The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) will release a report at the U.N. World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) documenting the origin and nature of racism against Tibetans and how the Chinese government perpetuates racist attitudes and policies.
The 110-page report, entitled “Jampa: The Story of Racism in Tibet,” describes how racist language and concepts permeate China’s constitution, laws and policy and how this has contributed to the racism and discrimination Tibetans face today. It is the first comprehensive analysis of this phenomenon, a subject that has not been widely addressed by scholars, human rights groups and others who generally focus on more conventional human rights violations in Tibet.
“While highlighting racism in the west, China has effectively suppressed racism as a domestic issue. This is their shameful secret,” said Tsering Jampa, Director of International Campaign for Tibet-Europe.
In the months leading up to the World Conference on Racism, China has portrayed racism as a Western phenomenon that does not exist in China. In a February 2001 submission to the UN, China stated that “all ethnic groups are living in harmony” in China.
“The Chinese government’s denial that racism is a significant problem in China is a policy which prevents Tibetans and others from addressing racism in meaningful, constructive ways,” said John Ackerly, President of ICT.
The title of the report, “Jampa,” refers to the protagonist of a ubiquitous 1963 Communist Party propaganda film depicting Tibetans as a backward people who can only be uplifted by the civilizing force of the Chinese.
“All Tibetans live under the shadow of this film,” said Tsering Jampa. “The Chinese government has used it to denigrate Tibetan culture and justify its occupation of Tibet.”
At the conference ICT will urge the government of China to acknowledge the extent of the problem and to remove derogatory, chauvinist or paternalistic language from laws and policy statements. ICT is also urging Chinese non-governmental organizations based in the west to work with Tibetan groups on educational programs and initiatives to help combat this long-standing problem.
Although China tried to block the accreditation of Tibetan human rights groups to the World Conference against Racism a vote by UN member countries approved accreditation for ICT and one other Tibetan organization.
ICT has invited also Xiao Qiang, Director of Human Rights in China, whose organization was not accredited, to join its delegation to the conference.