A new report by ICT documents how tightening oppression in Tibet, including a new emphasis on ‘counter-terror’ measures, has created a more dangerous political environment for Tibetans in expressing their views.
The report, ‘The teeth of the storm: Lack of freedom of expression and cultural resilience in Tibet’ details how a new generation of Tibetans is paying a high price with their lives for peaceful expression of views in a political climate in which almost any expression of Tibetan identity or culture can be termed ‘criminal.’
Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “Chinese Party leaders describe Tibet as the ‘teeth of the storm’ in a ‘struggle of the ideological realm’. There are increasing dangers for Tibetans as a result of the deepening oppression, but at the same time young generation singers, artists and writers are leading a remarkable cultural resurgence, producing new songs, literature, poetry to define their identity and as a means of countering the Chinese state.”
This report details the cases of 11 imprisoned writers and intellectuals and 10 singers who have faced persecution and imprisonment, including the following:
- Lo Lo, a Tibetan singer, is currently seriously ill in prison after he was sentenced to six years for singing songs including ‘Raise the Tibetan flag, children of the Snowland’.
- The whereabouts of Tibetan blogger, Shokjang, known for his perceptive insights into contemporary policies, is unknown after his detention in March.
- Thamkey Gyatso, a monk who was a prolific writer for literary magazines, is paralysed and unable to walk following torture in detention during his 15-year prison sentence.
- Kalsang Yarphel, sentenced to four years for his songs, which including lyrics urging unity among Tibetans, and for Tibetans to speak Tibetan.
ICT speakers will discuss freedom of expression at a side-panel of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva today with the U.S. Special Coordinator on Tibet, Sarah Sewell, and monk and former political prisoner Golog Jigme.