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‘Lack of information from Tibet is due to high level of Chinese gov’t repression’

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(, Feb07’24) – The reason why not much is heard about, and therefore reported on, on the human rights situation in Tibet today is because it remains the least free country on earth, an international summit on religious freedom held in Washington, DC, was told last week.

“Today we don’t hear much about Tibet. And the reason is exactly because it’s the least-free country on Earth,” Mr Namgyal Choedup, Washington-based representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration to North America, told the meeting.

He was one of the main speakers at the summit’s breakout session, which was also addressed by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Nazila Ghanea and Campaign for Uyghurs Founder and Executive Director Rushan Abbas.

This panel of the summit’s session on violations in surveillance states was developed by Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) with the groups Boat People SOS and the Campaign for Uyghurs.

Tibet also featured in the summit’s panel discussion on challenges and opportunities in freedom of religion or belief in Asia. This panel also highlighted the situation in Nepal, including for Tibetan refugees there, and the situation in Sri Lanka. ICT’s Mr Franz Matzner moderated the discussion.

* * *

Namgyal traced the current nature of the state of Chinese government surveillance in Tibet Autonomous Region to the 2011-16 tenure of its regional Party Secretary Mr Chen Quanguo, who developed a system of mass surveillance and militarization that has only grown since. Chen was later moved to East Turkestan (Xinjiang) to become the architect of alleged genocide of mostly Uyghur Muslims.

“What we have is kind of reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution period,” he said, referring to the decade-long violent purges led by Chairman Mao Zedong.

China has largely shut down access to Tibet from the outside world, with Tibetans being even forced to spy on one another, he said.

Any individual act of dissent leads to collective punishment in the form of mass repression and immediate shutdown of internet access to prevent the news from spreading, he said, citing the more recent example of the protest self-immolation in Tibet’s capital Lhasa last year by Mr Tsewang Norbu, a popular young Tibetan singer.

He also cited the example of a Tibetan university student named Tsedon in Lhasa who was detained by Chinese authorities on Dec 26 last year and reported dead in police detention on Jan 15, with no avenue to verify these reports.

Namgyal accused China of implementing a policy of Sinification by means of eliminating Tibet’s unique civilization by forcing its people to give up their language, religion and culture.

(Source:, Feb 6, 2024)


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