TCHRD’s special report, ‘Gulags of Tibet’ examines the history and evolution of RTL, analyzes the current RTL laws, in addition to examining how RTL violates the international prohibitions of arbitrary detention, forced labor, and torture. The report features interviews with Tibetan RTL survivors who tell their personal stories of being locked up in forced labour camps.
In late December 2013, China announced the abolition of RTL, a form of arbitrary detention used by the Chinese government for over 50 years to imprison political dissidents and other opponents. The failure of previous reform measures to address the human rights abuses that define RTL creates skepticism as to what the abolition of RTL will actually entail. For the abolition of RTL to be meaningful it must fully abolish RTL in name and function. Since the Third Plenum various organizations have alleged that the reform will be cosmetic—simply renaming RTL facilities and expanding other forms of arbitrary detention—rather than substantive. The PRC has attempted to refute these claims,16 but until transparent action is taken that abolishes RTL skepticism will remain. Abolishing RTL in all its forms requires stopping the human rights abuses, such as arbitrary detention, forced labor, and torture, that are inherent in RTL and affect everyone in the PRC.