(TibetanReview.net, Jun03’22) – While the US State Department’s latest annual report on international religious freedom, released on Jun 2, prominently features the genocidal repressions of the mainly Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang by China and the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state by Myanmar, it is highly damning of the repressive situation in Chinese ruled Tibet too.
The 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom refers to a series of Chinese government religious repressions in Tibet, including the destruction of places and objects of worship; arrest, torture and other abuses against religious believers and practitioners; draconian restrictions on the operation of centres of religious study; and the Sinicization drive that threatens the very survival of the Tibetan Buddhist culture.
In its “Tibet” section, the report deals with the issues of Religious Demography, the Status of Government Respect for Religious Freedom, the Status of Societal Respect for Religious Freedom, and the US Government Policy and Engagement in efforts to address the situation.
The report refers to regulations China has been issuing to “control the registration of monasteries, nunneries, and other Tibetan Buddhist religious centers.” It takes note of the fact that individuals in Tibet have to apply to the “CCP Committee to take up religious orders, and the committee may deny any application.”
It also refers to the fact that the Chinese “government continued to place restrictions on the size of Buddhist monasteries and other institutions and to implement a campaign begun in 2016 to evict monks and nuns from monasteries.”
The report takes note of the fact that “the whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama by the Dalai Lama and most Tibetan Buddhists, remained unknown since his 1995 forced disappearance by Chinese authorities.”
With regard to the US government efforts to address the situation in Tibet, the report says that “during the year, the US government used a variety of diplomatic tools to promote religious freedom and accountability in Tibet, including continuing visa restrictions on government and CCP officials that the US government had determined to be ‘substantially involved in the formulation or execution of policies related to access for foreigners to Tibetan areas,’ pursuant to the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018.”
Releasing the report, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said China was persecuting practitioners of religions “that it deems out of line with Chinese Communist Party doctrine.”
And Rashad Hussain, the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, has said, “It comes as no surprise that the People’s Republic of China is a glaring example” of a government that represses citizens who practice certain religions.”
The State Department is required to submit its assessment of religious freedom across the globe to Congress each year.