tibetan internet cafe

China to Launch First Ever Tibetan Search Engine Next Year

Will "feature news, pictures, video and audio"

cloud tibet

“Cloud Tibet”, China’s first internet search engine in Tibetan, is expected to be released next August.

Being built next door in Qinghai Province, development on the Cloud Tibet project began in April 2013 by a 100-member team from a Tibetan language research center at a cost of 57 million yuan ($9 million).

Development team head Tselo said the basic architecture had been finished and significant core-technology developments had been achieved. The search engine will help speed up IT, economic and social development in the Tibetan region, Tselo said. Upon completion, the search engine will also feature news, pictures, video and audio, he added.

Internet use in China is highly regulated, monitored, and censored by government authorities with the regions of Tibet and Xinjiang put under extra-tight controls. Prolonged Internet shutdowns are frequent in Uighur and Tibet minority regions, further restricting the flow of information, while internet and phone users in Tibet are required to register their real names in a local monitoring scheme.

This past August, one of the oldest Tibetan websites promoting culture and literature was shut down by Chinese authorities. The website “Chodme”, or “Butter Lamp”, served as a forum for news and literary writings in the native language of the residents of Tibetan-populated regions of western China. Having previously been shut down by Chinese authorities, the webmaster of Chodme was instructed to re-register with China’s Department of Communications.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor