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China Raises COVID-19 Concerns As It Reopens Tibetan Tourist Sites

Tibetan monks in Gansu’s Labrang monastery collect donations to help victims of the Wuhan coronavirus in a February 2020 phot~Photo from Tibet

Chinese authorities in the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province are reopening tourist sites, causing local Tibetans to worry about a second wave of COVID-19 coming into the region amid the ongoing pandemic with a decision activist say is premature.

Sites like the Chaksam Kha monastery in Kardze reopened on Friday according to a Chinese tour company, with an upper limit of 4,000 visitors per day. The tour company announced that day that medical professionals who were at the forefront of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus would be given free admission to the sites.

Sources in the area told RFA that reopening the sites is an effort by the Chinese government to project a return to normalcy and to generate revenue at a time when the Chinese economy faces possible recession as the virus continues to spread.

The government claims that every confirmed case in the prefecture has recovered and visiting the tourist areas is now safe.

A Tibetan living in Dartsedo (Kangding) told RFA’s Tibetan Service that local residents are still taking every precaution when venturing outside their homes.

“We are still scared of the virus. We have self-quarantined and hardly go out, and if we do, we wear facemasks,” the source said.

“But now that they are reopening the tourist sites in Kardze, hundreds of [Han] Chinese visitors are coming into our area every day,” added the source.

“It is very concerning because just one of those tourists can start the spread the coronavirus here again.”

The source said that the decision was made to that the decision was made to help out the Chinese tourism industry, not Tibetan locals.

“Tourism income goes to the government-run tour companies and operators. It has no bearing and little relevance to the livelihoods of ordinary people, except of course that the tourists will leave behind mountains of trash like they always do, which is harmful to the environment.”

Another Tibetan source in Kardze told RFA, “All the tourists are [Han] Chinese. We know that the coronavirus originated in Wuhan, so how can they guarantee there won’t be another wave of infection? We are so worried.”

A third Tibetan source told RFA, “As soon as the Chinese put forward the claim that coronavirus has subsided here, the tour operators were in such a hurry to make money that everyone is overlooking and disregarding the health, safety and security of the local people.”

Cadre ‘overworked’

A Tibetan activist told RFA that there were still many unanswered questions about the death of a cadre who had perished while working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Tibet.

Azi Lhundup (Azhen Nengzhou) was found dead March 15 in a waiting room at the Sichuan provice Hongyan No.1 Police Station, where he was an official, according to Chinese state media.

The 30-year-old from Khyungchu (Hongyuan) county had been deployed in the fight against COVID-19 in a Tibetan area of Sichuan.

On the day before his death, he had been working continuously for 24 hours,” said the Beijing News, a Chinese-language stare-owned newspaper.

“The reporting of Azi Lhundup’s death appears to be an attempt by China to present a Tibetan poster boy for the campaign against coronavirus,” Bhunchung Tsering from International Campaign for Tibet told RFA.

“Months after the eruption of the pandemic, Chinese authorities have yet to provide figures for the number of Tibetan casualties. Despite this, official Chinese media reported in detail about Azi Lhundup’s Tibetan nationality and his membership in the Chinese Communist Party,” the activist said.

“This seems to be an attempt to spread the narrative of Tibetans supporting the work of the Chinese government up to the point of sacrificing their lives, without any verifiable information about the cause of this person’s death or any explanation about why he was ‘overworking’ and whether that was his voluntary choice.”

Reported by Guru Choegyi and Tashi Wangchuck for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Eugene Whong

Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rfa.org

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Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus: 
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes ,organizations or individual.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources  then it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on social media messages that the lockdown will last for more than 3 months. Check any related information only on Government Web Portals and social media platforms of various Government Agencies.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred 

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic information write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com

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