Tibet - Human Rights Issue Explained
The History Behind the Issues
Tibet is a country in the Himalayas which is cut off from the rest of the world. The two main groups of people that live in Tibet are the Mahayanas and Vajaayanas which follow Buddha’s teachings. Their religion, language, literature, art, idea’s concerning the environment, and a way to life, that unify Tibet, and make it a unique country.
Since the invasion by China in 1950 there has been over one million Tibetans killed by the Chinese, making them a minority in their own country. China has also made Chinese the official language of Tibet. More then 6,000 monasteries and shrines have been destroyed and only one out of twenty monks are still allowed to practice under the careful eye of the government. Famine has become a problem, natural resources have been lost, and wildlife is close to extinction.
The Current Protest In Tibet
Fifty years after the brutal crackdown that lead the Dalai Lama and tens of thousands of Tibetans to escape from Tibet to India, the self-immolation of a young Tibetan monk from Kirti Monastery in Sichuan Province on 27 February 2009 marked the beginning of a new form of protest against the severe repression imposed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the people of Tibet. Between 16 March 2011 and 20 April 2012, the self-immolation of 34 more people, most of whom died, has revealed the degree of tension that prevails in the region. It also overwhelmingly suggests that the PRC’s policy for dealing with the Tibet question has failed.
Map of Tibetan self-immolations (2009-2012). Source: ICT
Human Rights Issues Explained
What are the causes of such unprecedented acts of protest? Despite China’s tight control over the media and information coming out of Tibet, data received from reliable inside sources makes it clear that human rights abuses in Tibet are widespread. Such abuses include not only the severe repression of any form of protest, arbitrary arrests and torture in detention, but also violations of freedom of religion, belief and association. Tibetans in Tibet are prevented from freely practicing Buddhism. Monks are regularly threatened and put under pressure. Young Tibetans are forced to seek authorization to become monks from central authorities and their overall number is regulated by the imposition of quotas and the issuance of permits and restrictions. The Tibetan identity is further oppressed by sophisticated techniques such as the use of ‘patriotic education’ sessions. These correspond to a set of systematic interrogation and thought influencing techniques (such as publicly reciting political literature) to make subjects denounce the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama as a ‘separatist’, and demonstrate the allegiance of the Tibetan people to the Chinese government and to Gyaincain Norbu, the government-picked 11th Panchen Lama.
A number of monks and nuns in the Tibetan monastery in Kirti, Chinese-Occupied Tibet, have immolated themselves in the recent past, to protest their genocide and cultural extinction by the Chinese.