Statement on the 62nd anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today, 10 December 2010, is the 62nd anniversary of proclamation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also a moment to celebrate the occasion of Mr.Liu Xiaobo receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. The Tibetan people stand together with the millions of Chinese people in the struggle for human rights and freedom in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). With enormous economic advancement in the past three decades, it is about time for genuine civil and political reforms to be introduced in the PRC.China despite being a member of the UN Security Council and a signatory to the UN Charter continues to be one of the leading countries in the world in the violation of human rights particularly in restive regions like Tibet and east Turkestan. The government of China continues to “strike hard” against peaceful protesters and freedom of expression is severely curtailed in China today. Peaceful protesters are imprisoned without fair trail and often many are disappeared by the state and its agencies. 

In January 2010, the Fifth CPC Central Committee and State Council meeting held in Beijing discussed upon how to bring development and long term stability in Tibet. Similarly, the Public Security Ministry of People’s Republic of China (PRC) organized a two-day meeting of Public Security Bureaus of the ethnic Tibetan areas in present-day China covering the “Tibet Autonomous Region” (“TAR”) and the four provinces. This meeting assessed the results and experiences of “Upholding Public Security”, and the “Struggle against the Current Separatist Movement”: it also identified current challenges facing stability in Tibetan areas.

Likewise, this year there has been more arrests of intellectuals, monks, environmentalists and even singers. Not only were they arrested on unsubstantiated accusations, they were sentenced without fair trials or proper court proceedings. For example, Sonam Tsering, Pema Yeshi, Lama Lhaka, Soedo among others, were sentenced to death with two years reprieve. Gekoe Jamphel Wangchuk, Tsewang Rigzin and Dorjee Tashi of Drepung Monastery were sentenced to life-imprisonment. Furthermore many others have also been imprisoned.

In Tibet today the Chinese Government is systematically violating the freedom of religion. In the monasteries across Tibet the Chinese officials are carrying out the Patriotic Re-education Campaign. When monks do not accept the campaign, they either have to face being arrested or sent back to their homes, in some cases it also lead to closing of the monastery.

The State Bureau of Religious Affairs has imposed the Law on the Management of Tibet Monasteries and the Practice of Religion. This law has completely disrupted the age-old workings of Tibetan monasteries. It has also broken the bond between the lama and his pupils. Most of the high Buddhist lamas are living in exile. Because of this new law it will become far more difficult for them to visit their monasteries in Tibet. This will increase the already huge gap between the lamas and their disciples in monasteries in Tibet. As a result, the entire religious system will suffer gravely.

On 19 October 2010 in Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren) county in Malho “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” “(TAP)” in Qinghai province, thousands of Tibetan students came out in the streets to protest against the proposed education reforms and the inequality faced by Tibetans. The rally mainly voices out for the “Equality for Nationalities and Freedom for Language”. This protest saw its ripple effect when the students in Beijing also protested. The meeting on education reform by the Education Department of Qinghai province, the local Communist Party Secretary and Chairman ordered that all subjects are required to be taught in Mandarin and all textbooks to be printed in Chinese except for Tibetan and English language classes.

Finally, it is not just the blatant violation of religious freedom. The overall violation of the basic human rights of the Tibetan people in Tibet today under china’s occupation is depressing. We, at the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), therefore, appeal to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and to all governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations concerned with human rights to take an active interest in the grave and deteriorating human rights situation inside occupied Tibet. We appeal to you to please prevail on the government of china to release all the innocent prisoners who were arrested for peacefully practicing their religion. We appeal to you to help us locate all those who have been imprisoned in unknown locations. Also, even in the case of those who are being tried, we appeal to you to ensure that all these prisoners receive a fair and just trial.

One issue that calls for the immediate attention of world leaders is China’s decision in Qinghai province to impose Chinese as the medium of education in the so-called Qinghai province – the north-eastern Tibetan province of Amdo – where His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was born. If urgent action is not taken now to seek the repeal of this law, it will soon be implemented in other parts of Tibet and this will bring drastic affects on Tibetan culture and the end of Tibetan national identity.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) would like to take this opportunity to pay our solidarity to the Tibetans who continue to suffer in Tibet. We would also like to express our deep and unending gratitude to all governments, leaders, organizations and individuals who have helped with and spoken up for the human rights situation in Tibet today.

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