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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Olympics and Tibet under a cloud of repression

August 8, 2008

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD)

TCHRD releases Documentary entitled "Uprising In Tibet 2008"

On the eve of China's first Olympics, as the world prepares to gaze
more intently than ever on the grand spectacle of the 29th Olympics,
the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) deplores
and expresses its deepest dismay on China's failure to uphold the
Olympic principles particularly with regard to continual of
repression in Tibet. The communist regime continues to cling on to
its old authoritarian ways and still ruthlessly suppresses peaceful
dissent. Over the recent past the Chinese authorities under the
pretext of security measures has intensified clampdown on the
fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people.

Spontaneous pan-Tibet protests since 10 March 2008 are sincere
manifestation of brutality and oppression suffered by the Tibetans at
the hands of the Communist party for more than half a century. This
goes in contrast to the authorities' projection of the image of
"harmonious society" and failure of Beijing long held Tibet Policies.

Particularly this year, Tibetans in "Tibet Autonomous Region "
('TAR") and other neighboring areas have witnessed unprecedented
repression and crackdown following massive protests since 10 March
across the Tibetan plateau which has resulted in the death of more
than 120 Tibetans as a direct result of Chinese brutality. Over 6500
were detained in various places and hundreds injured with many cases
remain unaccounted for due to various circumstances.


There are many credible reports of people died from torture and
inhuman treatment meted out to them. Just for instance, Nechung, a
38- year-old mother of four children from Charu Hu Village in Ngaba
County, Ngaba "TAP", Sichuan Province, died days after being
subjected to brutal torture in a Chinese prison on 17 April 2008. In
another instance, Dawa, a 31 year-old Tibetan farmer from Dedrong
Village, Jangkha Township, Phenpo Lhundup County, Lhasa City, "TAR",
died on 1 April 2008 after being severely beaten by Chinese prison
guards. Similarly three monks from Drango County in Kardze "TAP" were
brutally crushed by the security forces for staging a peaceful
protest in front of the County government headquarters. One of them,
Tsewang Dakpa, a 22 year old from Jangtha Township, Drango County, in
particular sustained multiple and severe injury that eyewitness
recounted slight chances of his survival. There were even rumor of
his death from torture he suffered and it could not be ascertained even today.

Thabkey, a 30 year-old monk of Labrang Monastery, arrested along with
seven other monks for briefing a group of foreign media personal on a
government managed tour in Labrang, was released after several days'
detention in a mentally unstable condition with bruise marks all over
his body resulted from severe beatings in the police custody.

Ambiguous law to suppress dissent:

China still continues to use certain provisions of the Criminal Law
as political tools to suppress dissent.  The charges of "endangering
state security", "disrupting social order" and the term "terrorist
organization" in China's Criminal Law are not defined, thereby
allowing a broad and ambiguous range of interpretation, including
criminalization of non-violent political protests in the politically
restive regions like Tibet and used to prosecute those engaged in
legitimate and peaceful human rights activities. China justified its
repression of free speech under a broad interpretation of "national security".


At the beginning of April this year, alongside intensification of
security measures, the Chinese authorities have ordered more
stringent ideological education and ramped-up propaganda in Tibet "to
build anti-separatist sentiment".  Under the renewed "patriotic
reeducation" campaign launched across all section of Tibetan
communities in Tibet which has resulted in the dramatic rise of
religious repression, arrest, detention of those who opposed the
campaign which requires people to sign and oppose the Dalai Lama.
Almost all the major monastic institutions across Tibet virtually
remains locked up with heavy security presence since 10 March
protest.  Not sparing even the ethnic Tibetan Communist party
members, on 21 April, Dorjee Tsering, Lhasa City Mayor, has told that
the "Patriotic re-education" campaign will be a standard litmus test
for the party cadres and will be set as a standard barometer for
testing one's loyalty to the Party.  The campaign is used as a tool
to stabilize and exert control over what the Chinese authorities term
"the hotbed of dissent activities," referring to the monastic
institutions. The forced implementation of the campaign in garnering
loyalty to the state is in direct contravention of many international
human rights provisions on religion.

In addition to this campaign, the introduction of new measures in
Kardze in 28 June 2008 aims to purge monasteries of monks and
restrict religious practice was a clear revelation of systematic new
attack on Tibetan Buddhism and have disturbing implications on the
lives of monks and nuns in Tibet. TCHRD has documented numerous cases
of people having detained for opposing the "patriotic re-education" campaign.


Of the number of people sentenced so far, none of the arrestees were
given the standard due process and legal representation as required
in the international legal norms.  On 29 April, the Intermediate
People's Court of Lhasa handed down 30 people with prison sentences
ranging from three years to life sentence. On 19 and 20 June, four
local courts in Lhasa and the Shannan Prefecture announced prison
terms for another 12 Tibetans without due process and legal
representation in an arbitrary and summary execution of judicial
process. This was in tune with the "Tibet Autonomous Region" ('TAR')
Communist party and Government officials call for a "swift and quick
judicial process to strike back at the "separatists" and the "Dalai
clique". TCHRD remains very skeptical and fear for the worst
scenarios for the Tibetan protestors who were held as prisoners of
conscience after political motivated trials and are still in
detention and waiting for the court sentence. Judging from the
gravity of sentence handed down on those who peacefully exercised
their fundamental human rights in the recent months. TCHRD fears for
the worst kind of sentence, for those who led the protest and those
authorities deemed as sole perpetrator of protests, has been
substantiated by the Executive Vice Chairman of "TAR", Pema Trinly's
briefing at a press conference on 10 July, saying another 116
suspects who were on trial "would be decided under Chinese laws
whether some would be sentenced to death."

While it is widely known that the Tibetans were sentenced for showing
their political dissent, the state media has downplayed the whole
nature of their activities as petty criminal offenses by projecting
the cases as that of looting, arson, theft, rioting etc., rather than
acts of 'expression' of political dissidence. Beijing refuses to see
the reality of the political nature of the pan-Tibet popular
protests. In order to shun its repression in Tibet, China has
virtually sealed off the Tibetan plateau despite the promise to
increase openness in the buildup to the Olympics and imposed
communication blackout. Clearly the harshness of sentences handed
down indicate that it is not a case of petty criminal activity only,
but involves the larger issue of political dissidence -- which the
state media deliberately fails to mention.


In addition, recently the Chinese authorities have embarked on
numerous premeditated measures and steps to tighten control over the
Tibetan people targeting every strata of Tibetan society. The latest
targets are identified as ethnic Tibetan Communist Party members and
the civil servants with the issuance of two-month ultimatum on 14
July 2008 to recall their children studying in educational
institutions run by the "Dalai clique" or face expulsion from party
membership and government job.


While the government of the People's Republic of China complains
about the politicization of Olympics to avert international criticism
of her human rights records, it is but PRC government herself who
from the very onset of the Olympic Games has involved the issue of
human rights to politicize the Games at the first place. China is
still using the Games as a tool to push forward its political agenda.
During the Olympic torch relay in Lhasa, Tibet, the "TAR" Party
Secretary, Zhang Qingli bombarded the selected audience with
political rhetoric that, "Tibet's sky will never change and the red
flag with five stars will forever flutter high above it," Tibet's
hardline Communist Party Secretary General Zhang Qing Li said at the
relay ceremony: "We will certainly be able to totally smash the
splittist schemes of the Dalai Lama clique."


During the bidding process and after International Olympic Committee
(IOC) granted Beijing the 2008 Olympic Games on 13 July 2001, Chinese
and Olympic officials made assurances that human rights in China
would improve as a result of hosting the Games. However, in contrary,
the human rights situation in Tibet over the past few months has gone
from bad to dismal in the run up to Beijing Olympic Games with
intensification of security measures and creation of climate of fear
thereby resulting in the restriction on the movement of the people
and the curtailment of their fundamental human rights. The
suppression of political dissent has increased because of the
Olympics, rather than lessened, and China has failed to honor the
pledge to improve its human rights record that she made when awarded the games.

TCHRD calls upon the People's Republic of China (PRC) to cease the
arbitrary detention, clampdown on religious practice and religious
institutions, stop "patriotic re-education" campaign, release those
currently imprisoned, allow free access to international media into
Tibet, stop use of torture to extract confession on the detainees,
fair trial to those who are detained and calls for substantial
reforms in some of the major areas linked to the core Olympic values
of "respect for universal fundamental ethical principles" and the
preservation of human dignity.

TCHRD pledges the world leaders and dignitaries attending the Beijing
Olympics to publicly raise their voice over Beijing crackdown in
Tibet, the Communist hardline policies in Tibet and voice their
support of individual Chinese human rights activists. A failure to do
will send a wrong signal that it is acceptable for a government to
host the Olympics in an atmosphere of injustice and repression.

TCHRD releases a short documentary in DVD entitled "Uprising in Tibet
2008" with commentary both in English and Tibetan on the recent
protests since 10 March across Tibet in a chronological order
highlighting various human rights violations by the Chinese
authorities on Tibetan people in Chinese occupied Tibet.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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