(TibetanReview.net, May05, 2016) – Re-designating China as a “country of particular concern” (CPC), the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on May 2 released its 2016 Annual Report, noting that it continued to “implement a discriminatory and at times violent crackdown” on Tibetan Buddhists as well as Uyghur Muslims and their rights. It added that the PRC government continued its tight control over Tibetan Buddhists, “strictly monitoring and suppressing their cultural and religious practices.”
The report questioned the Chinese government’s claim of having the authority to select the next Dalai Lama.
The report said government-led raids on monasteries continued, and Chinese party officials in Tibet infiltrated monasteries with Communist Party propaganda and referred to increased government interference in the education and training of young Buddhist monks.
The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan US government advisory body and the latest report covers the period of Feb 1, 2015 to Feb 29, 2016.
On China as a whole, the report said the period “was marked by the Chinese government’s deliberate and unrelenting crackdown on human rights and dissent.”
Recommending that China be continued to be designated as a CPC, the USCIRF called on the US government to continue to raise religious freedom concerns at the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and other high-level meetings, and encourage Chinese officials “to refrain from conflating peaceful religious activity with terrorism or threats to state security”.
The report recommended that the US government urge the Chinese government to release prisoners of conscience, including those who have been detained or placed under house arrest for peacefully practicing their faith, and continue to raise individual cases with Chinese officials.
And as permitted by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the report called on the US government to “impose targeted travel bans, asset freezes, and other penalties on specific officials who perpetrate religious freedom abuses”.