This is a post in which I try to raise awareness of and get passionate about something that myself, and too few people in the world, don’t know enough about. After recently listening to the Dalai Lama speak in Dharamsala, and spending time with Lobsang, a Tibetan monk, the plight of the Tibetan people has stuck a powerful chord in me. After meeting those guys, I started to do a little research; the statistics I read were horrifying.
I’m talking about the inhumane, illegal and brutal Chinese annexation of Tibet.
Everybody has heard the slogan and seen the t-shirt. “FREE TIBET.” The brilliant Free Tibet website can argue this terribly important case far more eloquently than me, and so the information that follows is courtesy of them.
Here’s why we must raise awareness of the ‘Free Tibet Movement,’ and help rid this beautiful, peaceful and inspiring land and its people of the brutal Chinese dictatorship. Very, very sobering!!
- The Chinese government has forced thousands of Tibetans to abandon their traditional rural nomadic lifestyle and move into new housing colonies or towns.
- Most Tibetans work in the agricultural sector while most economic activity outside of agriculture is controlled by the central government or state owned corporations.
- In urban centres Tibetans are a minority as a result of Chinese encouragement of ethnic Chinese migration.
- Most tourist activity is located in urban centres where the main employees are ethnic Chinese migrants.
- Since 1949, the Chinese have destroyed over 6,000 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and shrines.
- By 1978 only 8 monasteries and 970 monks and nuns remained in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).
- The number of monks and nuns allowed to enter monasteries and nunneries is limited. Any reference or images of the Dalai Lama are banned.
- Buddhism is central to Tibetan life and monasteries and nunneries are kept under tight surveillance. Police stations are often situated nearby (or inside).
- Monks and nuns are regularly subjected to ‘patriotic re-education programmes’, for weeks at a time.
- During these programmes, they are forced to read ‘patriotic’ literature denouncing the Dalai Lama.
- Those who refuse to take part, or fail the programme, often have their rights to practice as monks and nuns taken away.
- China attempts to control all information in and out of Tibet. TV, radio, printed media and the internet are subjected to strict monitoring and censorship.
- Access is blocked to TV and radio broadcasters based outside China, which provide news services in Tibetan languages.
- Foreign journalists are rarely allowed entry into Tibet, and when they are, they are closely chaperoned by Chinese officials.
- The Chinese have responded to uprisings with extreme violence and around 300,000 Chinese soldiers are posted in Tibet.
- There is extensive surveillance of the population.
- China has repeatedly violated UN conventions through extensive use of torture against Tibetan political prisoners – often monks or nuns.
- Tibet is governed directly by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. No Tibetan has ever been appointed Party Secretary – the most senior government post – in the TAR.
- Over half of Tibet’s available forest stock has been felled and exported to China.
- Qulong in Tibet is home to copper deposits of more than 10m tonnes, in addition to other valuable metals. Mining and mineral extraction are now a significant proportion of economic activity but few Tibetans receive financial benefits.
- The Indian government has reported that three nuclear missile sites are located inside Tibet. Nuclear waste has also been dumped near Lake Kokonor, Tibet’s largest lake.
Human rights in Tibet
Tibetans’ civil and political rights are under constant attack by the Chinese authorities who will stop at nothing to suppress dissent.
Every aspect of Tibetan life is under siege from a Chinese leadership determined to gradually eradicate a whole culture. (WOW)
The Tibetan flag and national anthem are banned. Possession of a picture of the Dalai Lama can result in torture and imprisonment.
Even children face abuses of their freedom and human rights in Tibet.
No Right to Protest
- Tibetans are not free to protest or openly speak about their situation. Even peaceful demonstrations are met with heavy handed, military crackdowns.
- In 2008, thousands of Tibetans staged the largest protests in Tibet for over 50 years. Demonstrations swept across the entire Tibetan plateau. Later, Chinese authorities arrested an estimated 6,000 protestors, of which the fate of about 1,000 still remains unknown.
- The upsurge in protests and self-immolations (monks burning themselves to death) in 2011, 2012 and into 2013 has led the Chinese authorities to step up security even further and tighten its stranglehold on Tibet.
Political Prisoners Tortured
- Prisons in Tibet are full of people detained for simply expressing their desire for freedom. People have been arrested and sentenced to prison for peaceful acts, such as:
- waving the Tibetan flag
- distributing leaflets
- sending information about events in Tibet abroad
- The Chinese deem these acts as ‘subversive’.
- Many Tibetans are imprisoned on unclear or unspecified charges, their families not informed of their whereabouts.
- Released prisoners report of having been subjected to beatings, electric shocks, and being deprived of food and drink. A 2008 UN report found that the use of torture in Tibet was ‘widespread’ and ‘routine’.
Free Tibet campaigns for an end to China’s occupation of Tibet and for human rights and self-determination for the Tibetan people. It is entirely funded by its members and supporters.
You can DONATE HERE
You can GET INVOLVED HERE
Not everybody is in a position to financially assist this important and humanitarian cause. However, if you’re seeing this post then you have access to the internet. I humbly ask you all to do your own little bit, by sharing, liking, re-posting and generally shouting out loud about the plight of the Tibetans.
When I spent time with Lobsang I was humbled by his passive nature and peaceful, positive energy. He fortunately escaped to India, where he now lives in exile, and relative peace. Hundreds of thousands of his county-men, women and children aren’t as lucky.
If you’re as shocked as I was by the staggering statistics & facts above, then please, SHOUT OUT LOUD FOR TIBET!!
Immolation image credit here
Bloodied monk image credit here
Chinese brutality image credit here
Header image credit here