Kanyak Tsering is an exiled Tibetan monk. He belongs to a Dharamsala, India-based branch of the Kirti monastery, a Buddhist compound across the Chinese border that has been under a lockdown by security forces for months.
For months, Kanyak has had to step into the role of a spokesperson for the Kirti monastery, using every technological tool at his disposal. China closely tracks any communication between Tibet and Dharamsala, where Tibetan exiles have had their unofficial capital for more than 50 years. China views the small Indian city as the headquarters for a separatist movement. So, information flows have to be indirect.
"I get information in various ways - over the Internet using e-mails, websites, chat rooms, and Skype. Sometimes I make contact through mobile phones when Tibetans phone other Tibetan exiles they know," said Kanyak.
As he speaks to VOA, Kanyak receives a phone call. A contact says he has received an email appearing to be from Kanyak, but with a peculiar attachment. When Kanyak traces the email, he finds it has originated from an Internet address in China.
He says he can’t say this or that individual is directly responsible, but that it is clear to him the Chinese Government is involved.
Greg Walton is an independent researcher who advises the Tibetan exile administration on security. He agrees that the email was probably a product of the Chinese government’s increasingly vast cyber-offensive capability.
"What is intriguing is that often we’ll see that the same command-and-control servers which are going after the big defense contractors, and stealing details of stealth bombers, or going after the big financial houses in New York - the same command-and-control servers are going after monks in Dharamsala," said Walton.