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Chinese government notification restricts Tibetan NGOs in Kardze

The Chinese authorities in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province have issued a notification aimed at restricting the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Kardze Prefecture.

The notification issued on 26 April 2012 requires all non-governmental ‘social organizations’ to register with the prefectural-level Bureau of Civil Affairs failing which these organizations will be declared illegal, reported the Chinese government-owned Ganzi Daily News on 27 April 2012.

The NGOs in Kardze Prefecture will get registration only when they meet the registration criteria  listed by the government, the report added quoting the notification issued by the prefectural Bureau of Civil Affairs.

The notification further announced that relevant government authorities will investigate the nature and activities of the NGOs and if found ineligible for registration, these NGOs will be closed.

Following is a brief translation of the notification as reported in Ganzi Daily News:

Notification of the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Bureau of Civil Affairs on the registration and inspection of public activities organized by social organizations and related matters.

This  notice is issued in order to further strengthen the management and registration of social organizations in accordance with the laws and norms, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of social organizations, and maintain social stability and improve the credibility and visibility of the social organizations in accordance with the Provisional State Council’s Social Organizations Registration and Management Regulations, the registration and management of private non-economic units:

  1. All social organizations engaging in public activities should register with the Bureau Civil Affairs by 31 May 2012 and stop all activities without registration. If these organizations continue to function without registration, their activities will be deemed illegal and legal actions will be undertaken.
  2. Without proper registration, the social organizations and their public activities will be banned and declared unlawful. In the event of any serious matters arising out of the activities of these social organizations, relevant law enforcement departments will take legal actions against these organizations.
  3. The Bureau of Civil Affairs will register social organizations that meet the registration criteria in the prescribed time-period and will order the dissolution of those organizations that do not meet the registration criteria. Legal actions will be taken against those organizations that fail to register but still continue with their activities; such organizations will be banned according to law.

–       Issued by Ganzi Prefecture Bureau Civil Affairs on 26 April 2012.

In recent times, there has been a significant growth in locally founded Tibetan organizations in Kardze Prefecture. Majority of these organizations were founded by local Tibetans to organize educational, religious, environmental, and welfare activities. Local initiatives also included setting up of informal organizations that used to help mediate and resolve disputes among local Tibetans. Past experiences have shown that these local organizations benefit the local communities in may ways as activities initiated by these organizations have resulted in the founding of old age homes, schools, and programs to protect the environment of the region.

However the Chinese authorities view the activities of Tibetan NGOs as politically sensitive. For the Chinese government, any activity involving a large number of Tibetans, even if non-political or for the welfare of the local community is political in nature. In the past, there have been many instances where Tibetan NGOs have been declared illegal, forcibly closed and their  members arrested.

In the last three months, TCHRD has reported the forcible closure of three locally-founded Tibetan organizations in Kardze Prefecture. On 2 April 2012, the Kardze authorities ordered the closure of Khadrok Jamtse Rokten Lobdra, a school founded in 1989 by local Tibetans at Khadrok village in Rongpo Tsa Lema Township in Kardze County. The school, set up 20 years ago with full approval from the local authorities, used to hold classes in Tibetan language and culture and put special emphasis on speaking pure Tibetan. The school’s director, Nyendak and a teacher, Yama Tsering were also arrested by Kardze County Public Security Bureau officers.

On 14 April 2012, the authorities in Kardze particularly the Kardze County police officers and People’s Armed Police ordered the closure of Da-yul Thundin Tsogpa (English: Da-yul’s Unity Associaiton) in Kardze County. The organization, established in 2008 by around 13 villages located in Da-thama township, used to help resolve disputes between the local Tibetans and to build unity and harmony among the Tibetans in the 13 villages. The government move to close the organization provoked a protest among local Tibetans following which many Tibetans were injured and hospitalized after they were beaten up by the security officers. Over 33 Tibetans still remain detained.

In mid-February 2012, four members of the Tawu Environmental Protection Association were detained by the local PSB officers at Tawu (Chinese: Daofu) County in Kardze. The Tawu Environmental Protection Association was founded in 2011 by local Tibetans hailing from various villages in Tawu County. The group used to organize activities aimed at protecting the environment by opposing rampant mining, deforestation, fishing in sacred rivers, and smuggling of wildlife products.

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