Thursday November 14, 2019

Over the claim of Panda, new debate ensues between Tibet and China

From 1642 until the 1950's, the Tibetan Government was led by the Dalai Lama which administered almost the whole of the Tibetan Plateau

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Gyantse Town in China. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Tibetans were forced to flee to India to seek safety after the 1959 Tibetan uprising
  • Central Tibetan Administration represents the people of Tibet in India and works towards their well-being
  • Human Rights Watch questions the manner in which authority is meted out to Tibetans living in Tibet

“Pandas are from Tibet, not China. China must leave Tibet, restore freedom”, tweets @Tibetans, a Twitter account handled a Tibetan activist, in addition to similar tweets that portray protest against the occupation of the Tibetan region by The People’s republic of China.

Although this twitter handle claims that the common belief that pandas are native to China is a misconception, experts believe that pandas mostly came from South China, and a few from Kham, a historic region of Tibet. A number of pages have made their presence on social media, like @tibettruth on Twitter and Pandas are from Tibet on Facebook who fearlessly take jabs at the Chinese Government.

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Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), or Exile Tibetan People’s Administration is an organization (also considered as the government in exile) functions from McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala. It is based with the stated goal of “rehabilitating Tibetan refugees and restoring freedom and happiness in Tibet”. While the goal asserts that it will give back Tibetan refugees their homes, this organization has no intentions of assuming the role of the ruling body in the Tibetan area. Once freedom is achieved, a new ruling body will be formed based on people’s sentiment and opinions.

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Sera Monastery. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The 1959 Tibetan Uprising, which was a period of mass bloodshed, saw the destruction of 60,000 monasteries spread across the plateau. Monasteries of Sera, Ganden, and Drepung, which were  which were damaged beyond repair owing to incessant shelling by the Chinese army. Around 87,000 people lost their lives, along with immense psychological and cultural damage.

From 1642 until the 1950’s, the Tibetan Government was led by the Dalai Lama which administered almost the whole of the Tibetan Plateau. The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatzo, fled Tibet to settle in India as a refugee after the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, an internal revolt against the People’s Republic of China. Following his lead, around 150,000 Tibetans have since settled Dharamsala over the years, aided by the Indian government.

Today, the Indian government has set up a number of institutions to make life easier for the Tibetan Diaspora, like special schools that provide free education and reservation of a few seats in the medical field and civil engineering.

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Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy of human rights, has documented and reported the human rights violations that unfurl frequently in Tibet since 1987. While it does not support any political arrangement in the plateau, the organization promotes the rights of the Tibetan population to exercise religious freedom and express their views regarding the political situation, no matter what they are.

The Government of China has, on numerous occasions, breached the recognized international human rights laws, which is why it is crucial to exert international political pressure upon China to put an end to these cruelties.

Among the abundant cases that Human Rights Watch has documented through the years, which include the brutal beating of a man in public for trying to raise a Tibetan Flag, to ruthless and torturous executions for minor offences, surfaces the story of the struggle of a young man, which assumed a more iconic and definitive form than other accounts of cruelty.

The man, who was discontent with the fact that even in his community’s minority institute, study material and courses were forced to be delivered in Chinese rather than the native Tibetan language; a move that would undoubtedly undermine the creativity and intelligence of Tibetan students, himself authored a piece in his language. After it received attention from the Chinese authorities, he was barred from entering further classes, and eventually the institute. As the situation grew worse, he was forced to flee his own country to live his life as a refugee in India. This particular case highlights how any form of expression was strictly suppressed.

-written by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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This AI System Can Evade Censorship In India, China and Kazakhstan

Researchers develop an AI tool that evades censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan

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(AI)-based system automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan. Pixabay

Researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system that automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan.

The tool, called Geneva (short for Genetic Evasion), found dozens of ways to circumvent censorship by exploiting gaps in censors’ logic and finding bugs that the researchers said would have been virtually impossible for humans to find manually.

The researchers are scheduled to introduce Geneva during a peer-reviewed talk at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 26th Conference on Computer and Communications Security in London on Thursday.

“With Geneva, we are, for the first time, at a major advantage in the censorship arms race,” said Dave Levin, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Maryland in the US and senior author of the paper.

“Geneva represents the first step toward a whole new arms race in which artificial intelligence systems of censors and evaders compete with one another. Ultimately, winning this race means bringing free speech and open communication to millions of users around the world who currently don’t have them,” Levin said.\

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This AI system that evades censorship is called ‘Geneva’. Pixabay

To demonstrate that Geneva worked in the real world against undiscovered censorship strategies, the team ran Geneva on a computer in China with an unmodified Google Chrome browser installed.

By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user was able to browse free of keyword censorship.

The researchers also successfully evaded censorship in India, which blocks forbidden URLs, and Kazakhstan, which was eavesdropping on certain social media sites at the time, said a statement from the University of Maryland.

All information on the Internet is broken into data packets by the sender’s computer and reassembled by the receiving computer.

One prevalent form of Internet censorship works by monitoring the data packets sent during an Internet search.

The censor blocks requests that either contain flagged keywords (such as “Tiananmen Square” in China) or prohibited domain names (such as “Wikipedia” in many countries).

When Geneva is running on a computer that is sending out web requests through a censor, it modifies how data is broken up and sent, so that the censor does not recognise forbidden content or is unable to censor the connection.

Known as a genetic algorithm, Geneva is a biologically inspired type of AI that Levin and his team developed to work in the background as a user browses the web from a standard Internet browser.

Like biological systems, Geneva forms sets of instructions from genetic building blocks. But rather than using DNA as building blocks, Geneva uses small pieces of code.

Censorship
By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user is able to browse free of keyword censorship. Pixabay

Individually, the bits of code do very little, but when composed into instructions, they can perform sophisticated evasion strategies for breaking up, arranging or sending data packets.

The tool evolves its genetic code through successive attempts (or generations). With each generation, Geneva keeps the instructions that work best at evading censorship and kicks out the rest.

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Geneva mutates and cross breeds its strategies by randomly removing instructions, adding new instructions, or combining successful instructions and testing the strategy again.

Through this evolutionary process, Geneva is able to identify multiple evasion strategies very quickly, said the study. (IANS)