Human rights in Tibet

Human rights.jpgTibetans’ 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.

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.

Here are just a few human rights case studies of people who have suffered abuses under China's regime.

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.

Military.jpgIn 2008, thousands of Tibetans staged the largest protests in Tibet for over 50 years. Demonstrations swept across the entire Tibetan plateau.

Chinese authorities arrested an estimated 6,000 protestors, of which the fate of about 1,000 still remains unknown.

The upsurge in self-immolations and other protests since 2011 has led the Chinese authorities to step up security and attempt to impose even tighter control over Tibet.

Read more about the cost of speaking out in 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

Image credit Pedro SaraivaThe Chinese deem these acts as ‘splittist’ or ‘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’.

Read more about torture in Tibet and see a list of just some political prisoners.

Restricting information

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.

Reporters Without Borders ranked China 174 out of the 179 countries on its Press Freedom Index 2011/12. Professor Carole McGranahan has also stated that there are more foreign journalists in North Korea than Tibet.

Lack of religious freedom

kaiash1_nocredit.jpgBuddhism 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.

Political rights

A US State Department human rights report published in May 2012 said that "ethnic Han Chinese Communist Party members hold almost all top government, police, and military positions in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other areas of Tibet."

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