibetans burned themselves to demand an end to Chinese repression in Tibet and for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet, the report cited.

A six-member team had been formed to "seize and destroy all the illegal equipment in Malho prefecture." Tibetans are further encouraged to buy smaller satellite dishes and new receivers. The new smaller devices receive only state controlled programs.

Some residents even suspect that the new equipments are doubling up as surveillance devices equipped with mini-cameras and recording kits.

Chinese authorities have also announced cash rewards for anyone informing the authorities about any Tibetan family holding back such equipments.

These new measures are part of a Tibet-specific policy called "the Four Stabilities" that was announced by China's leader Hu Jintao in an internal speech in early March 2012, according to media reports.

5000 yuan fine is charged if a family doesn't surrender the satellite dishes. And if anyone reports others holding back such equipment, they are awarded 10,000 yuan, a Tibetan resident was quoted as saying.

The latest order to seize and destroy satellite equipment used to receive information on Tibetan self-immolation protests stemmed from a speech by Qinghai's Communist Party Secretary Qang Wei at the end of November 2012.