How Much Do the Chinese Know About Tibet?

With all eyes on Tibet and its violent anti-China protests this week, Beijing has been trying its hardest to control the world’s view of the crisis, affecting journalists and citizens alike.

Chinese authorities report that 19 people have been killed. Tibetan exile groups have claimed over a hundred deaths.

Since the violence began in Tibet, officials in Beijing imposed strict Internet controls in an effort to regulate the news emerging from Tibet and neighboring provinces. Google News and YouTube, along with Taiwan news sites, were blocked last weekend.

Highly trafficked Chinese blogs such as Tian Ya were highly censored as well. Chinese versions of Yahoo and the wildly popular Microsoft MSN ran identical reports from the government run news agency Xinhua.

“CCTV has reported [on Tibet]. Xinhua News Agency has also reported it. But Tianya cannot,” one user posted on a tourism-themed thread on Tian Ya’s public bulletin boards.

Liu Yong, 30, an editor who lives in Beijing said he immediately felt the online impact as the Tibet conflict escalated earlier this week. On Sunday and Monday, he noticed that there was markedly less Chinese language coverage on the issue.

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