A new form of mandatory intensive indoctrination for those who share non-official information on the COVID-19 lockdown.
by Lopsang Gurung
With the COVID-19 quarantine, Lhasa is experiencing a shortage of several goods and services, from food to medical assistance, but there is something of which there is never a shortage, reeducation courses. There is a new special reeducation program for Buddhist monks and nuns. And now Tibetans are discovering “cyber security reeducation.”
Those who post on social media non-official or non-authorized information about COVID-19 or the lockdown are detained by the police, and told they should submit to a 15-day “Internet reeducation.” Whether they will be allowed to go home, they are told, will depend on how they behave during the reeducation. They are taken to camps used for other forms of reeducation as well, which are not schools but jails, and where uncooperative inmates are often beaten or tortured. Last week, for example, 22 netizens were identified and taken to the camps for “cyber security reeducation” in the Chengguan district of Lhasa city only.
Reportedly, the reeducation should teach them not to post on social media information that does not please the CCP. Dissent manifesting itself on social media is a perpetual target of Xi Jinping’s criticism, but during the COVID-19 lockdown in Tibet the matter has acquired a new urgency.
The detained netizens have mostly posted information on the dreaded “COVID buses” and quarantine camps. All citizens in Lhasa are repeatedly tested for COVID, and receive results on their cell phones. If they test positive, a red code would appear on their phones, and they, their neighbors, and their relatives, may expect to be picked up in the early morning or during the night and bused to one of some twenty quarantine camps around Tibet’s capital city. Many who are taken to the camps are not COVID-positive, but they are infected in the camps.
What the CCP wants to hide are the horrible conditions in the crowded quarantine camps, where hygiene is minimal and food scarce. Thanks to thousands of brave netizens, the truth is now known.
In a rare move, last month an officer of the city of Lhasa apologized to the citizens. But, while admitting that the situation is dramatic, the city authorities reiterated that spreading on the Internet information not endorsed by the CCP is a crime. One now punished with “cyber security reeducation.”