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China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – Tibet


The United States recognizes the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Tibetan autonomous prefectures (TAPs) and counties in other provinces to be a part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Tibet policies in the PRC are overseen by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee’s United Front Work Department, headed since September by Ling Jihua. Chen Quanguo, an ethnic Han from HenanProvince, became the TAR party secretary in August 2011. Ethnic Han encumbered the party secretary position in nine of the 10 TAPs, which are located in Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces. One TAP, in QinghaiProvince, had an ethnic Tibetan party secretary. As in other predominantly minority areas of the PRC, ethnic Han CCP members held almost all top party, government, police, and military positions in the TAR and other Tibetan areas. Ultimate authority rests with the 25-member Central Committee Political Bureau (Politburo) of the CCP and its seven-member Standing Committee in Beijing. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.

During the year the government’s respect for and protection of human rights in the TAR and other Tibetan areas deteriorated markedly. Under the banner of maintaining social stability, the government engaged in the severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of China’s ethnic Tibetan population, including the freedoms of speech, religion, association, and movement. The government routinely vilified the Dalai Lama and blamed the “Dalai clique” and “other outside forces” for instigating the 83 self-immolations by Tibetan laypersons, monks, and nuns that occurred throughout the year. In an October 23 article, the official Xinhua News Agency quoted a central party official as stating that Tibet-related issues were of paramount importance for the CCP, stability and development should be stressed in Tibetan regions, and China should exert greater effort in combating the influence of the “Dalai Lama clique.”

Other serious human rights abuses included extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial detentions, and house arrests. There was a deepening perception among Tibetans that they were systemically targeted for economic marginalization and educational and employment discrimination. The presence of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) and other security forces remained at high levels in communities across the Tibetan Plateau. Repression was severe throughout the year but increased in the periods before and during politically and religiously sensitive anniversaries and events. In March all major monasteries in the TAR and other Tibetan areas outside the TAR were guarded by security forces due to the anniversary of the 2008 demonstrations and subsequent police crackdown. Students, monks, laypersons, and others in many Tibetan areas were detained after reportedly demanding freedom and human rights and expressing their support for the Dalai Lama. In the period before and during the 18th Party Congress and the related central leadership transition, oppressive security measures taken by authorities across the Tibetan Plateau contributed to a further deterioration of the human rights situation. The government strictly controlled information about, and access to, the TAR and Tibetan areas outside the TAR, making it difficult to determine accurately the scope of human rights abuses. Because of these restrictions and the government’s many denials of visits to Tibetan areas by foreigners, many of the incidents and cases mentioned in this report could not be independently verified.

Disciplinary procedures were opaque, and it was not clear that security or other authorities were punished for behavior defined under Chinese laws and regulations as abuses of power and authority. Impunity appeared to be a problem.

Tibetan Self-Immolations

The total number of reported self-immolations by Tibetan Buddhist laypersons and clergy during the year, 83, was more than six times that of 2011. In addition to an increase in the incidence of self-immolation, the geographic range of such incidents extended across the Tibetan Plateau (and in one case, to Beijing), and there was an increase in self-immolations by laypersons (as opposed to current or former Buddhist monks or nuns), the majority of whom were age 21 or older. A particularly alarming surge in self-immolations took place from October through early December, when 43 Tibetans reportedly self-immolated, 35 of them laypersons, including 18 in Gansu Province (which had previously seen only two such incidents), 16 in Qinghai Province, six in Sichuan Province, and three in the TAR. The vast majority of these incidents resulted in death.

Prior to March all of the reported self-immolators were current or former monks or nuns. However, as highlighted in the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) August 22 report Tibetan Self-Immolation–Rising Frequency, Wider Spread, Greater Diversity, self-immolation by laypersons grew markedly during the spring. By year’s end laypersons represented more than half of the self-immolations committed in 2012. On the basis of data assembled by Beijing-based writer and blogger Tsering Woeser, who collected and published the last words of 26 self-immolators, noted Tibetologist Wang Lixiong observed that 14 of the 26 self-immolators who left final statements saw their act as a form of protest to affect change, 10 saw their act in religious terms and expressed devotion to the Dalai Lama, and five expressed desperation with conditions they found unbearable. While some of the laypersons who self-immolated reportedly made statements that echoed those of many monastic self-immolators (for example, calling for “freedom” for Tibetans and the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet), some reportedly protested specific mining or infrastructure projects on the Tibetan Plateau that adversely affected them personally or that they believed were harmful to the environment; others protested social and economic conditions that they believed unfairly disadvantaged Tibetans. For example, in June, Dickyi Choezom, a mother of two in her forties, died after self-immolating in Yushu (Yulshul) TAP, GansuProvince, reportedly to protest government expropriation of family property. On September 13, another woman from the same area, 62-year-old Passang Lhamo, was reportedly injured when she set herself on fire in Beijing in a similar protest; her condition remained unknown.

The Chinese government responded harshly to self-immolations. In March the head of the Aba (Ngaba) Tibetan and QiangAutonomousPrefecture (T&QAP) government, Wu Zegang, asserted that Tibetans who committed self-immolation were being “used by separatists to create chaos.” Alleging that the self-immolators had been in communication with the Tibetan exile community, Wu stated that “the Dalai Lama clique and overseas splittist forces are viciously leading Tibetan Buddhism onto the track of extremism. By touting self-immolators as so-called heroes and performing religious rituals to make amends for the sins of the dead, they support and inspire self-immolations. They instigate people to emulate and will not hesitate to use the terroristic behavior of sacrificing people’s lives to reach their splittist objective.”

An editorial in the December 3 Gansu Daily, an online news site, noted that the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and the Ministry of Public Security had jointly issued the Opinion on Handling Cases of Self-Immolation in Tibetan Areas According to Law, which criminalizes various activities associated with self-immolation, including “organizing, plotting, inciting, compelling, luring, instigating, or helping others to commit self-immolation,” each of which may be prosecuted as “intentional homicide.” According to the opinion, the motive of self-immolators was “generally to split the country” and the act itself constituted criminal behavior, as it posed a threat to public safety and public order. The opinion stated that “ringleaders” would be targeted for “major punishment.”

According to various overseas rights groups, on November 14, the government of Huangnan (Malho) TAP in QinghaiProvince issued a notice to local party members and government officials ordering them to discipline bereaved family members of self-immolators by withholding public benefits, including disaster relief. The notice also called for the punishment of laypersons, monastic personnel, family members, and officials who organize or participate in burial or mourning activities. Villages where self-immolations take place are subject to the cancellation of publicly funded development and disaster relief projects, and monasteries found to have participated in or organized fundraising activities or prayer ceremonies for self-immolators or their families are subject to cancellation of public funding or even closure.

Not long after the issuance of the November 14 notice, a number of friends, relatives, and associates of self-immolators across the Tibetan Plateau were detained, arrested, or sentenced. For example, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on December 9 that police had detained Kirti Monastery monk Lorang Konchok and his nephew, Lorang Tsering, and accused them of instigating self-immolations. On December 14, Phayul (a news Web site maintained by Tibetan exiles) reported that Chinese officials arrested five Tibetans in connection with the December 9 self-immolation of 17-year-old Bhenchen Kyi, a student in Zeku (Tsekhog) County, Huangnan (Malho) TAP, Qinghai Province. The whereabouts of the five were unknown. On December 27, Phayul reported that the father and grandfather of Gonpo Tsering, who self-immolated on November 26 in LuquCounty, Gannan (Kanlho) TAP, GansuProvince, were detained in early December. Their whereabouts were unknown.

Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

There were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. There were no reports that officials investigated or punished those responsible for such killings.

A number of Tibetans lost their lives during incidents that occurred around the time of Chinese New Year in late January and early February. On January 23, security forces in Luhuo (Draggo) County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince, fired at a crowd of protesters, wounding at least 32 and killing at least one, Norpa Yonten, overseas media and human rights groups reported. According to some reports, the protesters were demonstrating against the arbitrary detention of Tibetans and calling for additional self-immolations if Tibetans’ concerns were ignored. In separate incidents on February 9, brothers Yeshi Rigsel and Yeshi Samdup were reportedly shot and killed, and monk Tsering Gyaltsen was beaten to death, during an official sweep for Tibetans suspected of participating in the January 23 demonstration in Luhuo, according to Phayul.

Overseas media reported that up to five protesters were killed and 40 injured when PAP officers fired on demonstrators in Seda (Serthar) County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince, on January 24. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, one “rioter” was killed when the “mob” he was a part of stormed the Chengguan Police Station in Seda. According to other reports, PAP officers shot at protesters calling for a free Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama.


Authorities across Tibetan areas continued to arbitrarily detain Tibetan monks and laypersons for indefinite periods of time. Several of these detentions appeared to be linked to the government’s attempts to punish those suspected of being associated with the self-immolations or those who refused to cooperate with official demands to hand over the remains of self-immolation victims.

The whereabouts of the Panchen Lama, Gedun Choekyi Nyima, Tibetan Buddhism’s second-most prominent figure after the Dalai Lama, remained unknown. In 2010 a government official in Tibet stated that Gedun Choekyi Nyima was “living a very good life in Tibet” and that he and his family “want to live an ordinary life.”

Torture and Other Cruel and Degrading Treatment

According to the PRC’s constitution, “the State respects and protects human rights.” However, judges cannot apply the constitution in court cases since its interpretation is reserved exclusively to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

The police and prison authorities in Tibetan areas employed torture and degrading treatment in dealing with some detainees and prisoners.

Torture: There were reports during the year that some Tibetans who returned from Nepal either voluntarily or as a result of refoulement suffered torture while incarcerated or otherwise in the custody of Chinese officials, including electric shocks, exposure to cold, and severe beatings, as well as being forced to perform heavy physical labor. Security forces routinely subjected detainees and prisoners to “political investigation” sessions and punished them if they were deemed insufficiently loyal to the state.

On March 29, Gongbo Renzeng from Luhuo (Draggo) County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, committed suicide, reportedly to avoid arrest and possible torture, according to the overseas-based Voice of Tibet. Local authorities who had reportedly photographed him participating in the January 23 protests had pressured him to turn himself in and undergo “legal education.”

The Voice of Tibet reported that Gonpo Dargye, who had been serving a five-year sentence in the TAR since 2009, was released on medical parole early in the year but had lost the use of his legs as a result of torture inflicted during his detention.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

In 2009 the deputy director of the TAR Justice Bureau told a foreign diplomat that there were 3,000 prisoners in the five TAR prisons, which are separate from the Reform through Labor (RTL) system.

According to numerous sources, political prisoners in Tibetan areas endured unsanitary conditions and often had little opportunity to wash or bathe. Many prisoners slept on the floor without blankets or sheets. Former prisoners reported being confined with 20 to 30 cellmates for many days, isolated in a small cell for as long as three months, and deprived of sunlight and adequate food, water, and blankets. In addition, prison authorities banned religious observances.

Former prisoners reported that they were routinely not provided with enough food. According to sources, prisoners rarely received medical care unless they had a serious illness. Former prisoners also complained that they often failed to receive money, food, clothing, and books from their families because such items were confiscated by prison guards.

There were continued reports that authorities were suspected of abusing some detainees in Tibetan areas through the forced use of psychiatric drugs.
There were many cases of persons detained and imprisoned who were denied visitors, including both family members and legal counsel. This policy was apparently applied to many detainees and prisoners, but more routinely and stringently to political detainees and prisoners.

As elsewhere in the PRC, the authorities did not permit independent monitoring of prisons.

Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

Arbitrary arrest and detention was a growing problem in Tibetan areas. With a detention warrant, police may legally detain persons for up to 37 days without formally arresting or charging them. Police must notify the relatives or employer of a detained person within 24 hours of the detention. Following the 37-day period, police must either formally arrest or release the detainee. In practice police frequently violated these requirements. Many detainees were held under the RTL system operated by the Ministry of Public Security or under other forms of detention not subject to judicial review.

During the sustained official crackdown on the Kirti Monastery in Sichuan’s Aba (Ngaba) County after the self-immolation of a Tibetan monk there in March 2011, authorities forcibly removed hundreds of monks from the monastery, sending some back to their hometowns and detaining others. Following the crackdown, the several hundred remaining monks were required to participate in regular “legal education” sessions led by government officials.

Several monks associated with Draggo Monastery in Luhuo (Draggo) County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince, were detained following the January 23 protests in LuhuoCounty. According to The Tibet Post International (an online publication of Tibetan journalists in exile), four Draggo Monastery monks (Tulku Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche, Geshe Tsewang Namgyal, Thinley, and Dalha) were detained in Chengdu a few days after the January 23 protests. Their whereabouts and the charges against them remained unknown. Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that on April 2, Geshe Tenzin Pelsang, a senior monk at Draggo Monastery, was detained on suspicion of organizing the January 23 protests. His whereabouts remained unknown.

According to an RFA report, in February police began a series of raids on Dzogchen Monastery in Zhuqing (Dzogchen) Township, Dege (Derge) County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince, during which the police beat, interrogated, and took monks into custody. On April 24, several thousand monks and laypersons gathered at the township’s police station and government offices to protest the raids and demand the release of those who had been detained. In October local contacts expressed concern for the few monks they said remained in police custody, but further information was not available.

Jamyang Tenzin, a monk at Yonru Geyden Rabgaylhing Monastery in Litang (Lithang) County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, Sichuan Province, who was openly critical of China’s Tibet policies, disappeared on August 28, according to The Tibet Post International, which noted that local officials confirmed he had been arrested but refused to provide information on his well-being or whereabouts, both of which remained unknown.

According to a source cited by the Voice of Tibet, on August 30, public security authorities detained more than 70 monks at Jiare, Jide, Sangzhu, and Xiatang monasteries in Gongjue (Gonjo) County, Changdu (Chamdo) Prefecture, TAR, reportedly to undergo 15 days of legal education in GongjueCounty.

Denial of Fair Public Trial

Legal safeguards for detained or imprisoned Tibetans were inadequate in both design and implementation. In 2009 a TAR Justice Bureau official claimed that all seven city- and prefecture-level administrative divisions in the TAR had established legal assistance centers that offered services in the Tibetan language. Prisoners had the right to request a meeting with a government-appointed attorney, but in practice many defendants, particularly political defendants, did not have access to legal representation. During the year the heads of the TAR Legal Affairs Committee, Justice Department, Procuratorate, and Public Security Department were all ethnic Han. The deputy head of the TAR Justice Department, who concurrently served as general director of the TAR Lawyers’ Association, was also ethnic Han.

The family of a Tibetan named Kalsang (also known as Gonkar) from Aba Township, Aba (Ngaba) T&QAP, Sichuan Province, who had disappeared in April 2011, reportedly learned in January that he had been secretly convicted on unknown charges and sentenced to a three-year prison term. In the time following his disappearance, his family had received no information regarding his detention, trial, or sentence, nor had they been permitted to visit him in prison.

Trial Procedures

In cases that authorities claimed involved “endangering state security” or “separatism,” trials often were cursory and closed. Authorities denied multiple requests from foreign diplomats to observe the trials of those charged with crimes related to political protests. Authorities sentenced Tibetans for alleged support of Tibetan independence regardless of whether they were alleged to have committed violent acts.

According to the Tibet Daily (the official TAR party newspaper), the TAR was implementing a policy of strengthening the CCP’s management of lawyers in the region to ensure their work was carried out “in the correct direction.” According to an April 2011 Tibet Daily article, as of 2009 there were 17 law firms and 101 attorneys in the TAR as well as 72 government law offices operating under the direct supervision of the TAR Justice Bureau. Of the 17 law firms, 11 had their own CCP committee, and six shared a CCP committee with the Justice Bureau in their prefecture. As is required throughout the PRC, a CCP development leader was assigned to law firms that had no party organization. On June 30, the TAR Justice Department conducted a ceremony in which 300 practicing TAR attorneys swore an oath to support socialism and improve their “political ideology.”

Political Prisoners and Detainees

An unknown number of Tibetans were detained, arrested, and/or sentenced as a result of their political or religious activity. Many prisoners were held in extrajudicial RTL prisons and never appeared in public court.

Based on information available from the CECC political prisoner database, as of September 1 a total of 626 Tibetan political prisoners were imprisoned, most in Tibetan areas. The actual number of Tibetan political prisoners and detainees was believed to be much higher, but the lack of access to prisoners and prisons, as well as the dearth of reliable official statistics, made a determination difficult. An unknown number of persons continued to be held under the RTL system. Of the 626 Tibetan political prisoners tracked by the CECC, 597 were ethnic Tibetans detained on or after March 10, 2008, and 29 were Tibetans detained prior to March 10, 2008. Of the 597 Tibetan political prisoners who were detained on or after March 10, 2008, a total of 308 were believed or presumed to be detained or imprisoned in Sichuan Province; 188 in the TAR, 66 in Qinghai Province, 33 in Gansu Province, one in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and one in Beijing Municipality. There were 140 persons serving known sentences, which ranged from 18 months to life imprisonment; the average sentence length was seven years and two months. Of the 140 persons serving known sentences, 65 were monks, nuns, or Tibetan Buddhist teachers.

On April 6, Khenpo Gyewala, abbot of the Gyegyel Zogchen Monastery and founder of a school serving local children in Zaduo (Zatoe) County, Yushu (Yushul) TAP, Qinghai Province, was sentenced to a two-year prison term on unspecified charges, according to the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD). The abbot had disappeared on March 8 and was held incommunicado for 20 days after students and teachers at his school protested an official prohibition on celebrating a religious festival.

According to the TCHRD, on April 29, 16 monks and laypersons from Luhuo (Draggo) County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three years to life imprisonment. The individuals had allegedly participated in the January 23 protests in Luhuo in which demonstrators called for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return.

According to the TCHRD, on June 18, Yunten Gyatso, a monk from Khashi Geyphel Samtenling Monastery in Aba (Ngaba) T&QAP, Sichuan Province, received a seven-year prison sentence for disseminating photographs and information regarding the October 2011 self-immolation of nun Tenzin Wangmo. Yunten Gyatso, who was arrested in October 2011, had reportedly been severely beaten and tortured while in detention prior to sentencing.

On August 6, 17-year-old Jigme Dolma, who was severely beaten on June 24 in Ganzi County, Ganzi TAP, Sichuan Province, after she staged a protest and distributed leaflets calling for the release of political prisoners, the return of the Dalai Lama, and freedom for Tibet, received a three-year prison term for committing “splittist” activities, according to an RFA report.

Status of Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of Speech: Tibetans who spoke to foreign reporters, attempted to provide information to persons outside the country, or communicated information regarding protests or other expressions of discontent through cell phones, e-mail, or the Internet were subject to harassment or detention. The whereabouts of 59 individuals convicted in 2009 for “creating and spreading rumors” after the 2008 unrest remained unknown. Lhasa residents reported they avoided sensitive topics, even in private conversations in their own homes.

Freedom of Press: The government severely restricted travel by foreign journalists to Tibetan areas. The entire TAR and many Tibetan counties of Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces were closed to foreigners through much of the year. A few foreign journalists reported they could visit the TAR by participating in highly structured, government-organized tours, where the constant presence of government minders made independent reporting difficult. Outside the TAR foreign journalists frequently were barred from entering or were expelled from Tibetan areas despite government rules, adopted in 2008, which state that foreign journalists do not need the permission of local authorities to conduct reporting.

According to a July 16 RFA report, security officers took Tashi Dondrub and Kelsang Gyatso, known also by their nicknames Mewod and Gomkul, into custody on July 14 at Palyul Monastery in Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, Sichuan Province. The two monks wrote books critical of Chinese policies in Tibet; their whereabouts remained unknown.

The government continued to jam radio broadcasts of Voice of America (VOA) and RFA Tibetan- and Chinese-language services in some Tibetan areas, as well as the Voice of Tibet. In Tibetan areas of southern GansuProvince and the Ganzi (Kardze) TAP in SichuanProvince, police confiscated or destroyed satellite dishes suspected of receiving VOA Tibetan-language television as well as VOA and RFA audio satellite channels. Some dishes were replaced with government-controlled cable television systems. Some Tibetans reported they were able to listen to overseas Tibetan-language radio and television broadcasts through the Internet.

Authorities in the TAR and Tibetan areas throughout Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces launched several campaigns cracking down on illegal satellite dishes and publications, as well as Internet and mobile phone communications, to “ensure national security and social stability.”

Domestic journalists generally did not report on repression in Tibetan areas; the postings of bloggers who did so were promptly censored, and their authors sometimes faced punishment. Security officials placed Beijing-based Tibetan blogger and poet Woeser, a recipient of the 2011 Prince Claus Award, under de facto house arrest in early March to prevent her from attending a private award ceremony to be held at the Beijing residence of the Dutch ambassador. Woeser, who has documented Tibetan protests and self-immolations and advocated for human rights for Tibetans, environmental protection for the Tibetan Plateau, and the preservation of Tibetan culture and religion, remained under house arrest through the end of the National People’s Congress in mid-March. Woeser spent three months in Lhasa after being forced by authorities to leave Beijing in the period before and during the 18th Party Congress in November, a situation her husband, Wang Lixiong, described in an opinion piece, Unwelcome at the Party, which appeared in the New York Times newspaper on November 6.

Official media rarely referred to unrest in Tibetan areas, although some official publications targeting the overseas Chinese community published articles blaming the “Dalai clique” and other “outside forces” for instigating the Tibetan self-immolations. Journalists who worked for the domestic press were tightly controlled and could be hired and fired on the basis of political reliability. For example, on March 5, the official television channel of the TAR released a job announcement seeking 19 media employees. Applicants had to meet five conditions, the first of which was that they must support the CCP party line, principles, and policies; safeguard national unity; and be politically steadfast.

Violence and Harassment: On February 15, Tibetan writer and schoolteacher Gangkye Drubpa Kyab reportedly was taken into custody by more than 20 security officers who came to his home in Seda (Serthar) County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince. The reason for his detention and his whereabouts were unknown.

In July 2011 Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers reportedly removed writer Pema Rinchen from his home in Luhuo (Draggo) County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, Sichuan Province. He was brought the next day to the county hospital for emergency treatment for injuries sustained during severe beatings while in police custody. The status and whereabouts of Pema Rinchen were unknown at year’s end.

Dhondup Wangchen, a filmmaker who was sentenced to six years in prison in 2009 on charges related to his production of a 25-minute documentary, Leaving Fear Behind, that documented human rights problems in Tibetan areas, remained in prison and was said to be suffering from hepatitis.

Internet Freedom

Cell phone and Internet service in the TAR and Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces were curtailed during times of unrest and politically sensitive periods, such as the March anniversaries of the 2008 protests and “Serf Liberation Day” (see Academic Freedom and Cultural Events), around the Dalai Lama’s birthday in July and during the 18th Party Congress in November. In addition many Web sites were shut down and Internet cafes closely monitored during major religious, cultural, and political festivals in Tibetan areas. For example, according to an article, Monks Run Amok, that appeared on February 3 in the Global Times, a commercially focused newspaper affiliated with the official daily of the CCP Central Committee, Internet and mobile phone signals were cut off for more than 30 miles around Luhuo (Draggo) and Seda (Serthar) Counties, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, Sichuan Province, where protests took place on January 23 and 24.

Most foreign-based, Tibet-related Web sites critical of official policy in Tibetan areas were blocked to users in China throughout the year. Tibet activists inside and outside of China were harassed by well-organized computer hacking attacks originating from China, according to a foreign-based study group. Security agencies responsible for monitoring the Internet often lacked the language skills necessary to efficiently monitor Tibetan content. As a result Tibetan-language blogs and Web sites were subject to indiscriminate censorship, with entire sites closed down even when the content did not appear to touch on sensitive topics. Some teachers and scholars in SichuanProvince reported receiving official warnings after using their iPhones to exchange what was deemed to be sensitive information in Tibetan script.

In April 2011 official media reported that the Internet Security Supervision Detachment of the Lhasa PSB required the owners of 104 Lhasa Internet cafes to attend an “Internet cafe security management” meeting, where they had to sign a “responsibility document” pledging to ensure Internet security. The stated purpose of the meeting was to “purify the Internet, safeguard national security, and ensure social stability.” Also in April 2011, law enforcement officials in Changdu (Chamdo) County, TAR, raided 15 Internet cafes, confiscating equipment used to promote illegal “separatist” or “Tibet independence” content.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

Authorities in Tibetan areas required professors and students at institutions of higher education to attend political education sessions in an effort to prevent “separatist” political and religious activities on campus. Ethnic Tibetan academics were frequently encouraged to participate in government propaganda efforts, such as making public speeches supporting government policies or accepting interviews by official media. Academics who refused to cooperate with such efforts faced diminished prospects for promotion. Academics in the PRC who publicly criticized CCP policies on Tibetan affairs faced official reprisal. The government controlled curricula, texts, and other course materials as well as the publication of historically or politically sensitive academic books. Authorities frequently denied permission to Tibetan academics to travel overseas for conferences and academic or cultural exchanges.

At a January 30 meeting in Lhasa chaired by TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo to discuss propaganda priorities for the year, TAR party and government leaders were urged to “ensure the security of Tibetan ideological and cultural fields,” continue to criticize the “Dalai clique,” investigate and prevent the influx of “toxic” cultural influences, and promote such themes as “communism, socialism, and the People’s Liberation Army are good” and “love the party and the motherland.” In an August speech, the general party secretary of the TARAcademy of Social Sciences called on scholars to fight against separatism and unite with the party in ideology and action.

In an opinion piece published in official media in January 2011, the director of the TARState Security Bureau called for the development of Tibet’s tourism and cultural industries to combat the weakening of national identity and other “negative” effects of placing “too much emphasis on the promotion of Buddhist religious faith.” At the same time, the TAR Tourism Bureau continued its policy of refusing to hire ethnic Tibetan tour guides who had been educated in India or Nepal. Government officials stated that all tour guides working in the TAR were required to seek employment with the Tourism Bureau and pass a licensing exam on tourism and political ideology. The government’s stated intent was to ensure that all tour guides provided visitors with the government’s position opposing Tibetan independence and the activities of the Dalai Lama. Some ethnic Tibetan tour guides in the TAR complained of unfair competition from government-sponsored “help Tibet” tour guides brought from inland China, apparently for their greater political reliability, and put to work after receiving a crash course on Tibet.

Policies promoting planned urban economic growth, rapid infrastructure development, the influx of non-Tibetans to traditionally Tibetan areas, expansion of the tourism industry, forced resettlement of nomads and farmers, and weakening of Tibetan-language education at the middle and high school levels continued to disrupt traditional living patterns and customs.

From May to August, authorities in Lhasa launched another in a series of “strike hard” campaigns. According to official reports, in the early days of the campaign, police raided 160,000 apartments and 13,800 hotels. Although ostensibly an anticrime operation, police searched private homes, guest houses, hotels, bars, and Internet cafes for photographs of the Dalai Lama and other politically forbidden items. Police examined the cell phones of Lhasa residents to search for “reactionary music” from India and photographs of the Dalai Lama. Even certain ringtones were reportedly deemed subversive and could lead to detention.

On March 28, the TAR marked its fourth annual observance of “Serf Emancipation Day,” commemorating the day in 1959 that China’s rulers formally dissolved the Kashag, the Tibetan government. During the official celebration, government officials and representatives from rural villages and monasteries were required to denounce the Dalai Lama.

There were continued reports of government shutdowns of privately run Tibetan schools. A school in Zaduo (Dzatoe) County in QinghaiProvince’s Yushu (Yushul) TAP was shut down in February. The Voice of Tibet reported that on April 2, authorities forcibly closed a privately run Tibetan school in Laima Village, Ganzi County, Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, Sichuan Province, and arrested its principal, Yama Ciren, and a Tibetan-language teacher. The RFA reported that in May Chinese authorities closed an orphanage school in Luqu (Luchu) County in GansuProvince’s Gannan (Kanlho) TAP, detaining the two teachers in charge of the school, Sangye Dondrub and Jamyang. The school’s previous director, Atsun Tsondru Gyatso, had reportedly disappeared in January 2011.

According to an August 9 Voice of Tibet report, local authorities shut down an organization established in 2011 by Tibetans and monks from the Baishiya Monastery in Ganjia Village, Gannan (Kanhlo) TAP, Gansu Province, to promote use of the Tibetan language.

Observers continued to express concern that development projects and other central government policies disproportionately benefited non-Tibetans and resulted in a considerable influx of ethnic Han and Hui people into the TAR. Infrastructure upgrades such as improved roads, more frequent air service, and the TAR-Qinghai railway, which made travel more affordable, increased the frequency with which non-Tibetans from other parts of the PRC visited the TAR. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, in 2006 there were 180,000 ethnic Han with household registration in the TAR. According to an official TAR report, by 2011 this number had increased to 245,000. Many people from outside the TAR who had spent years living in the TAR maintained their official registration in another province and thus were not counted as TAR residents. The government continued to significantly improve public services provided to the migrant population in the TAR, particularly in the areas of education and health care, and provided financial support to new businesses established by migrants. During a public security inspection on August 18, the TAR party chief, Chen Quanguo, visited ethnic Han business owners in Lhasa and offered them assurances that he was working to improve public security in the TAR to better protect their businesses.

Even in areas officially designated as “autonomous,” Tibetans generally lacked the right to play a meaningful role in the protection of their cultural heritage and unique natural environment and faced arrest and intimidation if they protested against mining or other industrial activities that they believed were harmful to the environment or sacred sites. In 2010 a total of 15 Tibetans, including five monks from nearby Lingka Monastery, were detained and several others injured when armed riot police and PSB officials were dispatched to suppress hundreds of Tibetans who attempted to disrupt operations at the controversial Xietongmen (Shethongmon) copper-mining project near Rikaze (Shigatse), TAR. The detained monks, Khenpo Kelsang, Jamyang Tsering, Tsewang Dorje, Rigzin Pema, and Jamyang Rigsang, reportedly were taken to detention centers in Xietongmen (Shethongmon) and Rikaze (Shigatse). Their well-being remained unknown at year’s end.

On August 15, approximately 1,000 Tibetans marched to a mining site in Mangkang (Markham) County, Changdu (Chamdo) Prefecture, TAR, to protest the large operation, which they believed to be environmentally hazardous. Security personnel responded by firing tear gas and live rounds, causing the death of Tibetan Nyima, and arrested six others, including five who were identified as Dawa, Atsong, Phuntsog Nyima, Jamyang Wangmo, and Kelsang Yudron. Their whereabouts and condition remained unknown.

Tibetan and Mandarin Chinese are official languages in the TAR, and both languages appeared on some, but not all, public and commercial signs. Inside official buildings and businesses, including banks, post offices, and hospitals, signage in Tibetan was frequently lacking, and in many instances forms and documents were available only in Mandarin. Mandarin was widely spoken and was used for most official communications. In many rural and nomadic areas, children received only one to three years of Tibetan-language education before continuing their education in a Mandarin-language school. According to a February 20 article posted on, a TAR Department of Education official announced at a conference that the illiteracy rate in the TAR had fallen to 1 percent by the end of 2011. Official figures published in June by the Qinghai Province Statistical Bureau indicated that the illiteracy rate in Tibetan areas of the province dropped to 13.69 percent in 2010, compared with 25.12 percent in 2000. Many observers questioned these figures, and some contended that the actual illiteracy rate in the TAR was approximately 40 percent and as high as 50 percent in Tibetan areas of Gansu and Sichuan Provinces.

The Tibetan-language curriculum for primary and middle schools in Tibetan areas was predominantly translated directly from the standard national Mandarin-language curriculum, offering Tibetan students little insight into their own culture and history. Few elementary schools in Tibetan areas used Tibetan as the primary language of instruction. In Kangding (Dartsedo), Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince, elementary schools did not offer instruction in Tibetan. Despite guarantees of cultural and linguistic rights, in middle and high schools–even some officially designated as Tibetan-language schools–Tibetan was usually used only to teach classes on Tibetan language, literature, and culture, and all other classes were taught in Mandarin. Of more than 15 middle and high schools in Aba (Ngaba), T&QAP, SichuanProvince, only three taught primarily in Tibetan. Early in 2011 the TAR government began an effort to strengthen free compulsory bilingual preschool education in rural areas by establishing 217 bilingual kindergartens. QinghaiProvince and Ganzi (Kardze) TAP and Aba (Ngaba), T&QAP, SichuanProvince, announced similar programs in 2011.

On March 14, approximately 4,000 students in Gangca (Kangtsa) County, Haibei TAP, QinghaiProvince, demonstrated against the increased use of Mandarin Chinese as the language of instruction in schools. This was the largest such protest since 2010, when thousands of Tibetan middle and primary school students from four Tibetan prefectures in Qinghai Province demonstrated for several days for similar reasons. In August authorities sentenced Tashi Tsering and Choeyang Gonpo to three years in prison, reportedly for organizing the March protest.

According to various reports, between 500 and “several thousand” students at a medical college in Gonghe (Chabcha) County, Hainan TAP, Qinghai Province, staged a demonstration on November 26, reportedly protesting a written pamphlet and related questionnaire they were asked to fill out that contained inflammatory statements about self-immolation, the Dalai Lama, and bilingual education. Local PAP officers reportedly responded with force, injuring as many as 20 students. On December 12, Phayul cited overseas sources who reported that eight of the students received five-year sentences for their alleged roles in the November 26 protest and that the school remained under strict surveillance.

Proficiency in Mandarin was essential to qualify for higher education and obtain a government job in the PRC. China’s most prestigious universities provided no instruction in Tibetan or other ethnic minority languages. “Nationalities” universities, established to serve ethnic minority students and ethnic Han students interested in ethnic minority subjects, offered Tibetan-language instruction only in courses focused on the study of the Tibetan language or culture. Since Tibetan-language instruction was not offered in other higher-education subjects, there was a dearth of technically trained and qualified ethnic Tibetans, and jobs in Tibetan areas that required technical skills and qualifications were typically filled by migrants from other areas of China. Tibetan Buddhist monks, in some cases leading scholars on Tibetan studies, were barred from teaching at universities due to their religious office and lack of academic credentials recognized by the Ministry of Education.

According to overseas Tibetan sources cited by Phayul, three popular Tibetan singer-performers were arrested, reportedly in connection with the political content of their lyrics. Ugyen Tenzin was arrested in Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince, in February, and Lo Lo was arrested in Yushu (Yushul) TAP, QinghaiProvince, on April 19. A third performer, Chogsel, was reportedly taken into custody on July 29 at an Internet cafe in Xining, Qinghai Province, and accused of “inciting separation within nationalities” through his music. According to sources cited by RFA, popular singer Amchok Phuljung was taken into custody on August 3 in Ma’erkang (Barkham) County, Aba (Ngaba) T&QAP, Sichuan Province, reportedly in connection with the May release of his latest album, which included songs praising the Dalai Lama. At year’s end his whereabouts remained unknown, although one local contact claimed he was being held at Ma’erkang Detention Center.

Freedom of Religion

See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at

Freedom of Movement

The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation; however, in practice the government severely restricted travel and freedom of movement of ethnic Tibetans, particularly Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.

In-country Movement: Freedom of movement for all Tibetans, but particularly for monks and nuns, declined severely throughout the TAR, as well as in Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan provinces. Anecdotal evidence indicated this was less of a problem in YunnanProvince’s sole TAP, Diqing (Deqen) TAP, where Tibetans made up 40 percent of the population and rarely protested against government policies. The PAP and local PSBs set up roadblocks and checkpoints on major roads, in cities, and on the outskirts of cities and monasteries, particularly around sensitive dates. Tibetans traveling in monastic attire were subject to extra scrutiny by police at roadside checkpoints.

Following the May 27 self-immolation in Lhasa, TAR, of two young Tibetans from Tibetan areas of Sichuan and Gansu provinces (the first instances of self-immolation in Lhasa in recent years), Tibetans from outside the TAR, particularly monks and nuns, were largely banned from traveling to the TAR without first obtaining special official travel documents. Many Tibetans reported encountering difficulties in obtaining the required travel documents. This not only made it impossible for Tibetans to make pilgrimages to sacred religious sites in the TAR but also obstructed land-based travel to India through Nepal. In addition many nonlocal Tibetan monks, nuns, and laypersons who had resided in the TAR for as long as 15 years were expelled. For example, in December a young Tibetan artist in Chengdu reported that government officials had recently ejected him from the TAR after discovering that he was originally from SichuanProvince’s Ganzi (Kardze) TAP. The artist had worked for two years at a famous TAR monastery painting and restoring sacred thangka paintings. Even outside the TAR, Tibetan monks and nuns reported that it remained difficult to travel outside their home monasteries, with officials frequently denying permission for visiting monks to stay temporarily at a monastery for religious education.

Nonethnic Tibetans, particularly ethnic Han Tibetan Buddhists, were allowed only temporary visits to Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. Implementation of this restriction was especially rigorous in the TAR and SichuanProvince’s Ganzi TAP. Local religious affairs authorities often prohibited ethnic Han or foreign Tibetan Buddhists from staying in monasteries for long-term study.

Foreign Travel: Many Tibetans, particularly prominent religious and cultural figures, scholars, and activists, as well as those from rural areas, continued to report increased difficulties obtaining new or renewing existing passports. Some Tibetans reported they were able to obtain passports only after paying substantial bribes or making promises not to travel to India. In other cases Tibetan students with scholarships to foreign universities were precluded from study abroad because authorities refused to issue them passports. Some Tibetans who left the PRC for India without proper documentation reported being able to return on a limited basis and then allowed to leave again for India through Nepal.

Chinese authorities reportedly detained hundreds of Tibetans who attended an important “Kalachakra” Buddhist teaching conference in India convened by the Dalai Lama on December 31, 2011, to January 10, 2012. Detainees, many of whom had traveled to India legally with valid travel documentation, were reportedly detained as they reentered China or in the months following their return and forced to attend “political education” sessions while in detention. According to sources cited by RFA, on May 26, Chinese border officials forcibly sent back to Nepal nine Tibetan pilgrims who had attended the Kalachakra and were attempting to return to China. Chinese authorities reportedly beat the pilgrims severely and detained them for a week before handing them over to Nepalese officials.

Tibetans continued to encounter substantial difficulties and obstacles in traveling to India for religious, educational, and other purposes. According to reports, ethnic Tibetan government and CCP cadres in the TAR and Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince, were not allowed to send their children to study abroad. Tight border controls sharply limited the number of persons crossing the border into Nepal and India. During the year 241 Tibetan refugees transited Nepal through the TibetanReceptionCenter, run by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Kathmandu, en route to permanent settlement in India, down from 739 in 2011 and 874 in 2010.

The government restricted the movement of Tibetans in the period before and during sensitive anniversaries and events and increased controls over border areas at these times. There were reports of arbitrary detentions of persons, particularly monks and nuns, returning from India and Nepal without travel documents issued by Chinese embassies and consulates. Detentions generally lasted for several months, although in most cases authorities did not bring formal charges against detainees. Travel became increasingly difficult and communications were sometimes cut off, particularly in Sichuan’s Aba (Ngaba), T&QAP, as the series of self-immolations that began at Kirti Monastery in March 2011 continued.

There were reports of Chinese authorities deporting Tibetans who attempted to reenter China from Nepal without Chinese “travel documents.” In March public security and border police arrested five Tibetans and held them in a detention center in Rikaze (Shigatse) Prefecture, TAR, for approximately four months, according to the Voice of Tibet. On August 23, Chinese armed police reportedly delivered the five to Nepalese authorities at Zhangmu (Dram) Port on the Nepal-China border. The five were then transferred to the immigration office in Kathmandu and required to pay a fine before being released.

The government regulated travel by foreigners to the TAR. In accordance with a 1989 regulation, foreign visitors must obtain an official confirmation letter issued by the government before entering the TAR. Most tourists obtained such letters by booking tours through officially registered travel agencies. Apart from those who entered from Nepal, foreign tourists were permitted to enter the TAR only by airplane or rail, and generally only in groups of four or more people, all of whom must be of the same nationality. It was rare for foreigners to obtain permission to enter the TAR by road.

In what has become an annual practice, foreign tourists were banned from the TAR in the period before and during the March anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising and the dual anniversaries in July of the founding of the CCP and the “peaceful liberation” of Tibet. Unlike in prior years, however, the ban on foreign tourists remained in place through much of the rest of the year, with some exceptions granted under highly restricted conditions. During the times that foreign tourists were permitted to enter the TAR, the requirement that they remain with organized tour groups was enforced more strictly than in the past. Foreign tourists also faced restrictions traveling to Tibetan areas outside the TAR, particularly Aba (Ngaba) T&QAP and Ganzi (Kardze) TAP in SichuanProvince, although the government never issued publicly available formal prohibitions on travel to these areas. Anecdotal evidence suggested that the decline in the number of foreign tourists to the TAR was more than offset by an increase in domestic visitors to the TAR. Unlike foreign tourists, ethnic Han tourists do not need special permits to visit the TAR, nor are they subject to rules governing the size of their group or the means of transport used to enter the TAR.

Officials continued to restrict severely the access of diplomats and journalists to Tibet. Foreign officials were able to travel to the region only with the permission of the TAR Foreign Affairs Office and even then only on closely chaperoned trips arranged by that office. Such permission was difficult to obtain. U.S. government officials submitted more than 10 requests for diplomatic access to the TAR between May 2011 and December 2012, but none was granted, and U.S. diplomatic personnel have not been permitted to visit since spring 2011. Foreign diplomats who legally traveled in some Tibetan areas outside the TAR, such as SichuanProvince’s Ganzi (Kardze) TAP and Aba (Ngaba) T&QAP, were repeatedly approached by local police and sometimes forced to leave without reasonable explanation. With the exception of a few highly controlled trips, authorities repeatedly denied requests for international journalists and observers to visit the TAR and other Tibetan areas.

Discrimination and Societal Abuses


Rape and Domestic Violence: There was no confirmed information on the incidence of rape or domestic violence in Tibetan areas, although a Tibetan resident of a Tibetan area of SichuanProvince said that gender-based violence, including rape, was common among Tibetan herders and often went unreported.

Reproductive Rights: Family planning policies permitted ethnic Tibetans and members of some other minority groups to have more children than ethnic Han. Some ethnic Tibetans who had permanent employment in urban areas, or were CCP members or served as government officials, were limited to two children, as were some ethnic Han living in Tibetan areas. Depending upon the county, rural Tibetans in the TAR were sometimes encouraged to limit births to three children. Unlike other areas in the PRC where gender ratios were skewed by sex-selective abortion and inadequate health care for female infants, the TAR did not have a skewed gender ratio.

Sex work in Tibetan areas is not uncommon, and lack of knowledge about HIV transmission and economic pressure led many female sex workers to engage in unprotected sex. Other female sex workers were aware of the risks in unprotected sex but often agreed to forego protection in exchange for higher pay.

Discrimination: There were no formal restrictions on women’s participation in the political system, and women held many lower-level government positions. Women were underrepresented at the provincial and prefectural levels of government, however. According to an official Web site, female cadres in the TAR accounted for more than 30 percent of the TAR’s total cadres. There was believed to be little gender wage gap in companies owned by Tibetans that employed Tibetans. However, Tibetan women employed by companies owned by ethnic Han frequently earned less than male or female ethnic Han employees in the same job.


According to official policy, primary education was compulsory, free, and universal. According to official TAR statistics, 99.2 percent of children between the ages of six and 13 attended school, and 90 percent of the TAR’s primary school students attended lower middle school, for a total of nine years of education. In 2003 the UN special rapporteur on the right to education reported that official PRC education statistics did not accurately reflect attendance and were not independently verified.

Societal Violence

Feuds among Tibetan herders and the resulting violence, in some cases including killings, was a serious problem. Some Tibetans in Ganzi (Kardze) TAP, SichuanProvince, commented that lack of police protection in cases of violence among Tibetans was also a serious issue.

According to RFA, on October 5, Tibetan Buddhist monks led as many as 200 Tibetan villagers to attack ethnic Hui Muslims at the construction site of a new mosque in LangmusiTownship, LuquCounty, Gannan TAP, GansuProvince. Local sources cited by the Web site claimed that more than 12 Hui Muslims were injured in the brawl, six of them seriously.

In December 2011 a fight broke out between ethnic Han and ethnic Tibetan students at the ChengduRailwayVocationalHigh School in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Reportedly the culmination of tensions relating to ethnic bullying and anger at preferential treatment given to minority students, the brawl resulted in an unknown number of injuries.

Ethnic Minorities

Although TAR census figures showed that, as of November 2011, Tibetans made up 90.5 percent of the TAR’s permanently registered population, official figures did not include a large number of long-, medium-, and short-term ethnic Han residents, such as cadres (government and party officials), skilled and unskilled laborers, military and paramilitary troops, and their respective dependents. According to a Lhasa city official, 260,000 of the 450,000 individuals living in downtown Lhasa during the year belonged to this “floating” population.

Migrants to the TAR were overwhelmingly concentrated in urban areas. Government policies to subsidize economic development often benefited ethnic Han more than ethnic Tibetans, causing resentment. In many predominately ethnic Tibetan cities across the Tibetan Plateau, as many as 60 to 80 percent of the small businesses, restaurants, and retail shops were owned and managed by ethnic Han or Hui migrants. Ethnic Tibetans continued to make up nearly 98 percent of those registered as permanent residents in rural areas, according to official census figures.

The government continued its campaign to resettle Tibetan nomads into urban areas across the TAR and other Tibetan areas. Officials also offered nomads monetary incentives to kill or sell their livestock and move to newly created Tibetan communities in rural areas. There were reports of compulsory resettlement where promised compensation was either inadequate or not paid. According to a December 29 Xinhua report, more than 408,000 households in the TAR, including 2.1 million farmers and herders, were covered by a resettlement project that provided funds for the construction of permanent housing. The official press claimed that such resettlement programs were the “foundation for fighting the Dalai clique,” and that resettled farmers and herders would “pray to Buddha less and study culture and technology more.”

Improving housing conditions, health care, and education for Tibet’s poorest were among the stated goals of resettlement, although there was a pattern of settling herders near townships and roads and away from monasteries, which were the traditional providers of community and social services. A requirement that villagers build houses according to official specifications within two or three years often forced resettled families into debt to cover construction costs.

Although a 2010 state media report noted that ethnic Tibetans and other minority ethnic groups made up 70 percent of government employees at the provincial level in the TAR, the top CCP position of TAR party secretary continued to be held by an ethnic Han, and the corresponding position in approximately 90 percent of all TAR counties was also held by an ethnic Han. Also within the TAR, ethnic Han continued to hold a disproportionate number of the top security, military, financial, economic, legal, judicial, and educational positions. Tibetans holding government and CCP positions were often prohibited from openly worshipping at monasteries or otherwise practicing their religion. Of QinghaiProvince’s six TAPs, five were headed by ethnic Han party secretaries and one by an ethnic Tibetan party secretary. GansuProvince’s one TAP, SichuanProvince’s two TAPs, and YunnanProvince’s one TAP were headed by ethnic Han party secretaries. There were several ethnic Tibetan party secretaries at the county level in Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan provinces.

Economic and social exclusion was a major source of discontent among a varied cross section of ethnic Tibetans, including business operators, workers, students, university graduates, farmers, and nomads. Some ethnic Tibetans continued to report discrimination in employment, and some job advertisements in the TAR expressly noted that ethnic Tibetans were not welcome to apply. Some claimed that ethnic Han were hired preferentially for jobs and received higher salaries for the same work. The problem intensified after May, as many Tibetans from outside the TAR were expelled from the TAR, creating more job and business opportunities for non-Tibetans in the TAR. Some Tibetans reported that it was more difficult for ethnic Tibetans than ethnic Han to obtain permits and loans to open businesses. Restrictions on international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that provided assistance to Tibetan communities resulted in the elimination of many beneficial NGO programs and the expulsion of most foreign NGO workers from the TAR and other Tibetan areas.

Government propaganda against alleged Tibetan “proindependence forces” contributed to growing Chinese societal discrimination against ordinary Tibetans. Sources reported that security personnel targeted individuals in monastic attire for arbitrary questioning and other forms of harassment on the streets of Lhasa and other cities and towns. Many Tibetan monks and nuns chose to wear nonreligious garb to avoid such harassment when traveling outside their monasteries and around China. Some Tibetans in Chengdu reported that taxi drivers refused to stop for them and hotels refused to give them rooms.