Tibetan death sentences get little attention in China

April 10th, 2009 - 6:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Beijing, Apr.10 (ANI): When two Tibetans were sentenced to death on Wednesday for setting fire to shops during last year’s protest riots in Lhasa, the Chinese authorities chose to tell the rest of the world before they told their own citizens.

The episode illustrates the peculiar way in which news travels in China, where the government controls the traditional media, but the Internet offers an alternative, reports the Christian Science Monitor (CSM).

The news first appeared Wednesday evening on the state-run Xinhua news agency, but it took another 24 hours for it to appear in the Chinese language service. That meant that, while the world knew, not a single paper in China ran a story Thursday about the first death sentences known to have been passed on Tibetans.

The government-run “Tibetan Daily,” published in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital was the only one to reveal that Losang Gyaltse and Loyar had been sentenced to death.

Until then, the only way Chinese citizens could have heard about the death sentences was on the Chinese-language websites of foreign radio stations such as the BBC and VOA. To get onto those sites, you have to go around the “Great Firewall” by using a proxy server to evade government censors.

Curiously, the first mainland site to post the BBC’s story was “Anti-CNN,” a nationalist website that decries the alleged bias of the Western media, but does not appear to appreciate the irony that the only way they can find out what is really happening in their country is to read the Western media surreptitiously. (ANI)

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