DHARAMSHALA, January 17: Human rights situation in Tibet in the year 2012 “hit a new low” according to a new report published by the Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
Releasing its Annual Report on the human rights situation in Tibet earlier today, TCHRD said the Chinese government continued to “label all expressions of Tibetan aspirations and grievances as ‘splittists’ and locked them up on ‘national security’ grounds.”
“Those who shared information about human rights abuses in Tibet with outsiders were charged of violating State Secrets Law and imprisoned following dubious trials,” the group said.
In a year, which recorded as many 82 know self-immolation protests in Tibet against China’s rule, the report found that crackdown on self-immolation protests continued all through 2012 with local Chinese authorities mobilising government cadres and ‘work teams’ to hold political education campaigns and carry out punitive measures against not only self-immolators and their family members but also the villages they belong to.
The group said Tibet remained closed to independent media, UN monitors, international fact-finding delegations or visitors, even as the Chinese government “effectively blocked communication channels and prevented information about human rights abuses from going out of Tibet.”
The 108-page report, which is available for download
, recorded wide-ranging human rights violations in Tibet including arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, language rights, self-immolation protests and language rights.
The group, which has been monitoring human rights situation inside Tibet for over a decade now, confirmed the detention and imprisonment of 269 known Tibetans in 2012, taking the total number of known political prisoners according to its database to 988.
TCHRD said that out of the 269 imprisoned last year, 29 were sentenced “without procedural guarantees and due legal process while the fate of 218 remains unknown.”
“An overwhelming number were detained, disappeared and sentenced on obscure charges of ‘leaking state secrets’ and ‘endangering state security.”
The group noted that with the increased security build-up along Tibet-Nepal border, the number of Tibetans fleeing Chinese rule in Tibet dropped drastically in 2012 to 374 as opposed to about 700 in 2011.
“China continued to pressurise Nepal to crack down and forcibly repatriate Tibetans fleeing its rule,” TCHRD director Tsering Tsomo said at the release of the report. “It is a known fact that the continuation of Chinese aid to Nepal is contingent on the Nepalese government’s ability to suppress Tibetan activism.”
Along with the Annual Report, the group also released a special report titled Religious Repression in Tibet providing “an in-depth analysis of the internationally protected right to freedom of religion and belief, and the ways in which the government of the PRC is continuously and systematically violating it in the context of Tibetan Buddhism.”
In its Annual Report, TCHRD makes a number of recommendations to the Government of PRC, urging China to “hold itself accountable to both its international and domestic law obligations.”
The group urged China to “investigate the real causes of Tibetan self-immolation protests and refrain from criminalising those who engage in such protests.”
TCHRD also called on Beijing to “stop political education party propaganda campaigns and anti-Dalai Lama campaigns” and “respect Tibetan people’s right to self-determination and their right to preserve and promote their culture, identity, religion and language.”