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China Continued Religious Repression in Tibet: Clinton

November 19, 2010

18 November 2010 10:48     
The Tibet Post International   

Washington: China continues harassment of Tibetan Buddhists and such infringements on religious freedom "strain" bonds that back democratic societies, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters at a press conference in Washington on Wednesday. "The United States continues to be concerned for the preservation and development of the Tibetan people's unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage and the protection of their fundamental human rights", the annual report said.

"We received reports from China of government harassment of Tibetan Buddhists, house-church Christians and Uighur Muslims," Clinton said in her opening remarks during the release of the annual State Department Report on Religious Freedom.

"And several European countries have placed harsh restrictions on religious expression. These infringements on religious freedom strain the bonds that sustain democratic societies," she said.

In China one continues to see restrictions on the Uighur population in Shenzhen, on the Tibetan Buddhist community, and other restrictions on religious freedom, including on the unauthorised house churches, Christian churches, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Michael Posner, said.

Eight countries including China have been designated as countries of particular concern, Posner said. Those eight countries are Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan, he said.

According to the annual State Department report, in the last one year, the level of religious repression in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas remained high, especially around major religious holidays and sensitive anniversaries.

"The government remained wary of Tibetan Buddhism and the central role traditionally played by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other prominent Tibetan Buddhist leaders.

"The heads of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism--including the Karmapa, Sakya Trizin, Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, and Gyalwa Menri Trizin--all reside in exile and maintain close ties with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Chinese authorities often associated Tibetan Buddhist monasteries with pro-independence activism," the report said.

Government control over religious practice and the day-to-day management of monasteries and other religious institutions continued to be extraordinarily tight since the spring 2008 outbreak of widespread protests and unrest in Tibetan regions, it said.

Monks and nuns reported that government restrictions continued to interfere with their ability to carry out the teaching and practice of Tibetan Buddhist religious traditions, the report said.

The Chinese government continued to blame the Dalai Lama publicly for instigating the March 2008 unrest and repeatedly stated that his successor would have to be approved by the government. The newly appointed TAR governor described the Dalai Lama as "the most important cause of instability in Tibet, it said.

Report said Monks and nuns, as well as lay Tibetans, continued to report difficulties obtaining passports from their local public security bureaus. According to reports, many of the monks and nuns that attempt to travel to Dharamshala, or the other Tibetan communities in India, did so to join religious communities and escape the increased controls over their religious practice at monasteries and nunneries in Tibetan areas.

On the Tibet-Nepal border, the government also increased its border forces to prevent Tibetans from crossing the frontier without permission and exerted pressure on the government of Nepal to forcibly return Tibetan refugees. During the reporting period, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) documented the forcible return of three Tibetan asylum seekers, including one monk in June 2010, the report said.

More detail please see full report from US State Department.
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