The Chinese authorities have intensified control over Tibetans’ movements by denying and recalling passports, in contravention of Chinese law and connected to the Chinese authorities’ political agenda of undermining the Dalai Lama and seeking to assert their control over Tibetan people.
A new report, ‘A Policy Alienating Tibetans‘, to be published by the International Campaign for Tibet on July 13 reports that:
- Very few Tibetans in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and in many other Tibetan areas have been issued passports in the past three years, and many people had their passports confiscated. In contrast, more and more Chinese are travelling both abroad and freely in Tibetan areas.
- The denial of passports is accompanied by restrictions on movement in Tibetan areas linked to intensified militarization and security particularly in areas where there has been protest or self-immolations.
- The Chinese authorities have imposed sweeping new measures in order to prevent Tibetans travelling to teachings by the Dalai Lama outside Tibet, and to punish those who do. For the first time at a major Buddhist teaching by the Dalai Lama in 2014, the Kalachakra in Ladakh, there were more Chinese Buddhists present than Tibetans from inside Tibet.
- The restrictions threaten the survival of Tibetan Buddhist teachings in Tibet by making it nearly impossible for monks and nuns who wish to travel outside the PRC to receive instruction from teachers who are in exile, and difficult for exiled teachers to get permission to travel within Tibet to give teachings.
- Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “Not only are Tibetans subjected to intense controls and surveillance in their everyday lives, but they are also discriminated against in one of their most basic rights: the ability to travel domestically and internationally. Even though Beijing considers Tibetans to be Chinese citizens, in practice, Tibetan passport applicants are treated differently than Chinese applicants, disregarding their rights under China’s passport regulations. This new report uses eyewitness testimony, discussion on social media, and translation of official documents to report on these important developments.”
The ICT report is released on the same day as a report by Human Rights Watch entitled: ‘One Passport, Two Systems: China’s Restrictions on Foreign Travel by Tibetans and Others.’ It documents Chinese authorities’ use of a two-track system for issuing passports, which has severely restricted the freedom of movement for virtually all residents of areas populated mainly by religious minorities areas, by requiring far more extensive documentation than other citizens of China.