DHARAMSALA, 4 March: After being ranked second least free place on earth for five years in a row, the US-based watchdog group Freedom House has now declared Tibet and Syria as the least-free country in the world in its latest ranking.
The rights group gave Tibet a score of -2/40 for Political rights and 3/60 for civil liberties for the second year in the run and an overall ‘Not free’ rating in its annual survey of freedom in the world.
In its report titled’ ‘Freedom in the World 2021: Democracy under Siege’, Freedom House stated that under the Chinese rule, “Tibetans faced intensified restrictions on movement due to a series of politically sensitive anniversaries” and that the Chinese officials continued a multiyear campaign to consolidate control over major centres for Tibetan Buddhist learning in Sichuan Province.”
The report further noted that in 2020 the Chinese authorities “expanded the use of facial recognition technology, enhanced identity cards, and integrated surveillance systems to track residents and tourists in real-time.”
Additionally, the report held that “numerous Tibetans were detained,” while “several were sentenced to long prison terms for engaging in nonviolent activities like creating an informal organization to petition authorities over confiscated community land, sharing images about the Dalai Lama on social media, criticizing employment discrimination, or exposing corruption by local officials.”
China, with -2/40 for Political rights and 11/60 for civil liberties was ranked as the 9th worst-performing countries in Freedom in the World 2020.
About China, the report stated that the “authoritarian regime has become increasingly repressive in recent years. The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is tightening its control over the state bureaucracy, the media, online speech, religious groups, universities, businesses, and civil society associations, and it has undermined its own already modest rule-of-law reforms.”
Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power, unmatched by any Chinese leader for decades has ruffled the feathers among elites within and outside the CCP.
“The CCP leader and state president, Xi Jinping, has consolidated personal power to a degree not seen in China for decades, but his actions have also triggered rising discontent among elites within and outside the party. The country’s human rights movements continue to seek avenues for protecting basic liberties despite a multiyear crackdown.
Meanwhile, for the 15th year in a row, the report has declared a continuous decline in freedom around the world.
“As a lethal pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict ravaged the world, democracy’s defenders sustained heavy new losses in their struggle against authoritarian foes, shifting the international balance in favour of tyranny.”