DHARAMSHALA, April 26: A new report by a Tibet advocacy group has found that China’s “systematic and persistent” policies of “cultural repression and destruction” in Tibet contained “elements of cultural genocide” and warned that if unchecked, these policies present risk factors for “conventional genocide.”
The report titled, ‘60 Years of Chinese Misrule: Arguing Cultural Genocide in Tibet’ was released by the Washington based International Campaign for Tibet on Wednesday, coinciding with the 23rd birth anniversary of the XIth Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.
Speaking at the release of the 148-page report
, Mary Beth Markey, President of ICT said the report makes a “persuasive case” that elements of cultural genocide are occurring in Tibet.
“As such, we are calling for stronger international efforts to address and reverse China’s culturally destructive policies and practices in Tibet,” Markey told reporters.
The report asserts that in the past more than 60 years of Chinese occupation of Tibet, Chinese authorities have engaged in intentional policies that are designed to “fundamentally alter” Tibetan culture in a way that robs it of its essence and turns it into something that the Chinese authorities can manage.
“Chinese policies and practices of cultural repression and destruction are so systematic and persistent in Tibet, and their effects are so serious, that they contain elements of cultural genocide,” the report finds.
These elements of cultural genocide, the report says, combined with China’s history of “acts of genocide against Tibetans as a religious group” and the “officially sanctioned” statements that provoke prejudice and hatred directed at Tibetans, have been recognised as “precursors to conventional genocide elsewhere, and should sensitise the international community to take robust action in the case of Tibet.”
The report concludes that policies and practices targeting Tibetan culture and additional risk factors for serious instability in Tibet require a “stronger response” from the international community.
In its recommendations to governments and the international community, the report says that concerned governments should take “immediate joint action” to persuade China to “cease policies” that are heightening tensions in Tibet and recognise that the “gross and systematic” violation of human rights in Tibet “present risk factors for conventional genocide.”
“Concerned governments should recognise that the situation in Tibet constitutes an ongoing pattern of gross and systematic violation of human rights targeting the Tibetan culture, religion, identity in ways that both reveal elements of cultural genocide and present risk factors for conventional genocide if not adequately addressed,” the report says.
Calling for a “fundamentally new approach” in Tibet, the report calls on China to “address failed policies” and take immediate steps to alleviate tensions.
“Conduct an independent assessment of existing policies, legislations and regulations that negatively impact Tibetan culture, utilising international expertise and incorporating Tibetan participation,” the report tells China.
The report further calls on China to eliminate the practice of placing police and party cadres in monasteries and other religious institutions and recommends China suspend its infamous State Order No. 5.
“Announce the suspension of State Administration for Religious Affair’s “State Order Number 5: Management Measures for the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism” which codifies the China party-state’s inappropriate assertion of control over the process of recognition of reincarnate lamas and announce a moratorium on the promulgation of new legal and policy measures that repress Tibetan Buddhist’s right to freedom of religious expression.”