New US report highlights China’s repressive policies in Tibet

The Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) has released its 2017 Annual Report and recommendations for the Administration’s China policy in which it has said that the Chinese Communist Party and government continued implementing repressive policies in Tibet through the use of extensive and intrusive surveillance, strict regulations and rules to restrict Tibetans’ fundamental rights, and pervasive displays of police and military force.

The report said China continued to violate the right of religious freedom of Tibetans through a system of pervasive controls and restrictions. It added that the Chinese authorities continued to detain and imprison Tibetans for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and opinion, including advocacy for education in the Tibetan language.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet said:” The 2017 report of the Congressional Executive Commission on China documents once again and in a very solid way the increased repression faced by the Chinese citizens who try to exercise their rights. In this context, the Tibetan people continue to be under increasing pressure as the Chinese government stifles and punish not only all forms of dissent, but almost any expression of genuine Tibetan identity, be it cultural, religious or linguistic. The “Orwellian Tibet” that China is shaping is emblematic of the totalitarian rule prevailing in Beijing and represents a threat not only to Tibet, but to the world”

The report included the following recommendations concerning US policy on Tibet.

The Administration and Congress should:

Work together to press for unrestricted access to Tibetan autonomous areas in China and to facilitate the full implementation of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, including establishing a diplomatic office in Lhasa, and urging renewed dialogue between Chinese government officials and the Dalai Lama’s representatives. Administration officials, including the President, should meet with the Dalai Lama in his capacity as a spiritual leader and with the leaders of the Central Tibetan Administration. Congress should consider passage of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act (S. 821/H.R.1872, 115th Cong., 1st Sess.).

Encourage the Party and government to respect, as a matter of the right of religious freedom, recognized under Chinese and international law, that the decision regarding the Dalai Lama’s succession or reincarnation must be reserved for the current Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders, and the Tibetan people.

Urge the Chinese government to recognize the role of restrictive Party policies and government measures, and the increasing securitization of Tibetan autonomous areas of China, in Tibetan self-immolations and protests. Urge the Chinese government to cease treating the Dalai Lama as a security threat, and stress to the government the importance of respecting and protecting the Tibetan culture and language—policy changes that would promote and protect social stability in Tibetan areas.

Encourage the Chinese government to respect the right of Tibetans to travel domestically as well as internationally, and to allow access to the Tibetan autonomous areas of China to international journalists, representatives of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, and U.S. Government officials.

The Administration is urged to nominate, as soon as practicable, an appropriate candidate to fill the position of Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security,
Democracy, and Human Rights, who has traditionally also simultaneously held the position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, and the Senate is urged to confirm forthwith.

Urge the Chinese government to release Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchug from detention, withdraw the charges against him, and stress that peacefully advocating for genuine bilingual education—a right recognized under
Chinese and international law—is not a crime.

In interactions with Chinese officials, call for the release of Tibetan political prisoners currently detained or imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their human rights. The records of detained Tibetans in the Commission’s Political
Prisoner Database—albeit an incomplete picture of the extent of Tibetan detentions and disappearances—provides a useful resource for such interactions with Chinese officials. Urge the Chinese government and its security forces to cease using arbitrary detention, disappearance, beatings, torture, and intimidation to suppress and punish Tibetans’ peaceful exercise of their rights.

Urge the Chinese government to take fully into account the views and preferences of Tibetans when planning infrastructure, natural resource development, settlement or resettlement projects, and tourist attractions in the Tibetan areas of
China.

Continue to request that the Chinese government invite an independent representative of an international organization to meet with Gedun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama whom the Dalai Lama recognized in 1995, and who has been held incommunicado, along with his parents, since May 17, 1995.

Congress created the CECC in 2000 “to monitor China’s compliance with international human rights standards, to encourage the development of the rule of law in the PRC, and to establish and maintain a list of victims of human rights abuses in China.”

The full text of the CECC 2017 annual report can be seen here: https://www.cecc.gov/sites/chinacommission.house.gov/files/2017%20Annual%20Report.pdf

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