Ahead of the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of China in the UN Human Rights Council, the International Campaign for Tibet and the International Federation for Human Rights have submitted a report detailing systematic and widespread patterns of rights violations in Tibet.
The report lays out a set of recommendations for governments to raise with the Chinese government in China’s fourth UPR cycle, to be held in January 2024.
The recommendations focus on the People’s Republic of China systematically recalibrating its policies toward Tibet, resulting in a destructive pattern aimed at uprooting the core attributes of the Tibetan identity, putting at grave risk the survival of an authentic and self-determined Tibetan culture and associated rights.
Three aspects are particularly egregious and indicate a shift to a more oppressive and destructive system:
- The so-called “residential boarding schools” and an attendant focus on uprooting the Tibetan language
- Forcible and coercive expulsion of nomadic and rural agrarians from their traditional lands
- Punishment for religious expression coupled with an insidious infiltration of religious institutions.
The Chinese government has instituted a massive program separating children from their families and placing them in so-called residential boarding schools where they are instructed only in Han-Chinese while facing persistent political indoctrination. The network of schools now houses students ranging from four to 18 years old, comprising up to 1 million children. The results are potential psychological and emotional scarring. Inherently, as children are taught dominantly in Mandarin instead of their mother tongue, they lose the ability to read and write in Tibetan, thus experiencing a profound disconnect from defining characteristics of Tibetan identity. The PRC’s agenda could not be more transparent: the erasure of Tibetan identity by divorcing Tibetan children from the primary conduit of intergenerational cultural transference.
According to Chinese government media sources, since 2001 at least 1.8 million nomads have been forced into sedentary houses under the pretense of various policies. Displaced Tibetans are provided little choice, nor do they receive compensation or assurances of income or employment for the future. Research also shows that China’s claims of “consent” are a smokescreen, as families are compelled by the closure of local schools, repeated visits and threats from officials, and more.
The Chinese government continues its attempt to co-opt Buddhism in China by demanding loyalty to the party. The Chinese Communist Party’s intrusion into Buddhist religious freedom operates at all levels, including seizing control of monasteries’ financial management, state approval of religious leaders, pervasive surveillance and cruel retribution for even the most minor departure from its stringent policies. Tibetan political prisoners are routinely tortured and mistreated, often resulting in their death not long after release. In addition, the CCP’s efforts to interfere in the reincarnation process of Tibetan spiritual leaders in and outside Tibet is an egregious violation of Tibetan Buddhists’ right to religious freedom.