TCHRD’s Annual Report 2023: China Continues Escalation of Crackdown on Tibetans in Tibet

By Tsering Choephel

TCHRD launches its Annual Report 2023, Human Rights Situation in Tibet.

DHARAMSALA, 20 March: The deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet continued throughout the last year, with China escalating its crackdown on Tibetans’ freedom of expression, religion, and belief, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) declared in its 2023 Annual Report on the “Human Rights Situation in Tibet.” Presiding over the release this morning at their office in Dharamsala were Tenzin Dawa, TCHRD executive director, Phurbu Dolma, legal officer, and researcher Ngawang Lungtok.

Despite the difficulty of acquiring news and information from Tibet due to China’s tight control, surveillance, and the threat to those leaking information from Tibet, TCHRD conducts verification with at least two sources for every account or testimony included in the report, says Dawa. “We are quite certain that there are many more cases of Tibetans undergoing unjust and persecutive treatment under Chinese authority than the cases that we are able to report on,” she said.

Dawa overviewed China’s continuing violation of human rights in Tibet, highlighting the revised expansive Counter-espionage law implemented in July 2023. This sweeping and vaguely defined law, in its execution, becomes a suffocating grip of control for Tibetans. Even a simple act of contacting a relative living abroad is viewed with suspicion by the Chinese authority, and in many recent cases, individuals have faced detention and arrest under the charge of a threat to ‘national security’. Chinese authorities implement such laws and other policies as a “strategic tool to further suppress the freedom of Tibetans,” says Dawa. Moreover, Beijing’s implementation of Mandarin Chinese as the main language in schools across Tibet through what they call the Model 2 education system not only threatens the Tibetan language but also violates China’s own law, she added.

Phurbu’s statements detailed many ways in which Tibetans inside Tibet face unjust charges, arbitrary detention, and torture under Chinese authorities. While under detention, the victims’ family or friends are not informed or are denied information. As evidenced in many published reports, Tibetan intellectuals, singers, environment and language activists, and even ordinary people have been sentenced without a fair trial. Torture and ill-treatment in prison often lead to their death or broken bodies after their release, she said.

Lungtok affirmed China’s intensifying efforts in sanitising Tibetan religion with the enforcement of “Party Loyalty” among the monks and nuns. Chinese authorities continue their vilification of Tibet’s exiled spiritual head, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The monks and those Tibetans in government services are made to denounce the Dalai Lama, he added.

TCHRD’s 2023 report is published in three languages: Tibetan, English, and Chinese. It covers in detail a wide range of violations of human rights and the persecution of Tibetans under the themes of “Freedom of Expression,” “Education and Language Rights,” “Arbitrary Detention and Torture,” and “Freedom of Religion and Belief.”

During the question and answer session, a journalist mentioned that despite being able to acquire a number of pieces of information about individuals in Tibet facing unjust arrest and treatment under Chinese authorities, they are deterred from publishing the news at the request of the victims’ families and friends, either from Tibet or those living in exile, out of fear of further persecution. This concurs with TCHRD’s findings and relates to the exposed practice of China’s “transnational repression,” on which TCHRD released a groundbreaking report titled ‘Chinese Transnational Repression of Tibetan Diaspora Communities’ in New Delhi on 6 February this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *