(TibetanReview.net, Jan18, 2013) China-ruled Tibet Autonomous Region, the western half of ethnographic Tibet, was ranked “Worst of the Worst”, along with North Korea and eight other countries, in the US-based rights body Freedom House’s latest annual survey of political and civil rights which was released on Jan 16. China itself was ranked as “Not Free” and described as having “the world’s most complex and sophisticated apparatus for political control.”
Referring to the 96 reported self-immolations in Tibet under Chinese rule since Feb 2009, Sarah Cook, Asia researcher for Freedom House, was quoted by Radio Free Asia (Washington) Jan 16 as saying: “And the government’s response, rather than really looking at the underlying roots of these grievances, was to further intensify their restrictions, both within the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Tibetan regions of the surrounding provinces.”
“We saw media blackouts and efforts to stop the news from getting out, [and] the arrest and imprisonment of people who did send information out.”
The report, “Freedom in the World 2013: Democratic Breakthroughs in the Balance,” also ranked Burma as “Not Free” although it recorded improvements in both its political rights and civil liberties ratings and overtook China. The survey shows Burma to have scored 6 on political rights and 5 on civil liberties with seven being the worst possible score in each category. China is still 7 on political rights and 6 on civil liberties.
The “Not Free” ranking is assigned to countries “where basic political rights are absent, and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied.”