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Blocking of pro-Tibet and freedom of expression organisations' websites continues in Tibet despite accessibility in other regions

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns regional variation in the blocking of access to websites in China. The authorities unblocked the sites of certain international news media and NGOs on 1 August 2008 but many of these sites continue to be blocked in the province of Tibet.

"This regional blocking is a discriminatory measure," Reporters Without Borders said. "It is no surprise that websites focussing on the issue of Tibet are filtered. But it is unacceptable that Internet users in Tibet do not have access to the same content as Internet users in the rest of China, who are already subject to a significant degree of censorship."

The sites of the human rights organisations Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International were inaccessible on 20 August in Tibet although they were unblocked in the rest of China on 1 August. The sites of Radio Free Asia ( except its English-language version: http://www.rfa.org/english ) and Voice of America ( http://www.voanews.com/english/portal.cfm ) were also blocked, although they are accessible in Beijing and in Shanghai. The newspaper of the Tibetan community in exile, Potala Post ( http://www.pressoftibet.com ), was however accessible in Tibet.

The issue of Tibetan autonomy is a very sensitive one for the Chinese authorities and many websites that focus on this issue are filtered inside China, including at the main foreign press centre in Beijing.

These are some of pro-Tibet websites that are blocked in China: http://www.tibetpost.net , http://www.tibet.net , http://www.phayul.com , http://www.vot.org , http://www.tchrd.org , http://www.tibetonline.tv , http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org , http://www.freetibet.org , http://woeser.middle-way.net .

Tsering Woeser, a Chinese writer of Tibetan origin, is often threatened by the Chinese authorities because of what she posts on her blog ( http://woeser.middle-way.net ). She filed a complaint against the government on 23 July for preventing her from travelling abroad. She has been stripped of her rights as a citizen since 2004 on the grounds that she could "put the nation in danger."

On 6 March, she was forbidden to go to Norway to receive an award for her work and for her commitment to free expression. Her second book, "Xizang Biji" ("Notes on Tibet"), was withdrawn from sale in September 2003 on the grounds that its content was "harmful for the nation's unification and solidarity."

Access to the US company Apple's iTunes music library has been blocked in China since the discovery that some people used it to download the new "Songs for Tibet" album, which was produced in the United States with the help of musicians from all over the world in order to protest against Chinese policy in Tibet.

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