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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibet: new rights report documents repression

July 25, 2010

WW4 Report
July 23, 2010

Eyewitness accounts confirm that Chinese security
forces used disproportionate force and acted with
deliberate brutality in the wave of Tibetan
protests that began on March 10, 2008, Human
Rights Watch says in a new report. The report
charges that many violations continue today,
including disappearances, wrongful convictions
and imprisonment, persecution of families, and
the targeting of Tibetans suspected of sympathizing with the protest movement.

The 73-page report, "I Saw It with My Own Eyes":
Abuses by Security Forces in Tibet, 2008-2010, is
based on more than 200 interviews with Tibetan
refugees and recent visitors to the restive
region, as well as official Chinese sources.
"Dozens of eyewitness testimonies and the
government's own sources show clearly the
official willingness to use lethal force against
unarmed protestors," said Sophie Richardson, Asia
advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "This
report decisively refutes the Chinese
government's claim that it handled the protests
in line with international standards and domestic laws."

The report also suggests that contrary to
government claims, Chinese security forces opened
fire indiscriminately on protesters in at least
four separate incidents, including in an area of central Lhasa on March 14.

The report charges that in order to avoid
external or independent scrutiny of the security
operations, the Chinese authorities effectively
locked down the entire Tibetan plateau and
dispatched massive numbers of troops across all
Tibetan-inhabited areas of the People's Republic.
It expelled journalists and foreign observers,
restricted travel to and within the region, cut
or monitored telecommunications and the Internet,
and arrested anyone suspected of reporting on the
crackdown. Beijing has rejected all calls for
independent investigations into the protests,
including those from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Human Rights Watch has condemned violence
committed by Tibetan protesters as well as by
security forces. In Lhasa alone, 21 people were
killed and several hundred injured over the March
14-15 time period in 2008, according to
government figures. In multiple incidents, HRW
says eyewitness testimonies show that Chinese
forces acted in contravention of international
standards—including prohibitions against
disproportionate use of force, torture, and
arbitrary detention, as well as the right to
peaceful assembly -- despite government claims to the contrary. (HRW, July 21)
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