As much of the international community has focused on abuses against Uighur Muslims in China’s Xingang province, human rights horrors against Buddhists in Tibet – a decades-long conflict – have gone unnoticed.
“Tibet is one of the worst human rights crises in the world today. More than 150 Tibetans have been self-implicated since 2009, setting their bodies on fire to protest China’s oppression, “Bhuchung K. Tsering, vice president of the International Campaign for Tibet, told Fox News.
“Tibetan schools are forced to teach students in Chinese as the primary language, not Tibetan. And finally, the Chinese authorities ordered Tibetans to remove their beautiful prayer flags from villages and hills. Living under the oppressive rule of the Party “Chinese communists, Tibetans have virtually no freedom of religion, freedom of speech or any of the other fundamental freedoms that no government has the right to take away,” Tsering explained.
The Freedom House watchdog lists Tibet as the second least free country in the world, behind only Syria.
Concerns about Tibet’s future flared up further this week after the Chinese government announced it was closing the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, which served Tibet and other regions surrounding Tibet. The retaliatory measure came just days after Washington ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to close over espionage concerns.
However, foreign policy analysts point out that the closure of the Chengdu site was a way to further deter the US from monitoring alleged abuses in Tibet.
Located on the southwest slide of China, Tibet is also bordered by Bhutan, Burma, Nepal and India. Its legal status is also the subject of debate – Tibetans claim their country is independent, while the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims it belongs to them.
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Human rights activists widely claim a host of violations of international law in the historic, mountainous terrain.
According to the latest Amnesty International China Report, “the human rights situation continued to be marked by a systematic crackdown on dissent,” and that Tibetan areas were particularly subject to “repression carried out under the guise of ‘anti-separatism’ or ‘counter-terrorism.’ “
In its 2019 Human Rights Situation report, the India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) claimed that Beijing was using a large amount of surveillance technology to “suppress Tibetans and to instill fear “, and” violates the right to freedom of expression and privacy of journalists, bloggers and human rights defenders. “
Others call the CCP iron fist “cultural genocide” after the Dalai Lama adapted it in 2008.
And, although China’s constitution prohibits the state, public organizations and individuals from forcing religion on citizens, the US claims there is nothing but religious freedom – especially when it comes to Tibet. The vast majority of ethnic Tibetans practice Buddhism; however, some throughout the Tibetan Plateau are included in the pre-Buddhist religion of Bonn. Small segments also practice Islam, Catholicism or Protestantism.
A State Department report Last month he stressed that government regulations “control all aspects of Tibetan Buddhism, including religious sites, groups, staff and schools,” and that some in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas have been subject to ” enforced disappearances, arrests, etc. torture, physical abuse, including sexual abuse and extended extrajudicial detentions of individuals because of their religious practices “.
“Former detainees reported being beaten until they lost consciousness and were shocked with electric batons. There were reports that monks and nuns were forced to wear military uniforms and undergo political indoctrination in detention centers,” the report said. “The government continued to limit the size of Buddhist monasteries and other institutions and implement a campaign launched in 2016 to expel monks and nuns from monasteries and stop them from practicing elsewhere.”
Chinese authorities have expelled between 6,000 and 17,000 Tibetan and Han Chinese nuns from Larung Gar and Yachen Gar Tibetan Buddhist Institutes, the report said. Children were also restricted from many traditional religious holidays and from receiving religious education.
The wave of oppression and the possibility of punishment, as Tibetans in exile say, created such anxiety that many refuse to even pronounce the name of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibetan Tibet Buddhism.
“From an economic perspective, the CCP wants to extract resources, including water and minerals, to support other parts of China,” surprised Cleo Pascal, a senior non-resident Indo-Pacific fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). . “From a strategic point of view, it is moving to vast infrastructure, military equipment and troops to advance its territorial claims to its neighbors, including India.”
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In the early 20th century, Tibet – under 13 and the former Dalai Lama – had its own currency, national flag, military, passports and diplomats. It remained neutral throughout World War II, but in 1950, the newly formed communist regime in China under Mao Zedong invaded the land, rich in natural and critical resources in its geography bordering India. The CCP claims that Tibet has historically been – and remains – China, as Tibetans cling to their seeds of independence.
Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC), said, “The CCP has become much smarter in silencing voices in the West who dare to raise awareness of Tibet, especially in Hollywood – just ask Richard Gere “.
The American Hollywood star joined the board of directors in the International Campaign for Tibet in 1992 and passionately called for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He claimed in a 2017 interview with the Hollywood Reporter that he was knocked out of a number of blockbuster movies because China does not like him, and that studio movies struggle to be funded with his name attached.
Brad Pitt was also once banned from China for starring in the 1997 hit “Seven Years in Tibet” – although he visited the PRC in recent years.
However, Chinese officials routinely note that over the past four decades, billions have been poured into Tibet to successfully lift it out of poverty, improve human rights and education, and invest in repairs to preserve Tibetan culture.
Despite his disappearance from international diplomacy, Tibet is reappearing in the rift between Washington and Beijing. Weeks before the consulate closed, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that international “tightly controlled” entry into ART was a matter of regional and environmental security, and banned from the US several Chinese authorities who have banned that admission.
In response, China’s foreign ministry announced similar sanctions and urged the United States to “stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.”
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“What Congress needs to do now is pass Tibetan Policy and Support Act. The bill would dramatically improve U.S. support for Tibetans, including sanctioning any Chinese official who tries to interfere in the Dalai Lama’s turn, “Tsering added.” “This represents not only a serious violation of the rights of Tibetan Buddhists, but also a threat to religious freedom across the globe.”
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