The 2020 Annual Report on the human rights situation in Tibet, released online today in three languages: Tibetan, Chinese and English, presents a disturbing picture of deprivation and abuses, marked by persistent and grave human rights violations, including the absence of independent space for free speech owing to the widespread and systematic crackdown on any sign of peaceful dissent.
Events documented in the report provide evidence of a surge in arbitrary arrests, detention, and extrajudicial killings, enabling the culture of endemic and systematic torture. Secret and incommunicado detention remains rampant as more Tibetans are arbitrarily detained for so-called criminal acts of possessing the Dalai Lama’s photos or advocating for environmental, cultural and language rights.
In the Seventh Tibet Work Forum and the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), oppressive policies and practices such as continued state patronage, security plan, and economic interests are prioritised rather than genuine efforts to improve Tibetans’ quality of life.
Chinese authorities continued to implement harsh policies of forced assimilation and ill-advised development, all in the name of ‘stability maintenance. These policies have resulted in grave violations of political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights.
PRC’s development projects, concentrated in cities and towns dominated by Han Chinese, invariably provide the benefits of investment to Han Chinese and ignore a majority of the Tibetans, who are disadvantaged and disempowered, resulting in entrenched inequality, discrimination and impoverishment. Development policies in sectors ranging from infrastructure construction and urbanisation to education and language, including the ‘bilingual education’ policy, are part of the broader plan of creating a single Chinese national identity to undermine Tibetan identity and cultural transmission.
None of the major grievances that sparked widespread protests in 2008 in Tibet, including elaborate restrictions on religion and denunciation of the Dalai Lama, increased Chinese migration to Tibetan areas, political repression, economic marginalisation, lack of self-governance, environmental destruction, and ill-conceived development policies have been addressed by the PRC.
The PRC has ratified several international human rights instruments and is a member of the UN and the Human Rights Council. At the same time, the PRC’s laws, policies and practices on a range of issues directly related to human rights are evidenced to be in breach of International Law and other human rights instruments. This contradictory position must be addressed, and the PRC must be held to account.
The report can be downloaded here.