(TibetanReview.net, May03’23) – The year 2022 saw China further intensify its control and suppression of Tibetan Buddhism, said the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in its 2023 annual report released on May 1.
The report says Chinese authorities restricted Tibetans’ access to religious sites, banned religious gatherings, destroyed places and symbols of religious significance, and subjected monks and nuns to “political reeducation.”
The report adds that China even persecuted Tibetan Buddhists living in the United States.
The report notes that there were 73 documented Tibetan Buddhist victims of religious repression by the end of last year. These were stated to include the alleged torture of Tibetan monks, including Rinchen Tsultrim and Go Sherab Gyatso, both imprisoned on false charges of separatism or secession because they peacefully expressed their views.
The report says there were several self-immolations in Tibet last year, carried out in a desperate act of protest against China’s oppression.
Several Tibetans were reported to have been detained for honoring Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, or for simply possessing a photo of him.
The report calls China’s plan to appoint an eventual successor to the 87-year-old Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile since China forced him to flee Tibet in 1959, heinous.
The report also refers to a number of steps the US had taken to address the religious violations in Tibet under Chinese rule. It notes that the US had sanctioned Chinese officials charged with violating Tibetans’ rights, held hearings and events on China’s abuse of the Tibetan people, and also raised the issue of Tibetans’ religious freedom at the UN.
In particular, it notes that’s on the World Human Rights Day on Dec 10, 2022, the Treasury Department sanctioned Wu Yingjie and Zhang Hongbo for “serious human rights abuse” against the Tibetan people. Wu was Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which spans roughly the western half of Tibet, from 2016 to 2021. Zhang was director of the region’s Public Security Bureau from 2018 to last year.