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China: Tibetan Detainees at Serious Risk of Torture and Mistreatment

March 20, 2008

Allow Independent Monitors Access to Detention Facilities

Human Rights Watch
Press Release

(New York, March 19, 2008) – The Chinese government should immediately
permit independent monitors to have access to the large number of
Tibetans detained in Tibet and adjoining provinces in the aftermath of
public protests, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should
publish the names of all individuals detained and their places of detention.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that hundreds have been arrested. Chinese
authorities have not specified the number of detainees. Human Rights
Watch and others have previously documented torture and ill-treatment of
detainees in Tibet, especially those accused by the Chinese authorities
of “separatist” activities (

“Given the long and well-documented history of torture of political
activists by China’s security forces there is every reason to fear for
the safety of those recently detained,” said Brad Adams, Asia director
at Human Rights Watch. “Only by giving access to independent monitors
can China give the world some confidence that detainees are not being
tortured or mistreated.”

Chinese officials announced that those who had been involved in the
protests must “surrender” to police by midnight on March 16 and that
they would be shown leniency if they did so. The officials insisted that
the detention of protesters was necessary to ensure public security.

The Chinese government has virtually sealed off Tibet, expelling or
turning away foreign journalists and tourists. The Chinese government
has long banned independent human rights observers from Tibet and
punishes Tibetans who send information out of the country regarding the
human rights situation.

“The exclusion of independent monitors and expulsion of foreign media
from Tibet only suggest that China wants to retaliate against these
protesters unfettered by global scrutiny,” said Adams. “China is in
direct violation of its commitment to the International Olympic
Committee to allow foreign journalists free access to the whole country,
a point the IOC should be making publicly if it is to retain any

For more of Human Rights Watch’s work on China and Tibet, please visit:

For more information, please contact:

In Washington, DC, Sophie Richardson (English, Mandarin):
+1-202-612-4341; or +1-917-721-7473 (mobile)
In Hong Kong, Nicholas Bequelin (English, French, Mandarin):
+852-8198-1040 (mobile)
In London, Brad Adams (English): +44-20-7713-2767; or +44-790-872-8333
In Brussels, Reed Brody (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese):
+32-498-625786 (mobile)
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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