China house arrests poetess, cuts off internet in Tibet

BEIJING: Chinese authorities have put a highly respected Tibetan poetess under house arrest and initiated measures to cut off internet services in Tibet ahead of the annual session of the parliament beginning on Saturday.

Sources said authorities are worried that Tibetan rebels may intensify their agitation against the Chinese rule in the region that has witnessed a wave of self-immolation by monks, who spread the word through internet.

Poetess Tsering Woeser, blogs about the conditions in Tibet has attracted wide following besides helping her win Holland's Prince Claus award. The award committee said her blogs were the main source of information during the 2008 crackdown.

Tibet's political leader Chen Quanguo has called for increased controls over internet and mobile phones arguing that stability in the region was of utmost importance during the National People's Congress session.

"Mobile phones, internet and other measures for the management of new media need to be fully implemented," the official Tibet Daily quoted Chen as saying. He said security forces must "crush hostile forces" led by the Dalai Lama whom he blamed for plotting instability in Tibet and "destroying'' atmosphere ahead of the congressional meeting.

Beijing maintains that Tibetans have no reason to fight because they enjoy religious freedom and have benefited from China's economic boom. Chen's remarks apparently have central government's approval because Beijing has allowed the use of police forces on Tibetan demonstrators by firing at the crowds on a few occasions in recent weeks.

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