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Dharamshala, India — Chinese authorities in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, have further tightened restrictions on social media and openly threatened to permanently shut down the app if certain rules are not followed.

According to a TPI source in the region, Chinese officials imposed additional restrictions on the Chinese social media app Wechat on 9 June 2021, threatening to permanently block the app if certain rules are not followed. Wechat is one of the last remaining channels for Tibetans in exile to communicate with their families in Tibet.

"Any unlawful content on the Wechat platform would be severely punished, according to the so-called "Reform and Maintenance in Social Media Content." The so-called prohibited content includes "sharing speech with false history, misinterpreting the history of the Party (CPP) as the history of militia, insulting and denying the history of the Party (CPP), etc."

If the above activity is found on Wechat, including video, it will be punished, and if the action is repeated intentionally or not, the social media will be permanently deleted.

"We will continue to monitor such activities on social media and we welcome those who wish to expose individuals who break such laws," it added.

According to an earlier report by TPI on 23 March 2021, a Tibetan man was sentenced to one year in prison by Chinese authorities on 13 October 2020 for merely sharing teachings by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and a picture of Dr Lobsang Sangay, President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), on the Chinese social media app Wechat.

Three young Tibetans from Kyegudo, eastern Tibet, were arrested by Chinese authorities for failing to register a WeChat group with local authorities. One of them was hospitalised after being beaten by Chinese police, and two are still in custody, as TPI reported earlier on 4 March.

A Tibetan man was sentenced to imprisonment by Chinese authorities on 14 December 2020 for merely posting a teaching of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on social media and wishing officials of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) a Happy New Year.

According to an earlier report by TPI on 30 August 2021, the communist-authoritarian regime in China has announced fixed-term prison sentences of up to eight years for "illegal" online content. This is part of its extensive efforts to further tighten control of internet freedoms in Tibet, particularly the rights to freedom of expression, association and political participation.