Chinese authorities in a Tibetan populated region of Qinghai province arrested three men on Sunday for sharing photos on social media amid tightened security measures put in place for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to a Tibetan source.
Identified as Rinchen Dorje and Kelsang Nyima, from Domda village in Yushu, also called Kyegudo, and Lhundup from Dza Sershul, the men were detained by police conducting random inspections in the area, a source in Yushu told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
The men were charged with sharing photos of local events on the WeChat social media platform with Tibetans living in exile, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
“They were part of a WeChat group called the United Association, which has members both inside and outside of Tibet,” the source said. “We don’t know where the men are being held at the moment.”
“Three days had been set aside to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Kyegudo, but because of the coronavirus pandemic and for several other reasons, the Chinese authorities decided to hold the celebration only for two days.”
“However, lots of restrictions were put in place forbidding people from discussing these events or sharing information about them with the outside world,” the source said.
Police deployed to Kyegudo town’s market square conducted inspections during anniversary events, and streets and playgrounds were also put under surveillance, the source said.
“During these random checks, these three men were taken away by the police after being handcuffed and put into a police vehicle without explanation,” he said.
China has imposed strict communication clampdowns in Tibet and Tibetan areas of western Chinese provinces aimed at stopping the flow of news about protests or other politically sensitive information to Tibetans living exile and other outside contacts, sources say.
Formerly an independent nation, Tibet was invaded and incorporated into China by force 70 years ago.
Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on the region, restricting Tibetans’ political activities and peaceful expression of cultural and religious identity, and subjecting Tibetans to persecution, torture, imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings.
Reported by Sangyal Kunchok for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.
This content originally appeared on Radio Free Asia and was authored by Radio Free Asia.