‘Human Rights Situation Worsens in Tibet’

[Wednesday, 12 January 2011, 5:51 p.m.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said today that repression in Tibet intensified throughout last year despite the formulation of a human rights plan by the Chinese government.

DHARAMSHALA: “The Chinese government laid policies to enforce systematic crackdown on influential Tibetans like singers, writers and environmentalists among others,” TCHRD’s executive director, Mr Ugen Tenzin, said while releasing Tibet’s 2010 annual human rights report.

The 90-page report documents violation of right in Tibet in the area of civil and political rights, religious freedom, right to education and right to subsistence.

“As of 30 December 2010, there are 831 known political prisoners in Tibet out of which 360 are known to have been legally convicted by courts and 12 Tibetans are serving life imprisonment term. During 2010, 188 known Tibetans have been arrested and detained, out of which 71 have already been sentenced by the courts,” the report noted.

Last year, Sonam Tsering, Pema Yeshi, Lama Lhaga, Sonam Dorjee were given death sentence with two years reprieve. Ven Jampel Wangchuk of Drepung monastery, Dorjee Tashi, owner of Yak guest house, Sonam Gonpo, Tsewang Rinchen were sentenced to life time imprisonment. Tsewang Gyatso, Karma Samdup, environmentalist and businessman, and Tashi Rabten were sentenced to 15 to 16 years imprisonment by the PRC government, it said.

The report further said “Since 2008, more than 60 Tibetan writers, bloggers, intellectuals and cultural figures have been arrested”.

The report criticised the Chinese government’s plan to replace Tibetan with Mandarin as the medium instruction in Tibet. “The Tibetans have been calling for the preservation of Tibetan language as an identity of the Tibetan race and the foundation of religion and culture which connects to the wider issue of cultural and ethnic identity. …In light of China’s constitution, national and international laws, the state of PRC has the responsibility protect the Tibetan language. The proposed change in the education system by the regional government of Qinghai absolutely contradicts all the legal provisions,” it added.

It said the Chinese government’s developmental policies like the Western Development Strategy, has failed to benefit more than 80 percent of Tibetans living in rural area.

“…Little of the development money has trickled down to the poorest sections of the society. While China claims to prioritize economic rights of its people, it has failed to employ rights based and need based approach to development in Tibet thus rendering extreme difficulties in the lives of nomads and farmers,” it added.

The report reiterated the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter’s call to the Chinese government not force the Tibetan nomadic herders to sell off their livestock and resettle.

“The key to win over hearts and minds of the Tibetan people lies in connecting with the Dalai Lama. The state should have a bold vsion in resolving the issue of Tibet through dialogue with Dalai Lama in order to ensure a stable environment where in the people of Tibet and China live harmoniously,” the report concluded.