The U.S. State Department has detailed its concern about the “severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic heritage” in its annual human rights report covering 2015, released today by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “This report gives comprehensive details on issues including lack of access to Tibet, disappearances and torture, sentencing of relatives of those who have self-immolated, and violations of rights of assembly, movement and expression, indicating clearly the continuous and strong concerns of the U.S. government.”

The State Department report notes “serious human rights abuses” in Tibet, including extrajudicial detentions, disappearances, and torture” and refers to the intensified militarization of the plateau, stating: “The presence of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) and other security forces remained at high levels in many communities on the Tibetan Plateau, particularly in the TAR. Repression was severe throughout the year but increased in the periods before and during politically and religiously sensitive anniversaries and events. Authorities detained individuals in Tibetan areas after they reportedly protested against government or business actions, or expressed their support for the Dalai Lama.”

The State Department referenced two ICT reports, including one about freedom of expression, ‘The Teeth of the Storm’, stating that it documented the cases of 11 Tibetan writers and intellectuals and 10 Tibetan singers who have faced imprisonment and repression.[1] It named the prominent Tibetan monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche who died in custody in July 2015, saying that he was denied access to adequate medical care, reporting: “Authorities denied requests from his family to return the body so traditional Tibetan Buddhist funeral rites could be conducted.”

The separate Tibet section of the annual Human Rights Report was mandated by Congress in 2002. The 2015 Tibet section is reproduced below, and is available online.

Human rights in Tibet will be on the agenda in Washington this week at a Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing on ‘China’s Pervasive Use of Torture’, with Tibetan monk and former political prisoner Golog Jigme testifying. (Thursday, April 14, 2016, 2:30pm-4:30pm, Capitol Visitor’s Center, Room HVC 210).



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). The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Central Committee oversees Tibet policies. 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 remained poor. Under the professed objectives of controlling border areas, maintaining social stability, and combating separatism, 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 Tibetan population, including the freedoms of speech, religion, association, assembly, and movement. The government routinely vilified the Dalai Lama and blamed the “Dalai [Lama] Clique” and “other outside forces” for instigating instability.

Other serious human rights abuses included extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial detentions. There was a perception among many Tibetans that authorities systemically targeted them for political repression, economic marginalization, and cultural assimilation, as well as educational and employment discrimination. The presence of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) and other security forces remained at high levels in many communities on the Tibetan Plateau, particularly in the TAR.

Repression was severe throughout the year but increased in the periods before and during politically and religiously sensitive anniversaries and events. Authorities detained individuals in Tibetan areas after they reportedly demanded freedom and human rights and expressed their support for the Dalai Lama.

The government strictly controlled information about, and access to, the TAR and many Tibetan areas outside the TAR, making it difficult to determine accurately the scope of human rights abuses. The Chinese government severely restricted travel by foreign journalists to Tibetan areas. Additionally, the Chinese government harassed or detained Tibetans who spoke to foreign reporters, attempted to provide information to persons abroad, or communicated information regarding protests or other expressions of discontent through cell phones, e-mail, or the internet. The Chinese government also denied multiple requests by foreign diplomats for permission to visit the TAR. Because of these restrictions, many of the incidents and cases mentioned in this report could not be verified independently.

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


At least 11 Tibetans reportedly self-immolated during the year, including laypersons and Tibetan Buddhist clergy, which was significantly fewer than the 27 self-immolations reported in 2013 and the 83 self-immolations reported in 2012.

Self-immolators reportedly continued to see their acts as protests against political and religious oppression. The Chinese government implemented policies that punished friends, relatives, and associates of self-immolators.

The Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Prosecutor’s Office, and the Ministry of Public Security’s joint 2012 “Opinion on Handling Cases of Self-Immolation in Tibetan Areas According to Law” 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 constituted criminal behavior, since it posed a threat to public safety and public order.

The opinion stated that “ringleaders” would be targeted for “major punishment.” In addition, Chinese government officials in some Tibetan areas withheld public benefits from the family members of self-immolators and ordered friends and monastic personnel to refrain from participating in burial or mourning activities for self-immolators.

According to an August report by International Campaign for Tibet, since 2012 at least 11 Tibetans were sentenced to prison terms or death on “intentional homicide” charges for allegedly “aiding” or “inciting” others to self-immolate. The report also listed 98 Tibetans punished since 2010 due to alleged association with a self-immolation.


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.

Four persons died of serious injuries sustained when police opened fire on a group of more than 100 protesters demanding the release of their village head, Dema Wangdak, in Shiqu (Sershul) County in Sichuan Province’s Ganzi (Garze) TAP on August 12, according to media reports.

According to a February report from Phayul, a news website maintained by Tibetan exiles, police tortured Kunchok Dhakpa to death while in custody. He was arrested in 2013 in the TAR’s Biru (Driru) County on allegations of leading a large protest against Chinese mining activities.


Authorities in Tibetan areas continued to detain Tibetans arbitrarily for indefinite periods.

In May police arrested Tenzin Lhundrup, an influential Tibetan monk, in the TAR’s Biru (Driru) County while giving a lecture on the status of Tibetan language and nationality. His whereabouts remained unknown.

The whereabouts of the Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, Tibetan Buddhism’s second-most prominent figure after the Dalai Lama, remained unknown. The Chinese government has not made any public statements about his situation since 2010.


According to the PRC’s constitution, “the State respects and protects human rights.” Judges cannot apply the constitution in court cases, however, in part because interpretation is reserved to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

Police and prison authorities employed torture and degrading treatment in dealing with some detainees and prisoners. There were reports during the year that Chinese officials severely beat some Tibetans, even to the point of death, while incarcerated or otherwise in custody.

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), authorities detained Tashi Paljor, a monk at Wenpo Monastery in the TAR’s Changdu (Chamdo) Prefecture on February 28 because he was in possession of politically sensitive writings and recordings by the Dalai Lama. While in custody, he was beaten so badly that he died the next day.


The number of prisoners in the TAR and Tibetan areas was unknown. There were reports of recently released prisoners permanently disabled or in extremely poor health because of the harsh treatment they endured in prison. According to sources political prisoners endured unsanitary conditions and often had little opportunity to wash or bathe. Former prisoners reported being isolated in small cells for months at a time and deprived of sleep, sunlight, and adequate food.

According to sources prisoners rarely received medical care except in the case of serious illness. Former prisoners also complained that prison guards often confiscated gifts of food and medicine from their families. There were cases of detained and imprisoned persons being denied visitors. As elsewhere in the PRC, authorities did not permit independent monitoring of prisons.


Arbitrary arrest and detention was a 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. Police frequently violated these requirements. It was unclear how many Tibetan detainees authorities held under forms of detention not subject to judicial review.

In 2013 authorities in the TAR’s Sou (Sog) County detained Gawa Sangpo for writing a letter that, among other things, stated Tibet is an independent nation. According to a March report by Phayul, he had been held in detention for more than a year without trial and was reportedly in poor health due to torture he suffered while in detention.


Legal safeguards for detained or imprisoned Tibetans were inadequate in both design and implementation. Prisoners have the right to request a meeting with a government-appointed attorney, but in practical terms many defendants, particularly political defendants, did not have access to legal representation.

According to the India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, on January 17, Chinese authorities in the TAR’s Biru (Driru) County sentenced two Tibetan village leaders to 10 years in prison for failing to fulfill their duty to maintain stability. According to the report, authorities did not inform either man’s family members about their detention and subsequent sentencing.


In cases that authorities claimed involved “endangering state security” or “separatism,” trials often were cursory and closed. According to a January report from the head of the TAR’s Higher People’s Court, the court handled 20 cases of crimes concerning “separatism” and “national security” in 2013. No details about the cases were made publicly available.

Chinese officials made it clear that they believed ideology and politics should be a large factor for judges to consider when deciding cases. During a regional judges’ conference on August 12, Deng Xiaogang, executive vice governor of the TAR and director general of the TAR Legal Affairs Committee, requested that senior judges make “ideological and political development” a priority task in the fight against separatism, and guarantee a “correct political direction” in the judiciary’s work.

Security forces routinely subjected detainees and prisoners to “political re‑education” sessions.


An unknown number of Tibetans were detained, arrested, and/or sentenced because of their political or religious activity. Authorities held many prisoners in extrajudicial detention centers and never allowed them to appear in public court.

Based on information available from the U.S. Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) political prisoner database, as of September 1, 639 Tibetan political prisoners were detained or imprisoned, most of them in Tibetan areas. Observers believed the actual number of Tibetan political prisoners and detainees 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 in detention centers, despite the recent moves to dismantle the “reeducation through labor” system. Of the 639 Tibetan political prisoners tracked by the CECC, 621 were ethnic Tibetans detained on or after March 10, 2008, and 18 were Tibetans detained prior to March 10, 2008. Of the 621 Tibetan political prisoners who were detained on or after March 10, 2008, 251 were believed or presumed to be detained or imprisoned in Sichuan Province, 202 in the TAR, 103 in Qinghai Province, 64 in Gansu Province, and one in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

There were 174 persons serving known sentences, which ranged from 18 months to life imprisonment. The average sentence length was seven years and six months. Of the 174 persons serving known sentences, 73 were monks, nuns, or Tibetan Buddhist teachers.

Sentencing information was available for 15 of the 18 Tibetan political prisoners detained prior to March 10, 2008, and believed imprisoned as of September 1. Their sentences ranged from eight years to life imprisonment. The average fixed-term sentence was 12 years and four months.

In January Chinese authorities in the TAR’s Biru (Driru) County sentenced Dorje Dragtsel to 11 years in prison for leading an antimining protest. According to Phayul, Dorje Dragtsel also was allegedly involved in local protests against the government efforts to force Tibetans to raise the Chinese national flag atop their houses.


Authorities continued to monitor private correspondence and search some private homes and businesses for photographs of the Dalai Lama and other politically forbidden items. Police examined the cell phones of TAR residents to search for “reactionary music” from India and photographs of the Dalai Lama. Authorities reportedly even deemed certain ringtones subversive and grounds for detention.

In January police in the TAR detained a young Tibetan man, Norgyay, after a random check of the content on his mobile phone. While in custody, police found photos and audio recordings of speeches by the Dalai Lama on his mobile phone, tortured him, and then “warned him to sever all connections with outside contacts,” according to RFA.


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.

During the year authorities in the TAR and many other Tibetan areas sought to strengthen control over electronic media further and to punish individuals for the “creating and spreading of rumors.” Sources reported that many Tibetans, particularly monks, scholars, students, and government officials, avoided sensitive topics, even in private conversations in their own homes.

According to a report by Phayul, in March authorities in the TAR’s Sou (Sog) County arrested four people for sharing political content through their cell phones. In January a court sentenced writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen, from the TAR’s Biru (Driru) County, to 13 years in prison, and his colleague, Yugyal, a former police officer, to 10 years in prison, according to a report by London-based Tibet Watch. Gyaltsen and Yugyal had allegedly “engaged in separatist activities and disrupted social stability by spreading rumors.” Police seized Gyaltsen after he publicly disagreed with speeches given by high-ranking TAR officials about a crackdown in Biru.

Press Freedoms: The government severely restricted travel by foreign journalists. In December 2013 the Washington Post reported that “North Korea is more accessible to foreign journalists than Tibet is.” Foreign journalists may visit the TAR only after obtaining permission from the government, and permission was rarely granted, according to a report by the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China.

A few foreign journalists visited the TAR by participating in highly structured, government-organized tours during which the constant presence of government minders made independent reporting difficult. Reporting in Tibetan areas outside the TAR was also difficult. “Large areas of the country, such as Tibetan-inhabited regions outside of the TAR, are effectively off-limits to foreign reporters,” according to the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China report.

The government continued to jam radio broadcasts of Voice of America and RFA’s Tibetan- and Chinese-language services in some Tibetan areas, as well as the Voice of Tibet, an independent radio station based in Norway. In Qinghai Province and the Aba (Ngaba) TAP, Sichuan Province, police confiscated or destroyed “illegal” satellite dishes, replacing some of them with government-controlled cable television systems.

Domestic journalists did not report on repression in Tibetan areas. Authorities promptly censored the postings of bloggers who did so, and the authors sometimes faced punishment. Prominent Tibetan blogger and poet Tsering Woeser, who 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, was subjected to heavy surveillance during her several-month-long visits to Lhasa, where authorities seriously restricted her freedom of movement and barred her from meeting with sensitive individuals in what she described as “soft house arrest.”

Authorities tightly controlled journalists who worked for the domestic press and could hire and fire them on the basis of political reliability. For example, in April the state-run Tibet TV television station released a job announcement seeking a number of media employees. One of the listed job requirements was to “be united with the regional Party Committee in political ideology and fighting against separatism.”

Violence and Harassment: According to the India-based Tibet Post International, the family of Tibetan writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen learned in March that authorities in the TAR’s Biru (Driru) County had sentenced him to 13 years in prison.

Police arrested Gyaltsen in October 2013 on suspicion of involvement in activities that challenged Chinese rule.

In July authorities placed under house arrest Tsering Woeser and her husband, Tibetologist Wang Lixiong, to keep them from attending a diplomatic event in Beijing.


Authorities curtailed cell phone and internet service in the TAR and other Tibetan areas during times of unrest and politically sensitive periods, sometimes for weeks or even months at a time, such as the March anniversaries of the 2008 protests and “Serf Emancipation Day,” and around the Dalai Lama’s birthday in July. Authorities closely monitored the internet throughout Tibetan areas.

Reports of authorities searching cell phones they suspected of containing suspicious content were widespread. In July the Qinghai Provincial Party Committee said the province was relentlessly cracking down on illegal publications concerning Tibet and Xinjiang and that relevant government agencies were monitoring the internet and cell phones to prevent such publications and information from spreading. Under the campaign of “massive inspection of the cultural market,” security officials in the TAR and other Tibetan areas carried out a series of inspections of internet bars and cell-phone markets.

Many internet bar owners were required to sign “responsibility documents” pledging to ensure internet security. Many individuals in the TAR and other Tibetan areas reported receiving official warnings after using their cell phones to exchange what was deemed to be sensitive information in Tibetan script.

Throughout the year authorities blocked users in China from accessing foreign-based, Tibet-related websites critical of official policy in Tibetan areas. Well-organized computer hacking attacks originating from China harassed Tibet activists and organizations outside China. Authorities harassed and detained Tibet internet activists inside China.

Tibet Action Institute and other civil society organizations based both in China and abroad have been penetrated by cyberespionage; a majority of these incidents were linked to China, according to a study published November 11 by internet watchdog Citizen Lab. According to the study, those behind the incidents were the same hackers responsible for high-profile attacks on major multinationals and Western governments.


Authorities in many Tibetan areas required professors and students at institutions of higher education to attend regular political education sessions, particularly during politically sensitive months, in an effort to prevent “separatist” political and religious activities on campus.

Authorities frequently encouraged Tibetan academics to participate in government propaganda efforts, such as making public speeches supporting government policies. 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 Tibetan academics permission to travel overseas for conferences and academic or cultural exchanges.

In May, Dong Yunhu, a member of the Standing Committee of the TAR’s Communist Party Committee and head of the TAR’s Department of Propaganda, declared the region must protect the “absolute security of ideology,” criticize the Dalai Clique, crack down on information concerning “Tibetan independence,” and cut all channels for “Tibetan independence” propaganda.

In June, Che Minghuai, the party secretary of the TAR’s Academy of Social Science, asked scholars to battle the Dalai Clique firmly in the ideological arena.

In February, seven experts of the UN Human Rights Council wrote to the Chinese government to highlight concern about the human rights situation of 10 Tibetan singers and musicians allegedly detained, disappeared, or arbitrarily arrested since 2008.

Authorities in Tibetan areas regularly banned the sale and distribution of music they deemed to have sensitive political content.

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 the weakening of both Tibetan-language education in public schools and religious education in monasteries continued to disrupt traditional living patterns and customs.

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, was used for most official communications, and was the predominant language of instruction in public schools in many Tibetan areas.

China’s Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law states that “schools (classes and grades) and other institutions of education where most of the students come from minority nationalities shall, whenever possible, use textbooks in their own languages and use their languages as the media of instruction.” Despite guarantees of cultural and linguistic rights, many primary, middle, and high school students had limited access to Tibetan-language instruction and textbooks.

According to a RFA report, in February authorities forced organizers to cancel a Tibetan-language competition in Sichuan Province’s Aba (Ngaba) TAP, telling the organizers that “the Tibetan language contains words that can be used to express opposition to Chinese rule.”

China’s most prestigious universities provided no instruction in Tibetan or other ethnic minority languages, although Tibetan-language classes were available. “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. Mandarin was used in courses for jobs that required technical skills and qualifications.


Even in areas officially designated as “autonomous,” Tibetans generally lacked the right to organize and play a meaningful role in the protection of their cultural heritage and unique natural environment.

Tibetans often faced intimidation and arrest if they protested against mining or other industrial activities they considered harmful to the environment or sacred sites. For example, in June authorities detained Tibetans in Qinghai Province’s Hainan (Tsolho) TAP for protesting against what they believed to be an illegal Chinese mining operation, according to Phayul.


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


Chinese law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation. In practical terms, however, the government severely restricted travel and freedom of movement of Tibetans, particularly Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.

In-country Movement: Freedom of movement for all Tibetans, but particularly for monks and nuns, remained severely restricted throughout the TAR, as well as in other Tibetan areas. The PAP and local Public Security Bureaus 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 2012 self-immolation in Lhasa of two young Tibetans from Tibetan areas of Sichuan and Gansu provinces (the first instances of self-immolation in Lhasa in recent years), authorities largely banned Tibetans from outside the TAR, particularly monks and nuns, from traveling to the TAR without first obtaining special permission from multiple government offices.

Many Tibetans reported encountering difficulties in obtaining the required permissions. This not only made it difficult for Tibetans to make pilgrimages to sacred religious sites in the TAR, but also obstructed land-based travel to India through Nepal. Tibetans from outside the TAR who traveled to Lhasa also reported that authorities there required them to surrender their national identification card, stay in designated hotels, and notify authorities of their plans on a daily basis. These requirements were not applied to Han Chinese visitors to Lhasa.

In late May authorities reportedly prevented travel for religious purposes to Mount Kailash (Gang Rinpoche), a principal pilgrimage site. The ban immediately preceded the period when the Dalai Lama provided a public teaching (Kalachakra) in northern India.

Even outside the TAR, many Tibetan monks and nuns reported it remained difficult to travel beyond their home monasteries, with officials frequently denying permission for visiting monks to stay at a monastery for religious education. Authorities allowed only temporary visits to Tibetan Buddhist monasteries by non‑Tibetans, particularly ethnic Han followers of Tibetan Buddhism. Implementation of this restriction was especially rigorous in the TAR.

On June 5, authorities released Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen from prison, but authorities continued to harass him and restrict his freedom of movement.

Foreign Travel: Many Tibetans, particularly prominent religious and cultural figures, scholars, and activists, as well as those from rural areas, continued to report difficulties in 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.

Tibetans continued to encounter substantial difficulties and obstacles in traveling to India for religious, educational, and other purposes. Contacts also reported instances of local authorities revoking the passports of individuals who had traveled to India.

Tight border controls sharply limited the number of persons crossing the border into Nepal and India.

In 2013, 171 Tibetan refugees transited Nepal through the Tibetan Reception Center, run by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Kathmandu, on route to permanent settlement in India, down from 242 in 2012 and 739 in 2011.

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.

The government regulated travel by foreigners to the TAR, a restriction that is not applied to any other provincial-level entity in the PRC. In accordance with a 1989 regulation, foreign visitors must obtain an official confirmation letter issued by the TAR government before entering the TAR. Most tourists obtained such letters by booking tours through officially registered travel agencies.

In the TAR a government-designated tour guide must accompany foreign tourists at all times. It was rare for foreigners to obtain permission to enter the TAR by road.

In what has become an annual practice, authorities banned many foreign tourists from the TAR in the period before and during the March anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

Foreign tourists sometimes also faced restrictions traveling to Tibetan areas outside the TAR, although the government never issued publicly available formal prohibitions on such travel. Anecdotal evidence suggested that the decline in the number of foreign tourists to the TAR was more than offset by an increase in domestic Han visitors to the TAR.

Unlike foreign tourists, ethnic Han tourists do not need special permits to visit the TAR.

Officials continued to restrict severely the access of foreign diplomats and journalists to the TAR. Foreign officials were able to travel to the TAR 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 12 requests for diplomatic access to the TAR during the year, but no request was granted. With the exception of a few highly controlled trips, authorities repeatedly denied requests for international journalists to visit the TAR and other Tibetan areas (see section on Freedom of Speech and Press).


Rape and Domestic Violence: There was no confirmed information on the incidence of rape or domestic violence.

Reproductive Rights: Family planning policies permitted Tibetans and members of some other minority groups to have more children than ethnic Han. Some Tibetans who worked for the government reported pressure from their work units to have only one child.

Prostitution in Tibetan areas was not uncommon. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and health experts expressed serious concern about the growing prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the TAR and other Tibetan areas.

Discrimination: There were no formal restrictions on women’s participation in the political system, and women held many lower-level government positions. They were, however, underrepresented at the provincial and prefectural levels of government. According to an official website, female cadres in the TAR accounted for more than 41 percent of the TAR’s total cadres.


Many rural Tibetan areas have implemented China’s nationwide “centralized education” policy, which has resulted in the closure of many village schools and the transfer of students, including elementary school students, to boarding schools in towns and cities. Reports indicated many of the boarding schools did not adequately care for and supervise their young students.

Trafficking in Persons

See the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report at

Ethnic Minorities

Although TAR census figures showed that 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. Tibetans continued to make up nearly 98 percent of those registered as permanent residents in rural areas, according to official census figures.

Migrants to the TAR and other parts of the Tibetan Plateau were overwhelmingly concentrated in urban areas. Government policies to subsidize economic development often benefited ethnic Han more than Tibetans, causing resentment. In many predominately Tibetan cities across the Tibetan Plateau, ethnic Han or Hui migrants owned and managed many of the small businesses, restaurants, and retail shops.

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 persons into the TAR and other Tibetan areas.

Many major infrastructure projects across the Tibetan Plateau were engineered and implemented by large state-owned enterprises based in other provinces, and they were managed and staffed by professionals and low-wage temporary migrant workers from other provinces rather than by local residents.

Tibetan tour guides in the TAR faced competition from government-sponsored “Help Tibet” tour guides brought from other parts of China, apparently for their greater political reliability, and put to work after receiving a crash course on Tibet.

Economic and social exclusion was a major source of discontent among a varied cross section of Tibetans. Some Tibetans continued to report discrimination in employment, and there continued to be reports of job advertisements expressly noting that 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 2012 when many Tibetans of outside origin were expelled from the TAR, creating more job and business opportunities for non-Tibetans. Some Tibetans reported it was more difficult for Tibetans than ethnic Han to obtain permits and loans to open businesses.

Restrictions on both local NGOs that received foreign funding and international NGOs that provided assistance to Tibetan communities increased during the year, resulting in the lack of many beneficial NGO programs in the TAR and other Tibetan areas.

The government continued its campaign to resettle Tibetan nomads into urban areas and newly created communities in rural areas across the TAR and other Tibetan areas. There were reports of compulsory resettlement. According to a January Xinhua report, the TAR’s eight-year nomad resettlement program was officially completed at the end of 2013.

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 herders bear a substantial part of the resettlement cost often forced resettled families into debt.

Although a March media report noted that 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 positions in the vast majority of all TAR counties were also held by 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.

Ethnic Han were party secretaries in seven of the 10 TAPs, which are located in Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces. Two TAPs in Qinghai Province had Tibetan party secretaries, and one TAP in Yunnan Province had an ethnic Naxi party secretary.

Authorities often prohibited Tibetans holding government and CCP positions from openly worshipping at monasteries or otherwise publicly practicing their religion.
Government propaganda against alleged Tibetan “pro-independence forces” contributed to Chinese societal discrimination against ordinary Tibetans.

Many Tibetan monks and nuns chose to wear nonreligious garb to avoid harassment when traveling outside their monasteries and throughout China. Some Tibetans reported that taxi drivers throughout China refused to stop for them and hotels refused to give them rooms.

Societal Violence

Feuds among Tibetans and the resulting violence, in some cases including killings, was a serious problem. In May at least nine Tibetans were injured in a clash over disputed land between two villages in Qinghai Province, according to Phayul.

[1] ICT report,