The issue of human rights in Tibet is much debated and contested due to lack of credible information allowed by the authoritarian Communist Chinese administrative mechanism and the communist Chinese regime. Various individuals and organizations working for the rights of Tibetan people have reported abuses of human rights in Tibet that include restricted freedom of religion, belief, and association. The arbitrary arrests, maltreatment in custody, including torture and forced abortion and sterilization have also been reported.
The Communist government of China has come under criticism from the international community on the status of religion, mainly as it relates to figures that are both religious and political, such as the exile of the 14th Dalai Lama. Additionally, freedom of the press in China is absent, with Tibet's media tightly controlled by the Chinese leadership, making it difficult to accurately determine the scope of human rights abuses.
Heavy deployment of security personnel in front of Potala Ground
The Communist Chinese policies of crushing any political dissent have gravely threatened the Tibetan political and cultural identity as they disregard the international condemnation of human rights situation in Tibet. The PRC demonstrated no intention of following through on its international obligations. Despite signing and ratifying international agreements on human rights, PRC has acted in contravention. Therefore, it is incumbent on the international community concerned for the protection of human rights to recognise the PRC’s betrayal of its international human rights obligations in defending and protecting of human rights in Tibet.
Since 2018, Chinese authorities in TAR and other Tibetan areas have used the veil of a nationwide anti-crime campaign to hide widespread and systematic persecution and oppression of Tibetan activists and human rights defenders. The campaign has exacerbated the chilling effects caused by persistent criminalization of activities undertaken in defense of human rights.
Political repression of Tibetan people
Lack of any right to a fair trial and the deeply flawed Chinese criminal justice system make it harder for suspects to invoke and exercise their human rights. Repressive measures such as the broad discretionary powers enabling law enforcement officers to engage in extralegal practices such as arbitrary detention, torture, and extracting forced confessions without any independent oversight are of immense concern.
Communist Government of China has become increasingly successful in promoting its own version of human rights because of inaction on the part of international community. The communist regime of China has used all its pressure tactics and muscle flexing methods in passing resolutions at the UN to stifle the voice of civil society or banning pop stars for having met the Dalai Lama. The world community has become increasingly reticent to discuss China’s human rights violations at various international forums due to various intimidation tactics exerted by the communist government of China. The PRC projects the 84 year-old Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama a dangerous political opposition leader and a secessionist, thereby, scaring people form meeting with him or speaking about him.
Chinese armed police surveiling Labrang Gonpa Monlam Festival
The world has witnessed how Chinese government suppressed information and did not share it with the world community in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic also. In case of assessing human rights situation, the PRC’s concealment of information is even worse. It deflects international criticism by imposing limits on foreign journalists and human rights activists. The security forces and technological gadgets deployed to keep surveillance on the Tibetan people do not leave any space for them to communicate with the world outside. The limitations on the mode of travel and itinerary of foreign tourists are so strict that the Chinese authorities impose outright bans on activists and journalists not favorable to Beijing. The PRC’s secret agents and security officials deployed along the borders with Nepal have made it nearly impossible for the Tibetan people to go into exile.
Security camera disguised as prayer wheel barkhor at Lhasa
The great influx of economic migrants that includes Chinese workers and businessmen from the inland of China on the name of initiatives for economic development has further deprived Tibetan people. Moreover, such initiatives systematically aim at dissolving Tibetan identity in the region. The government investment in a greater police presence and surveillance teams has paved easy access inside villages and monasteries to thoroughly monitor the locals. These initiatives have helped the PRC to design organisational tactics to anticipate and dissuade dissenters. The heavily deployed facial-recognition software and careful monitoring of digital spaces mean further suppression of potential protests and the increased clampdowns on civil and political rights. In addition to mass surveillance programs, Chinese authorities used targeted surveillance that violate the right to freedom of expression and the privacy of ordinary Tibetans as well as journalists, bloggers, and human rights defenders.
Tibetans are being deprived of their rights to use their language in terms of teaching their children in their own language. Instead, the PRC is imposing mainland Chinese linguistic hegemony by introducing school curricula in Mandarin Chinese as the medium of instruction starting from the primary school. The “bilingual education” policy adopted in 2019 replaces Tibetan language with Mandarin Chinese, thereby, posing a grave threat to Tibetan language, their identity and culture. Public protests and self-immolation committed out of despair and frustration as a result of the PRC’s repressive ways are criminalised. Such policies unjustifiably curtail rights of Tibetan people to peaceful assembly.
Larung Gar after demolition
Yarchen Gar and Larung Gar, the two famous Buddhist monasteries in Tibet have been heavily damaged by Chinese authorities. Thousands of nuns and monks in these monasteries have been evicted. These steps on the part of communist Chinese regime hugely impinge on Tibetans right to religion that has so clearly been talked of in the Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Therefore, international community must stand firmly in solidarity with Tibetans. The PRC must be made to uphold and fulfill its human rights obligations by virtue of it being a party to numerous international human rights treaties. Chinese authorities must repeal all laws and regulations that restrict and violate basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. Extrajudicial detention, political indoctrination campaigns, encroachment on Tibetan autonomy and agency, and targeted surveillance must be discontinued immediately. The PRC must be mandated to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.