Human rights in Tibet
Tibetans’ civil and political rights are under constant attack by the Chinese authorities who will stop at nothing to suppress dissent.
Every aspect of Tibetan life is under siege from a Chinese leadership determined to gradually eradicate a whole culture.
The Tibetan flag and national anthem are banned. Possession of a picture of the Dalai Lama can result in torture and imprisonment.
Even children face abuses of their freedom and human rights in Tibet.
No right to protest
Tibetans are not free to protest or openly speak about their situation. Even peaceful demonstrations are met with heavy handed, military crackdowns.
In 2008, thousands of Tibetans staged the largest protests in Tibet for over 50 years. Demonstrations swept across the entire Tibetan plateau.
Chinese authorities arrested an estimated 6,000 protestors, of which the fate of about 1,000 still remains unknown.
The upsurge in protests and self-immolations in 2011, 2012 and into 2013 has led the Chinese authorities to step up security even further and tighten its stranglehold on Tibet.
Read more about the cost of speaking out in Tibet.
Political prisoners tortured
Prisons in Tibet are full of people detained for simply expressing their desire for freedom. People have been arrested and sentenced to prison for peaceful acts, such as:
- waving the Tibetan flag
- distributing leaflets
- sending information about events in Tibet abroad
The Chinese deem these acts as ‘splittist’ or ‘subversive’.
Many Tibetans are imprisoned on unclear or unspecified charges, their families not informed of their whereabouts.
Released prisoners report of having been subjected to beatings, electric shocks, and being deprived of food and drink. A 2008 UN report found that the use of torture in Tibet was ‘widespread’ and ‘routine’.
China attempts to control all information in and out of Tibet. TV, radio, printed media and the internet are subjected to strict monitoring and censorship.
Access is blocked to TV and radio broadcasters based outside China, which provide news services in Tibetan languages.
Foreign journalists are rarely allowed entry into Tibet, and when they are, they are closely chaperoned by Chinese officials.
Reporters Without Borders ranked China 174 out of the 179 countries on its Press Freedom Index 2011/12.
Lack of religious freedom
Buddhism is central to Tibetan life and monasteries and nunneries are kept under tight surveillance. Police stations are often situated nearby (or inside).
Monks and nuns are regularly subjected to ‘patriotic re-education programmes’, for weeks at a time.
During these programmes, they are forced to read ‘patriotic’ literature denouncing the Dalai Lama.
Those who refuse to take part, or fail the programme, often have their rights to practice as monks and nuns taken away.
A US State Department human rights report published in May 2012 said that "ethnic Han Chinese Communist Party members hold almost all top government, police, and military positions in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other areas of Tibet."
Third photo down: Pedro Saraiva