59 Tibetans held over ‘subversive rumours’

Beijing, December 25:

China has detained 59 people accused of fabricating subversive rumours in Tibet, state media said today, blaming forces allied to the Himalayan region’s exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama.

Since unrest broke out in Tibet in March, police have cracked 48 cases of “rumour-mongering” and detained 59 people, the Chinatibetnews.com website said, citing Xin Yuanming, deputy chief of police in Tibet’s capital Lhasa. “A number of people with ulterior motives deliberately spread rumours and fanned ethnic sentiment,” he was quoted as saying, adding that the alleged rumour-mongers had been urged on by people close to the Dalai Lama.

The report said the rumours “seriously undermined the image of the party and the government and harmed the public’s sense of security.” The term “rumours” in China is often used to refer to anti-government views. In one example mentioned in the report, unidentified people had downloaded “reactionary songs” from the Internet and sold them in compact disc and MP3 format in markets in Lhasa.