(TibetanReview.net, Aug13, 2018) – China’s discriminatory passport policy towards Tibetans was one of the many issues on which the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has sought answer from China at its ongoing review of the country’s compliance with the relevant UN rights document, reproted the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on its Tibet.net website Aug 11. Experts at the committee were stated to have sought to know why Beijing had a “two-track” passport issuing system that systematically discriminated and obstructed Tibetans from acquiring passports.
Earlier, following the committee’s five-page communication on Aug 10 seeking to draw Beijing’s attention to a list of issues, China’s lead representative to the committee, Yu Jianhua, had said he would present his government’s response on Aug 13. “We have taken careful notes,” he was quoted as saying.
CERD experts had, in their communication, expressed “serious concern over the policies and legislation of the two-track passport system specifically targeting and discriminating against members of the Tibetan minority”. They have also raised China’s restriction on Tibetans’ freedom of movement as well as travel in the exercise of freedom of religion.
The experts were quoted as having said in their written communication, “This passport system, currently in place, restricts Tibetans’ freedom to movement and has also prevented them from exercising their religious beliefs, particularly with regard to those attending the teachings of the Dalai Lama in other countries.”
The experts were also stated to have noted “grave concern” over the “interrogation, arrest, detention and conditions of detention of numerous Tibetans in relation to the passports system and travel for religious purposes”.
In this connection, the experts have questioned the Chinese authorities’ issuance of forcible summons to Tibetans who had traveled to attend the teaching of the Dalai Lama, to their respective areas within stipulated period, with the threat of severe consequences to families. They have also referred to “passport seizure and the failure to re-issue passports of Tibetans”, calling them a matter of concern.