Exiled Tibetans in Dharamsala protest Google censorship in China

(Click on images for larger-size). Hacker and free speech activist Oxblood Ruffin says,

Today at 11AM in Dharamsala, India, the local chapter of The Students For A Free Tibet joined a global protest against Google. Nowhere is Google's evil more keenly felt than in Dharamsala. It is home to the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans who fled here after their country was invaded by China in 1949. Now, thanks to Google, any Chinese who wants to get information about the Dalai Lama, human rights, or Tibet will only get criticisms, official government policy, and lies, respectively. For Tibetans this isn't just a censorship issue. It's an extension of China's de facto practice of cultural genocide into cyberspace, and Google is part of that. For shame!

When the Cult of the Dead Cow launched its global "Goolag" campaign against Google, I never imagined that it would take off as quickly as it did. But nothing has been as meaningful as seeing stickers printed up and distributed in Dharamsala. Just before we launched, I circulated the logo to a mailing list of technical experts, almost all of whom live in Dharamsala. Feedback was quite positive, and we were joking that this would make a great t-shirt.

Well, thanks to the wonders of technology, now anyone can get a Goolag t-shirt from Café Press. Well, *almost* anyone. I got an email from Dharamsala this morning and am posting the relevant fragment:

"I am sure many people here would love to have a tshirt or other 'Goolag' item! It being seen here would have a big impact on tourists and others here. But very difficult to have one. The price of a shirt (not even counting shipping) is more than most people pay for their living quarters. Even for foreigners like me, rich by local standards but still on limited budget and no income – that shirt represents my food for a week."

I'm going to order a t-shirt and send it to the guy who wrote this email. At least one guy on the front lines can represent :-)

Photos shot in Dharamsala by Phuntsok Dorjee, many more photos here. More on the protest here at cDc: Link. (Thanks, Krass Katt).

Matt Browner-Hamlin of Students for a Free Tibet says,

Phayul, the largest website for news about Tibet, has shut itself down in honor of SFT's protest against Google's censorship of search results in Tibet and China. The text of the site reads:

phayul_small_denied"Access Denied: We at phayul.com do not have the right to deny you our contents. But we commit this offence to help you realize a fact.

This is what Google has helped Chinese government achieve in China.

Phayul respects the right to information. People in China and Tibet are denied this basic right of an individual. And what more, the government that should be protecting it has itself violated it. And helping China in this serious offence is Google. Phayul condemns Google's censorship in China and Tibet. We close till midnight (IST) to express our solidarity and support to the Students for a Free Tibet in their campaign against Google. Click here to join us."

Click here to see a full size screen shot of Phayul's self-censorship.

Previously on Boing Boing:
# Hacktivists parody Google logo for protest, China human rights fundraiser
# Battelle's analysis of Google, Yahoo, MSFT, AOL and China