The US organisation Freedom House has released its latest report on the status of freedom in the world. In a new development, Tibet is ranked as the joint-worst place in the world for civil rights and political freedoms.
The organisation’s annual Freedom in the World report, this year titled “Democracy under Siege“, gives countries and some territories a rating out of one hundred, based on a number of categories, such as whether they have a functioning government, whether they hold free and fair elections and whether people can express their views freely and without fear of punishment.
While countries including Finland, Norway and Sweden regularly score 100/100, Tibet has for the past six years only scored 1/100, giving it the second-lowest ranking every year since 2016, behind only Syria. The only exception was last year, when only Syria and South Sudan, two countries going through civil wars, were deemed to have less freedom. A small increase in both countries’ rankings has shifted Tibet to joint bottom, again with 1/100.
China which has ruled Tibet since its occupation of the country in 1950, again received a low grade of 11/100. Like Tibet, China was categorised as ‘Not Free’.
A full summary of political rights and civil liberties in Tibet is expected to be released later this year. It is likely to include further restrictions on freedom of religion, the detention of Tibetans who criticise the Chinese government or carry out peaceful protests, torture and the ongoing “vocational training” programme, which last year saw at least 500,000 rural Tibetans encouraged or coerced to move from the land they have historically stewarded and into menial jobs.
In contrast to the lack of freedom inside Tibet, Tibetans around the world, free from the occupation, have are currently taking part in free and fair elections to elect a new Sikyong (equivalent to a president) and parliament, with results expected on 11 April.