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CECC annual report -- Tibet section

October 19, 2011

The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China has issued its annual report for 2011.  Below are excerpted the summary findings and recommendations on Tibet.  The entire Tibet section can be read through the following link to the full report:


http://www.cecc.gov/pages/annualRpt/annualRpt11/AR2011final.pdf
 
 
 
TIBET
Findings
• Expanding Chinese government and Communist Party use of
legal and policy measures to increase pressure on Tibetan culture—
especially on religion and language—are resulting in
consequences that Tibetans believe threaten the viability of
their culture. Declining well-being of Tibetan culture contrasts
with increases in government-provided statistical measures on
economic development and social services, such as education.
Tibetans who peacefully express disapproval of government
and Party policy on Tibetan affairs are at increased risk of
punishment as the central and local governments expand the
use of legal measures to safeguard ‘‘social stability’’ by criminalizing
such expression.
• No formal dialogue took place between the Dalai Lama’s representatives
and Chinese government and Party officials during
the Commission’s 2011 reporting year. The environment for
dialogue deteriorated as the government pressed forward with
implementation of legal measures and policies that many Tibetans—
including the Dalai Lama—believe threaten the Tibetan
culture, language, religion, heritage, and environment.
In 2011, the Dalai Lama took steps to end the official role of
a Dalai Lama in the India-based organization that is commonly
referred to as the Tibetan government-in-exile. The
change has the potential to alter dialogue dynamics by eliminating
the basis for the Party and government to characterize
the Dalai Lama as a ‘‘political’’ figure.
• The government and Party continued the campaign to discredit
the Dalai Lama as a religious leader and expanded government
and Party control over Tibetan Buddhism to impose
what officials describe as the ‘‘normal order’’ of the religion. As
of August 2011, the central government and 9 of 10 Tibetan
autonomous prefectural governments issued or drafted regulatory
measures that increase substantially state infringement
of freedom of religion in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and
nunneries. The measures impose closer monitoring and supervision
of each monastery’s Democratic Management Committee—
a monastic group legally obligated to ensure that
monks, nuns, and teachers obey government laws, regulations,
and policies. The measures expand significantly township-level
government authority over monasteries and nunneries and provide
a monitoring, supervisory, and reporting role to villagelevel
committees.
• Government security and judicial officials used China’s legal
system as a means to detain and imprison Tibetan writers, artists,
intellectuals, and cultural advocates who turned to veiled
language to lament the status of Tibetan culture or criticize
government policies toward the Tibetan people and culture.
Examples during the 2011 reporting year included writer-publishers,
a conference organizer, a singer, and persons who
downloaded ‘‘prohibited’’ songs. The government seeks to prevent
such Tibetans from influencing other Tibetans by punishing
peaceful expression as a ‘‘crime’’ and using imprisonment
to remove them from society.
• Events this past year highlighted the importance Tibetans
attribute to the status and preservation of the Tibetan language
and the increased threat that some Tibetans believe will
result from ‘‘reform’’ of the ‘‘bilingual education’’ system. Tibetan
students in one province led protests against plans to reduce
the status and level of use of Tibetan language during the
period 2010 to 2020. A Party official characterized ‘‘unity of
spoken and written language’’ as essential for ‘‘a unified country’’
and implied that protesting students put national unity at
risk. Retired Tibetan educators submitted to authorities a petition
analyzing what they deemed to be violations of China’s
Constitution and Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law that result in
the infringement of ethnic minorities’ rights.
• Rural Tibetans protested against what they consider to be
adverse effects of government and Party economic development
policies—especially mining—that prioritize government objectives
above respecting or protecting the Tibetan culture and
environment. The value of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)
mineral resources is approximately double the 2001 to 2010
subsidies the central government provided to the TAR, based
on official reports. The TAR government has completed the
compulsory settlement or resettlement of nearly two-thirds of
the TAR rural population. Officials provided updates on construction
of the railway network that will crisscross the Ti-
betan plateau: one link will traverse quake-struck Yushu,
which the government renamed and will make into a ‘‘city’’
with a substantial population, economy, and well-developed infrastructure.
Tibetans in Yushu protested after authorities either
sold or expropriated their property without providing adequate
compensation.
 

Recommendations
 

Members of the U.S. Congress and Administration officials are
encouraged to:
 

Æ Urge the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue
with the Dalai Lama or his representatives on protecting
the Tibetan culture, language, religion, and heritage within the
Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and the Tibetan autonomous
prefectures and counties in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and
Yunnan provinces. The Dalai Lama’s withdrawal from exiled
Tibetan administrative affairs has the potential to alter dialogue
dynamics by eliminating the basis for the government
and Party to characterize him as a ‘‘political’’ figure. As tensions
rise in Tibetan areas, a Chinese government decision to
engage in dialogue can result in a durable and mutually beneficial
outcome for the Chinese government and Tibetans and
improve the outlook for local and regional security in coming
decades.
Æ Convey to the Chinese government the urgent importance of
refraining from expanding the use of legal measures to infringe
upon and repress Tibetan Buddhists’ right to the freedom of religion.
Point out to Chinese officials that the anti-Dalai Lama
campaign, aggressive programs of ‘‘patriotic education,’’ and recent
prefectural-level legal measures seeking to control Tibetan
Buddhist monastic affairs could promote social discord, not ‘‘social
stability.’’ Urge the government to respect the right of Tibetan
Buddhists to identify and educate religious teachers in
a manner consistent with Tibetan preferences and traditions.
Æ Request that the Chinese government follow up on a 2010
statement by the Chairman of the TAR government that
Gedun Choekyi Nyima, the Panchen Lama whom the Dalai
Lama recognized in 1995, is living in the TAR as an ‘‘ordinary
citizen’’ along with his family. Urge the government to invite
a representative of an international organization to meet with
Gedun Choekyi Nyima so that Gedun Choekyi Nyima can express
to the representative his wishes with respect to privacy;
photograph the international representative and Gedun
Choekyi Nyima together; and publish Gedun Choekyi Nyima’s
statement and the photograph.
Æ Convey to the Chinese government the importance of respecting
and protecting the Tibetan culture and language.
Urge Chinese officials to promote a vibrant Tibetan culture by
honoring China’s Constitution’s reference to the freedoms of
speech, association, assembly, and religion, and refraining from
using the security establishment, courts, and law to infringe
upon and repress Tibetans’ exercise of such rights. Urge officials
to respect Tibetan wishes to maintain the role of both the
Tibetan and Chinese languages in teaching modern subjects
and not to consign Tibetan language to inferior status by discontinuing
its use in teaching modern subjects.
Æ Encourage the Chinese government to take fully into account
the views and preferences of Tibetans when the government
plans infrastructure, natural resource development, and
resettlement projects in the Tibetan areas of China. Encourage
the Chinese government to engage appropriate experts in assessing
the impact of such projects and in advising the government
on the implementation and progress of such projects. Request
the Chinese government to compensate fully, fairly, and
promptly all Tibetans who suffer the loss of property or property
rights as a result of the April 2010 Yushu earthquake and
the government’s decision to redevelop Yushu as a new ‘‘city.’’
Æ Increase support for U.S. non-governmental organizations to
develop programs that can assist Tibetans to increase their capacity
to peacefully protect and develop their culture, language,
and heritage; that can help to improve education, economic,
health, and environmental conservation conditions of
ethnic Tibetans living in Tibetan areas of China; and that create
sustainable benefits for Tibetans without encouraging an
influx of non-Tibetans into these areas.
Æ Continue to convey to the Chinese government the importance
of distinguishing between peaceful Tibetan protesters
and rioters; condemn the use of security campaigns to suppress
human rights; and request the Chinese government to provide
complete details about Tibetans detained, charged, or sentenced
for protest-related crimes. Continue to raise in meetings
and correspondence with Chinese officials the cases of Tibetans
who are imprisoned as punishment for the peaceful exercise of
human rights. Representative examples include: Former Tibetan
monk Jigme Gyatso (now serving an extended 18-year
sentence for printing leaflets, distributing posters, and later
shouting pro-Dalai Lama slogans in prison); monk Choeying
Khedrub (sentenced to life imprisonment for printing leaflets);
Bangri Chogtrul (regarded by Tibetan Buddhists as a reincarnated
lama, serving a sentence of 18 years commuted from life
imprisonment for ‘‘inciting splittism’’); and nomad Ronggyal
Adrag (sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment for shouting political
slogans at a public festival).

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