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The Cyberpunks & Its Cohorts

January 24, 2010

China's mounting cyber terrorism and Google’s cheap trade tricks
By Chime Tenzing
Phayul
January 20, 2010

Ironically or paradoxically - whatever you may
call it, while the world media is inundated with
the news about the war of words between Google
and China over the latter’s blatant and barefaced
cyber attacks through cyber-espionage, theft and
hackings, I was nonchalantly, by means of
Google’s search engine, trying to dig out some
information on the recent Google-China fracas! I
was momentarily carried away by the fact that
finally Google – the world’s most popular search
engine is out exposing shenanigans of the
communist China with its reported decision to
pull out from China after almost four years of
its kowtowing to Chinese cyber pundits! But it is
too early to write anything positive on these
developments that have been taking place in the past one week.

The reports that have been making rounds recently
said -- "Google was thinking about quitting China
after suffering a sophisticated cyber-attack on
its network that resulted in theft of its
intellectual property”. But, Tibetans knows it
very well from the beginning of Google’s love
affairs with China way back in 2006 when Google
formally launched its services in China. So we
Tibetans have reasons to believe that Google’s
decision only comes when its own business
interest is in stake, not that they love freedom of speech and expression!

Not long ago, Apple has also disclosed its plans
of cooperating with the Chinese government to ban
iPhone applications in China related to the Dalai
Lama and Uighur activist Rebiya Kandeer to the
world. This shows that the corporate biggies like
Google and Apple have been instrumental in
supporting Chinese political aspirations in order
to reap fat revenues and expand its business interest.

The fact that the Gmail account of a Tibetan
student based in America had been hacked because
she had been an activist of Students For A Free
Tibet Campaign (SFT) shows that the
state-sponsored Chinese hackers keep tab on the
activities happening even in a free world like
America, without regarding for individual
fundamental right to privacy and violating basic
freedom of expression in all forms.

All these facts highlight the growing threats
from China on the freedom of speech and
expression not only to its own citizens, but also
to the rest of the ‘free world’. It is obvious
that Google would not relent easily unless the
world netizens stand up united against Google and
the likes and call for a censor-free internet
services. Such genuine sentiments should stem
from the fact that due to Google’s cooperation
with Chinese government, state-trained Chinese
hackers have been able to trace and book many
innocent citizens in China and Tibet due to their
‘violations’ of so-called Chinese cyber rules!

It is easy for us living in a ‘censor free’ world
to miss the insinuation of 24/7 surveillances
over our internet freedom but those hapless
citizens under the Chinese rule knows the real
value of freedom as basic as gathering and
disseminating information on subjects of their interest.

Last year Chinese authorities have arrested a
popular young Tibetan singer, accusing him of
composing subversive songs and lyrics. That was
followed by arrest of Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese
intellectual and literary critic who played a
pivotal role in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago and
who has been in and out of jail ever since for
his uncompromising activism for freedom of expression in China.

According to the reports by The Writers in Prison
Committee of International PEN in 2008 Jamyang
Kyi, a prominent Tibetan singer and a
song-writer, internet writer and feminist
activist, has been arrested and held without charges since 1 April 2008,

Reporters Without Borders voiced its concerns
over the Tibetan TV presenter Washu Rangjong
arrested by Chinese military police officers at
his home in the east Tibetan district of Sertha,
on 11 September last year. Rangjong is also a
singer and the author of two books on Tibetan culture.

In the same year three young Tibetans from the
Dara village have been held in Nagchu County
since 1 October 2009. The three were arrested for
allegedly posting pictures of Dalai Lama and
information on Tibet on chat website qq.com. The
police have not allowed the three -- identified
as Gyaltsen, 25, Nyima Wangchuk, 24, and Yeshe
Namkha, 25 -- to have any contact with their families since their arrest.

"The Internet is monitored, censored and
manipulated more in Tibet than in other Chinese
provinces," Reporters Without Borders said.
"Despite the risks, Tibetan Internet users
continue to transmit information, especially to
the diaspora and human rights groups. It is
deplorable that the Chinese police devote so much
energy to identifying and arresting ordinary Internet users."

Several bloggers and other Internet users have
been arrested in Tibet last year. They include
Pasang Norbu, arrested in Lhasa on 12 August for
looking at online photos of the Tibetan flag and
Dalai Lama, and Gonpo Tserang, a guide sentenced
to three years in prison in June on charges of
inciting separatism and "communicating outside
the country" for sending emails and SMS messages
about the March 2008 protests in Tibet.

Kunchok Tsephel Gopey , the editor of the Tibetan
website Chomei (The Lamp), was arrested in
Gannan, in Gansu province, on 26 February.
Relatives said the police searched his house and confiscated his computer.

Another Tibetan website, Tibet Culture
(www.tibetcul.com), has been not been operational
since 5 March 2009. A message posted on the home
page says the closure is to due to "technical
reasons” and thanks Internet users for their
“support.” Meanwhile, it has proved impossible to
send SMS messages in the Tibetan parts of Sichuan
province for the last few days. SMS messages were
used to organize demonstrations in March 2008 uprising.

In another reports, during the trials held on 27
October and 7 November 2008, a Lhasa intermediate
court convicted a total of seven Tibetans for
participating in demonstrations and illegally
sending information outside China. They were
given jail sentences ranging from eight years to life.

Wangdue, a former political prisoner who had
helped campaign against HIV in Tibet, was given a
life sentence for endangering state security. He
had been held incommunicado from 14 March to 7
November by the Lhasa Public Security Bureau.
Migmar Dhondup, was given 14 years in prison on
the same charge of "endangering state security."
Phuntsok Dorjee was sentenced to nine years in
prison followed by five years of loss of
political rights on a "treason" charge for
"illegally giving information" to people outside
China. Tsewang Dorjee got eight year in jail on
the same charge. Similarly, Sonam Dakpa and Sonam
Tseten got 10 years and Yeshi Choedon got 15 years.

According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights
and Democracy, an intermediate court in Kardze
had sentenced Ludrub Phuntsok, a 23-year-old monk
and editor from Ngaba (Sichuan), to 13 years in
prison on 23 October on a charge of “endangering
state security." A brilliant student at Amchok
monastery and editor of the magazine Maseng
Shedra (Flowers of Expression), he was arrested
for taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Tibet on 16 March 2008.

Logyam, a Tibetan writer from Ngaba who wrote
articles for Maseng Shedra, is serving a six-year
prison sentence in Maowar prison in Sichuan for
compiling and disseminating articles and speeches
by the Dalai Lama. Aged 36, he has been held
since 2005 and has reportedly been beaten
repeatedly by prison guards for refusing to
criticize the Tibetan spiritual leader.

The reinforced security forces in Tibet have
arrested dozens of Tibetans in the run-up to the
10 March anniversary in 2008. Most of them are
held in a former military base at Denggongtang,
east of Lhasa, or have been forcibly sent back to their region of origin.

And not to forget, Tibet’s most famous woman
writer and blogger Woeser was accused and
arrested by police after she returned home
briefly to Lhasa, the capital. After the March
riots, hackers hijacked her blog, removed its
content and left an animation of China’s
five-star national flag fluttering below the
message: "Long Live the People’s Republic of
China! Down will [with] all Tibetan independence elements!"

Today China tops the list among the nations
notorious for violating cyber ethics and
principles of free expression. From hackings,
censorships and cyber-espionage to theft of
intellectual property rights, China is virtually
becoming the biggest threat in the virtual world.
Unless Google and other corporate biggies decide
to pull out from China before it is too late, the
world will be mute spectators to the tricks of
the Chinese cyberpunks in the new Cyber Age!

The views expressed in this piece are that of the
author and the publication of the piece on this
website does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website.
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