The US organisation Freedom House has released its latest report on the status of freedom in the world. For the second year in a row, 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 “The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule”, 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, if they hold free and fair elections and whether citizens 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 seven years only scored 1/100, giving it the second-lowest ranking every year since 2016, behind only Syria. The only exception was in 2020, when Syria and South Sudan, two countries going through brutal civil wars, were deemed to have less freedom. A small increase in both countries’ rankings shifted Tibet to joint bottom last year, again with 1/100. In 2022, Tibet shared the lowest ranking along with two other countries; Syria and South Sudan.
China which has ruled Tibet since its occupation of the country in 1950, again received a low grade of 9/100, down from 11 last year. Like Tibet, China was categorised as ‘Not Free’.
In its overview of the country, Freedom House details how both Han Chinese and Tibetans inside Tibet “are denied fundamental rights, but the authorities are especially rigorous in suppressing any signs of dissent among Tibetans, including manifestations of Tibetan religious beliefs and cultural identity”.
Recent developments in Tibet were noted in the report, including the deployment of around 2,000 “inspectors” who were sent to rural areas, particularly border zones, to monitor rural Tibetans and restrict their movement. It also cited the continuing use of the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext for further surveillance and restrictions on Tibetans. A full summary of political rights and civil liberties in Tibet can be found here.