Tibetan arrested for spreading “rumours” about coronavirus

Blurred image of Tse detained by local authorities
4th February 2021

Crackdown on communication about coronavirus continues in eastern Tibet

On 18 January 2021, a Tibetan named Tse was arrested for reportedly spreading rumours on WeChat group about coronavirus. In his voice message, he talked about a batch of coronavirus-infected beef brought recently to Darlag (Ch: Dari) County. He warned people would die if they ate the meat.

In November last year, coronavirus-infected beef was found in the packaging of Argentinian beef in Shandong and Jiangsu, and in the packaging of Brazilian beef in Wuhan.

The Cyber Security Brigade and Public Security Bureau of Darlag County detained Tse for eight days and also fined him, saying he violated Article 25 of the Criminal Law of People’s Republic of China. However, the detainee’s full name was not disclosed, as required under the Chinese legal procedure. Tse hails from Ponkor Township, Darlag County of Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in eastern Tibet.

Chinese authorities continue to crack down on information and online discussion about the coronavirus on WeChat in Darlag County. Cadres and nomads in the area have been ordered to report about any rumour circulating on social media and those who are involved in spreading them.

In April last year, three Tibetans were arrested from Mangra County, Tsolho (Ch:Hainan) Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, eastern Tibet. They have been detained for five to ten days and fined 500 yuan each.