ICT at the UN

ICT President Mary Beth Markey presents ICT’s report “60 Years of Chinese Misrule | Arguing Cultural Genocide in Tibet”.

ICT, Geneva, June 21, 2012: Representatives from the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) presented its recently published report “60 Years of Chinese Misrule | Arguing Cultural Genocide in Tibet” (view or download report) at the Palais Des Nations in Geneva where the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) is meeting for its summer session (20th session, June 18-July 6).

The panel discussion entitled “Human Rights in the People’s Republic of China (PRC): Report Finds Elements of Cultural Genocide against the Tibetan People” was attended by representatives of official member delegations, NGOs and at least one self-proclaimed “private individual” from the People’s Republic of China. ICT President, Mary Beth Markey and Kelley Currie, Senior Fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, discussed the report’s approach to the notion of cultural genocide, the report’s methodology and key findings including that there are elements of cultural genocide currently taking place in Tibet.

Moderated by international human rights lawyer and scholar, Dr. Michael Van Walt van Praag, the panel was a timely opportunity to bring the subject of cultural genocide to the UN Human Rights Council and to present the issue directly with governments, NGOs and “individuals” working with the People’s Republic of China to improve its human rights record.

“The current situation in Tibet deserves a qualitatively different response from the international community—instead of a discrete set of human rights abuses, Tibetans face a systematic and intentional destruction of their culture by Chinese authorities,” said ICT President Markey. “We are grateful to have this international forum among supportive governments to raise Tibet and to directly confront Chinese government officials on their actions there” added Markey.

In addition to presenting the report on cultural genocide in Tibet, representatives from ICT have been vocal at this session of the HRC, delivering oral statements to the Council and meeting with UN officials regarding the situation in Tibet. ICT-Germany’s Executive Director, Kai Mueller delivered a statement condemning China’s use of force against peaceful protesters earlier this year, while Ngawang Choephel, ICT staff in Geneva, delivered a statement highlighting the PRC’s marginalization of the Tibetan language (full text of their statements and video footage can be found below). The Chinese delegation’s common response to these statements was that they represented a “distortion of the facts,” and that “China is a country of rule of law,” (video of these responses available below).

As Tibetans continue to self-immolate and peacefully protest the Chinese government’s repressive policies and practices, ICT representatives and other NGOs will continue to remind the international community of the grave human rights situation in Tibet during the remainder of this session of the UN Human Rights Council. (Self Immolation Fact Sheet)

June 20, 2012 Statement by ICT-Germany Executive Director, Kai Mueller
Twentieth session | Agenda item 3

Interactive Dialogue: Reports of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of the right to freedom of expression and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions

Statement by Mr. Kai Mueller on behalf of Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Madame President,

We wish to thank the Special Rapporteurs for their continued communications with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on human rights situation faced by the Tibetan people, including on the denial of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

In this respect, we remain grateful that on 10 February, 2012 a Joint Urgent Appeal was communicated by to China by seven mandate-holders, including the Special Rapporteurs[1] concerned in this interactive dialogue. This intervention said: “According to the information received, on 23, 24 and 26 January 2012, security forces opened fired on unarmed protestors in Luho[2], Seda and Rangtang Counties respectively. At least seven persons were allegedly killed, and 60 injured. Several individuals were also arrested and detained. The allegedly peaceful protestors were demanding, inter alia, the end of religious repression and the return of the Dalai Lama. At the time of drafting the urgent appeal, the situation remained very tense, and access to these locations by independent human rights monitors and foreign media was reportedly prohibited.”[3]

Madame President,

We know that on 12 April, 2012[4] the Chinese authorities provided their clarifications to the above communication while confirming that several Tibetans were shot dead or succumbed to gun-shot wounds. Unfortunately, the main focus of China’s response was to project peaceful Tibetan protests[5] in Dranggo, Serthar and Dzamthang[6] as violent acts and blamed the Tibetans for getting killed.[7] Following protest in Dranggo, a monk named Tsering Gyaltsen was arrested on 9 February, 2012. Information has now emerged that he was beaten and tortured to have died on the same day but this information only reached the family and relatives only recently. The monk’s body was not handed over to the family.

Madame President,

The situation faced by the Tibetan people shows that their rights to freedom of expression is not only denied but is even violently and repeatedly curtailed by the Chinese authorities. China has to date failed to open independent investigation to extrajudicial killings of Tibetans in 2008 as requested by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions.

We call upon the Chinese authorities to positively respond to requests from Special Procedure mandate-holders for a fact-finding mission to Tibetan areas and urge China to refrain from violent suppression of Tibetan protests.

I thank you, Madame President.

June 20, 2012

[1] Special Rapporteur on Execution JUA dated 12 February, 2012 concerning excessive use of force concerning 67 individuals (60 injured, 7 killed);
[2] Tibetan names of the towns: Dranggo, Serthar and Dzamthang;
[3] Document: A/HRC/20/22/Add.4;
[4] Document: A/HRC/20/30;
[5] http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/police-01262012164749.html?searchterm=Police%20Fire%20Again%20on%20Tibetans;
[6] https://savetibet.org/photos-protests-crackdowns-and-self-immolations/photos-protests-and-crackdowns-draggo-dzamthang-nangchen/;
[7] Names of victims: Norpa Yonten, Yeshi Rigsal (custodial death on 9 February, 2012), Yeshi Samdup, Logyatsang’s son (name uknown), all from Dranggo (Chinese: Luhou); Popo la (name known) and Dawa Drakpa from Serthar (Chinese: Seda); and, Orgen and Choerey from Dzamthang (Ch: Rangtang): http://tibet.net/2012/06/01/monk-from-dragko-monastery-succumbs-to-injuries/.

China’s Right of Reply to Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights »

June 19, 2012 Statement by ICT staff, Ngawang Choephel

Twentieth session | Agenda item 3

Interactive Dialogue: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to Education (A/HRC/20/21)
Statement by Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network (AITPN), delivered by Mr. Ngawang Choephel

Thank you, Madame President,

We welcome that the report[1] of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education has noted that many countries stress the importance of humanist values in education by promoting the values of a culture of peace, mutual understanding and international solidarity as such additional teaching-emphasis on “secular ethics” can help produce a more understanding world wherein respect for other views and concerns are tolerated without discrimination.

Madame President,

The report also noted that in China, article 3 of the Compulsory Education Law, amended in 2006, stipulates that State policy on education shall be implemented and quality-oriented education shall be carried out to improve the quality of education. China’s National Education Plan (2010-2020) sets improvement of quality in education as one of its main tasks, stipulating State standards for quality along with a policy framework to guarantee it.

While this approach could be considered good on paper, as to the ground realities when it comes to the quality of education for Mongolians, Uyghurs and Tibetans, the situation shows an alarming illiteracy rates, total lack of adequate educational facilities in rural areas and even new restrictions being imposed on the use of their languages.[2]

Madame President,

In 2003, in the mission report[3] on China, the Special Rapporteur “was dismayed at the illiteracy rate in Tibet, 39.5 per cent, and asked the Ministry of Education whether one reason might be the fact that the literacy test was in Tibetan, while Mandarin is used in political, economic and social life.” The Special Rapporteur recommended full integration of human and minority rights in education policy, law and practice.

Six year later, in 2009, CERD[4] expressed its concern at reports that in practice Mandarin is the sole language of instruction in many schools in the autonomous minority provinces, especially at secondary and higher levels of education. We also know that CRC had urged China to ensure that all teaching and learning materials for the primary and secondary level are also available in ethnic minority languages and with culturally sensitive content.

Madame President,

Coming to the quality education China aspires, we alert the Special Rapporteur on the right to education that the overriding goal of Beijing’s education policy for Tibetans is to instill loyalty to the “Great Motherland” and the Communist Party. Speaking at the “Tibet Autonomous Region » Conference on Education in Lhasa in 1994, the then regional Party Secretary, Chen Kuiyuan, said, “The success of our education does not lie in the number of diplomas issued to graduates from universities, colleges…and secondary schools. It lies, in the final analysis, in whether our graduating students are opposed to or turn their hearts to the Dalai Clique and in whether they are loyal to or do not care about our great motherland and the great socialist cause.”[5]

In conclusion, Madame President, this type of «quality» education imposes an alien political ideology upon the Tibetans who wish to ensure that quality education actually preserves their right to receive instructions in their own rich language[6] while grasping the opportunities to master other languages. We, therefore, urge the Special Rapporteur to support our call for the withdrawal of all the restrictions being applied on the promotion and preservation of Tibetan language as the medium of instruction in Tibetan areas of the People’s Republic of China.

I thank you, Madame President.

19 June, 2012

[1] http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session20/A-HRC-20-21_en.pdf
[2] Two educators and a school official have been removed from their posts following widespread language-rights protests earlier this year by Tibetan students in northwestern China, as Chinese authorities continue to clamp down on assertions of Tibetan cultural and national identity, according to a local resident: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/fired-06062012154114.html?searchterm=Language%20protests
[3] http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G03/170/38/PDF/G0317038.pdf?OpenElement
[4] http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/449/18/PDF/G0944918.pdf?OpenElement
[5] https://savetibet.org/executive-summary-of-tibetan-response-to-chinese-white-paper-on-tibet/
[6] The Tibetan language is fundamental to Tibetan identity, culture and religion, and is one of the four oldest and most original languages of Asia. At a roundtable discussion in Washington, DC, scholar Nicolas Tournadre, professor of linguistics from the University of Provence and an expert on the Tibetan language, said: “There is a real threat of extinction or very serious decline of the Tibetan language and the Tibetan culture within two – or at the most three – generations. […] During the last 15 years, I have personally witnessed this decline. […] Languages are not neutral. They convey very specific social and cultural behaviors and ways of thinking. So, the extinction of the Tibetan language will have tremendous consequences for the Tibetan culture. The culture cannot be preserved without it. […] It is important because the Tibetan language and culture are extremely original. Forget about linguistics, medicine, or architecture; just take literature. Tibetan is one of the four oldest and greatest in volume and most original literatures of Asia, along with Sanskrit, Chinese, and Japanese literatures. So, that is a very good reason for the heritage of humanity to keep this culture: https://savetibet.org/protests-by-students-against-downgrading-of-tibetan-language-spread-to-beijing/

China’s Right of Reply to statement by Asian Indigenous and Tribal People’s Network statement begins at approximately 47:59 »