Chinese authorities detain nomadic Tibetans over politically sensitive material on cell phones

Chinese authorities in the country's Tibet Autonomous Region are detaining more nomadic Tibetans in Drago county and sending them to labour camps for having content deemed politically inappropriate on their cell phones, according to a media report.
Representative image (Source: ANI)
Representative image (Source: ANI)

Beijing

"Many Tibetans were detained in January after Drago county police searched their phone data in Likhog town," Radio Free Asia (RFA) quoted a Tibetan in exile who has a source inside the region. 
The source also said that most of them are detained in a labour camp in Thangnagma. Most Tibetans who live in Likhog, which is located about 50 kilometres from Drago (in Chinese, Luhuo) county of Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, are nomads, said RFA. 
The Tibetan source who is living in exile also said that it is not just a few Tibetans, but many Tibetans arrested this time. "All of those who were arrested are nomads," he said, though he could not provide an exact figure.
"Though the Drago police have searched the cell phone data of the local Tibetans since last October, the situation right now is even worse," he said. 
Authorities summoned the Tibetans to the police station and asked them if they possessed any politically sensitive photos, videos or other information, or to see if the owners had been in contact with Tibetans living in exile, said the Tibetan in exile. 
Some of them were detained for one week and released and then unexpectedly detained again, he said. 
"Though the Drago police have searched the cell phone data of the local Tibetans since last October, the situation right now is even worse," the Tibetan in exile said. 
Emphasising that Chinese authorities have not even spared the most remote Tibetan areas for that matter, Ngawang Woebar, a former political prisoner, who currently lives outside China said that the Chinese police have been threatening and searching their cell phone data for sensitive information specifically from the exile community. 
It comes as much of the world's attention is focused on China and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Several countries, including the United States, imposed diplomatic boycotts to protest China's human rights abuses involving Tibetans, Uyghurs and Hongkongers, according to RFA.

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