U.S. State Department finds “severe” repression in Tibet, targeting of friends and relatives of self-immolators

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 ON FEBRUARY 27, 2014

The U.S. State Department reported today that “[r]epression was severe throughout the year” in Tibetan areas, a week after President Obama “reiterated his strong support for … the protection of human rights for Tibetans” in a meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The findings were contained in the special Tibet section of the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013.

 A copy of the report is posted on ICT’s website.

“The State Department’s extensive reporting on the situation in Tibet sheds needed light on a dark situation,” said Todd Stein, Director of Government Relations at the International Campaign for Tibet. “Released two days after Chinese authorities closed the Tibet Autonomous Region to foreigners, the Department’s report shows the harsh reality in Tibet that Chinese authorities are so desperately trying, and failing, to cover up.”

The Tibet section of the 2013 Human Rights Report provides a comprehensive account of human rights abuses suffered by Tibetans under a widespread crackdown imposed by Chinese policies and accelerated in the year since Xi Jinping became President. The report devotes special attention to the troubling new Chinese policies “that punish friends, relatives, and associates of self-immolators,” which has resulted in the sentencing of nearly 90 Tibetans (just in Qinghai and Gansu provinces), including a death sentence. In addition, it finds:

  • Authorities continue to arbitrarily detain Tibetans for indefinite periods of time;
  • Information and access to Tibetan areas is “strictly controlled;”
  • The range of abuses in Tibet included “extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial detentions, and house arrests;”
  • Despite the “autonomous” labeling of Tibetan areas, “Tibetans generally lacked the right to play a meaningful role in the protection of their cultural heritage and unique natural environment;” and
  • “Economic and social exclusion” were significant drivers of discontent among Tibetans

The report confirms the Chinese pattern of hiding the effects of its policies in Tibet. It reveals that U.S. diplomatic personnel were denied access “multiple” times, including to Tibetan areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region where permission was not officially required. Chinese officials “severely restricted travel by foreign journalists,” making independent reporting difficult. Travel agencies have reported that officials in the Tibet Autonomous Region stopped processing permits for foreign tourists to the Region on February 25 for a month-long period around “sensitive” anniversaries such as the March 10 Tibetan national day.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama was welcomed by President Obama in the White House on February 21 for the third time during his presidency. According to statements by the White House and the Central Tibetan Administration, the two discussed the human rights situation in Tibet and the need to preserve Tibet’s cultural, religious and linguistic heritage.

The separate Tibet section was mandated by Congress in 2002 to be included in the Country Reports on Human Rights, the Department’s annual assessment of human rights in each country.

China threatens the US

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China’s Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui summoned US charge d’affaires Daniel Kritenbrink to protest the meeting between the Tibetan Spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and the US President of the United States, President Barack Obama. “China expresses strong indignation and firm opposition,” Mr Zhang said, according to the Xinhua news agency. “The Tibetan issue is the domestic affair of China, and the United States bears no right to interfere,” he added. “Such a move will gravely sabotage China-US co-operation and relations, and will definitely undermine its own interests.”

The US has right to meet with whomever they want without the Chinese government threatening and interfering with the US internal affairs.

Chinese document threats Tibetan’s

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Since 2009, 126 Tibetans have self-immolated. These immolations are a form of protest against the policy of the Chinese rule in Tibet, which, according to Tibetan groups aimed at cultural annihilation of the Tibetan people.

A Chinese government document recently smuggled out of China reveals a decree of local authorities imposing draconian measures to punish communities, families and associates of self-immolated in Tibet.   This warning is very simple: “If there is a self-immolation, local authorities will attack your family, the village and the monastery.”

The official document, published and analyzed on the website of the Tibetan Centre, was dated April 8, 2013. It lists 16 items of restrictions and sanctions against the family, the village and the monastery associated with the person who would sacrifice.

According to the analysis of the document, “all these measures go beyond the rights that the Chinese Constitution claims to protect.” Furthermore, “the local authorities clearly warn that a sword suspended above the families of potential sacrificed.”

China threatens the World

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By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House on Friday in a show of concern about China’s human rights practices.

Obama’s midmorning session with the Dalai Lama may well draw a reprimand from China, which views him as a violent separatist because he seeks more autonomy for Tibet.

In what appeared to be a small concession to the Chinese, Obama will see the Dalai Lama in the White House Map Room, a historically important room but of less significance than the Oval Office, the president’s inner sanctum.

But the fact the meeting is taking place at all reflects U.S. concerns about a wide range of Chinese activities from human rights practices to territorial tensions in the East China Sea. Obama’s U.S. strategic pivot, or rebalancing, toward Asia is seen as a reaction to the growing clout of China.

The White House views the Dalai Lama as “an internationally respected religious and cultural leader” and noted Obama had met with him twice before, in February 2010 and July 2011.

A senior Chinese official vowed this week to ignore foreign pressure on human rights, and said foreign leaders who meet with the Dalai Lama should “pay a price” for it.

The United States recognizes Tibet as part of China and does not support Tibetan independence, but supports the Dalai Lama’s approach for more autonomy, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

“We are concerned about continuing tensions and the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China,” Hayden said.

“We will continue to urge the Chinese government to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, as a means to reduce tensions,” Hayden said in a statement announcing the 10 a.m.(1500 GMT) meeting.

The United States has also been concerned about a territorial dispute between China and Japan over a remote chain of islands in the East China Sea. Washington has vowed to ignore an air defense zone declared over the area by Beijing.

The White House is expected to issue a statement about the meeting after it takes place.

The Dalai Lama was in Washington on Thursday meeting with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative organization.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Spanish Parliament bows to Chinese leaders

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Spanish Parliament ruling following arrest warrants for Chinese leaders ‘should be of concern to all European citizens’

 ON FEBRUARY 12, 2014

The Spanish Parliament voted yesterday to move ahead with a bill limiting the power of the judiciary to investigate human rights abuses committed outside the country, following pressure from China over two law suits focusing on China’s leaders for their policies in Tibet.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said today: “The result of the vote by the Spanish Parliament following the orders of arrest affecting Chinese leaders by Spain’s independent judiciary only underlines the unprecedented pressure that the Chinese government is imposing on European governments. This is part of an increasing attempt by China to undermine the rules and principles of international law in order to preserve its impunity. The new and very alarming element is that now China, an authoritarian government, is able to directly request, and obtain, changes to the national legislation of a major European democracy such as Spain. The sooner democrats and citizens of the world realize and act to counter these developments, the better it would be for our future.”

On Monday, a day before the Parliamentary debate, Spanish High Court Judge Ismael Moreno issued orders to be conveyed to Interpol for the detention of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and four other Chinese leaders for their policies on Tibet. (ICT report, Spanish judge orders arrest warrants for Chinese leaders on day before Spanish Parliament vote on legal reform).

Spain has had a leading role in enforcing international justice since universal jurisdiction was adopted into national law in 1985, and intense opposition has been expressed to the actions of Spain’s ruling centre-right People’s Party since the Chinese authorities have sought to close down the Tibet law suits.

The main opposition group, the Socialists, voted against the bill in Parliament in Madrid yesterday, although it also watered down Spain’s universal jurisdiction law when it was in power in 2009.

Alan Cantos, Director of Comite de Apoyo Al Tibet (CAT), said today: “What was voted yesterday was not the new restrictions on the law itself but the go ahead to discuss it at the Congress Justice Commission and Senate. The ruling party got away with it because of their absolute majority, but stood completely alone and none of their traditional party allies voted with them. There was significant criticism, from both the left and right and the promise of appeals against its unconstitutional nature if it is approved from the main socialist opposition and other MPs. Submission to China officially began yesterday. This change in the law will probably be perpetrated but at a very high cost in democratic principles, and also quite possibly votes in coming elections.”

Yesterday’s move in the Spanish Parliament was an approval of a proposal for a reform of the law. The next stage is for the resolution to go to the Senate, which may take one to four months. The judiciary then has to react to the change in the law and will also most likely be presented with a decision of whether or not to cancel the orders of arrest of the Chinese leaders on their policies in Tibet.

Death in detention: Monk exposes China’s failure to protect Tibetans’ right to life

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A HEARTFELT APPEAL

Dear His Holiness the Dalai Lama and fellow Tibetan compatriots,

I am a Tibetan youth from Tawu, Kham. My name is Nyima Dakpa Kyeri. Like the proverbial ‘pika may not be a giant animal, but it is well developed with physical features,’ I am not a great scholar; nor am I a wealthy man but I am a person who has deep love for my people.

 Therefore, I express the view that we Tibetan people have been reduced to a condition of backwardness and subjected to oppression, denying us even basic human rights, including the right to study our own language. I have studied over and again this subjected and oppressed condition, wherein we do not have any political rights.

Occasionally, I have also been able to study how our ancestral emperors established their political empire and power; I fully absorbed myself in the glorious sunshine of Tibetan history. Consequently, I made a firm decision in my heart that if ever I have to give up my life, I would do it for my people. So from the depth of my heart, I have had this earnest desire ‘how I wish if Tibetan people can regain true freedom and establish a Tibetan state.’

With such fervent desire in my heart, I pasted many leaflets on the walls of the buildings in Tawu on 9 September 1998, 10 November 1999, 12 November 1999, 19 November 1999, 6 December 1999, 29 December 1999 and 7 January 2000 respectively. The leaflets called for the ‘Chinese to leave Tibet and allow Tibet to become free.’ I have put my own signatures on the leaflets.

Unfortunately, without achieving any results, I nearly lost my life at the hands of the brutal Chinese. Last year when I was in Lhasa, on 22 March 2000, four security men from the Public Security Bureau (PSB) arrested me. Without even asking a question, they beat me up severely – to such an extent that I couldn’t utter a word. Denying even a morsel of food and a drop of water, I was put on a plane and taken to Chengdu.

At Chengdu I was handed over to some Chinese policemen, who again beat me up. The ‘devil-incarnate’ Chinese security forces were so brutal and merciless – they beat me up so severely that I almost lost my life. I lost my consciousness, and when I regained it, it was around 1 a.m. I found myself unable to move, as my whole body was in acute pain. In fact one of my legs had no sense of feeling, as if it was dead.

Ten days after reaching Tawu, I was subjected to another interrogation. Because of having experienced violent pain inflicted [by the police torture], I was compelled to reveal all my aspirations and confess to my pasting the leaflets. As a result, on 5 October 2000, the Intermediate People’s Court of Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture sentenced me to nine years of rigorous imprisonment. But at the moment I have become very weak physically due to suffering painful torture; I can’t even eat a morsel of food and one of my legs is broken. I am sure I will die shortly afterwards, but I am not going to be scared of dying – absolutely not.

At a time when the flow of my life-stream is on the verge of ceasing, whether I express it to my uncle Jowo Kyab or to fellow Tibetans, all I need is to make an appeal, through His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to advocate throughout the world that the Tibetan people are being bullied and subjected to brutal sentences.

Fellow Tibetan compatriots of the same flesh and bone, we must all be aware of the brutal humiliations we suffer at the hands of the Chinese – their illegal actions being committed [in Tibet]. We must, through every possible means, unite, and protest against China.

Nyima Dakpa Kyeri

1 September 2001

Note:  When he was arrested, Nyima Dakpa was a fit and healthy monk. On his deathbed, Nyima Dakpa was emaciated with a breathing tube attached to his nose, an IV attached to one arm and a heart rate monitor attached to the other. He died in 2003, four years after his arrest.

The Bully (China) attacks Spain

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Last month a Spanish Court had indicted China’s former President, Hu Jintao, on charges of genocide against the Tibetan people. This astounding breakthrough was followed a few weeks later by the news that judges had ordered arrest warrants to be issued against Hu’s predecessor, Jiang Zemin and four other former Chinese leaders.

China is furious about this lawsuit, which has been brought by Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet, a member Group of the International Tibet Network. A senior Party Official threatened; “This is ridiculous. Anyone thinking in this way brings humiliation to himself and if courts of any country accept the accusation, they are bringing disgrace to themselves as well. Pursuing a lawsuit against China shows nothing but the weakening of some countries nowadays….. I would like to use a cliché of Chinese people, “Come if you are bold enough.”

Now questions are arising as to whether Spain is “bold enough”. The celebrated independence of the Spanish judiciary – which recognises “universal jurisdiction”, a doctrine part of international law that allows grave crimes like genocide and torture to be prosecuted anywhere – is under threat. Spanish newspaper El Pais has reported that the Spanish government, under pressure from China, is proposing urgent legal changes that would allow it to invoke reasons of “general interest” in order to prevent judges from investigating crimes of genocide committed abroad.

This legal process should be based on the strength of evidence and a commitment to serving justice, not the political influence of the perpetrator. It is an affront to Spain’s judicial sovereignty, to the victims, and to universal principles of human rights that the Spanish government is considering surrendering to Beijing’s political pressure.