Freedom House, renowned think-tank and advocacy group for democracy and human rights around the world, recently published its Worst of the Worst 2012: The World’s Most Repressive Societies report.
The report analyzes those countries that received the lowest ratings regarding the existence of basic political rights and civil liberties. Each country was marked along a 7-point scale, with 1 representing the ‘most free’ and 7 the ‘least free.’
Along with North Korea, and Sudan, Tibet (considered a “Disputed Territory” within the report) was marked 7—“least free”—on both the existence of political rights as well as civil liberties. China was marked 7 in political rights and 6 in civil liberties, falling just short of the bottom.
The report shed light on the Tibetans’ struggle for basic rights and democratic freedoms. It examined the Tibetans’ inability to “determine their political future or freely elect their leaders…” and cited “corruption” as an extensive problem within Tibet. China’s strict control over the flow of information within Tibet is also examined; Freedom House notes that University professors are not permitted to lecture on certain topics, foreign journalists are only allowed limited access into Tibet, and Chinese censorship policies remain strict. According to the report, “…over 60 writers, intellectuals, and cultural figures have been arrested since 2008, with some sentenced to long prison terms. Human rights, civic groups, and independent trade unions are illegal, and even nonviolent protests are harshly punished.” The report also mentioned “torture” in its analysis of the civil liberties situation within Tibet.