US Censures China For Serious Human Rights Abuses in Tibet
"The Tibetan population within the TAR was approximately 2.7 million and outside the TAR was an estimated 2.9 million. The government strictly controlled information about, and access to, the TAR and Tibetan areas outside the TAR, making it difficult to accurately determine the scope of human rights abuses," report said. The more than 7,000-page report focused on three disturbing global trends on the human rights front, including growing crackdowns on civil society groups and activists, violations of free expression by restricting internet access and discrimination against vulnerable minorities.
The report also pointed out "negative trends" such as "severe repression of freedoms of speech, religion, association, and movement". The intensified controls applied following the March 2008 riots and unrest in Tibetan areas eased somewhat after the second anniversary of the unrest and its suppression. Authorities continued to commit serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial detention, and house arrest. The preservation and development of Tibet's unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage remained a concern."
Following the outbreak of protests in March 2008, Secretary Clinton said that the "[Chinese] government reported that 22 persons were killed in the Lhasa violence, However, outside observers, including Tibetan exile groups and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), variously placed the number of persons killed in Tibetan areas due to official suppression that began March 10 at between 100 and 218".
The report said that had stepped up restrictions on its critics and tightened control of civil society and had increased to limit freedom of speech, Internet access and foreign interest observers. "There were reports of persons tried, found guilty, and executed for their activities during the 2008 protests," the top US diplomat said. "Trials and executions were not transparent, and requests by foreign observers to attend trials were denied. There was not enough information available to determine whether they were afforded due process."
The report also alleged that several political prisoners are incarcerated in Tibet. The Chinese "authorities arbitrarily detained Tibetans, including monks and nuns, many of whom remained missing. "The whereabouts of the Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima, Tibetan Buddhism's second-most prominent figure after the Dalai Lama, and his family remained unknown," report said, "and The five monks Ramoche monastery, including Sonam Rabgyal, Damdul, and Rabgyal, who disappeared in Lhasa from 2008, Paljor Norbu, a Tibetan traditional painter sentenced to seven years in prison after a secret trial in 2008, Phuntsok Gyaltsen, the deputy head of Phurbu Township, Palgon County, who was detained in 2007 were still remained unknown."
Reporting on torture and other cruel and degrading treatment, it said "Tibetans repatriated from Nepal reportedly suffered torture, including electric shocks, exposure to cold, and severe beatings, and were forced to perform heavy physical labor." "Prisoners were subjected routinely to "political investigation" sessions and were punished if deemed insufficiently loyal to the state."
In December 2009 the deputy director of the TAR Justice Bureau told a foreign diplomat that there were 3,000 prisoners in the five TAR prisons, which are separate from the RTL system.
Also mentioned in the report were "mass detentions connected with the March 2008 unrest amplified already crowded and harsh prison conditions. Some prisons, including those in the RTL system, used forced labor to which prisoners may be assigned for three years (with the possibility of a one-year extension) without court review. The law states that prisoners may be required to work up to 12 hours per day, with one rest day every two weeks, but sometimes these regulations were not enforced; conditions varied from prison to prison."
"During the year arbitrary arrest and detention continued in Tibetan areas. With a detention warrant, police legally may detain persons for up to 37 days without formally arresting or charging them. Police must notify the relatives or employer of a detained person within 24 hours of the detention. Following the 37-day period, police must either formally arrest or release the detainees. In practice police frequently violated these requirements."
However "Official state media reported the detentions of 4,434 persons in Tibetan areas (1,315 in Lhasa) between March and April 2008. In 2008 official media reported that approximately 1,317 persons were arrested in the March-April time frame, 1,115 of whom were released afterwards. Overseas organizations placed the total number detained at more than 5,600."
The Chinese authorities severely restricted travel by foreign journalists to TAR and other Tibetan areas. "In the TAR, foreign journalists can gain access to the region only by participating in highly structured government organized tours, where the constant presence of government minders makes independent reporting difficult," US report said. "Outside the TAR, foreign journalists frequently were expelled from Tibetan areas despite government rules, adopted in 2008, stating that foreign journalists do not need the permission of local authorities to conduct reporting. In June the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) called on China to apply its own reporting regulations and open the TAR to foreign journalists. An FCCC survey found that 86 percent of respondents said that it was not possible to report accurately and comprehensively about Tibet. Respondents submitted 35 applications for travel to the TAR over the past two years; only four were approved. Some foreign media were able to report from Yushu immediately after the earthquake without serious government interference."
The US report defends Internet filtering and criticises Chinese censorship. The report said the Chinese "Official censorship greatly hampered the development of Tibetan-language Internet sites. Although the government funded projects designed to improve Tibetan-language computer interfaces, security agencies responsible for monitoring the Internet often lacked the language skills necessary to monitor Tibetan content. As a result, Tibetan-language blogs and Web sites were subject to indiscriminate censorship, with entire sites closed down even when the content did not appear to touch on sensitive topics."
"Education to attend political education sessions in an effort to prevent separatist political and religious activities on campus. Ethnic Tibetan academics were frequently encouraged to participate in government propaganda efforts, such as by making public speeches supporting government policies or accepting interviews by official media, report said. "Academics who failed to cooperate with such efforts faced diminished prospects for promotion. Academics in China who publicly criticized the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) policies on Tibetan affairs faced official reprisal. The government controlled curricula, texts, and other course materials as well as the publication of historically or politically sensitive academic books. Authorities frequently denied permission to Tibetan academics to travel overseas for conferences and academic/cultural exchanges."
The US report also criticized over the Chinese ongoing forceful resettlement of momads in Tibet. "Planned urban economic growth, rapid infrastructure development, the growing non-Tibetan population, the expanding tourism industry, the forced resettlement of nomads and farmers, the weakening of Tibetan-language education at the middle and high school levels, and the introduction of more modern cultural influences continued to disrupt traditional living patterns and customs and marginalized the local population," it said.
"China continued to demonize the Dalai Lama and harshly repress Tibetan Buddhists," the report said, adding that "preservation and development of Tibet''s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage remained a concern." The report concerned that "the law provides for the freedom to travel; however, in practice the government strictly regulated travel and freedom of movement of Tibetans," reported further said. Freedom of movement, particularly for monks and nuns, was limited severely within Lhasa and throughout the TAR, and in Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan provinces. It was less of a problem in Yunnan, where there were many fewer monasteries and nunneries than other Tibetan areas."
"The PAP and local PSBs set up multiple roadblocks and checkpoints on major roads, in cities, and on the outskirts of monasteries. Tibetans traveling in religious attire were subject to extra scrutiny by police at roadside checkpoints. Several Tibetan monks reported that it remained difficult to travel outside their home monasteries, with officials frequently denying permission for outside monks to stay temporarily at a particular monastery for religious education. After the Yushu earthquake, many monks from neighboring counties and provinces were forced to leave, although local Tibetans needed their help to conduct funeral ceremonies for the many earthquake victims," US report said.
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