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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Year 2007 sees repression worsening in Tibet: Report

January 25, 2008

By Phurbu Thinley
Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy’s 2007 annual report finds
cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions inside Tibet increased almost
threefold compared to 2006 indicating a worsening of human rights
situation in Tibet ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Dharamsala, January 21: Year 2007 saw repression worsen in Tibet
signaling a hardening attitude of China despite holding sixth round of
talks between the envoys of the Dalai Lama envoys and Beijing, the
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy" target (TCHRD) stated in
its 2007 annual report released here today.

The report titled- Human Rights Situation in Tibet: Annual Report 2007
notes “Through out the year, the Chinese authorities in occupied Tibet
unleashed spate after spate of policy campaigns, regulations and decrees
to subject Tibetans to intensified state controls over their human
rights and fundamental freedoms,”

The year round assessment of the human rights situation in Tibet finds
Communist Chinese Authorities committing severe violations of human
rights in Tibet as a result of placing heightened security measures and
cracking down heavily on incidences of peaceful protests by Tibetan
people. Not surprisingly, the report finds “cases of arbitrary arrest
and detentions” increased almost threefold compared to previous year
(2006), “suggesting a clear indication of the human rights situation
worsening in Tibet”.

The report documents 65 known cases of arbitrary arrests in 2007 alone
out of the total 119 known Tibetan political prisoners, of which 43 are
serving terms of more than ten years.

“The actual number could be even much higher,” TCHRD’s Director Mr Urgen
Tenzin speculates, pointing at the lack of freedom as the key factor
hindering more accurate monitoring of the situation inside Tibet.

According to the report, “Chinese authorities routinely resorted to
arbitrary arrests, imprisonment and torture in dealing with peaceful
protests by Tibetans, which normally included displaying Tibetan flags,
staging non-violent demonstrations, possessing pictures of the Dalai
Lama, and posters calling for freedom of Tibet.”

Although the so called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is considered
politically more sensitive region, interestingly TCHRD finds Kardze
region outside of the TAR as “the most volatile Tibetan area in terms of
political developments, for several successive years now”. The report
shows that half of the total 65 known cases of arbitrary arrests during
2007 were recorded from the Kardze region alone.

The centre’s report puts peculiar note of the intensified repression
placed upon the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries, which have
long been identified by Chinese authorities as the “hot bed of dissents”
in Tibet.

Accordingly, the report finds that 70% (80 out of the 119) of the known
political prisoners are monks and nuns.

The report says that “during 2007, religious freedom in Tibet took a
major set back” after the Chinese authorities introduced two new
religious regulations. “Tibet Autonomous Region Implementing Measures
for the Regulation of Religious Affairs” and “Measures on the
Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism”, the report says,
were primarily aimed at subjecting “Tibetan Buddhism and its spiritual
masters under intensified state control through legal conundrums”.

Further the report alleges that the Communist authorities regularly
conducted ‘patriotic re-education’ and ‘love your country, love your
religion’ political campaigns in the monastic institutions” and
reinvigorated the ‘Patriotic education’ in various Tibetan areas during
the year as a measure toward bringing the monastic communities under a
tight official grip”.

One of the major concerns raised in the report remains to be continuing
arrival of new Tibet refugees after fleeing across the harsh Himalayan
terrains, very often putting their lives into extreme risks. In 2007,
some 2338 Tibetans managed to safely reach the Tibetan Reception Centre
in Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama and the base of the Tibetan
Government-in Exile. Of the total number of refugees, the report shows,
around half of them were below the age of 18 seeking educational
opportunities as a result of poor educational facilities in the rural
areas of Tibet where about 75% of the Tibetan population reside. And
where schools do exist, they have “biased (Chinese) curriculum”, the
repot exposes.

Persecution of several Tibetans in the eastern Tibet region following an
open pro-independence and pro-Dalai Lama outcry in Lithang by a Tibetan
nomad, Rongye Adrak that escalated into a mass Tibetan protests against
Chinese authorities; closing down of Tibetans sites, online blogs and
restrictions on internet and other media; destruction of statues of
religious significance, especially those of Guru Rinpoche by Communist
authorities; heightened security measures restricting Tibetans from
taking part in religious activities and public celebrations; detaining
and torturing school students by authorities in Amchok Bora Village in
Labrang County; another shooting incident on the Nangpa La Pass; mass
relocation of Tibetan herders affecting their traditional livelihood and
further marginalization of Tibetans as a result of the new railway
accelerating the Chinese population transfer into Tibet are some of the
major cases extensively highlighted in the report categorised into Civil
and Political Liberties, Religion, Education in Tibet and Development

With the Beijing Olympic Games only a few months away in August 2008,
TCHRD’s report seeks to “build up pressure and expose China’s human
rights farce to the world”.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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